2015>2014, especially when it came to albums. This honorable mentions list might be superior to much of the actual top 50 from last year. Hell I could have made a legit top 100 list, but I'm not that crazy, just a little. So here are 25 honorable mentions because 10 wasn't enough and I am a bit long winded. And no these are not in any particular order, but the true list will be.
The Desired Effect by Brandon Flowers
Brandon Flowers really thinks he might be the second coming of Bruce Springsteen. He is obviously not, but this might be as close as he gets. This is a secretly kinda great record, that nearly made my top 50. This would have been my sh*t in the 80s. It has a great vibe and even a healthy sense of humor. Terribly under appreciated and maybe the best thing anyone from The Killers has done since Sam's Town.
All of Something by Sports
Try finding info about Sports online. It's nearly impossible with a name that is all kinda of terrible on Google. But it's worth the effort, and with a record that clocks in at 22 minutes, it's the definition of short and sweet. And how sweet it is, with it's high energy fuzz buzz. It's zooms by with a high that last much longer than any track on the LP.
Return to the Moon by EL VY
This isn't The National's newest record. It's far from it actually, much more upbeat and a little more experimental, and hardly as great, but good in it's own kinda funky way. It's a nice little change of pace that I hope leaks into the next proper record. But not too much, because The National do what they do very very well.
Cherry Bomb by Tyler The Creator
Tyler The Creator is what he is. He's not for everyone, but he is undeniably talented. And this is proof, an album that is way better than it has any right to be. If anyone respected the man and gave this a listen they'd realized they missed one of the best rap albums that came out in 2015 and maybe Tyler's best album to date.
What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World by The Decemberists
My best days with The Decemberists are long gone. They maybe one of the greatest college bands I've ever heard, but I grew and they kinda didn't. Plus they seemed to stop studying the thesaurus and instead tried to go a little mainstream. Yet this record has an emotional core lacking in much of their work, which has to count for something. Plus, the music is still damn pretty.
Inanimate Objects by Atlas Genius
If you listened to Atlas Genius before this record, you'd know they could make good music but I certainly didn't expect this record to be this enjoyable and the music to be consistently good and tight. It's nothing revolutionary or remarkable, just very good rock/alternative/whatever you want to call this. Sometimes bands get better the second go and make the leap. This is the leap.
Ivywild by Night Beds
The album at times feels like an out of body experience, the kind of music you hear on the horizon while flying over a sea of clouds only for your alarm to wake you up just before you start falling. Yup, it's that kinda trip. Enjoy the ride.
V by Wavves
Wavves make summer surf/stoner rock better than almost anyone else on the planet, yet with peers Parquet Courts and Cloud Nothings right there or even better, they can't rest of their laurels. So while V isn't their best (King of the Beach is still tops), it's still pretty good and the perfect soundtrack for a drive down the PCH with some illegal substances.
A Head Full of Dreams by Coldplay
If this is in fact their last album, it's kinda a let down as a finish. But that doesn't mean this isn't a good record, because it is. And it's very different, a mix of their most pop stuff they have ever done with some very welcome experimentation. If you are gonna go out, might as well get a little weird.
The Album About Nothing by Wale
Wale used to be super weird and interesting then he got mainstream and kinda boring. I'm glad he is back to being some weirdo obsessed with Seinfeld. And he even got the blessing from the man himself. Oh and the record is pretty dope too, sans some of the shoehorned R&B collab stuff. Been a good year for hip-hop not by some loser name Fetty Wap.
Honeymoon by Lana Del Rey
Yes, it's just more sad songs about California, and it's diminishing returns to say the least, but it's still good enough and the girl has found her voice. On her debut, I didn't know for sure if she could sing, but now I know she can. Hopefully she embraces the gangster side of her again, I miss the hot mess.
Sour Soul by BadBadNotGood
I put them here simply for giving us the best Ghostface has been in ages. Production is immaculate and Ghostface Killah feels reborn, spitting rhymes like cheap ammo. This sh*t bangs hard and it makes me miss the days when members of Wu-Tang made dope music. Long live the W.
