Nick & Brandon’s Favorite Albums of 2015

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– Brandon’s top 10 Full lengths of the year –

Degeneraterra

1. Eidola – Degeneraterra

“Degeneraterra” is easily the album that I have been most hyped about this year. After listening to their first single, “To Know What’s Real” I was instantly hooked. The entire album is a progressive rock masterpiece. The concept (explained HERE by Andrew himself) is quite interesting and made consecutive listens more enjoyable then the last.

Favorite Track: Omega: Third Temple

Act IV Rebirth in Reprise
2. The Dear Hunter – Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise

The Dear Hunter has quickly become one of my favorite bands thanks to Casey Crescenzo latest masterpiece, “Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise”. Before this album, I was very much a casual listener having only really listening to songs off of “Migrant occasionally. After listening to this album front to back countless times, I realized that I had been missing out.

Favorite track: The Bitter Suite IV and V: The Congregation and the Sermon in the Silt

Blueprints
3. Wage War – Blueprints

Wage War has probably my favorite melodic metalcore album period. After one of my friends showed me their singles, “Twenty One” and “Alive” I listened to these two songs alone for a week straight (not exaggerating) without getting sick of them. They combine raw aggression with a positive message.

Favorite track: Twenty One

ITM-Connector(CW11)
4. I the Mighty – Connector

This album was under my radar for most of the year after it had come out. But after listening to it from front to back, I was hooked. The album showcases the band’s all around talent and songwriting abilities. Brent Walsh’s vocal melodies are extremely catchy and fun to sing. This, combined with the more simplistic instrumentation lend to these songs getting stuck in the listener’s head very easily.

Favorite track: Playing Catch With .22

Sleep Well, Avidya
5. The Lion in Winter – Sleep Well, Avidya

The Lion in Winter is a progressive post hardcore band from around the Seattle, WA area. My first time listening to them was when they opened for Sianvar and Oranges. They blew me away with how precise each of them were live with how technical, and long most of their songs are. Their sound is very reminiscent of A Lot Like Birds and the Fall of Troy. Their vocalists are some of my favorites from the local scene around here too.

Favorite track: Vain Repetitions

Juggernaut

6. Periphery – Juggernaut (Alpha & Omega)

All around one of my favorite progressive metal “djent” bands. I had been looking forward to “Juggernaut” since “Periphery 2: This Time It’s Personal”. While this may be a double album, I consider both albums together to be one whole album for the purpose of this list. Nerding out over the concept of the albums to find out the individual story of each song, and eventually the larger story at play was one of the highlights of this year for me.

Favorite track: Omega

TWFU
7. Counterparts – Tragedy Will Find Us

Counterparts is easily my favorite melodic hardcore band, and they definitely delivered with their masterpiece. The music is the perfect blend of aggressive and melodic and the lyrics are deep and well composed and meaningful. I like this album almost as much as their album “The Difference Between Hell & Home”

Favorite track: Burn

Holon Agnosie
8. The Hirsch Effekt – Holon : Agnosie

This album is a genre bending mathcore masterpiece. One of the many bands I discovered this year thanks to my friend Trent, I instantly fell in love with The Hirsch Effekt. While some of their riffs are very derivative of The Dillinger Escape Plan, this is a very solid album.

Favorite track: Agnosie


Younger Dreams
9. Our Last Night – Younger Dreams

This album is the perfect blend of Our Last Night’s older, and newer sound. This is easily my favorite release by them. A lot of the vocal melodies are very catchy and will end up stuck in your head. The instrumentals aren’t overly complex, and really let the vocalists showcase their talents.

Favorite track: Road to the Throne

Are We All The Same Distance Apart
10. Crooks UK – Are We All The Same Distance Apart

Melodic Hardcore band gone clean vocal Post Hardcore, Crooks (UK) really delivered with this album. A lot of the song structures are very different from the norm. That could either make the album easier to listen to (in my case) or harder to listen to. Overall, the vocals are perfect, and the instrumentals are extremely solid.

Favorite track: Dear Reader


– Nick’s Top 10 Full Lengths of The Year –

Degeneraterra

1. Eidola- Degeneraterra
https://youtu.be/B83hX18NL4o

Although there is no specific order to this list, I would have to say this is my favorite album of the last year. In the most complete way, Eidola created one of the most impressive concept albums I’ve ever heard. I don’t know that I’ve witnessed such a diverse story come together sonically since The Mars Volta were releasing albums. Degeneraterra should be mandatory listening to any fan of rock music of any kind.

