2015-12-07

 

Top 2015 Albums

So here are my favorite Albums of 2015. There were many individual tracks that moved and made me move; I am not talking about those, which I regularly update on my On Rotation playlist on Spotify. Here I am listing Albums that are fantastic from start to finish and actually get better listened to whole. To my English-speaking friends I have to say that several below are from Portuguese acts, but then again, there were great albums over there this year.

GNR - Caixa Negra. This is a Portuguese Post-Punk group in the business for several decades now. Their attitude and sound is a bit as if P.I.L. and Scritti Politti had formed a band. Somewhat in the spirit of Haircut 100 or Ian Dury & Blockheads, except still making very relevant music. If GNR were a British group, they would have been signed by Stiff records in the 1980s. While they have been putting great material out systematically through the years, "Caixa Negra" (Black Box) is better than a return to form; it is probably their best, especially lyrically. A cynical, realistic, comical, endearing tour of our reality in 2015---especially the Portuguese reality of economic crisis and irrelevance.


Shamir - Ratchet. This electro-disco-hip-house-pop record simply works on the dancefloor (and how I have used it successfully!), at home, at the gym, and at work. Hope this kid does not loose himself in the business and keeps producing the best electro around.


C Duncan - Architect. Everybody's favorite 2015 Album. What can I say? Sometimes everybody's right. Just beautiful vocal dreampop.


New Order - Music Complete. Another post-Punk comeback in force. No New Order album is bad, but some of the last albums have only a track or two that really step up to their legacy. This is not one of those. An updated New Order with the usual bite and groove of their disco-rock from start to finish. A true pleasure.


Suiyoubi no Campanella - Zipango. The musical surpise of my recent trip to Japan. At first I just could not resist the disco of Medusa (video below), but upon listening to the whole electro-hip-house-pop of Zipango, I cannot put it down (Also high marks for the previous Thriathlon EP).


Disclosure - Caracal. By the time it came out we already knew most of the tracks, and then, wait, no, still many perfectly crafted house-pop tracks. Not as innovative as their first, but who can complain about an album with no bad tracks? Just keep delivering the goods boys. Though I kinda miss the time when I started playing them on my DJ sets several years ago and no one knew them in Bloomington; now even when you play them 3 times a night you still get requests for more...


Capicua -Medusa. Actually the remix version of this Portuguese female rapper's 2014 Sereia Louca. But it is a phenomenal album in its own right, with new tracks and crazy remixes for the dance floor, the car and when you need the vibrancy and pace of the best hip hop---the type that makes you constantly want to rewind to check that she really did rap that poetically fast.


F.F.S.. The legendary Sparks (who have influenced everybody from Morrissey to the Pet Shop Boys) joined Franz Ferdinand to show that collaborations do work. Seeing them live in Lisbon last summer was certainly the highlight of the year concert-wise---and I have not removed the CD from my desk ever since. Post-Punk never sounded so Fresh!


Ogre com Maria João - Plástico. Maria João has been one of the best Portuguese Jazz and Lyrical singers for the past few decades. I am a big fan since the days of her duets with Aki Takase, or her vocal pyrotechnics with Bobby McFerrin. But I simply love the electro-jazz-techno-fusion with Ogre---wishing for remix work by Carl Craig.


Escort - Animal Nature. From Brooklyn and Paris, Escort have been producing and performing the best nu-Disco since well before Daft Punk graced us with Random-Access Memories. Their second album is a fun mix of electronic disco and house, full of current utopian gems, as if the party never stopped at studio 54---and it didn't. It just moved underground. Memorable concert in Oeiras 2 years ago.


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