1. Andy Shauf - The Bearer Of The Bad News
2. Alternative TV - Opposing Forces
Mark Perry is the only guy in rock with whom I could feel a strong empathy and sometimes have the strange impression he was my double. I was unsure that an Alternative TV album in 2015 could be as relevant as it was between 77 and the early 2000's. But it is, and even more than relevant, it is crucial and sends back most of the other releases in unsubstantial areas (at least for me). Not a weak song, some of them among his bests ("Dream" is nothing less than one of the most moving ballad ever written).The band is tight and styles are so varied it is not unlike a sort of Best of. It seems another Alternative TV album will be released in 2016. If I'm still alive at the end of next year, I bet it will be among my Top 10 since Mark Perry seems not to be able to do wrong. He's surely one of the most underrated composer of the last 50 years and I'll use my little influence anywhere I can to give him justice.
3. Howls Of Ebb - The Marrow Veil
Another proof that you have to wait until the last days of the year to do your Top 10 (or more) list since I found this one very lately and it jumped straight in my Top 3 after only 3 or 4 listenings. Why? Because as an old fan of the early Autopsy, there's in this album the same atmosphere but much more complexity, climax and power. Many will have more recent comparisons and influences to cite but I'm not totally aware of what happened to this death metal branch in the last 20 years so I'll stick to my old references. What's crucial is that this album is a killer and deserves to be considered as a great achievement of the year. I particularily love the drumming but the whole album is a masterpiece.
4. Pile - You're Better Than This
Pile is my favorite band of the last 5 years. They manage, under the direction of Rick Maguire, to mix what was the best of the 90's noise scene (Jesus Lizard but not only them) and to provide a stunning equivalent for our today's times. This is a perfect equilibrium between rock diary and extreme instrumental noise. Never heard before such a successful alchemy. I was glad to have the opportunity to tell it to Maguire when they came in Paris. On stage, they are also powerful and must not be missed. This album doesn't reach the greatness of the former (Dripping) but is however one of the best release of the year so far.
5. Windhand - Grief's Infernal Flower
This blog posted their first demo exactly 5 years ago and I must proudly say I had a certain visionary quality since this band is maybe now the best doom band of the planet and this album is considered by many doomsters as the best of the year. It's like doom was reaching a new point with Dorthia Corttrell's lugubrious voice being a perfect vehicle for the classic riffs that the band provides. At the same time catchy and heavy, never leaving their doom soul in the process, this is an album to be rememberered and a band to cherish. Note that Dorthia Corttrell released this year a solo doom folk album that just failed to be in this Top 10 too.
6. Anna McClellan - Fire Flames
This is quite a surprise that this album ends the year in my Top 10 since when I first listened to it, I was not even sure I liked it. There was a Kate Nash savour (her demos and her first album, not the shit she did later on) but more mature, more arty too, and I gave me some times to state whether I liked it or not. Having listened to this album so many times I couldn't count, it's now clear that I love it. Her piano style (with something of the early 20th century French music in it, Satie, Debussy, Ravel), her way to sing as if she was not really preoccupied of the beauty of it but only by the fact to sing it sincere, and the complex melody lines that make the listening never tiring, all this places this album very high on the 2015 scale. Note that Anna was the singer of the band Howard.
7. Petite League - Slugger
Each year I got my small load of pop albums that helped me in the dark days since this style is often useful when sadness shows its nose (when it's in us, doom is the only music to be relevant). Last year it was Lunchbox that topped the genre, this year it's this incredible American duo with 10 songs that became for me not less than standards If you're in the Kinks and the Beach Boys of 1966 or more recently in Boat, you must get this album. Hope they'll get the notoriety they deserve.
8. Space Bong - Deadwood To Worms
Another band this blog had posted their first album 4 years ago. And once again they became since then one of the driven force of the sludge doom genre. This double LP is a monstruous musical piece that will make you forget most of what you thought was the must beforehand. How it is possible to push the limits still miles away than before, it's a mystery but this incredible band manages to do it. You don't listen to such albums, you aurally drown in them. 2015 will be remembered as the year this album was released.
9. Blackwater Prophet - Ghost
If there's a style that escaped my private musical interest, it's stoner. Honestly this music has a great difficulty to raise my curiosity for the last 10 years but 2 albums have changed my mind. The first (and my fave of the two) is from this young US band and is a total success in providing a fresh revisiting of this so-coded genre. Leaving the testosterone posture backside, they offered fort their second LP a non-faulty proof that it was still possible to give stoner a break and a new breath. Don't miss this new-born revival (moreover my fave cover sleeve of the year).
10. Sahara Surfers - High Lands
The other stoner album of this selection. Once again the female singer does a lot to make this LP reaches this level of quality. She's fascinating with her Mariska Veres voice (Shocking Blue of course) with something of Barbara Keith (Stone Coyotes). But the riffs are great too and the album becomes the better time is passing. They are from Austria and this is not the last of the surprise of this band.