Playing Favorites 2015

tpab albumYou might be asking yourself, “Damn, does Dago ever get tired of no one reading his lists?” The obvious answer is “No.” I’m back after a year away from my beloved, shitty blog dedicated to my distaste for candy and fear of El Cucuy.

If you didn’t know, every year I write a lil bloggy-poo about my favorite albums/releases of the year. The list isn’t ever too long. This year, it’s 20 releases by a really diverse set of artists, if I do say so myself. 

On a personal note, 2015 was a really difficult year for me. Music was a big part of me getting through a lot of the stress related to my mom’s situation and a new job. It gave me something to look forward to and lose myself in, while everything around felt like it was crumbling down. That being said, this is just a list of my favorite. This isn’t the BEST list or the ONLY list out there. Let me know what some of your favorites were in the comments or on Twitter

Check out lists from 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 

Alright. For the sake of brevity, I made a Spotify playlist for y’all to subscribe to. It contains a single song from every album I mention here. The playlist is located right under this text. You can just listen to the playlist and forego the whole reading my explanation/feelings about each release. 

Rae Sremmurd – SremmLife

I think every adult I know now doesn’t like Rae Sremmurd, but that’s too bad because that just means MORE. RAE. SREMMURD. FOR. ME. Also, how dare you?

It took me about 9 months to be able to say their name correctly. Despite their stupid name, Rae Sremmurd are one of my favorite rap groups/duos at the moment. They’re fun as hell and their energy shines through on stage and on wax.

They gave us so many quotable tracks that it’s hard to pick just one to pick out as the best, but my personal favorite is “Wear my hat to the front, yea, like I drive a truck.” BARS. They single-handedly revitalized the trucking industry. God bless Mike WiLL Made-It. (Released January 6) 

Drake – If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late

I was a reluctant Drake fan at first, I swear, y’all, but you can’t argue the hits. Even Drake’s “throwaway” songs and beats are a cultural marker these days. If You’re Reading This… took a lot of getting used to musically. It was a departure from Nothing Was the Same, but after a few listens, I found myself softly murmuring “runnin through the 6 with my woes” while walking around the office. (Released February 13) 

Adventures – Supersonic Home

Adventures is one of my favorite bands to make their debut in the last 5 years. This, their debut full-length album, is a great representation of their evolution as a band over the past few years. They run the post-hardcore gamut in 10 songs. From aggressive highs to pensive lows, Supersonic Home has just about everything you’d want a record to have. (Released February 17)

 Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly

For me, this is the most important album of 2015. To Pimp a Butterfly (TPAB) is a look into the mind of a man at the height of his artistic powers trying to find a way to send a message of love and hope to a community facing violence and discrimination, while he is struggling with bouts of self-loathing and doubt. TPAB is a complex, heartbreaking, and empowering album that perfectly captures a moment in time when frustration over systemic violence and racism was boiling over into the streets.

Aside from its important emotional and political power, TPAB set itself apart from other widely popular rap albums at the time. Gone was the production of Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City (GKMC). TPAB works in a lot more jazz influence and live instruments. This sound may have ben off-putting to a lot of the fans that he picked up during GKMC, but this album wasn’t for them. It was for him. It was for a community. (Released March 15)

The Long Knives – This is Your Life

This is the only EP on this list, and it makes me SO ANGRY THAT THIS ISN’T AN ALBUM. Okay, not really, but it’s a gorgeous project that blends both sweet and powerful female-led vocals over expertly crafted pop punk. (Released April 7)

Alabama Shakes – Sound and Color

Being 💯 I didn’t like Alabama Shakes before this record. I don’t know why I didn’t. It didn’t make sense. I started doubting myself. I gave Sound and Color a try because of peer pressure. This time around, it clicked. Brittany Howard is a force to be reckoned with, and this album is a dynamic piece of music that doesn’t get ambitious to the point of losing the listener. Musically, it’s nestled nicely in a pocket where Brittany can deliver her beautiful, powerful voice and story. (Released April 21)

