Oh boy, it’s time for another top 10 list! And by “it’s time,” I mean “I am a few days late.” These things stress me out and I can’t even pretend these are in any order, but everything on here is something that I loved this year, and you could do a lot worse than to listen to any one of these during the last few moments of 2015. Or all of them. And it’s surely not an exhaustive list – at the last minute, I remembered someone I was going to put on here and had to bump another band off, and of course I don’t overlap a great deal with the other people whose lists have already gone up, so that really just means there’s more to listen to and more good stuff out there. 2015 had a lot of problems, but a dearth of good music wasn’t one of them. Enjoy.
Veruca Salt – Ghost Notes
They’re back! Oh, sure, they’ve been back in various configurations, but this album is their first as the original-recipe band since 1996’s Eight Arms to Hold You. If you stopped paying attention when they stopped being that same band, start paying attention again. And if you blew off going to their reunion show with me when they came through town, hang your head in hardcore shame.
Sleater-Kinney – No Cities to Love
I’m pretty sure I’d lose my music blogger card if I didn’t put this on the list. But for real, it should be; another long-awaited album that reminds you of why you waited so long. And boy, did that title track skewer me perfectly: “It’s not the cities, it’s the weather we love” does pretty much sum up all my homesick longing, as anyone I’ve ever talked to can confirm.
It Was Romance – It Was Romance
Lane Moore is a hero for America. She writes brilliantly about sex and love on the internet (her Twitter is pretty much the best), does a show called Tinder Live! which I want to see the next time I’m in New York, and she has this band called It Was Romance who put out an album this year that is the soundtrack to a hundred kinds of crushes. And she also judged air guitar one time but no one’s obsessing about that, least of all me, obviously.
Bully – Feels Like
So, I wrote about this album back in June, and then in August I went to Portland and inexplicably woke up every morning of that trip with “Trying” in my head. That’s a pretty good sign that it’s for real, but you don’t have to take my stupid brain’s word for it – go see them on Jan. 9th at the Sinclair. Then come back and tell me about how intense Alicia Bognanno’s howl is in person.
Upset – ’76
This list is going in a real “what it was like to be a teenage girl in the 90s” direction and I am INTO THAT. This is what the words “pop-punk” are supposed to mean. I want to listen to this album all day and then be friends with everyone in the band.
Feral Jenny – Greatest Hits
It’s a little embarrassing to walk around your office humming out loud in the first place, but it’s even more embarrassing when the song you’re humming is by the person you just walked past. Somehow I’ve lived through that to come and tell you that despite the fact that they are on hiatus now, Feral Jenny’s latest album is awesome fuzzy garage magic. It’s probably safer for you to walk around humming these songs, too – surely not everyone who reads this works with one of them.
Secret Club – Apocalypse Meow
You want to talk about garage magic, Secret Club has got it. I have already used the word “dirtbag” (but in the positive sense, of which there is one, in case you don’t believe me) about 500 times so I’ll restrain myself here, but if they don’t come up here and play a show with the Guilloteenagers and, as long as I’m building dream bills here, the Nuclears up from New York, then I’m just going to start my own band to cover their songs. This one in particular.
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Mutant Scum – Field Recordings
This is the surprise twist! portion of the proceedings, because this doesn’t fit the regular mold around here – but it is really good! A scientific oddity, this album appears to be secret recordings of mutant creatures who crawled up out of a severely-polluted waterway in Brooklyn. There are reports of people having seen them, furry, bedraggled, and dripping with toxic goo, playing these sludgy songs, but that’s as much information as we have right now.
The Digs – Manic
Another case of knowing the album was going to make the list because I couldn’t stop singing the songs for days, and another case of me maybe embarrassing myself with the vigor with which I sang along at the show. Fast, fun, catchy punk, and if that means it’s pop-punk then that’s what it is. If you listen and aren’t at minimum bobbing your head, you may have died without realizing it, so please contact your local medical professional.
Tigerman WOAH – Up South Vol. III
I really wanted to get this posted by New Year’s Eve, not just because it would mean I’d written about 2015 during 2015, but also because I could say “and they’re playing tonight with Andrew WK at the Paradise, come see!” Well, it was sold out anyway, so I guess it’s equally as helpful for me to tell you that it was a great show and I actually had more fun during their set (singing along and losing my mind, as usual) than during the master of partying’s himself, because I wasn’t getting mauled by bros and was free to enjoy the show. If you haven’t gone to one of their shows, rectify that promptly; if you have, you know how fun and crazy these shows can get.