Best of Brunch: Albums of 2015 – Part 1

Brunch tapeWe asked our dedicated Brunch On Bay team for their top albums of 2015. Some of them knew exactly what they’d been listening to, others were more than a bit town between choices. Many of them tried to pick Frank Turner. Here’s what they decided on…

Kacey Musgrave - Pageant Material

Kacey Musgrave – Pageant Material

Cassie Smyth

It was painful trying to narrow down my top albums of 2015. The final shortlist included Akala’s Knowledge is Power, Volume 2 and Frank Turner’s Positive Songs for Negative People. Big thank you to both of those albums for helping me get ready in the morning, being with me on long train rides and giving me the power to tackle Penglais Hill.

Ultimately, I chose comfort. I’ve been a big fan of Kacey Musgraves for a few years, and while her new album is very similar to her last, I love it. Kacey’s Pageant Material is an album which makes fun of country music while simultaneously being unapologetically cheesy; she gives me the confidence to say “Yeah, I like country music”, rather than calling it folk/Americana. My favourite thing about the album is the general Girl Power tone – which is probably why “Good Ol’ Boy’s Club” is my favourite track, although that changes daily.

Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit

Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit

Alex Rees

Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit by Courtney Barnett. Millennials got a bad rap in 2015. The selfie generation, TIME magazine complained, were all ungrateful narcissists! Who didn’t know how good they had it! The massive increase in student debt and general increase in living costs since the time most TIME writers were this age may go a ways to explaining why, in their eyes, the generation is so mad in the first place.

Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett is writing the catchiest rock music for a long time, and puts a lot of heart into the mundanity of adult life in the modern world. “I’m saving 23 dollars a week” using a coffee maker she describes in “Depreston”, a song about the ghosts she felt in a prospective new house. “Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go To The Party” speaks as plainly as the album’s title, confirming an anxiety felt by most people in their twenties: “I wanna go out, but I wanna stay home.” Same, Courtney.

Death Cab for Cutie - Kintsugi

Death Cab for Cutie – Kintsugi

Nick Saunders

Death Cab for Cutie followed up the sound but perhaps vague Codes and Keys with Kintsugi, Chris Walla’s farewell to the band after 17 years. The album title comes from a Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with gold lacquer, treating breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. This sentiment permeates the tone with Ben Gibbard’s subtle and not so subtle nods to his divorce from Zooey Deschanel, that are tenderly bittersweet rather than spiteful.

Typical of his lyrics, Gibbard is introspective and poetic but hits a much sharper quality not really seen since Narrow Stairs (or rather Codes and Keys lacked). His recent ill-fated two years living in Los Angeles crop up, making a full circle to The Photo Album (2001) lyric “I can’t see why you’d want to live here.” A few electronic flourishes add a nice element, and it feels like much more of a complete record.
Oh and it got nominated for best rock album for the Emmys, if that’s something you care about.

P.S. This was very nearly Frank Turner’s Positive Songs for Negative People, but deciding between the two stellar albums about emotionally repairing after life blips came down to the fact that Kintsugi was released six months earlier and I’m still hooked on it.

Album RheeRhee Feehan

My album of 2015 is technically not an album, but Creeper’s Callous Heart EP. It’s modern goth punk mixed with some jazzy easy listening. Sounds odd, but it really works. These guys have only been together for just over a year, and the first time I saw them was in a pub so cramped that people were being turned away 15 minutes before their set even began, but were sitting outside so they could still hear them. Would seriously recommend the chilling track “Henley’s Ghost”. Their new EP The Stranger drops Feb 19th.

Album Jake

Neck Deep – Life’s Not Out To Get You

Jake Foxford

My album of 2015 is Neck Deep’s Life’s Not Out To Get You. It was the soundtrack to my summer and a massive pop-punk foot stomper. Really upbeat with loads of catchy choruses you find yourself singing along to after one listen, and it’s great to see a British band making such an impact on a mostly American scene. The deluxe edition has some great acoustic versions tacked onto the end as well! My top track off the album would have to be “Lime St”.

Gavin Berry

Did Queen’s ‘News of The World’ come out last year? No? Well, in that case I don’t think I’ve ever bought an album for myself that came out after 2000…


More of our choices are out tomorrow on the Aber Student Media site! Is there anything you think is likely to feature? Or an album you can’t believe hasn’t already appeared? Comment below!