Exclusive Featured Playlist

Gina’s Top Albums of 2015

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Our photographer, Gina Garcia, has put together a list of her top albums of 2015 which features albums from twenty one pilots, CHVRCHES, and Tame Impala among others. Check out her full list below!

20. Grimes, Art Angles
Grimes is a creative and musical genius. Claire Boucher
taught herself every note on Art Angels,
playing every instrument and having written every word on the record. And it is
magnificent. Every song with a different tone, message, story and personality
of its own. My favorite being “Butterfly,” a quirky and soothing song that
contains a bit of elevator music.


19.
Years &
Years, Communion
This dance and electronic trio is extremely unique; their
ace melodies, emotional rawness and dynamic tastes make them stand out. Their
hits “Desire” and “King” give just a glimpse on how beautifully they structure
and craft a song. There is really no one favorite track when it comes to this
album and not only are their songs meaningful in context, but their music
videos support those meanings perfectly (don’t believe me? Check out the video
for “Desire” here).


18.
Sufjan
Stevens, Carrie & Lowell
Carrie & Lowell is
named for Stevens’ mother and stepfather, the album consisting of larger
narratives of his life from his childhood. The album is a journey through
grief, family, depression, love and loss, and Stevens’ struggle of trying to
find beauty even in the ugliness of certain things. His most classic and pure
effort comes through in this record with beautiful wings of sounds and the
orchestra embedded in the instrumentation.


17.
Unknown
Mortal Orchestra, Multi-Love
Unknown Mortal Orchestra have reached a grand new level of
psychedelia with their latest album, Multi-Love.
This album is a melting pot of all sorts of sounds, mixes and restless
creativity. On Multi-Love, Unknown
Mortal Orchestra frontman and multi-instrumentalist Ruban Nielson reflects on
relationships: airy, humid longing, loss, the geometry of desire that occurs
when three people align. Where Nielsen addresses the pain of being alone on II, Multi-Love
takes on the complication of being isolated and lost as he longs for the
affection of others.


16.
Joanna
Newsom, Divers
Joanna Newsom’s Divers
is an album about a profound love, but it hardly features any love songs.
What I love most about this record and the way she writes are the references to
historical facts, people and places. She also uses several metaphors and
complex tales in her songs, making it fun to make out what it is she wants us
to know.

15.
Surfer Blood,
1000 Palms
Surfer Blood have gone through major changes as a band –
personal struggles, changing of record labels (multiple times) and finding a
new sound. Five years after the release of their debut album, 1000 Palms is released. Though their
previous album have more of a bright and upbeat vibe, this record brings in
more mid-tempo songs with deeper and profound lyrics. Favorite tracks off this
album include “Grand Inquisitor,” “Feast/Famine,” and “Covered Wagons.”


14.
Courtney
Barnett, Sometimes I Sit and Think,
Sometimes I Just Sit
This is Barnett’s first album, which is a great follow up
from her beautiful EP titled The Double
EP: A Sea of Split Peas
. The tones and sounds of 1990s grunge garage and
psychedelia are evident in her new record. She moves back and forth with her
distorted guitars as she does with her thoughts and music. There are a few
times where she drifts away in a song as the music follows. “Small Poppies” is
my favorite track and really encompasses and brings together the album as a
whole.


13.
CHVRCHES, Every Eye Open
CHVRCHES has had great success with their last album, having
been able to sell out shows around the world for two years and I think their
newest album, Every Eye Open, will do
the same for them. The hooks are clean cut, clear, very direct, and include
powerful riffs and synths. In the album, there is no bad or poorly done track.
Essential and favorite tracks are “Make Them Gold” and “Clearest Blue.” In
these songs especially, Lauren Mayberry’s vocals are unbelievably stunning and
make you want to replay them over and over.


12.
Deerhunter, Fading Frontier
Fading Frontier is
Deerhunter’s seventh album and it continues to keep the same dreamy-poppiness
into a new twist in the indie rock kaleidoscope. The dreamy vibe parallels well
with the way he expresses and writes his lyrics, almost coming in as bubbles
that flow into the synths and guitars.


11.
Foals, What Went Down
Foals have established a sound, fanbase and an image of who
they are since the beginning. They know how to put on a killer live show and
open their new record with a bang. The best element of his new record is the
dynamic diversity as some tracks start pure pop and end in a soft ballad then
transition into a rock song. My favorite track is “Mountains at My Gate.”


10.
The
Maccabees, Marks To Prove It
Marks To Prove It is
definitely a solid masterpiece as a whole record. It has many hidden meanings,
texture in instrumentation and structure in context and tone. My favorite track
is “Ribbon Road,” a song that highlights Orlando Weeks’ amazing vocal strength
and rolling arpeggios. What I appreciate most about the record is the
exploration they did with their lyrics and sound; they changed up a lot of
things. Ironically, that is an underlying theme throughout the album: change
and its impact on people.


