Music

These Are UPROXX Music’s Most Criminally Overlooked Albums And Singles Of 2015

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Now that all the votes have been tallied and the rankings have been made, you can finally see what we felt were the best albums and singles of 2015. But yet and still, there were plenty of projects this year that didn’t get the acclaim or props they deserved. Here is where they finally get their due. Here are Uproxx Music’s Most Criminally Overlooked Albums and Singles.

Best Coast – California Nights

The title track from Best Coast’s best work yet was our surprise Song of the Summer winner, beating out the likes of Taylor Swift and Major Lazer. Obviously, the band’s Twitter army was a major part of the upset, but the California duo’s album was excellent on its own.

California Nights finds Best Coast stepping away from its lo-fi roots, building upon the polished, dream pop from its 2013 Fade Away EP. It captures the vibe of driving around during an L.A. sunset and contemplating life. What’s more summer than that?
-Eddie Fu (@eddiefu)

DILLY DALLY – Sore

From the moment that they count in opening track “Desire,” DILLY DALLY’s debut album Sore puts its foot on your throat and doesn’t let up. There have been comparisons made to Hole, and while Courtney Love has become a source of much derision, let us not forget how much Hole rocked back in the day.

Sore is the best album of the year, a triumph of sludgy guitar and visceral vocals. After punching a hole in music for 10 songs, they take it down a knock for the closing piano ballad “Burned by the Cold.” It apes The Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York,” but that’s okay, because it is a great ending to a fantastic album.
-Chris Morgan (@ChrisXMorgan)

Brandon Flowers – The Desired Effect

The Desired Effect was Brandon Flowers finally fully submitting to the masters who he has nodded to in The Killers for the better part of a decade. A lush homage to the dance legends of the ’80s (of both the indie and pop varieties), Flowers hasn’t sounded this forceful since his band’s debut in Hot Fuss.

The album is truly a fantastic showcase for him, and it’s a shame it wasn’t more recognized, because it’s a total clinic in control. He’s grand and large when he needs to be, and perfectly intimate and small in a flash. It’s a wonderful record and, honestly, the reset he needed before going back to any work with his day job.
-Michael Depland (@mdepland)

Mac Miller – GO:OD AM

Mac Miller may have abandoned his quest of solely independently-released music, but signing to a major label for his third studio release has done nothing to slow the growth of this former frat rapper. Mac has always had a keen ear for beat selection—a talent he flexes with GO:OD AM’s unique blend of jazz and trap flavors—but his development as a storyteller and songwriter have made him one of the most well-rounded rappers the underground has to offer.

This record’s refreshingly positive outlook on depression and recluse behavior churn out some of Mac’s most heartfelt tracks to date, such as “Perfect Circle/Godspeed,” without leaving fans without their blissful bangers in “Jump” and “Brand Name.” At the ripe age of 23, the future has never looked brighter for the former Wiz Khalifa sidekick.
-Ryan Alfieri (@Ryan_Alfieri)

Nao – “Inhale Exhale”

What if aliens finally intercepted the Voyager spacecrafts? What if they took a listen to the Golden Record inside and decided to respond with a record of their own? What if the Golden Record wasn’t a bunch of recorded greetings, but Aaliyah’s “One in a Million” on repeat?

The result would sound something like the music that Nao put out in 2015. Her February 15 EP (and particularly the song “Inhale Exhale”) will prepare your mind for a more cosmically-connected future. Nothing released this year was so perfectly balanced between forward-looking and fun.
-Alex Galbraith

Surfer Blood – 1000 Palms

After a so-so sophomore album, I was a little skeptical of Surfer Blood’s third album 1000 Palms. But after hearing the singles “Islands” and “Dorian,” I knew it was going to be a great album. Surfer Blood is the type of group that is constantly putting out great music, but never really making it into the spotlight, which is a shame because they have a great catalog of songs.

For 1000 Palms, the group recorded in Portland as opposed to Florida, where they’re from, which helped a great deal in order for them to try something new and get a different sound. Surfer Blood’s underrated third album is one of the best albums to press play, grab a beer, and simply kick back to.
-James Sullivan (@sully1289)

BADBADNOTGOOD/Ghostface Killah – “Sour Soul”

Have you ever found yourself wondering, hey, I wonder what would happen if three former jazz dudes from Toronto teamed up with a member of Wu Tang to record a hip-hop album? I, for one, never have. But I no longer have to wonder, anyway, because Sour Soul is the answer.

BADBADNOTGOOD put together live hip-hop that would make The Roots proud, and they found the perfect frontman in the verbally nimble Ghostface. Put “Sour Soul” on, do what needs to be done and just chill — totally perfect for that. I’m excited to see what the future holds for BADBADNOTGOOD.
-Ryan O’Connell (@rynofrommaine)

FIDLAR – Too

FIDLAR’s Too made me feel angry and happy, anxious and pissed off, all in one beautiful clusterf*ck of emotions. Basically, it made me feel young again, like I was channeling my idiotic teen self and hiding bottles of St. Ides Special Brew in my closet so my friends and I could make terrible decisions on the weekend.

It’s a loud and abrasive album that really resurrects the energy of the Blink-182 era without giving us all diabetes from the sugar-coated nonsense. But what really nailed down this album for me as one of the year’s best was the closing track, “Bad Habits,” because it just captures that feeling of 20-something helplessness so well. “Oh. My. God. I’m becoming my dad!” is both humorous and terrifying, as if the brakes are cut and your car is about to slam head on into your 30s.
-Ashley Burns (@mayorburnsy)

Acceptance – “Take You Away”

It’d been more than 10 years since Acceptance last put something out. They seemed to disappear just as soon as their work started finally paying off. This spring, they agreed to play Skate & Surf Fest, and in doing so, these six musicians had to get into the same room for the first time in far too long.