Music Complete by New Order
Sometimes you are a band or group from ages ago and your best days are long long gone, but you pull yourself up and show that you can still make great music. This is New Orders' proof of purchase. And I'm buying their stock again. I'm all in. If they can make stuff like this again, you have my ears. Oh and I can't get enough of the funky piano. More please.
Dark Sky Paradise by Big Sean
Big Sean on his latest album has made me say something I thought I never speak. He made a good rap album you guys. The punching bag who used to be that one guy who was always the weakest rapper on your favorite songs is done playing games. Somehow, someway, Kanye and friends rubbed off on him and he gives us an effort that is beyond solid, it's legit.
No No No by Beirut
Yeah the album is far from perfect and it's a bit sleepy at times but Beirut use instruments most bands would be afraid to touch outside of Vampire Weekend and their sound is always welcome. It's charming and disarming, that you can't help but ultimately be won over, even if their previous was far superior.
Born in the Echoes by The Chemical Brothers
First off, they really should just do a record collaboration with Q-Tip, because they both seem to mesh really well. Second, this is a nice little album you guys, full of music that will get your body moving. It's not really dance music, just music that propels you forward and up, up and up. Oh and the Beck track that closes is a nice touch.
b'lieve i'm goin down... by Kurt Vile
Another album to nearly crack the top 50, Kurt Vile's latest is more sunny folksy musings that are better than they have any right to be. It's more of the same, but when the same is this, I'll take a double. Plus he has a song called Pretty Pimpin which is pretty pimpin'.
No Life For Me by Wavves X Cloud Nothings
Wavves make the honorable mentions list twice, this time by teaming up with Cloud Nothings in a marriage that isn't quite made in heaven, but brings out some very good grooves. Now these two need to team up with Parquet Courts and all hell will break lose. My ears are not ready.
American Beauty/American Psycho by Fall Out Boy
We really didn't appreciate Fall Out Boy until they were gone, and now that they are back, we are spoiled. They are adept at making some of the best power pop/rock than any band since Blink-182 and this record is much better than the last. I wouldn't say they are completely back to the highs of their past, but bands who come back almost never come back this good. Like riding a bike I guess.
Tetsuo & Youth by Lupe Fiasco
Speaking of comebacks, my god did I lose all hope for Lupe after Lasers, maybe the worst album by one of my favorite artists I've ever heard. I will never forgive him for that, and the follow up didn't do much to wash out the sour taste, so I was pleasantly surprised by Tetsuo & Youth. Lyrically, it's on point, music vibes, not so much, and it's a bit long winded. But you can say Lupe is back without coughing first. That's a start.
Better Nature by Silversun Pickups
Remember these guys? Hopefully you do, because at this latest record proves, they can still rock. It deserves your ears and these guys deserve to be rediscovered. I promise they are still good.
Another Eternity by Purity Ring
Yes, technically these guys were first, but they so have always felt to me like second banana to their cousins in music Chvrches. Yet with Another Eternity, they give it the old college go and try to dethrone their peers. Sadly, it's not quite there, but it's better than a noble effort. It's a very good LP full of some music that is often better than those other guys. Can't wait for the next one.
Kindred by Passion Pit
Passion Pit has always made very busy and bombastic music, often turned up to 11. This is really no different, even though they have dialed it down a notch, to maybe a 9. With that, we get to embrace the emotion deep at the albums core since we don't have to constantly wonder if Michael is doing too much coke.
Prom King by Skylar Spence
You might remember him as Saint Pepsi, which I will always believe is a better name and a damn shame I think he was forced to change it. But the vibe is still there. Can't get enough of this junk, it's so catchy and funky. Gotta keep the party going and just enjoy yourself (get it? you get it).
Thank Your Lucky Stars by Beach House
Spoiler alert, Beach House made my top 50 and nearly had two records on the list, but this one just misses the cut. So close yet so far. Either way, it's a little more downbeat and striped down than Depression Cherry, but that doesn't mean it's a lesser record. Oh no no no. This is melancholy to the max and dripping with craftsmanship. It's stupid good too.