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2. Strawberry Girls- American Graffiti
https://youtu.be/eWhzEXjNNfY

This is one of those groups who sounds like it should be a mob of people. When I realized after a few listens that Strawberry Girls was only 3 guys they became that much more impressive. Crafting soundscapes that have no need for lyrics, this is a band who I’m confident will be releasing groundbreaking music even years from now. Their sophomore effort found a much more accessible side to their instrumental brand of progressive rock.

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3. Kyle Lucas- Marietta, Georgia: The Album
https://youtu.be/uloNquoe2G4

It’s hard to believe that after all the material Kyle Lucas has released over the last five years I’ve listened, this is his first full length album. For any fan of hip hop it was worth the wait, as anything with this much work put into it usually is. I remember interviewing Kyle the night before the album came out. The look of amazement on his face. He just seemed so genuinely grateful that people were actually looking forward to something that was so deeply personal to him. Marietta is like a book of stories by one of the most talented authors of our generation.

big-grams-lights-on

4. Big Grams
https://youtu.be/HM0qq_WtH7U

This project was brought to light in my life by my good friend Kidd Kwest. We were conducting an interview and while we were driving he turned on Big Grams and just said “This is Big Boi’s new project will Phantogram. You gotta hear this…”. He was so right, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t already been listening to this album. Only seven tracks leaves the listener wanting more, and that is probably the only downside to this release. Hopefully we will see a follow up in the next few years.

Instantgratification

5. Dance Gavin Dance- Instant Gratification
https://youtu.be/FHh3fFPKlD4

The Sacramento kings of all things progressive completely outdid themselves this year. By the time the first two singles dropped it was evident that this release was going to be a force to be reckoned with. Acceptance Speech was the bridge to the beautiful town that is Instant Gratification. Every chord, every bass drum hit, every single lyric is so strategically placed it almost seems impossible for a band to release so much music that is always light years ahead of the competition.

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6. Future- Dirty Sprite 2
https://youtu.be/6F__OzmToQ0

This was one of the very few hip hop released to catch my attention at all this year. When I heard about the release I was skeptical because I’ve found I tend to enjoy the content of mix tapes more than albums when it comes to this particular genre. Atlanta native Future produced something, however, that really is a perfect mixture of “turn up” songs and moving, introspective, lyric driven songs.

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7. Lil Wayne- No Ceilings 2
https://youtu.be/TSZv-Ns0ejA

I was so scared to listen to this at first. The day it came out I was off of work and I turned it on pretty early in the morning. Wayne’s last few released left a lot to be desired, especially for someone like me that is truly a die hard fan. From minute one I could tell the old Weezy was back. True to his format this mix tape is full of incredible metaphors and lyrics that will make you rewind a track three or four times just to make sure you don’t miss a second.

health-death-magic

8. Health- Death Magic
https://youtu.be/1W9VXuXTdxg

These guys are one of the most under rated groups around right now. They make such powerful influential music and somehow get consistently passed by. True California innovators, Health gave us what I think is the best dance album of the entire year. Dark and ominous, every song leaves you feeling something different. They have such a unique sound that is such a strange mix of ambient rock and extremely dark industrial dance it can’t be ignored.

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9. Icarus The Owl- Pilot Waves
https://youtu.be/OTb8W9j9gZQ

Right off of their signing to Blue Swan Records, I was fortunate enough to interview Joey of Icarus the Owl and he shared with me a lot of the insight that went into creating Pilot Waves. I could tell these guys genuinely love what they do and care about nothing more than making really powerful, honest music. This band is the perfect introduction for anyone into the world of progressive rock. They’re one of the few bands that remain listenable and accessible enough for fans of other genres to notice.

AtLongLastASAPCover

10. A$AP Rocky- At Long Last A$AP
https://youtu.be/AeOe9Lh-MYQ

There is no way that the worlds of A$AP and Dangermouse can collide without something epic happening. That’s exactly what is album is. You can hear the influence of each producer in the songs yet somehow even spanning 18 tracks, this release kept me interested listen after listen. There’s something about the calmer, darker side of this release in comparison to 2013’s Long Live A$AP that really made me take a second look at this artist. There’s a lot of substance within this album and that’s something lacking from hip hop in general these days.