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)

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Playing Favorites 2014

a0748811866_10Hey, y’all, it’s that time of year again. I’m dusting off the old blog, and I’m going to share my favorite music releases of the year. Just for clarification I consider a release anything from a 7″, EP, LP, or a mixtape. Pretty much everything is eligible unless it’s just single solitary song. Last year, I tried the whole song list thing, but it wasn’t me. If you want a decent list of those, go visit Nic’s blog. She’s a song person.

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

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. Note: There are two releases from Sport and Human Hands that are not on Spotify that made the end of year list. Embedded frames for their albums from Bandcamp can be found later in this post.

Another clarification, these are my favorites. Don’t get upset with me when your faves not on here. Okay?


Beyoncé – BEYONCÉ

This album came out two weeks before 2014, and it didn’t make my 2013 list because it was released so damn late. This is the first Beyoncé album I loved. There is not a skippable song on this thing, and it might be the best thing to happen to the Internet/world since the polio vaccine. I don’t know. Jury’s still out on that.


 

Joyce Manor – Never Hungover Again

I actually didn’t like Joyce Manor when I first heard them a year or two again. I was so surprised when friends of mine were reaching out to me to tell me how great this album was. I fell in love upon first listen. It’s a perfect mix of emotion, solid songwriting, and catchy hooks.


 

Weatherbox – Flies In All Directions

It’s rare to find bands that pay a lot of attention to the dynamics in their music, especially in the “punk” genre. Weatherbox draw you in and blow you away in the span of a single song. It’s really fantastic to see live. I suggest catching them if they roll through your town.


 

Childish Gambino – Kauai/STN MTN

Childish Gambino just went ahead and answered all of his critics with these two joint mixtapes. Kauai is a solid solid release that highlights Donald’s ability to write a great song with personality. STN MTN  feels like a big middle finger to his critics who say he isn’t real enough or street enough. He did the same stuff a lot of rappers are getting tons of credit for in hip hop but better and with more passion. I’m officially a Gambino fan, guys. It finally happened.


 

Two Knights – Shut Up

I love watching this band live. Seriously. Go see them. You can see my head in the back in this video.


 

Isaiah Rashad – Cilvia Demo

I’m definitely excited to see what Mr. Rashad has ahead of him. He’s definitely got the skills to make something of himself.


 

Donovan Wolfington – Scary Stories You Tell in the Dark

Young and energetic are a couple of things I am no more. DW definitely use their youthful exuberance to bring a special kind of light to their music that’s missing from a lot of emo bands at the moment. I’m very excited to see what they do in the future.


 

The Hotelier – Home, Like Noplace Is There

I’m trying not to play favorites with my favorites, but this is definitely a top 5 if not top 3 release for me this year, and I just heard this album this month. I couldn’t believe I missed its release earlier this year. I’m about 10 months late, but I don’t care. This shit bangs.


 

Big K.R.I.T. – Cadillactica

Mount Olympus was the Star Wars trailer of music this year. I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I just wanted to hear it over and over again. I was so hype. This album is that feeling in a 17-song pod. Jesus. Thank


 

Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels 2

One of the top albums of the year for a lot of people. This thing is propulsive as hell. You can’t help but dance to RTJ2.


 

Logic – Under Pressure

I was a big fan of this guy’s cypher during the BET Hip Hop Awards this year. It was one of the few bright spots of the entire awards ceremony. I really wanted to check his music out, but I didn’t really know where to start with his discography. Luckily, this album came out shortly after the

BET Hip Hop Awards aired. It’s really a mix of a lot of my favorite things about hip hop at the moment. I strongly recommend listening to this album.


 

Dads – I’ll Be the Tornado

Another emo band. I can’t help myself.


 

empire! empire! (i was a lonely estate) – You Will Eventually Be Forgotten

Empire! Empire! are one of my favorite band. I’ve been anticipating their second LP for a while now. Although it doesn’t hit the heights of What It Takes to Move Forward, it’s a very good record.


 

Dikembe – Mediumship

Dikembe’s sound has changed pretty extensively over the past few years in my opinion. With every release, their sound evolves. Mediumship is the next chapter, and I’m really interested in how they got here from Chicago Bowls. Someone ask them for me.


 

Restorations – LP3

They remind me of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band without the horns and with more punch.


 

Dad Punchers and The Exquisites Split 7″

Dad Punchers wrote the emo song of the millennium for this split. Literally every emo kid that finds this song covers it.


 

Schoolboy Q – Oxymoron

Not going to lie. This album didn’t really meet the lofty expectations I had for it. That might be partly my fault. That doesn’t mean this album isn’t a really fun listen. There are some questionable song choices on this thing, but for the most part, this is a strong release.


 

SZA – Z

Another TDE release. I’m starting to sound like a gd fanboy, but I don’t care. This is a really interesting sound release in a genre that I’m not too familiar with, if we’re being honest.


 

You Blew It! – Keep Doing What You’re Doing

I’m still waiting for You Blew It! to release a bad album or even a mediocre album. Hell, even their cover albums are fantastic. All hail You Blew it!


 

Joie De Vivre/Prawn Split

Probably my favorite all around split of the year, Prawn and Joie De Vivre really put some of their best work together for this release.


 

SPORT – Bon Voyage

A French punk band, y’all. They’re sooooooo damn good.


 

Human Hands – s/t lp

I couldn’t buy or download this album for some reason. It wasn’t available to anyone in the US. I commented on a Facebook post about this album mentioning that, and someone from the band reached out to me and sent it to me for free. That’s so goddamn punk and amazing. I couldn’t believe it. Thanks to the people in Human Hands. Your album rules, and it got me through a lot of shit.