DEEP CUTS: 15 SONGS YOU MISSED IN 2015
The best part of each year ending is the glut of “Best of” or “Year End” reviews posts, listicles, etc., that spring forth from anywhere and everywhere. It’s a tradition of mine to consume as many of these lists as possible during the week between Christmas and New Years, but recently this ritual has left me a little dry.
All the lists tend to run together, and there’s a very real issue of group-think going on. Honestly, is there anyone who liked music this year that was not already aware of To Pimp A Butterfly, Carrie & Lowell, 25, and any of the other critically acclaimed albums that came out? This post presupposes that, no, no there is not. It also aims to move away from the ‘year end list as a referendum of whatever said site posted all year’ model.
There’s more music out there now than ever before, and our job at Bitcandy is to help you filter through it. Below is a list of songs that came out in 2015 that, if you weren’t paying attention, you probably missed.
1. MODEST MOUSE "WICKED CAMPAIGN" (STRANGERS TO OURSELVES)
Isaac Brock put out the first new as Modest Mouse in eights years, and the result was a sprawling, overstuffed record with some tremendous moments. On “Wicked Campaign,” you come to hear what it’s like when Brock writes a Killers song, but stay to hear James Mercer’s (The Shins) completely-over-the-top and transfixing backing vocals that kick in around 1:45 mark.
2. FREDDIE GIBBS "BASKETBALL WIVES" (SHADOW OF A DOUBT)
Rappers seem to really embrace partaking in other activities during sex, seemingly unaware the when you multitask you actually just do both jobs worst. Gary, Indiana-native Freddie Gibbs is unaware or undeterred by this fact, as during this song alone he chops up bricks and rides in Benz, all while “f**kin’ on that b*tch”. If you listened to Shadow of a Doubt a couple of times you quickly realize that Mr. Gibbs is living life a lot differently than the rest of us.
Also, “Slam dunked that ho, that pussy was a layup” seems like the line my 16 year old self has been waiting his entire life for.
3. LIGHT FM "POINTLESS" (POINTLESS EP)
For a band that’s been around since 1999 and has direct ties to The Smashing Pumpkins and The Jesus and Mary Chain, Light FM is absurdly obscure. That doesn’t keep them from writing perfect indie rock/pop songs like “Pointless.” You really ought to be paying more attention to them.
4. SOMEONE STILL LOVES YOU BORIS YELTSIN "STEP BROTHER CITY" (THE HIGH COUNTRY)
SSLYBY have been around long enough that you really should be able to get past their name, although if you can’t they have no one to blame but themselves. The High Country is their 5th LP, and while it may not have the highlights of the previous three records, it’s arguably their most complete to date.
5. SAINTSECA "BAD IDEAS" (SUCH THINGS)
When I first heard this cut, I couldn’t believe this wasn’t a Clap Your Hands Say Yeah song. The more I listen to Saintseca and Such Things the worse I feel for my initial, reductionist reaction.
6. LAURA MARLING "STRANG" (SHORT MOVIE)
Lots of people have heard of Ms. Marling, and Short Movie is the quintessential singer-songwriter album that gets heaps of critical praise upon it’s release, but is forgotten by the time “Best of” lists are being produced.
This is your reminder.
7. BIG GRAMS "BORN TO SHINE [FT. RUN THE JEWELS]" (BIG GRAMS)
You probably know all the parties involved here: Big Boi, Phantogram, Killer Mike, and El-P. “Lights On” was the single, but “Born to Shine” is the deep cut that changes your life.
8 ELO "ONE STEP AT A TIME" (JEFF LYNNE'S ELO - ALONE IN THE UNIVERSE)
Last I heard of of Electric Light Orchestra, their members were being killed by giant bales of hay (R.I.P. Mike Edwards) [SERIOUSLY]. Apparently Jeff Lynne has now assumed full use of the ELO moniker and put out a very uneven record this year that had some unreal highlights, including this gem.
9. JAY AND BAMBI "THIS LOVE IS UPON US" (THIS LOVE IS UPON US - SINGLE)
We premiered their debut song here at Bitcandy, and the second single is even better. 2016 could be a breakthrough year for these guys.
10. MURS "THE WORST" (HAVE A NICE LIFE)
The best show I saw this year was watching Murs closing out his Have a Nice Life Tour in Tucson. Dude has mastered the hip hop slow-burn, and his 2015 offering was no exception.
11. HALLELUWAH "DIOR" (DIOR - SINGLE)
If you were a frequent reader of this here blog, you didn’t miss this track. But it’s so f*cking great that here it is again in case you passed on it the first go round.
12. HOUNDSTOOTH "BORDERLANDS" (NO NEWS FROM HOME)
Houndstooth makes music that sounds like the best country music from the 70’s, with a splash of indie and surf rock. If I had one wish for 2016, it’d be for Katie Bernstein sing me to sleep each night.
13. KWAMIE LIV "HIGHER" (HIGHER - SINGLE)
We certainly didn’t miss out on Kwamie Liv, but we also realize everyone is not us.
14. PETITE NOIR " JUST BREATHE" (LA VIE EST BELLE/LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL)
The extraordinarily talented and creative South African Yannick Ilunga’s debut LP had more hits than misses on it, but I’ll be damned if it wasn’t trying some extremely ballsy stuff.
This track may be the best Depeche Mode song ever written (with apologies to “Personal Jesus”), and is short listed for my track of the year.
15. JOSH ROUSE "SOMEDAYS I'M GOLDEN ALL NIGHT" (THE EMBERS OF TIME)
A decade ago singer-songwriter Josh Rouse relocated to Spain, and to commemorate the anniversary this year he released The Embers of Time, which he called: “My surreal ex-pat therapy record.”
This song perfectly expresses a sentiment that most anyone can relate to. (SPOILER ALERT FOR YOUNGER READERS: There will come a day when even you stop believing that the sun literally shines out of your ass) and manages to do so in a pleasant and catchy manner.
Here’s to hoping we’re all golden more days than not in 2016.
15 SONGS YOU MISSED IN 2015
DIXIE CHICKS "VIDEO GAMES (LANA DEL REY COVER)"
I think I’m just gonna play this on loop for several hours to close out 2015. See ya next year everybody!
About Calvin Paradise
Calvin Paradise manages to live a productive life despite a childhood of home schooling and suffering from what some doctors have called the worst case of Groucho Marx's Syndrome in recorded history.