Happy belated non-denominational winter holiday of your choice, everyone! We’re back with another tombola filled with musical endeavours of our choosing. Round and round it goes, where it stops, no-one knows. Except we do, and here are what we thought were the best albums of 2015. Enjoy.
Wander’s Whopping Music List of 2015:
After the mediocre musical harvest of 2014 this year brought a much needed relief. At first a few refreshing indie rock LP’s got my spirits up again (e.g. Viet Cong and Alamo Race Track). Hereafter, however 2015 impressed most me with the release of several great instrumental records (e.g. Masayoshi Fujita and Kurt Stenzel). Instrumental you say…, are you on the verge of getting old? Yes I probably am, so truth hurts, and these 10 albums from 2015 are around to always remind me of that:
10. Viet Cong – Viet Cong (SftDS review)
9. Masayoshi Fujita – Apologues
8. Kurt Stenzel – Jodorowsky’s Dune OST (SftDS review)
7. Phurpa – Trowo Phurnag Ceremony
6. Meridian Brothers – Los Suicidas (SftDS review)
5. Alamo Race Track – Hawks (SftDS review)
4. Christian Scott – Stretch Music (Introducing Elena Pinderhughes)
3. Nadine Shah – Fast Food (SftDS review)
Nadine Shah’s sophomore album is an emotional search through a 70ties neon-lit stuffy inner city. Shah’s predilection for layered midnight loner pop stands out and is deepened with vulnerable stories about heartbreak and forgiveness. Fast Food will therefore leave you breathless.
2. Kamasi Washington – The Epic (SftDS review)
In about three hours of swirling soul-jazz Kamasi Washington climbs upon the shoulders of the jazz masters of old. The climb is steady and fierce at the same time but when eventually at the top the view is majestic. With The Epic, Washington establishes himself between greats of the contemporary jazz scene for once and for all.
1. Little Wings – Explains (SftDS review)
On Explains, Kyle Field outstrips himself from a songwriter to something unheard. Field’s formula is about merging associative songwriting with pure craftsmanship. He drops around strings of random words with his slight off-toned voice and merges this into a fascinating whole with some fragile piano and guitar play. Explains is unquestionably a stunning production.
Concerts of 2015:
Muhai Tang & DeFilharmonie Vlaanderen – Sjostakovitsj no. 7/Tchaikovsky, TivoliVredenburg Utrecht, 15-3-2015
Joanna Newsom, TivoliVredenburg Utrecht, 7-11-2015
Kamasi Washington, Le Guess Who? 2015, TivoliVredenburg Utrecht, 21-11-2015
Anticipated for 2016:
Gorillaz – Untitled (TBD)
Radiohead – Untitled (TBD)
PJ Harvey – Untitled (TBD/Spring 2016)
Ralph’s Top Ten of Things He Listened To in 2015:
2015 has been a difficult year in music for me, with a lot of really good albums, but no real standouts in the world of heavy metal. I’m also still playing catch-up with a number of releases I seem to have missed for some reason, so I’m expecting this list to be outdated in two days already. Anyhoo, that’s enough waffling from me, let’s get to it:
4. Cradle of Filth – Hammer of the Witches
Ghost have gone for the hattrick in 2015. Three’s the charm, they say, and the band pulls off another collection of really good songs. A bit more metal this time round than on Infestissumam, but I don’t hear anyone complaining.
2. Myrkur – M
Myrkur is my biggest surprise of the year. Amalie Bruun’s one woman project moves between raw, Nothern European black metal and eclectic folk singing, and creates a haunting experience with M.
1. Blind Guardian – Beyond the Red Mirror (SftDS review)
Could there be any doubt? Blind Guardian came, saw and triumphed with this highly orchestral album, without every losing sight of their metal roots. It’s also the best album they released since, arguably, Imaginations from the Other Side.
Concerts of 2015:
Katzenjammer – Paradiso Amsterdam, 22-3-2015 (SftDS review)
Fish – Bospop Weert, 11-7-2015
Ghost – TivoliVredenburg Utrecht, 5-12-2015
Anticipated for 2016:
David Bowie – Blackstar – Expected 8-1-2016
Avantasia – Ghostlights – Expected 22-1-2016
Bad Religion – Untitled (TBD)
Well, this is it. Yet again Sounds from the Darkside gave you a full package of music to enjoy throughout the year and, indeed, in the near future we will be fearlessly picking up our reviewing pace. However, the last days of December are reserved for some R&R.
Ralph Plug & Wander Meulemans – 271215