In doing so, they were able to hash out this track and build some pretty hefty buzz to go along with the announcement that they’d be doing a small run of shows before heading to the studio to work on their follow-up to 2005’s Phantoms.
-Spencer Hansen (@_andampers)

Nicki Minaj – “Feeling Myself”

The Pinkprint was released at the very end of last year and ruled 2014 with huge tracks like “Anaconda” and “Only.” There is absolutely no reason that Nicki Minaj should not have carried that reign into 2015 with a surefire hit with Beyoncé like “Feeling Myself,” other than self-sabotage. In what way could we mean, exactly? The video for the track still to this day remains a TIDAL exclusive.

In this current era of the music business, you just have to be on YouTube for a single to do big numbers for you — it’s simply how an entire generation of people listens to music. Drake learned that the hard way with “Hotline Bling” and that’s why he never topped the charts before Adele came to rule. “Feeling Myself” is probably the standout video of all of the singles to come from The Pinkprint, and in order to watch it, you have to go to strange European sites where you can’t read anything. Or, you know, pay TIDAL, but we don’t see that happening anytime soon.
-Michael Depland (@mdepland)

Selena Gomez – Revival

Selena Gomez’s first album away from the Hollywood Records machine sets out differentiate itself from her previous discography with a versatile mixture of R&B, dance pop, and yes, a tropical beach sound (maybe she’s been comparing notes with her ex-beau, Bieber).

Revival kicks off with the seductive summer single, “Good For You,” featuring an effortless verse by ASAP Rocky. The mid-tempo kiss-off, “Same Old Love,” further proves Gomez is here to declare that she’s all grown up. With a subtle voice capable of blending with whichever sound she chooses, the 23-year-old is making music which should get her mentioned outside of her famous friends.
-Eddie Fu (@eddiefu)

Weezer – “Do You Wanna Get High”

We can officially say Weezer is back now, right? Their last album, Everything Will Be Alright in the End, basically made us forget about everything post Maladroit. With their latest singles “Thank God for Girls” and “Do You Wanna Get High?,” it seems like they’re staying on that same track.

“Do You Wanna Get High?” could easily be a track that got left off of Pinkerton with the heavy distorted guitars and Rivers’ screaming vocals. Rivers explained that the song was about his “darling girlfriend” whom he dated in 2000/2001, she was also the inspiration for the Green Album track “O Girlfriend.” No word on a new album yet, but if it is anything like these two singles, we’re in for a treat.
-James Sullivan (@sully1289)

Kendrick Lamar – “How Much A Dollar Cost”

Now the dust has settled, and it’s clear that To Pimp A Butterfly will go down as one of the defining albums of the decade and genre (as well as our favorite), let’s give some of the less heralded tracks some love.

Damn near every second of the record appears to be breaking new ground — both sonically and lyrically — and “How Much A Dollar Cost” is the necessary, structured, colossal mid-album cut that holds it all together. Kendrick’s tale of his confrontation with a Messianic homeless man over a majestically dark and shiver-inducing beat holds a lesson for all of us — from paupers to even Presidents.
-Derz (@derz)

Eskimeaux – “Broken Necks”

What if The Postal Service was actually good? This is the question that “Broken Necks” by Eskimeaux answers. While her album, O.K., is merely, well, okay, for the most part, it still made my top 25 albums of the year almost solely based on the strength of “Broken Necks.”

It’s insanely catchy, but so pleasant it won’t drive you insane when the chorus rattles around in your brain for hours on end. If more of Eskimeaux’s music was like this, she could rule the music landscape.
-Chris Morgan (@ChrisXMorgan)

Houndmouth – “Sedona”

I fell in love with Houndmouth in 2015, as well as organic cereal. But we’ll talk about cereal later. Houndmouth are what’s up — good old, true and solid American roots rock. They have great harmonies, and all of their songs have such a relaxed nature to them that they are as inviting as I try to make my deck feel in the summer. No, really. Their songs all but offer you a nice cold Lemonade.

“Sedona” was their crowning achievement, off of their second album, Little Neon Limelight. It was one of those songs that comfortably found a home on multiple satellite radio stations, which speaks to the universal appeal of the lyrics, the harmonies, the fact that the chorus is so freakin’ fun to sing along to. I saw these guys live; it was amazing. I ride or die with Houndmouth.
-Ryan O’Connell (@rynofrommaine)

Brand New – “Mene”

Brand New are kind of like the Frank Ocean of the alt-rock world. They’re that artist who kind of continues to test our patience, but we do our best and loyally wait it out with hopes we’ll eventually get something great – though it’s not like we have any other option.

This spring, Brand New finally released something. Albeit only one song, and then a short blurb about how they’re still working on a new record – but it’s one powerful, and high-energy track that hits every note you’d want it to hit. Hopefully 2016 will finally see the release of a new full-length from these guys!
-Spencer Hansen (@_andampers)

Toro Y Moi – What For?

Chaz Bundick had a fairly busy 2015, releasing two pretty big projects: the hip-hop informed schizo pop mixtape Samantha and something totally different in his fourth studio album, What For? Both records were logical steps for Toro Y Moi, but in entirely different directions.

While Samantha was something more dance-ready that you could possibly envision in one of Chaz’s DJ sets, What For? fully embraced the chill part of chillwave, taking cues from ’70s AM radio rock. A little psych rock, a little country, but still authentic to what Toro Y Moi does, it’s a really fantastic trip, if you’ll allow it to take you along for the ride.

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