Braids – Deep in the Iris

I’m very stupid and had a grudge against Braids because once they tricked me into thinking BRAID was going to be at SXSW in like 2012 or something. I was like, “Oh, shit, they misspelled BRAID, that’ll be fixed, and we can live happily ever after with this reunion tour thingie.” But it wasn’t a mistake, and it was BraidS after all. I was so mad. (Released April 28)

Sorority Noise – Joy, Departed

If not for K. Dot, this would be my favorite album of the year. It feels like Sorority Noise came out of nowhere with this album. Their last album Forgettable was solid, but it lacked Joy, Departed‘s cohesiveness. Cohesiveness is a feat considering this is one of the most stylistically diverse emo records I’ve heard in a while. (Released June 16)

Kacey Musgraves – Pageant Material

This might be the real surprise pick in this whole group of albums.

Reasons why I shouldn’t like this album

1) It’s County/Western music (is that what it’s called idk)

2-5) Reason 1 over and over again.

Reasons why I did like this album

1) Kacey Musgraves has BARS.

2) K-Gravy has the voice of a Texan angel that just told me that everything is going to be alright and handed me a Lone Star.

3) Willie Nelson fucks with her, and I live in Austin. So, like, I have to.

4) She’s from Texas. Uh duh.

5) She’s got a powerful message that a lot of people need to hear. “Mind your own biscuits, and life will be gravy.”

 (Released June 23)

The Internet – Ego Death

As a lot of you already know, I really love the Internet. From “WHAT ARE THOSE?!” to crying Jordan face, the Internet is pretty great. What’s also pretty great is the band that they named the Internet after — The Internet — put out another wonderful album this year. This album is full of sexy, hypnotic tracks that would be perfect for you to play as background music to your sexyyyyy voicemail greeting. (Released June 26)

Future – DS2

All four Canonical Gospels state that during Future’s Best Year Ever with his disciples, Future predicted that Dago would deny knowledge of him, stating that Dago would disown him before DS2 dropped that summer. Following the success of Future, Dago denied knowing him thrice (Monster, Beast Mode, 56 Nights) , but after the third denial, Dago heard DS2 and recalled the prediction as Future turned to look at him. Dago then began to cry bitterly. This final incident is known as the Repentance of Dago. (Source: Wikipedia)

(Released July 17)

Donovan Wolfington – How to Treat the Ones You Love

If someone asked me what I like about the current state of punk, I would hand them this album. This project does circus tricks stylistically. It goes from teen-friendly pop punk to stoner metal seamlessly in the blink of an eye without becoming a boring exercise or forced. (Released July 31)

Lianne La Havas – Blood

I’m notorious for not caring what someone’s voice sounds like, but Lianne La Havas has one of my new favorite voices in the game right now. Her voice can jump from vulnerable to empowered in a split second, and the emotion she pours into her music shines through in her gorgeously arranged music. (Released July 31)

Future x Drake – What a Time to Be Alive

I’m not a scientist, but radio waves containing WATTBA are hurtling through space to unknown planets and galaxies right now. One day, other life on the other side of our dying universe will hear “Jumpman” and “Diamonds Dancing.” These intelligent beings will build spacecraft and search through galaxies for the origins of these transmissions. They will find us. They will land their ships on our planet. They will open their doors, and their first words to us earthlings will most likely be a high-pitched “I don’t want no liquor cause I been drinking that dirty.” All earthlings will respond with “Sensational.” (Released September 20)

The World is a Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid to Die – Harmlessness

I might be the only person on Earth that thinks The World is… have a dope name. Harmlessness takes the personalities of it’s 2,000 members and combines them into a polished, sophisticated album that is entirely unique and digestible. It’s hard to imagine this is the same band that released Formlessness some 5 years ago. I fucking love this record. (Released September 25)

Deafheaven – New Bermuda

There is almost no metal on this list compared to years past, and I don’t know what to say to that except that Deafheaven is the only metal band that has stuck out to me this year as exceptional. (Released October 2)

 Bryson Tiller – T R A P S O U L

This album is so sexy. I’m getting uncomfortable looking at the title. OMG  I HAVE TO GO (Released October 2)

