December 15, 2015

HCTF's best of 2015 (15-11)

2015 was a rather good year for music. HCTF lists the 20 albums that will be in regular rotation for many years to come.

Today: countdown from number 15 to 11. Go here for 5-1 | 10-6 | 20-16.

15 Hey Mandible: The Arse

Noise rock trio proofs that not everything is sunny in Florida.

They have a beef with pretty much everybody and everything - women, kids, religion - and are trying to smother their dislikes with howling feedback and distortion. It could have resulted into an album filled with flat sounding, brickwalled songs, but they have a good ear for dynamics, hooks and slow moving melody lines.

» Full review

14 Thirty Pounds of Bone: The Taxidermist

Something quite sinister is lurking in the shadows. Your guide Johny Lamb is here to explain.

He went in at the deep end using analog synths to soften the blow of his vengeful lyrics, going all out in angry shoegaze mood for songs like The Expelled and using vaudevillian rock for Pasganger, Or The Wagon. Lamb thrives when his voice is a couple of notches above a whisper in the neo-psychedelic despair of Before I’m Done and All Your Sons. Quiet desperation is indeed the English way.

» Full review

13 Lost Bear: Monkey Pop

Gnarly out-of-the-box stuff from the Netherlands. Eclectic weirdness with a beat.

Monkey Pop is a soft-spoken, disturbing and claustrophobic album. Think The Cure having a sleepover with Pavement, with marching drums and keyboards and guitar rolling down the road like tumbleweed filmed in slow motion.

» Full review

12 Big Lazy: Don't Cross Myrtle

Big city jazz that you can dance too. Yes, that's still a thing.

From the spaghetti western Minor Problem via the slow swagger of The Low Way to the speakeasy vibe of Avenue X, the drecnched in echo Swampesque, the album makes it to Adrian Belew meets an angry brass player title track Don't Cross Myrtle before closing the door with the melancholic Whereabouts. A high quality all-you-can-eat album for gourmets.

» Full review

11 Umphrey's McGee: The London Session - A Day at Abbey Road Studios

Progressive jam band had some time to kill before a string of shows in the UK. So they made a record.

Umphrey's McGee overcame jet lag and nerves to end up with an album that is a 101 for musicians that lock themselves in a pressure cooker of sorts. The London Session - A Day at Abbey Road Studios sounds like a superb live record. It will be hard to capture this kind of intensity and fun when they go back to traditional studio recording methods for the next one.

» Full review

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