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2015: Albums of the Year


*Best of 2015*

10) Panda Bear
Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper


09) Carly Rae Jepsen


08) Lower Dens
Escape From Evil
[Ribbon Music]


07) Neon Indian
VEGA INTL. Night School


06) Beach House
Depression Cherry / Thank Your Lucky Stars
[Sub Pop]


05) Future
[Epic/Free Bandz]


04) Deerhunter
Fading Frontier


03) Kendrick Lamar
To Pimp a Butterfly
[Top Dawg/Aftermath/Interscope]


02) Vince Staples
Summertime ’06
[Def Jam]


01) Tame Impala


Here is a list of my twenty-five favorite songs from 2015. These are listed in alphabetical order and has been limited to one track per artist.

Beach House – Elegy to the Void
Carly Rae Jepsen – I Really Like You
Courtney Barnett – Depreston
Deerhunter – Breaker
Drake – Hotline Bling
easyFun – Laplander
f(x) – 4 Walls
Galcher Lustwerk – I Neva Seen
Grimes – Realiti
James Ferraro – Skid Row
Jamie xx – I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times) (Feat. Young Thug & Popcaan)
Jason Derulo – Want to Want Me
Julia Holter – Feel You
Justin Bieber – What Do You Mean?
Kanye West – All Day
Kelela – Rewind
Kendrick Lamar – King Kunta
Kurt Vile – Pretty Pimpin
Mac DeMarco – I’ve Been Waiting For Her
Miguel – Coffee
Tame Impala – The Less I Know The Better
Tate Kobang – Bank Rolls (Remix)
Vince Staples – Norf Norf
The Weeknd – As You Are
Young Thug – Constantly Hating (Feat. Birdman)


2013: Albums of the Year

*Best of 2013*

10) Chief Keef
Almighty So
Chief Keef

09) Pusha T
My Name Is My Name
[Def Jam/GOOD Music]
Pusha T

08) Factory Floor
Factory Floor
Factory Floor

07) Arca
[Hippos in Tanks]

06) Deerhunter

05) Autre Ne Veut
Autre Ne Veut

04) Oneohtrix Point Never
R Plus 7
Oneohtrix Point Never

03) Death Grips
Government Plates
Death Grips

02) Kanye West
[Def Jam]
Kanye West

01) Arcade Fire
Arcade Fire

Here is a list of my favorite songs from 2013. These are listed in alphabetical order.

Autre Ne Veut – Play by Play
A$AP Ferg – Shabba (Feat. A$AP Rocky)
Arcade Fire – Afterlife
Chief Keef – Salty
Daft Punk – Doin’ It Right (Feat. Panda Bear)
David Bowie – Where Are We Now?
Deerhunter – Sleepwalking
Dirty Beaches – Casino Lisboa
Drake – Hold On, We’re Going Home (Feat. Majid Jordan)
Ducktails – The Flower Lane
Haim – If I Could Change Your Mind
Kanye West – New Slaves
The Knife – A Tooth For An Eye
My Bloody Valentine – Only Tomorrow
Pusha T – Suicide (Feat. Ab-Liva)
Rhye – Open
Robin Thicke – Blurred Lines (Feat. T.I. & Pharrell)
Signor Benedick the Moor – All Revere (le narrateur)
Volcano Choir – Comrade
2 Chainz – Feds Watching (Feat. Pharrell)

Eye ContactApropos that Gang Gang Dance start their latest album with the words “I can hear everything/It’s everything time.” Eye Contact, Gang Gang Dance’s first album released on 4AD, sounds just like that, a collection of influences and genres strung together to create a weird, exciting, and otherworldly headphones album. Perhaps I wanted Tomboy to sound thusly, but, Gang Gang Dance, who have been around for the better half of a decade, now just put together the best album in their catalog. There hasn’t been a release yet this year that sounds so much like the current times while borrowing so much from previous decades.

The album opener “Glass Jar” is enough in itself to create an EP. This 11-minute epic starts slowly, perhaps like a space shuttle with its engine firing, then near the 5-minute mark it blasts through the atmosphere to not return. Arpeggioed keys augment an emphatic bass bump, which has been used to a strong effect at their live performances, is first heard here on one of their studio albums. The tone that is set from this first track does not let up throughout the rest of the album. Although there are intermittently and exquisitely placed interludes, any track with a written title (essentially, I do not want to take aback the interludes) has areas to explore, to dance to, or to just let wash over you in the sun or under the stars. Perhaps the latter is befitting for Eye Contact.

Liz Bougatsos’ voice sounds better than ever on this album as well. Her gentle coos from Saint Dymphna are still here but on other tracks it’s distorted in ways we haven’t heard. “Chinese High” is a song that sounds like Kate Bush and it features guitarist Tim Koh, from Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. His reverberated guitar, plus Bougatsos’ childlike voice, and a pop-song structure allows it to be the most accessible track. “MindKilla” follows “Chinese High” and it is more dance floor-ready than even “Glass Jar.” It has enough 808s, synths, bass beats, horns and alarms, a fucking lullaby, and exasperations. To elaborate more on these two songs, on the LP version of the album these tracks are the only two on side 2 (of 3). They play just like a single would, let’s say that “Chinese High” would be the A-side and “MindKilla” as its B-side. These two tracks aren’t just standout tracks on this album; they are standout tracks for this year.

The album’s final side starts with the second interlude, “∞∞,” this brings the listener down from the serotonin-overloaded “MindKilla.” It is perfectly placed because “Romance Layers” has the laid-back duet of Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor and Liz Bougatsos exchanging melodies amidst keyboard chimes and electric guitars. Later is “∞∞∞” which forebodes the album finale. Gurgling water, the refrain of “I’m so high/Can’t seem to find my way” plus the raising tempo of a tribal drum beat leads to “Thru and Thru.” An Arabian melody that is segmented with a voice sample yell, followed by a tribal percussion beat that leads into, for a lack of me not knowing what to call it, a muezzin’s call.

Eye Contact is an extraterrestrial re-imagination of genres and influences we didn’t know could be re-appropriated in such a manner. Although their previous albums were certainly weird, Eye Contact remains accessible, but not enough to steer away fans from Saint Dymphna or God’s Money.

(Reviewer’s Score 4.2/5)