courtesy Sleater-Kinney facebook
1. “To Pimp A Butterfly”—Kendrick Lamar
This Compton rapper’s artistic metamorphosis is a genre-defining masterwork of smooth hip hop, funky jazz grooves and dark poetry that proves Lamar is one of the most important musicians making music today.
Recommended Tracks: “King Kunta,” “Alright” and “i”
2. “Currents”—Tame Impala
Straddling sounds from psychedelia to electronica, Kevin Parker’s third LP as Tame Impala is a dizzying sonic array of musical interludes that bathes the listener in auditory bliss.
Recommended Tracks: “Let It Happen,” “Yes, I’m Changing” and “Eventually”
3. “Dark Bird Is Home”—The Tallest Man On Earth
The quiet charisma of Kristian Matsson’s voice carries the expansive tunes of his third full-length album to lofty new heights, while his nimble guitar playing keeps them grounded in an organic honesty that makes this album one of the year’s most compelling releases.
Recommended Tracks: “Singers,” “Sagres” and “Dark Bird Is Home”
4. “Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats”—Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats
Filled with stomping and the infectious sounds of Motown soul, Colorado’s Nathaniel Rateliff and his band, The Night Sweats, have succeeded in making a record with a throwback sound so good, it’s timeless.
Recommended Tracks: “I Need Never Get Old,” “S.O.B.” and “Thank You”
5. “The Epic”—Kamasi Washington
Washington’s aptly titled “The Epic” is a debut that challenges perceptions about jazz in the 21st century without compromising or pandering, making for one of the most satisfying listens of 2015.
Recommended Tracks: “Change of the Guard,” “Miss Understanding” and “The Message”
6. “Twelve Reasons To Die II”—Ghostface Killah & Adrian Younge
Serving as a sequel to the pair’s acclaimed 2013 release, “Twelve Reasons To Die II” showcases the Wu-Tang Clan rapper Ghostface at the top of his game, spitting cinematic rhymes over brooding samples.
Recommended Tracks: “Return Of The Savage,” “Let The Record Spin” and “Resurrection Morning”
7. “I Love You, Honeybear”—Father John Misty
Reserved and beautiful, Josh Tillman’s second album, as his alter ego Father John Misty, is a lyrically rich and gorgeously orchestrated look at love and all its ironic qualities.
Recommended Tracks: “I Love You, Honeybear,” “Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins” and “Bored In The USA”
8. “High Country”—The Sword
Austin’s best stoner metalheads are back with their fifth and most compelling release to date. Here they shed some of the doom from their riffs for a fast and furious record with all the best hallmarks of classic rock.
Recommended Tracks: “Empty Temples,” “High Country” and “Ghost Eye”
9. “No Cities To Love”—Sleater-Kinney
The ferocity of Riot grrrl punk is alive and well in 2015, with its harbingers Sleater-Kinney bringing the sound forward on the jaw-droppingly melodic and complex “No Cities To Love.”
Recommended Tracks: “No Cities To Love,” “A New Wave” and “Bury Our Friends”
10. “American Beauty/American Psycho”—Fall Out Boy
Emo’s favorite band continues their post-hiatus resurgence with a blend of pop and rock that delivers track after track of glittering, radio-ready anthems.
Recommended Tracks: “Irresistible,” “American Beauty/American Psycho” and “Centuries”