MusicReview

Emertainment Monthly's Best Music Of 2015 (…So Far)

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Emertainment Monthly music staff picks.

The Wombats — Glitterbug
“Although it is a rather safe album, this new record from the well-known British rock band brings songs that are a bit more serious and meaningful. If you’re looking for a song with good lyrics and synth-laced rock, check out “Greek Tragedy,” which has been the biggest hit off the album so far.”
Casey Hudacko, Music Writer ’17

Florence + The Machine — How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
“Florence + The Machine had previously not been heard from since 2011’s Ceremonials. But How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful (or HBHBHB, as fans are calling it) was worth the nearly four-year wait. Florence Welch’s stunning vocals are complemented by a host of different instruments — everything from grand orchestrals to soft piano — as she sings songs of heartbreak and triumph. It’s the band’s most human, and perhaps best, album yet.”
Tessa Roy, Music Writer ’16

Fall Out Boy – American Beauty/American Psycho
“So “Centuries” may have gotten a bit overplayed since its release as the lead single last September (thanks, ESPN), but don’t let that keep you away from Fall Out Boy’s sixth studio release. From the opening brass of “Irresistible” to the final “hold-ons” of “Twin Skeleton’s (Hotel In NYC)”, the album is packed with slick cultural references, such as a nod to Tarantino in “Uma Thurman”, complete with the energy and cryptic lyrics that Fall Out Boy fans know and love. Sometimes sweet, sometimes intense, the whole album feels haunting in an almost frenetic, desperate way, yet it’s so versatile. It’s driving music, getting ready to go out music, blast at 2 A.M. when you’re alone and feeling nostalgic music, and so much more.”
Keely Chisholm, Music Writer ’17

Hop Along — Painted Shut
“Three years after exploding onto the indie/emo scene with their rough but promising debut Get Disowned, Hop Along’s much-anticipated follow-up finally shows the Philadelphia quartet firing on all cylinders. Shedding the superfluous background strings and horns of its predecessor, Painted Shut instead has Joe Reinhart’s raw guitar work to build the record’s atmosphere and lets the band’s “rock” aspect out in full force. Frances Quinlan’s voice, equal parts folky croon and strained howl, remains the core of Hop Along, only this time in a heavier environment more fitting with her emotionally gripping, narrative-based lyrics. Whether she’s lamenting playing bystander to child abuse (“Powerful Man”), trying to escape a family in freefall (“Texas Funeral”), or dealing with the police invading her breakfast (“The Knock”), every emotion hits like a sucker punch to the stomach, leaving you wanting more with each listen.”
Phillip Morgan, Music Writer ’18

The Social Experiment — Surf
“The long awaited album Surf deserves its place on the list “Best Albums of 2015,” not only for its release—without advertisement, for free on iTunes—but for its content. The album provides consistent good vibes. From the opening track, “Miracle,” we are given track after track of an incredibly humble rapper, encouraging listeners to remember the beautiful things in life (“If it’s a miracle to be alive and well/if we fell, we feel okay”). Chance the Rapper seems to be taking his songs’ messages to heart, choosing to forgo his well-known name and declaring the album a collaborative process of the entire band. Unified and genuine messages are rare in music. However, they are everywhere in Surf.”
Dan Goldberg, Music Writer ’17

Until the Ribbon Breaks — A Lesson Unlearnt
“Albums dropped early in the year have to be VERY good to be memorable over the host of others released after them. A Lesson Unlearnt succeeds at this. Its danceable electronic beats have remained in our heads since January, and they’re sure to stay there for much longer.”
Tessa Roy, Music Writer ’16

Title Fight — Hyperview
“Title Fight has grown into one of the loudest and most energetic voices in the new school of post-hardcore since their landmark 2012 LP Floral Green, but while their third album Hyperview is noticeably calmer than their previous work there’s still a great deal of familiarity to it. They’ve never been shy about the shoegaze side of their sound, and Jamie Rhoden’s low, almost drone-like voice fits right in with the band’s new sonic approach. Plus, the band’s knack for tightly wound song structure never lets the album’s momentum drop for a second, so even if you miss the hazy distortion of Title Fight’s past, it’s gonna be hard not to like what they’ve got in store for you here.”
Fanthony Fantano, Music Contributor ’18

Adventures — Supersonic Home
“With three-fifths of young metalcore behemoth Code Orange in the band, the lack of pummeling riffs and Reba Meyers’ hoarse growl might shock newcomers, but for those who’ve been following the Pittsburgh quintet during the brief three-year lifespan have little reason to feel disappointed. Boasting the strongest material the band has released to date, Supersonic Home is a collection of serene emo-tinged summer jams as catchy as they are powerful. Centered around the warm vocal harmonies of Meyers and keyboardist Kimi Hanauer, Adventures have debuted with one of the most unabashedly upbeat and fun emo records of the past few years, a distinction that will hopefully catapult them well out of Code Orange’s shadow.”
Phillip Morgan, Music Writer ’18

Weed — Running Back
“Make fun of their name all you want (or don’t, unless your life’s dream is to have Will Anderson kick you in the throat), no one can deny Weed knows their stuff when it comes to heavily fuzzed-up indie/punk. Written shortly after Anderson’s stint as a substitute guitarist with an unnamed Seattle band fell through, Running Back is a full retreat into familiar territory, giving the record a bleak, rain-soaked atmosphere the Vancouver quartet know all too well. Sure, there’s nothing even resembling a bright summer jam here, but if you’re looking for the perfect rain day album, Weed have you covered.”
Phillip Morgan, Music Writer ’18

