December 14, 2015

HCTF's best of 2015 (20-16)

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

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

20 The Brighton Beat: Off We Go

The funky afrobeat big band thrives on stage. They managed to transfer the excitement of a live show to the studio on their sophomore release.

Joe DiGiorgi at Headline Studios, NY did an excellent job. He got a rock sound for Hit The Bricks, a widescreen cinematic feel for Summer Lullaby and put the percussion and brass up front for the two parts of Stand With The Herd. The bass gets a boost when the band goes funky, most notably in the title track.

» Full review

19 Holly Bowling: Distillation of a Dream: The Music of Phish Reimagined For Solo Piano

A classically trained piano player transcribed the spontaneous jamming of the Vermont quartet. A sprawling double album that sparkles.

Bowling had to bottle the on stage spontaneity. (...) The instrumentals The Horse and The Inlaw Josie Wales were fairly easy by comparison, but she didn't shun the challenge of A Song I Heard The Ocean Sing and The Squirming Coil.

» Full review

18 Kapok: Glass to Sand

The Dutch jazz trio Kapok invited some guests for their third album and a good time was had by all.

With the sound Morris Kliphuis' horn the trio stands out as colorful bird amidst a flock of squabbling pigeons. With drummer Remco Menting's command of complex rhythms and guitarist Timon Koomen's progressive tone they are a truly "unusual" jazz trio. Throw in their ability to find inspiration to write about subject like muscle spasms - the ambient/post-rock mashup Myoclonus or sing the praise of Cacti and extensive plains in Pediplen and you have a band with an open mind and sense of Zappa-esque humour.

» Full review

17 Richard Lomax & The Tontine: Down There For Dancing

English multi-instrumentalist is a man of many moods. And also the sole guy on Earth who can rock out while wielding an Omnichord.

Even when Lomax gets mad at someone, like he does in Every Fucker Fucks You (so why not fuck them first?), he picks up a scalpel instead of an axe, wrapping his wrath in an aloof manner plus a some memorable guitar outbursts - efficiency superseding blind fury.

» Full review

16 Mountaineer: 1974

Marcel Hulst made a wonderfully delicate solo album, even foregoing capitalizing the song titles.

(...) a great blend of indie, folk and Americana, a prime example of soft music that doesn't need to be played loud to make its mark. Highlights: the use of double tracked vocals adding urgency to the message of in Canada, the early Floyd-alike pastoral artificial light and the melancholic dirge all your armies.

» Full review

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