Continuing the song-by-song breakdown of our “Best of 2015” playlist:
21. Built To Spill: “Never Be The Same”. From “Untethered Moon”. This is the 8th studio album from one of the consummate indie rock bands. The critics love them for their seemingly “effortless diversity”, whatever that means.
22. Jon Cleary: “Pump It Up”. From “GoGo Juice”. The English funk/R&B pianist and multi-instrumentalist landed in New Orleans in 1979 and never left. He played for years with Bonnie Raitt before going solo on a full-time basis. Think The Meters, Dr. John and Fats Domino.
23. Kotomi: “Swimming”. From “Swimming”. Kotomi is LA pop composer Lauren Hillman. I read the music described as the perfect soundtrack for “wandering a coastal town in a far away place”.
24. Fort Romeau: “Insides”. From “Insides”. It’s called house music (minimalist electronic dance music with 4/4 beats and drum machines) and yes it is repetitive. So.
25. Ryley Walker: “Sweet Satisfaction”. From “Primitive Green”. The Chicago singer/songwriter/guitarist’s second album is one of the year’s best. The MetaCritic score was 83.
26. Songhoy Blues: “Soubour”. From “Music In Exile”. The band left Timbuktu, Mali after their music was banned by Islamic extremists. It’s desert blues music with rock ‘n’ roll influences; in other words it’s truly world music. The MetaCritic score was 83.
27. Island Apollo: “Miracle”. From “Island Apollo”. I couldn’t find much information on the California band or their debut EP which is unfortunate. They are talented.
28. Crocodiles: “Crybaby Demon”. From “Boys”. This is the San Diego band’s 5th album. I’ve seen their music described as “noise-pop”, “salsa-punk”, “psychedelic”, etc. You decide.
29. Hot Chip: “Need You Now”. From “Why Make Sense”. This is the UK electronic act’s 6th album. Call it R&B dance grooves with a little hip-hop thrown in.
30. A Winged Victory For The Sullen: “Steep Hills Of Vicodin Tears”. I came across this on a 2014 sampler and really liked it. It’s neoclassic ambient music in the same vein as Brian Eno and Mike Oldfield though it’s much more interesting. I tend to get sarcastic about this kind of music (“musical medication”, “did they forget to add the melody”, etc.), but not so here. I heartily recommend their 2014 album “Atomos”.