FFS – Franz Ferdinand and Sparks
If there’s one thing Franz Ferdinand know how to do, it’s blend pop and rock in songs that are gritty yet catchy. Sparks know a thing or two about that too. It’s, therefore, no surprise that the duo’s supergroup featured the perfect elements from each genre to create an explosion of awesome! Every track on FFS is delightfully catchy, and you will be humming along right on first listen!
Essential listening: Piss Off, Police Encounters, Dictator’s Son
The Magic Whip – Blur
We love Blur, and (like most people) we’re biased towards the original line-up. Imagine our delight when Graham Coxon returned to record The Magic Whip, the first album since 1999 to feature the original band! Somehow, the album managed to surpass our sky-high expectations. The perfect balance of indie rock and Britpop, The Magic Whip is the perfect addition to the band’s discography!
Essential listening: New World Towers, Go Out, I Broadcast
No Cities to Love – Sleater-Kinney
Sleater-Kinney’s first album in 10 years reminds us exactly why they’re one of the most remarkable rock acts of all time. No Cities to Love is the perfect throwback to the riot grrrl years. In fact, Fangless and the titular track are enough of an education for anyone who wants to relive the glorious era.
Essential listening: Fangless, No Cities to Love, Bury Our Friends
Carrie & Lowell – Sufjan Stevens
Sufjan Stevens has returned to his folksy roots, and we couldn’t be happier. With its intricate melodies and meaningful lyrics, Carrie & Lowell is the quintessential easy listening album. Even if you aren’t a fan of Sufjan, this is the perfect album for the season!
Essential listening: Fourth of July, Death with Dignity, Blue Bucket of Gold
Vulnicura – Bjork
Let’s face it, Bjork can do no wrong. We knew Vulnicura would be brilliant right from the minute it was announced, and the album did not disappoint. The LP is equal parts beautiful and weird, reminding us exactly why we love the songstress!
Essential listening: History of Touches, Family, Atom Dance
The Desired Effect – Brandon Flowers
On The Desired Effect, Brandon Flowers shows us exactly why he’s the man behind tracks like Somebody Told Me. The Killers’ frontman’s latest solo effort is an exercise in rock music excellence. Not only is it one of 2015’s most underrated releases, but the album is also one of his best to date.
Essential listening: Dreams Come True, I Can Change, Still Want You
Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper – Panda Bear
Panda Bear’s latest album is just as wonderfully weird as one would expect it to be. Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper is just as pop-influenced, as it is impacted by the neo-psychedelia of the ’80s. The result is a delightful album that feels almost other-worldly.
Essential listening: Boys Latin, Sequential Circuits, Come To Your Senses
How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful – Florence and the Machine
If we could describe Florence and the Machine’s last album, Ceremonials, in one word; it would be "Grand". The larger-than-life record showed the world that Florence is more than just a one-hit wonder. Though the follow-up might not be as grand, it’s certainly just as good. The hypnotic melodies, combined with her powerhouse vocals, make for an album that must be played on repeat.
Essential listening: Various Storms & Saints, Queen of Peace, Hiding
To Pimp a Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar
Since his debut in 2011, Kendrick Lamar has consistently delivered stellar tracks. Though he has yet to make it to the mainstream, Lamar is every critic’s dream come true. And for good reason. To Pimp a Butterfly is one of the finest hip-hop releases in recent years, even surpassing good kid, m.A.A.d city.
Essential listening: For Free? – Interlude, Momma, The Blacker The Berry
Froot – Marina and the Diamonds
If you had told us that indie pop princess, Marina Diamandis, would play a huge part in the ongoing disco revival; we would’ve laughed. Though she has always delivered infectious pop tunes, Froot took Marina’s discography in a very different direction. And we’re glad it did!
Essential listening: Blue, Froot, Happy
Sound & Color – Alabama Shakes
Rock meets easy listening in the perfect melange that is Sound & Color. Alabama Shakes’ newest record is a sonic experiment that features laid-back build-ups and delightful choruses in each song. We assure you, the band has never sounded this good!
Essential listening: Gimme All Your Love, Miss You, The Greatest
In Colour – Jamie XX
Goon – Tobias Jesso, Jr.
It’s not easy to create catchy pop tunes that are also soul-stirring. If there’s one person who can do it, it’s Tobias Jesso, Jr. OnGoon, he combines all the best parts of acoustic folk, indie pop and mainstream pop to create an album like no other.
Essential listening: Can We Still Be Friends, Crocodile Tears, Just A Dream
I Love You, Honeybear – Father John Misty
No one does folk rock as wonderfully as Father John Misty. With I Love You, Honeybear, he has established himself as one of the top folk rock acts currently on the scene. The soulful lyrics, combined with the catchy melodies, make for a modern classic in the genre.
Essential listening: True Affection, Strange Encounter, The Ideal Husband
Chasing Yesterday – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
Noel Gallagher will always be known for Oasis… And his feud with brother, Liam Gallagher, of course. With Chasing Yesterday, he has cemented himself as a force to be reckoned with. Though his debut solo LP was great too, Gallagher has truly kicked things up a notch with its follow-up.
Essential listening: In the Heat of the Moment, The Dying of the Light, You Know We Can’t Go Back