2015 was a wild ride for Culture Currency and everyone involved in the process. As the dust settles on a whirlwind year, we are glad to present the best (and worst) of 2015 according to us. So we hope you enjoy. If you don't, there is always 2016 to look forward to. You can check out Andy Wilcox's Best of 2015 here, Addison Garry's Best of 2015 here, Nate Hankins's Best of 2015 here, Lainey's Best of 2015 here, Morgan's Best of 2015 here, and Nate Dimit's Best of 2015 here.
There were a lot of things that dropped in 2015 that I really enjoyed. These are the few albums that topped the pile for me, though many more also slipped into my rotation and are still there.
Best of the Rest
Beach Slang - The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel Like Us
Bully - Feels Like
Straight Razor - Straight Razor
The Internet - Ego Death
The Story So Far - The Story So Far
Xibalba - Tierra Y Libertad
Action Bronson - Mr. Wonderful
Wildhoney - Sleep Through It
Distortion, warth, melody. Get lost inside. This albums is everything. It could be the soundtrack to your first crush, your favorite movie or the coffee shop you lived in during the college years.
Billy Woods - Today, I Wrote Nothing
Woods has been on an absolutely tear over the past few years, dropping albums packed with some of the best lyricism over great beats. His 2015 release - Today, I Wrote Nothing - is something particularly special. There is an urgency and intensity in the delivery of pointed lyrics. These are turbulent times and Woods brings a fragmented masterpiece that delivers an education with emotion.
Freedom - USA Hardcore
Double-barreled USA hardcore. This is the in-your-face Midwestern hardcore that I love. If you like Violent Reaction and Forced Order, feast on the new release from Freedom. No frills, just great music. And a song called "Slam II." Duh.
No Joy - More Faithful
What a great year for fuzzy, chaotic melody. If I'm being honest, I probably liked their last album much more than this one, but this is still at the top of the list for the year. Listen to this along with the Bully, Best Coast, Wild Honey and Milk Teeth releases this year and discover the revival of female-fronted alterna-retro-grunge-awesomeness. Or don't and be an idiot.
Detroit Swindle - Boxed Out
Front to back. Side to side. This is the chill house music album that nailed it from the first track to the last. They pull from a variety of sources so the sound doesn't ever grow completely stale or becoming overwhelming. It's good and upbeat, great for a vacation or just getting chores done around your apartment.
Failure - The Heart Is a Monster
First album in what, 19 years? A lot of things changed for Failure since their last release in the mid 90s, but the glorious alternative heaviness they brought then is still here. Progression is great and Failure has moved forward two decades with a surprisingly relevant, non-dated album.
Stand United - Koko Ni Tatsu Riyu
Growing up with hardcore, I've seen a lot of trends come and go. Not only trends, but there are so many subdivisions of the hardcore sound. Turnstile, Xibalba, Union of Faith, Free, and Freedom all brought different hardcore sounds in 2015, but only Stand United reminded me of the classic Revelation sound that first got me pumped on hardcore. Footage of their performance at Rain Fest immediately reminded me of all the times I saw Champion in the early and mid-2000s. This was great, even if there is a language barrier.
Turnstile - Nonstop Feeling
I really, truly get why so many people don't like this bad, but a I also don't get why so many people really, truly don't like this band. A lot of people said things like, "Hey, this just sounds like 311," or "This sucks." I don't agree with either opinion, though I don't think anyone is right or wrong about life based on their music taste, so whatever. This album is super fun, definitely hardcore, and worth repeat listens over and over. Super thick 90s vibe on this thing.
Milk Teeth - Sad Sack
Another example of really good music that just brings back the 90s vibe with some seriously heavy alternative and grunge sounds.
Death Grips - The Powers That B
This should come as no surprise to anyone that knows me - the best album of 2015, no contest. So little of Death Grips sounds much like anything that first turned me on to them, yet they retain my full attention and continue to push all the buttons in my ears that cause this music to resonate with me. I feel it and it moves me. A more "rock" oriented sound on the second disc are a mostly new sound for Death Grips, reminiscent of Dalek and Power Struggle (if you've heard them) in the slowed, yet still distorted and strong delivery.
by Daniel Coughlin (@xvanwilderx)