It is that time of year when everyone looks back on the past 12 months. Here at Already Heard we have once again been blessed with some superb releases this year. That is why for this year’s Record of the Year list we have decided to cover more releases and highlighted the top 25 releases from 2015.
As always, the Already Heard team have discussed (and argued) to make a definitive list of album releases from the past year.
Having revealed the first part of our countdown yesterday, here is numbers 20 to 16 in the second part of our Record of the Year list.
20. Deafheaven – New Bermuda (Anti-)
The third album from the San Franciscans delivered a record that hits home like an arrow through the heart. Where 2013’s ‘Sunbather’ meandered through interludes between tracks, ‘New Bermuda’ is focussed and stripped bare. It’s Spartan track list may not have given away much but what is contained within is rich in texture and depth.
The church bells of opening track ‘Brought to the Water’ seem to usher in a newly refreshed vigour to their frenzied guitars and vocalist George Clarke’s guttural rasps. The intensity of these five soundscapes makes you gasp at the emotional outpouring in points. You’re hammered from all sides by the blast beats and rhythmic driving of guitars. There are startling moments of beautiful introspection when the stormy blast lets up however, and in these melodic moments pull you into a tightening embrace, like on the beautiful ‘Baby Blue’.
Having found themselves thrust into the attention of bridging a gap between a niche black metal and the wider alternative scene, they’ve not only proven themselves as more than one trick pony with ‘New Bermuda’, they’ve grown and flourished. The range of emotional response from anguish and heartbreak through to redemption make this a must listen for any fans of heavy alternative music this year. (HR)
19. Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! – Get Lost, Find Yourself (Fearless)
Never ones to adhere to convention or what is popular in the wider scene, Chunk! No, Captain Chunk have always stuck to their easycore loaded guns and produced some of the catchiest and heaviest offerings the genre has to offer. Their devotion has seemingly led to the contents found on ‘Get Lost, Find Yourself’, their 3rd and finest LP, which brings together the most inspiring words of emotional support with some of the poppiest hooks and lowest tuned riffs the band have ever produced.
Appealing to both the most dedicated of riffheads as well as the general pop punk fanboy, Chunk!, No, Captain Chunk! really smashed the nail on the head with this one. (JR)
18. Eagles of Death Metal – Zipper Down (Downtown Recordings)
2015 closes with Eagles of Death Metal as the tragic focus of the music realm’s attentions, therefore it seems only fitting that October’s ‘Zipper Down’ makes our top 25. From the quirky, addictive groove of ‘The Deuce’ to the contagious singalong of lead single ‘Complexity’, their fourth studio venture proves to be an unforgettable one in its own right.
The Thin Lizzy-esque swagger of parting song ‘I Love You All The Time’ offsets the driven pleas for salvation in ‘Oh Girl’, all the while contending with the punchy repetition of ‘Got A Woman’, showcasing a versatile, passionate approach to their craft that will always make these quick-witted Eagles stand tall among their peers.
While the majority of ‘Zipper Down’ defiantly flaunts their songwriting abilities, a cleverly crafted cover of Duran Duran’s ‘Save A Prayer’ holds their banner just a little higher. If there’s one lesson you take from ’Zipper Down’, and Eagles of Death Metal’s experiences this year simultaneously, let it be the moral of opener ’Deuce’ – you don’t need no schooling, you just need tight pants. (AC)
17. Don Broco – Automatic (Epic Records)
When Don Broco finally decided to rear their heads again with ‘Automatic’ back in August, to say it was unexpected would be an understatement. To say it was brilliant would be an even bigger understatement. ‘Automatic’ positively burst at the seams with slick grooves, far more funk and soul thrown into the mix and an amped-up pop sensibility all blended into the core Broco sound. It meant that tracks like ‘Superlove’ and ‘Let You Get Away’ were launched into the upper echelons of infectiousness, but also saw them advancing into previously unexplored territory as on the slow-burning ‘Nerve’ or the epic closing crescendos of Further’. But most importantly, it was an album that showed that their debut ‘Priorities’ was no fluke, and that their position spearheading British rock’s assault on the mainstream is well and and truly justified. (LN)
16. Superheaven – Ours Is Chrome (Side One Dummy)
Drenched in a wave of 90s alt rock and wallowing in slacker, dead beat anthems, Superheaven’s second LP was a refined, consistent effort this past May.
The combination of Taylor Madison and Jake Clark’s sombre and introspective vocals with grunge-infused, droning guitars proved to be infectious. Tracks like ‘I’ve Been Bored’, ‘All The Pain’, ‘Downsizing’, and ‘Gushin’ Blood’ bought a wall of loud guitars and pulsating drum work that tread the thin line of modern and nostalgic alt rock. Whilst dense riffs and mellow hooks throughout rounded out a confident step in the right direction for the Pennsylvania group. (SR)
Words by Sean Reid (SR), Luke Nuttall (LN), Ali Cooper (AC), Jack Rogers (JR) and Heather Robertson (HR).