Sunday, November 22, 2015

Listening Habits 2015 10-11

With just one month to go until we send off 2015 with our traditional "Best of" Year-End lists, let’s have a look today at the albums that stood out for us in the last couple of months.

The top of our latest Listening Habits list belongs to two albums that will certainly feature among our Top 10 selections for 2015, Julia Holter’s "Have You In My Wilderness" and Protomartyr’s "The Agent Intellect".

Julia Holter introduced herself with two fine, experimental art-pop albums that she recorded in her bedroom. For her next work, 2013’s excellent "Loud City Song", her unique sound became richer and more detailed with the contribution of other musicians and the comforts of a modern studio at her disposal. With "Have You In My Wilderness", her fourth album, Holter continues to grow as an artist, creating bright, idiosyncratic compositions that combine expertly elements of classical composition, orchestral pop, experimental electronic music and jazz. It's a record that proves that Holter is well on her way to achieving the most difficult task for a musician in this day and age: to be able to create original, authentic music without being overburdened by your influences.

Protomartyr, the powerhouse post-punk quartet from Detroit, Michigan, had already gotten our attention with their two previous works, 2012’s "No Passion All Technique" and last year’s excellent "Under Color of Official Right" (one of our Top 30 Albums of 2014). With "The Agent Intellect" passion and technique are in perfect balance, as Joe Casey’s, Mark E Smith-like, spoken-word-meets-rap delivery blends seamlessly with razor-sharp guitars and well-oiled garage-punk grooves to offer us 43 minutes of exhilarating, cathartic rock’n’roll.

Add next to Protomartyr’s record the latest release by Montreal’s Ought, the raging, delightfully neurotic art-punk of "Sun Coming Down", and you start to feel that this year Christmas came early for all post-punk fans! Their fluid, energetic sound brings to mind Talking Heads jamming with Fugazi or perhaps Pavement trying a Black Flag number. Regardless of where you might trace their influences, though, the fact is that Ought have made a delightful record, which also includes one of the most imposing songs I’ve heard this year, the wonderful "Beautiful Blue Sky".

Top 15 Albums

1.  Have You In My Wilderness - JULIA HOLTER
2.  The Agent Intellect - PROTOMARTYR
3.  Sun Coming Down - OUGHT
4.  Depression Cherry / Thank Your Lucky Stars - BEACH HOUSE
5.  Death Magic - HEALTH
6.  Pylon - KILLING JOKE
7.  Ones And Sixes - LOW
8.  B'lieve I'm Goin Down… - KURT VILE
9.  Ghost Notes - VERUCA SALT
10. Dodge And Burn - THE DEAD WEATHER
11. Anthems For Doomed Youth - THE LIBERTINES
12. Stuff Like That There - YO LA TENGO
14. Pagans In Vegas - METRIC
15. Music Complete - NEW ORDER

Top 15 Tracks

1.  Why Does It Shake? - PROTOMARTYR
2.  Beautiful Blue Sky - OUGHT
3.  Vasquez - JULIA HOLTER
4.  Space Song - BEACH HOUSE
5.  Laughing In The Sugar Bowl - VERUCA SALT
6.  I Feel Love (Every Million Miles) - THE DEAD WEATHER
7.  Autonomous Zone - KILLING JOKE
8.  Stonefist - HEALTH
9.  Need Myself - EMPRESS OF
10. The Shade - METRIC
11. Restless - NEW ORDER
12. Heart of the Matter - THE LIBERTINES
13. Dust Bunnies - KURT VILE
14. What Part Of Me - LOW
15. Somebody's In Love - YO LA TENGO

Julia Holter - Feel You

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