2015’s best albums you’ve never heard about

By: Allison Kurtz – Music Columnist

2015 was a stellar year for new music. While most everyone knows what was popular and not on the radio, the indie/alternative rock scene had an equally great year of music. Below are the Top 5 albums of 2015 of artists just getting started that we can expect even more of in the years to come.

5. “I Love You, Honeybear” – Father John Misty

Father John Misty, or J. Tillman, released “I Love You, Honeybear” in February and our lives have been changed ever since. “I Love You, Honeybear” is Father John Misty’s second album under that name. Previously, he was better known as the drummer in the band Fleet Foxes. The album’s unique, layered-over classical music arrangements make all the songs sound familiar. That is, until you take a deeper look into the topics and meaning behind the songs. Definitely an album that can take some warming up to; however, it is perfectly comforting as the weather gets colder. Key tracks: “I Love You, Honeybear” and “Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins).”

4. “Uptown Special” – Mark Ronson

While everyone overplayed “Uptown Funk” in the first month of its release, that is no reason to turn your back on the “Uptown Special” album. This album is full of collaborations, making it something truly unique to listen to. Mark Ronson worked with a wide range of artists like Kevin Parker, Stevie Wonder and Mystikal. This multi-genre album has something for everyone. Key tracks: “Daffodils,” “Leaving Los Feliz” and “Feel Right.”

3. “Little Neon Limelight” – Houndmouth

Sedona, Sedona, Sedona. One listen to this masterpiece of a song and you’ll be hooked. Houndmouth’s five-piece harmonies are perfect to warm your bones through the holidays. While “Sedona” is the strongest and catchiest track on the album, the others individually pull blues, rock ’n’ roll, and Americana all into one album. As Houndmouth’s sophomore album, it is perfect to establish them as more than just a little band from Indiana. The band members all play multiple instruments, bringing a unique arrangement to every song. Houndmouth seems to be getting more recognition with every album, making them a band to look for in the future. Key tracks: “Sedona,” “Darlin’” and “Otis.”

2. “Imaginary Man” – Rayland Baxter

Rayland Baxter is someone most of the world has never heard of, but not for long. His latest album, “Imaginary Man,” was released in August, and he’s been on tour ever since. Many of his shows these past few months have been opening for Grace Potter, hopefully giving him more recognition. “Yellow Eyes,” the first single off the album, is an upbeat song of heartbreak and has since become one of my top five favorite songs. Regardless, this is an album to listen to, start to finish. Key tracks: “Yellow Eyes,” “Mr. Rodriguez” and “Freakin Me Out.”

1. “Currents” – Tame Impala

Mr. Kevin Parker has done it again, this time dialing back the psychedelia and bringing in some R&B elements. Tame Impala has always been recognized within the music industry but often goes unnoticed to the masses. In typical fashion, frontman Kevin Parker wrote, recorded and produced the whole album himself while the band joined him on tour. Many have called this album a “break-up record” because of its many references to heartbreak and the public knowledge of his recent breakup with singer Melody Prochet. While Parker has claimed in multiple interviews that it’s just about changes in general (currents, if you will), when listening to it from start to finish, relationships sure do come to mind. Regardless of the album’s intent, I’ll take Kevin Parker’s soothing lyrics any day. Key tracks: “The Less I Know The Better,” “Disciples” and “Let It Happen.”

This columnist’s top album pick of 2015, “Currents,” album artwork courtesy of Tame Impala’s official website.

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