Foxing – Dealer

This is an album I would hand someone if they were going through a tough time. The songwriting on Dealer is serious without being cheesy. The album sonically accompanies the sincerity and pain in the lyrics beautifully. It’s warm and welcomes you in like an old friend. No one else sounds like Foxing. (Released October 30)

Beach Slang – The Things We Do

Beach Slang sounds like if the Gin Blossoms and Jawbreaker had a cute baby that everyone wanted to play with. (Released October 30)

Logic – The Incredible True Story

GUYS, THIS ACTUALLY ISN’T A TRUE STORY EARTH IS NOT DEAD AND WE ARE NOT TRAVELING THE GALAXY IN SPACESHIPS ATM. The Incredible True Story is an ambitious sci-fi, hip-hop hybrid thing that turned out to be a pretty great concept album from a guy that’s finally getting noticed for his rapping ability and the great songs he’s putting together. Under Pressure might be one of my favorite rap albums of the past few years, and The Incredible True Story might be just as good. (Released November 13)

My Favorite Songs of 2013


It’s the time of year again! Everyone’s lists are coming out, and you can’t wait to read them. I know you can’t wait. I see it in your eyes. Look at you. These are my favorite songs of the year. I usually do albums, but I thought I’d change it up a bit this year. Honestly, though, I have the habit of listening to albums all the way through. I normally don’t listen to one or two songs from an album. So, this is kinda like an album of the year list. 

ANYWAY, I’m in no way saying these are the best songs of the year. I know I listen to some intolerable shit. I hope you enjoy this list and maybe find something that interests you. These are in no particular order. Oh, also, I only had 16 songs in my first list, but I made it a round 20 for dat azz. 

Oh, and I’m going to read this list and talk more at length about it on a podcast I co-host with my girlfriend — Breakfast for Dinner Podcast

Past years’ lists 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012

Adventures “Promise” Clear My Head With You

Saw these beautiful people in their more metal incarnation, Code Orange Kids, at Fun Fun Fun Fest this year. I was sorta hoping they would just slide right into one of their songs as Adventures, but that was a fool’s wish. Their EP Clear My Head With You is one of my favorite punk releases of the year.


The World is a Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid to Die “Picture of a Tree That Doesn’t Look Okay” Whenever, If Ever

There’s so much to love about this band. The dynamics, the builds, the atypical song-writing, all of it is just spectacular. TWIABP has definitely matured over the years, and I would say their LP Whenever, If Ever is the most impressive release of this band’s career. I will say that this music video looks like an iTunes visualization setting. There’s that.

Football, etc. “Down the Field” Football, Etc/Plaids Split

Not only are they based out of my hometown, footy, etc. are some of the most consistent performers in the emo scene right now. This track isn’t from their new LP Audible. It’s from their seemingly unheralded 7″ split with Plaids. They’re a mix of Rainer Maria and Mineral. Lindsey’s voice is so beautiful and sincere.

Joey Bada$$ ft. Smoke DZA “Death of YOLO” Summer Knights

Definitely one of my favorite rappers. The kid is trying to make it on his own, and I think 2014 could be a big year for him. He released Summer Knights with a lot of anticipation behind it, and I think he delivered. This is probably my favorite song from that record.

Kanye West “Blood on the Leaves” Yeezus

You ain’t got the answers, Sway.

Action Bronson ft. Wiz Khalifa “The Rockers” SAAB Stories 

Action’s had a great year. He released SAAB Stories and Blue Chips 2 this calendar yearBlue Chips 2 is a wild ride through Action’s very serious flowing chops whereas SAAB Stories feels more like a polished album with aptly-timed highs and lows. I love this track’s beat and Bronsonlinho’s smooth delivery. Wiz Khalifa tries his best to ruin this song, but he can’t ruin EVERY feature he does.

Danny Brown “Handstand” Old

This is easily one of my favorite songs of the year and one of my favorite releases of the year. Danny gives us two sides of his complex persona in this record. Side A is really raw, hood stuff. Side B is bass-heavy and twerk-ready (Sorry for using that word). I love it all. I wanna walk down the aisle to this song, y’all.

