HONORABLE MENTIONS 2015

2015: another wild year in the books. From campaigning to rap beefing, it’s been a series of ups and downs. Thankfully we’ve had a great year in music to get us through it. Here’s a list of honorable mentions for 2015:

– This list is loosely based on the original score each album received on its original review. –

Rodeo – Travis Scott

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It’s undeniable that rappers are the rock stars of the modern era, and charisma is arguably more vital to success than flow and lyricism. So how, as part of the hip-hop community, do we respond to an artist who seems better suited as the conductor than the soloist?”

I Don’t Like S**t, I Don’t Go Outside – Earl Sweatshirt

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“Earl Sweatshirt doesn’t care about us. He doesn’t care about anything anymore, or maybe he cares too much, it’s hard to tell. Following the melancholic prowess of 2013’s Doris, Earl returns with a shut-in mentality and a record curdled in his own bitterness. It’s a real-time documentation of a 21 year old wrapped up in his own “absence of f***s”.”

English Graffiti – The Vaccines

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“The Vaccines are a good band and English Graffiti is truly a good album. Still, some of us have come to expect more than good from The Vaccines. It’s hard not to do so when their whole first record asks us about this. Maybe it’s wrong to judge a band’s latest album by comparing it to their previous work, but I don’t believe anybody can actually put aside their love (or hate) for the old when examining the new.”

AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP – A$AP Rocky 

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A.L.L.A will appeal to most people, but it probably will overwhelm some with it’s production and running time. However, the high (no pun intended) points are great while the low points really aren’t too bad in the grand scheme of things.”

Adventure – Madeon

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“Madeon’s impressive production abilities definitely manage to hold the album together and make it a very good omen for how he will do in the future, but his singles from both before the album and from the album far outshine the LP in itself. He is also growing as an artist and hopefully that will continue and allow him to make more successful hits.”

Dying Gods EP – All Out War

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“All Out War are one of the most consistent consistent bands in metallic hardcore. Despite a short break in their over 20-year-long career, they’ve been releasing relentless and uncompromising aural onslaughts every few years. Although the sound changes little compositionally, All Out War does not fall into the trap that Hatebreed fell into where every album is the exact same type of mediocrity.”

The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam – Thundercat

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“While the album isn’t a captivating experience, it is an enjoyable one. Thundercat will always be here and I’m sure there will be another release from him in the future. For now, The Beyond/Where The Giant Roam feels like a transition EP, only hinting at greater things to come.”

Multi-Love – Unknown Mortal Orchestra

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“Along with polyamorous desires, other adult themes are also explored on this album.  From drugs physically dissolving his life in “Acid Rain,” to having one night stands in “Ur Life One Night,” this album shows the complicated sides of being an adult in our current culture. After the opener, many other songs are great pieces as well, although this album lets itself down in the fact that out of the 9 songs, only a handful are memorable.”

Free (The Based Freestyle Mixtape) – Lil’ B & Chance The Rapper

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“If you’re like me and love tomfoolery of this nature, this is a load of fun. There are good beats, but other than that this is definitely made for old fans of Chance and Brandon. Simple as that.”

Coming Home – Leon Bridges

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“Hailing from Fort Worth, Texas and bringing that vintage soul sound, Leon Bridges delivers one of the more refreshing soul-revival albums of the year.”

Charnel Passages – Cruciamentum

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“Cruciamentum are definitely a band to look out for in the future, as this debut shows much potential for the future to come.”

Poison Season – Destroyer

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“The fact of the matter is that Poison Season is an album that demands your attention, and after analyzing Bejar’s lines of prose, you’ll begin to see what exactly he’s trying to say. And if you’ve been listening to them for this long, you’ll know what he has to say has merit – artistic and realistic.”

Skrillex & Diplo Present Jack Ü – Jack Ü

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“All in all, the album as a whole certainly lived up to the hype, if not transcended it. While you’ll hear the more mainstream tracks (i.e. “Where Are You Now,” “Take Ü There”) well into the summer, I’d challenge the listener to fully enjoy the journey that is Skrillex & Diplo Present Jack Ü.”

Kindred – Passion Pit

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“Michael Angelakos has again succeeded in making an album based off of his deep personal issues and experiences. In all, Kindred is a very good album as it is very concise in sound and illustrates the fact that Michael Angelakos’ personal life is getting better.”

California Nights – Best Coast

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“For a band that has to meet expectations that was set through Crazy For You, this album almost smashes it. California Nights is the band’s most professional album. It provides maturity, intricacy, and sincerity. It plays on people’s love for the beauty of California for its cities, mountains, and beaches.”

Introvert – Respectable Men

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Introvert is messy and it’s obvious that Respectable Men is not a ‘figured out’ band yet, but that’s okay. So check out this album, because who doesn’t like to say they knew of a band before they were cool?”

Star Wars – Wilco

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In good conscience, I haven’t been able to call myself a Wilco fan before. I do believe I’m now going to attempt to get into Wilco, but even if that doesn’t happen, I can honestly call myself a fan of Star Wars.”

DS2 – Future

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“Atlanta-based rapper Future returns from the pharmacy with extra codeine on his latest album, DS2 (short for Dirty Sprite 2). He’s still sticking to the same formula that he’s used for his past output – drug-obsessed and violent autotuned warbling that occasionally takes a break from the grit to cater to the ladies. However, on DS2, he’s coming even closer to perfecting that formula by delivering catchier hooks and harder-hitting bars.”

If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late – Drake

1035x1035-drakeIf You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late is a good release from Drake, showing that the artist has grown from his So Far Gone days and is thriving on the success, riches, and reality that he’s been so brutally honest about in his music. Again, not bad Aubrey. Not bad at all.”

Ratchet – Shamir

11183_JKTRatchet is an undeniably fun, danceable, and flamboyant record which shows Shamir’s personality and taste in full. And while most of these tracks are wild, dance poppy, and carry a disco vibe they are nonetheless hindered by the off-the-mark ballads that, despite their passionate vocals, feel superficial and upset the pacing of the album. This record leaves a lot to be desired, and that can be both a good and bad thing. So listen to Shamir if you’re up for some dancing, just in time for those summer nights to come rolling on by.”

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