hmv's Best Of 2015 - Staff pick their favourite albums of the year
Our staff pick their favourite albums of 2015...
Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell
By Paul Hammond
I was glad to see that this was chosen as the hmv album of 2015. It's been a strong contender for my number one slot since it was released at the start of the year. Considering his previous work it was no secret that Sufjan is a hugely talented individual, but in Carrie & Lowell he has created his most affecting and arguably strongest record to date. A highly emotional ride that will always strike a chord with me.
The Waterboys - Modern Blues
By Sheila Hollis
The Waterboys never fail to disappoint. Mike Scott has a distinctive vocal that is truly compelling to listen to and this new album had instant impact, it sounded fantastic and was a lovely surprise.
Public Service Broadcasting - The Race For Space
By Paul Hammond
On paper a concept album mixing news commentary and electronica to tell the story of Apollo 8 doesn't sound very 2015. In reality Public Service Broadcasting have crafted a record that perfectly captures the human need to push boundaries and explore our surroundings that led us to space in the first place. In reality the space theme is simply a need package for an album that is more concerned with the reasons why we wanted to get there and the people that strove to get us there.
Richard Hawley - Hollow Meadows
By Jay Bell
Hollow Meadows sees Richard Hawley in familiar territory with lush ballads and lavish strings. Many would argue that he is treading old ground, but for me this is a winning formula and what he does best. Also, his quiff gets better with every album...
Drenge - Undertow
By Tom Herrington
Undertow, the second album from the Loveless brothers, also know as Drenge, is a clear sonic expansion from 2013's self-titled debut. This time round the riffs are heavier, the feedback more ear splitting and the lyrics more angsty and in some songs, quite dark. Like the cover art indicates, listening to this album loud is like a reckless joyride through the Yorkshire woods. Get onboard.
Lamb Of God - VII: Sturm Und Drang
By Ellis Davis
On their latest album Lamb Of God demonstrate a new approach to a tired genre, introducing guest vocals on several tracks and taking a new approach with the introduction of clean vocals. It's upbeat, energetic and everything you could ask for in a Lamb of God album.
Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats - The Night Creeper
By Andrew Ayres
The recent stoner/doom trend in metal showed no signs of stopping in 2015 with Uncle Acid providing the highlight of the year. In a genre often considered merely Sabbath nostalgia Uncle Acid have proved that they’re not just looking back, incorporating new elements into the signature wall of fuzz and distortion that dominated their first two LPs. Other bands can play as fast as they like Uncle Acid understand the power of a great riff played slow and low.
Susanne Sundfør - Ten Love Songs
By Derek Lloyd
A stunning electro pop opus. Utterly captivating. One of music's best kept secrets... but hopefully for not too much longer if there's any justice in the world (outside of Scandinavia).
Clutch - Psychic Warfare
By Dave Burdon
Clutch respond to the incredible Earth Rocker with a fantastic thunderous rocktastic album that blew everyone away. The whole album, but particularly the title track, will slay everyone when they hear it live.
Natalie Prass - Natalie Prass
By Leigh Padley
This album is an innocent and inviting collection of cuddly musical tidbits wholesomely housed in crude and crisp production. The charismatic instrumentation often takes centre stage at times sounding somewhere between James Blake and Nelson Riddle. This is a special record with its foundations rooted in expert arrangements occasionally dispersing shy beams of glory while its sights are set by those lofty, riveting vocals.
Gary Clark Jr - The Story Of Sonny Boy Slim
By Nicki Taylor
It's completely different to his older material, but he has produced an energetic, fun album and I just love it!
Father John Misty - I Love You, Honeybear
By Leigh Padley
This album is as colourful in its personable lyricism as it is in its rugged musical soundscapes; the textures here are the albums strongest factor. The music gushes over you while J. Tillman serenades you with his modern wit and pouting potty-mouth. Anybody with even the slightest interest in where pop music stands in 2015 should give this record its delightful 45 minutes, many, many times over.
Joey Bada$$ - B4.DA.$$
By Adam Stott
Joey Bada$$ stayed true to himself on his major label debut and didn't sell out. This is an album full of great guests, great production and great rhymes.
Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp A Butterfly
By Leigh Padley
Though the message is the overpowering element of this record the production and performances here are all-round, grade A, top-standard stuff. From full-blown Jazz arrangements and tightly laced Funk to gritty beats and heavenly string parts, everything is perfectly in place. Kendrick Lamar has not only opened new doors for the genre, he has also solidified its position as the strongest, most significant and culturally relevant pop music genre of our age.