Chance the Rapper “Juice” Acid Rap

Hands down top mixtape of the year. Got some getting used to, but this thing is as solid as anyone’s album this year. If you don’t already know this cat, go and get Acid Rap. It’s FOR FREE.

R. Kelly “My Story” Black Panties

I love his music, but finally I’m learning to dislike the man. Some things you can’t look past. That aside, I love this song.

Speedy Ortiz “Hitch” Major Arcana

I have a soft spot for this type of garage, languid 90s-era alternative rock. It reminds me of a more melodic Sonic Youth meets a female-led Nirvana with a tinge of Pavement. I dig the sound. I know it may be a bit derivative, but I’m 27 almost 28. I’m allowed to be a bit nostalgic.

Little Big League “Lindsey” These Are Good People

When I first played this song for Nicole in the house and told her how much I loved it, she looked at me like I was crazy. She couldn’t believe I would like something like this, but I think of it as a natural progression in my listening taste. This song has beautiful, intricate guitar work. It’s dynamic. It has really cool breakdowns. It’s got a lot of the elements I love in a good song. This song keeps moving and keeps you guessing. I love her voice too. Although, it can sometimes feel a big grating. Oh, and the lower end backup vocals near the end of the tune are really great. Reminds me of Guns ‘n’ Roses. #dadrock

James Blake ft. Chance the Rapper “Life Round Here” 

To be honest, I didn’t really get Chance when I first listened to him, but after I heard this track, I decided to give him another shot. I’ve not regretted it yet. This is one of the best tracks of the year for me, and I gained an appreciation for James Blake I never had before. One of the smoothest white dudes on the planet.

A$AP Rocky ft. Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, Yelawolf, Danny Brown, Action Bronson, Big K.R.I.T. “1Train” Long.Live A$AP

This is this generation’s “Flava In Ya Ear” (Remix). If you don’t know what that is, go listen to that song and come back to this paragraph. Okay. Now that you’re back, every dude on this song had a great 2013. This song has so many dudes featuring on it that haven’t even realized their full potential. It’s an exciting track and every verse has some memorable lines. Favorite moment: “Dick so big it’s like from Earth to Venus” -Danny Brown

Their / They’re / There “Concession Speech Writer” Self-title EP

This is just so damn good. The guitars make me drool. It’s so great to hear Mike Kinsella behind the drums again. Evan’s voice is just magic. Go see them if they’re rolling through your town. They’ve had two releases this year. You should pick both up post-haste.

Drake “Worst Behaviour” Nothing Was the Same

I know what you’re going to say. So, save it. Drake’s album was really, really good despite his simpin tendencies. “Worst Behaviour” is a glimpse into my favorite phase of Drake. “Stay Schemin'” and “No New Friends” almost made this list, but I thought this was the strongest track out of all of those. The production is fantastic. This video is great too. Totally makes up for the catastrophe that is the “Hold On…” video.

Dad Punchers “Haircut Man” Dad Punchers / The Exquisites Split 7″

This song is emo in its purest form. Beautifully storytelling, kinda shitty vocals, and passion. I almost cried when I heard this track for the first time. Couldn’t find a video that wasn’t an acoustic or live performance.

Mixtapes “I Think I Broke It” Ordinary Silence

Good ole fashioned pop punk done right. Female vocals, dude vocals, axe-grinding guitars, melody. \m/

Title Fight “Hypnotize” Spring Songs EP

I included the full EP in this list because I couldn’t find a YouTube clip that had “Hypnotize” on it. So, here we are. These kids are amazing musicians and are only getting better with time. Saw them twice this year — once at Fun Fun Fun Fest and another in Houston at Fitz — they were phenomenal each time. One of the best bands to go see live. They have a intense energy about them in person.

Diamond Youth “Separator” Orange

This is probably the most uncharacteristically Dago track in this list.

Foxing “Rory” The Albatross

This is a late entry for this list. This is a recent addition to my listening rotation, but The Albatross is definitely one of the most intricate and emotional releases I’ve gotten my hands on this year. Reminds me of Cursive a bit but with a smoother and more expansive sound.

I made a Spofity playlist with most of these songs in it. Subscribe, if it suits your fancy. Thanks for another great year, musicians. Here’s to 2014.