9.
Swim Deep, Mothers
Swim Deep released their debut album a couple hears ago and
now have returned with their sophomore album. I recently saw them as an opening
act for The 1975 and I have got to say they’ve changed a lot, but in a good
way. Multi-instrumentalist James Balmont, recently joined the band making them
a five-piece. This new record left their psych pop waves and transitioned to
acid pop with grunge guitar and edgy synths.


8.
Adele, 25
Adele is one of those vocalists and musicians who can never
disappoint. Her talent is undeniably amazing. This album can be compared easily
with her previous album, 21, however
its more diverse in contemporary pop, highly dynamic and contains more profound
lyrics. My favorite track on the record is a piano balled called “When We Were
young,” which was co-written with Tobias Jesso Jr., where she is a victim of
loss and mourns over that loss and the struggle to move on from it.

7.
Tame Impala, Currents
The first two Tame Impala albums are very similar to Currents, though they all stand out
separately. They all focused on Kevin Parker’s absence from society and letting
himself be in his own world. On the new record, however, it’s a different type
of isolation and loneliness. Parker expresses his feelings of heartbreak,
regret, doubts and bitterness. He continues to mix and experiment musically and
yet stay true to his original vibe and sound. Ironically, the underlying theme
of the record is loneliness, yet instrumentally and musically it makes you feel
relaxed, at peace, safe and calm.


6.
Tobias Jesso
Jr., Goon
Canadian singer-songwriter, Jesso Jr. debuts an epic album
of folk indie rock and some baroque vibe pop. The records rolls with emotional
and powerful lyrics, subject of hitting rock-bottoms, making the best of rough
patches in life and personal heartache.


5.
Mac DeMarco, Another One
Mac DeMarco is a Canadian singer-songwriter,
multi-instrumentalist and producer. He is also one of the most quirky, silly,
talented, chill and down to earth musicians out there. His shoegaze and
soothing tunes get you hooked immediately. At the end of Another One, he personally invites you to take a long train ride to
his home in Far Rockaway, NY for some chats and a cup of coffee. DeMarco writes
in a blunt, straightforward and intimate form that makes you want to keep
listening to learn more.


4.
Halsey, Badlands
Twenty-one year old Ashley Frandipane, known by her stage
name Halsey, released her awesome debut album this year with an already huge
fanbase behind her. Halsey gives us profound and detailed insight into her
graphic narratives of hookups and drug use. In my favorite track, “New
Americana,” she explains how those things made her feel empty inside and lost
of all the elements going on in her life at the time. What I appreciate the
most about the record is how honest and genuine she is with her lyrics and
emotions.


3.
Imagine
Dragons, Smoke + Mirrors
Imagine Dragons create yet another amazing album. A band
that never disappoints, always experimenting with sounds and be courageous to
being fully open with their personal struggles and emotions. The record is
filled with jamming fist-pumping choruses and foot-stomping grooves. I’ve seen
them live a couple times, most recently on their last tour and their
performances just keep getting better and better. Seeing them live, especially
since they involve their fans so much, you feel like you are on an emotional
roller coaster or rally. This record is their more intimate and intense album
yet where the lead singer addresses family issues, society’s “picture-perfect”
ideals and Mormon religion that once restricted him to pursue his music career.


2.
Fidlar, Too
Too is an album
that is the battle cry of boredom that is apparently in the lives of Max Kuehn,
Zach Carper, Brandon Schwartzel and Elvis Kuehn. One of my favorite songs is
the opening track, “40z on Repeat,” a song dedicated to substance abuse. A complex
and heavy subject matter, yet embedded in catchy and danceable music that makes
you want to crowd surf, jump around and scream. Most of their songs involve
topics of drugs, rock n roll and adventures on the road. For example, “West
Coast,” a track filled with uplifting ‘ahhhs,’ a memorable chorus and a
narrative about driving up and down the west coast and the fun adventures they
go on. The carefree punk garage sound and the “who cares” worldview makes their
music hard not to listen to.


1.
twenty one
pilots, Blurryface
Tyler Joseph and Joshua Dun have been a duo since 2009 and
began playing to very few people as presented in their “Ode to Sleep” music
video. Ever since listening to the first track on this new record, I was hooked
and I knew I found my new favorite band. It’s one of the greatest albums I have
heard in a while and is consistent from start to finish. Filled with out of the
box creativity and a powerful concept, each song is incredibly strong in its
lyrics and instrumentation that it holds itself on its own. However, when they
all come together, it’s a masterpiece. The title of the album, Blurryface, is a character Joseph
created that represents his fears doubts and insecurities. The theme of
overcoming his own demons and the emotions when dealing with serious struggles
runs throughout the album. It becomes apparent in one of my favorite songs on
the record, “Stressed Out,” where Joseph expresses his insecurities about his
music by saying, “my name is Blurryface and I care what you think.” Another
favorite track is “Goner,” an emotional detailed ballad about not wanting to be
abandoned. There are so many interesting factors in this complex record, what
stands out the most is the emotional component. You dive into his deepest
thought and emotions behind sound jumps of hip-hop, pop, rock and some hints of
reggae. You gain several things from this album and I would recommend it to
everyone.

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