You don’t become a concert photographer without being a music fan first. We probably spend more time listening to music while editing our photos than when we are at concerts. We felt we were uniquely suited to share a selection of our favourite records from 2015.
Tyson’s Favourite Albums of 2015
Daughn Gibson – Carnation
Daughn Gibson’s Carnation is one of the few albums I go back and listen to multiple times a week. It’s dark and brooding like his other records, but more refined and polished. Thematically this album feels more uplifting that his previous attempts. I’d recommend skipping the single off this album Daddy I Cut My Hair for Shatter You Through as your first experience listening to Daughn’s music.
Daughn Gibson has an interesting voice. It’s deep and crooning. It’s like listening to Nick Cave records, but sexier. It’s hard to describe, but his albums are almost like “dark country” if that makes sense.
His albums are filled with country aesthetic buried deep with samples, guitar riffs, keyboards, and the occasional saxophone solo. While I think it might be a stretch to call the music Daughn Gibson makes country I could certainly see it as mandatory night driving music in rural Alberta or Texas. It’s the type of music that wouldn’t feel out of place in True Detective.
Ali Helnwein – Voyage
It seems cliche to say that Ali Helnwein’s record Voyage takes you on a journey, but that seems like the most accurate description for the listening experience. It is dynamic and shifting. Where you start with this record is not where you finish, but you want to take the journey again.
Ali Helnwien is a composer for modern times. Masterfully studying his vision with classic orchestration and the occasional digital additions and the glitches that come with them. All while creating a cinematic soundscape like no other.
Voyage is hands down one of the most interesting albums I listened to this year. It is impactful, soulful, heart wrenchingly personal, and unlike anything else I’ve heard. Ali’s compositions and orchestrations continues to inspire me on a daily basis.
Physical copies of this tape were limited to a pressing of 100, but you can still purchase it digitally on the SpringBreakTapes bandcamp.
Say Hi – Bleeder’s Digest
What if one of my favourite albums this year was about vampires. Nothing else. Just vampires. That would be crazy, right? Say Hi’s record Bleeder’s Digest is just that. A record about vampires. Deal with it.
Eric Elbogen (Say Hi) is basically a one man band making fun and catchy records in Seattle. I first got to see him live at Barsuk’s 15th Anniversary and I’ve been a huge fan of his music since. His latest effort Bleeder’s Digest is an interesting take on a concept album, but he pulls it off.
Each song a different perspective on vampires, but really if you didn’t know this record was about vampires you might not figure it out. Well, except for the songs Transylvania (Torrents of Rain, Yeah), Creatures of the Night, and Teeth Only For You. That last one is about Twilight vampires and probably the moodiest track on the record.
Every time I listen to this album I still expect a duet with Jason Segel.
Bud’s Favourite Albums of 2015
I haven’t done the precise math (I failed Math 9), but I’m pretty sure that I bought more music in 2015 than I have in the last ten years . . . combined. Hearing songs on the radio, seeing bands live in town, and songs featured in podcasts all influenced my purchasing decisions.
Favourite album: Big Data – 2.0
Big Data’s first album, titled 2.0 (it’s a tech joke: never buy the first version of any product; the 1.0) is the album I would’ve made had I any abundance of talent, money, and time. Songs with constant references to our connected lives, guest vocalists aplenty, and audio glitches/computer SFX mixed in all hold great appeal to a geek like me but, more than that, the music, writing, and performances are solid. Big, overdriven beats, harmonies both subtle and manipulated, and a variety of musical styles throughout compliment the technical musical precision you can only get from a computer.
Before I saw Big Data at Rifflandia, I’d only ever heard their single, Dangerous. They opened and closed with that song (The Oliver Remix off the top, and the album version to close things out) and, in between, I loved every song I heard. I had the album purchased before the festival was over.
Kirsten’s Favourite Albums of 2015
Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear
J. Tillman, better known by his moniker Father John Misty, is no stranger to success. A former member of the Fleet Foxes, and Saxon Shore, he found moderate success with his first solo album as Father John Misty in 2012. Over the next 3 years his on-stage persona and hip swaggering, though disturbing to some, the its impossible to not be captivated with his Sophomore album, “I Love You, Honeybear.”
Father John Misty, raised in an evangelical Christian home, once flirted with the idea of becoming a real pastor – mostly for the performance aspect of the job. Luckily, he switched to music where he pairs his intellectual lyrics with raw sexuality in his psychedelic love songs. There is no denying I am a lyrics gal, and this is where Father John Misty shines. The dialectic pairing of cynical irony next to the raw emotion as J. Tillman declares his, very real, love to his wife feels borderline voyeuristic to listen to.
“oh, honeybear, honeybear, honeybear
Mascara, blood, ash and cum
On the Rorschach sheets where we make love
Honeybear, honeybear, honeybear
You fuck the world damn straight malaise
it may be just us who feel this way”
Father John Misty’s “I Love You, Honeybear” is a joy to listen to, combining clever humour, emotional lyricism, and true passion.
Netflix and chill? More like Father John Misty and chill.
Lindsey’s Favourite Albums of 2015
Twenty One Pilots – Blurryface
A little pop, a little rap, a little electronic, a little messy – Twenty One Pilots fuse together many styles to make an absolutely mammoth album. If you haven’t heard “Tear In My Heart“, easily their catchiest and biggest single to date, now’s your time to catch up. Arguably, the first six tracks on this album are the strongest and most consistent, as they are mostly heavy driven tracks, but the experimental nature of the remaining tracks feels more like a throwback to their first album, Vessels. This album is peppered with catchy hooks, sing-alongs, a little bit of reggae, and absolute mayhem… you name it, it’s there.
Possibly the most impressive feat of this band? It’s just two guys making all of the noise. Though they do rely heavily on samples for certain parts, the instrumentation is impressive. Is there any instrument frontman Tyler Joseph can’t play? If you’re wondering how they pull this off live, I’m going to direct you to this video over here. One of the most redeeming qualities of bands, at least for me personally, is a phenomenal live show – and these guys know how to do it. Recently I had a chance to see them live, alongside mainstream indie heavyweights such as Alabama Shakes, Cage The Elephant and Death Cab for Cutie at a festival in Seattle – and Twenty One Pilots were the only band who had the entire audience at Keyarena on their feet from start to finish. This band has absolutely blown up in 2015, and 2016 is sure to be another big year for this crowd-pleasing duo.