Wildhoney — Sleep Through It
“Released way back in January, Wildhoney’s debut full-length has amassed quite a following over the past few months, and it’s pretty clear why only a few songs in. Blending dream-pop and post-punk with just enough fuzz to kick their choruses into overdrive, Sleep Through It was a wonderful escape from the dreary Boston winter and their ghostly melodies should only make your summer that much better. This past April they signed to Topshelf Records, so keep an eye out for a new EP from them sometime later this year as well. If it’s anything like this, we’re certainly looking forward to it.”
Phillip Morgan, Music Writer ’18

Pope — Fiction
“Community Records has long served as a launchpad for the southeastern indie/punk underground, and the debut LP from New Orleans emo/punk trio Pope is no exception. With a LoFi aesthetic akin to Pity Sex and Cloud Nothings, Fiction is a swan dive into suburban ennui, apathy, ruined relationships, and even an existential crisis while delivering pizza (“Fast Eddy”). With fuzzed-up guitars that would bring J. Mascis to tears and songs filled with as much raucous energy and infectious melodies as physically possible, Pope have quite the debut on their hands.”
Phillip Morgan, Music Writer ’18

Superheaven — Ours Is Chrome
“Between the flannel shirts and the crunchy guitars, it’d be really easy to write off Superheaven as short-sighted grunge revivalists, but two albums in it’s clear there’s much more going on under the hood than that. Though their affinity for heavier-leaning post-hardcore does bear resemblance to peers like Balance and Composure and Sainthood Reps, the quartet go against the tide with deceptively simple song structure and fun melodies buried under the lush distortion. Given co-frontman Taylor Madison’s lyrical topics range from his sister’s drug addiction, to serial killers, to general misanthropy, the dark allure that comes with their lush, grunge-inspired sound suits them just fine.”
Phillip Morgan, Music Writer ’18

Turnover — Peripheral Vision
“Turnover completely erased their reputation as a somewhat mediocre emo/pop-punk act with their excellent debut album Magnolia, and two years later they’re no longer pushing boundaries, they’re throwing them off cliffs into pools of sharks. In a similar vein to Title Fight’s sonic change-up earlier this year but to a slightly greater degree, the Virginia Beach quartet have nearly wiped out any trace of distortion from their sound, turning their attention to clean, wistful melodies and intensity built around atmosphere than speed or heaviness. Fear not, this still sounds like a Turnover album at its core, and while they might not sound as energetic as before, the dimly lit beauty of these new songs is sure to grab your attention.”
Phillip Morgan, Music Writer ’18

Four Year Strong — S/T
This album will make you believe in the easycore revival that’s taking off this summer, even if you have no idea what “easycore” is. Four Year Strong are back with their first full-length album since 2011, which, admittedly wouldn’t be such a big deal had In Some Way, Shape, or Form hadn’t been so poorly received. But fans can rest easy knowing the Four Year Strong they know and love have taken the scene by storm with their self-titled, a culmination of all the musical elements that made Enemy of The World such a hit, with the infectious energy of Rise or Die Trying. #EZrevival2015″
Tori Bilcik, Music Writer ’17

George Ezra — Wanted On Voyage
“George Ezra’s Wanted On Voyage is an album to listen to when you’re happy, lonely, or anywhere in between. It somehow takes every feeling on the spectrum and fiddles with them, putting them in combinations you never thought possible. Rather than fall into the singer-songwriter who croons about love from behind their guitar or trope, Ezra does something different. He still heartbreak, but he does it in a way that makes you want to get up and dance. His catchy lyrics and melodies are matched with beats just subtle enough to make you want to get up off your feet. This combination illustrates that Ezra is doing something with this genre that not many other artists do right now. His deep yet soothing voice matched with guitars, pianos, synthetic beats and even the occasional tambourine make listening to Wanted on Voyage a voyage of its own.”
Maddie Chricton, Music Writer ’17

Kendrick Lamar — To Pimp A Butterfly
“With the recent rise in awareness of police brutality, helped by the Michael Brown/ Ferguson protests and inspiring the #blacklivesmatter movement, Kendrick Lamar’s new album To Pimp a Butterfly beautifully illustrates the sentiment of the African American community. With the help of friends like Thundercat, Snoop Dogg, and samples from Flying Lotus, K Dot perfectly describes the hardships such as police brutality and the cycle of poverty that the African American community has to deal with on a daily basis. To Pimp a Butterfly is practically a 180 from Kendrick’s previously acclaimed album Good Kid M.A.A.D City, which told the stories of gang violence, murder, and drugs in Compton. Kendrick actually calls himself “the biggest hypocrite of 2015” in his song “The Blacker the Berry” as Kendrick is now calling for a stop to the gang violence and for the African American community to join together to challenge the issue of racism that still plagues the U.S. The album weaves together Kendrick’s famously rhythmic flow with beats as smooth as butter in a range of tracks that discuss everything from police abuse to the use of the N-word in rap. Throughout the album Kendrick recites a poem about corruption and finishes the album with said poem, as well as an interview with Tupac Shakur, who shares similar sentiments to Kendrick’s. To Pimp a Butterfly is one of those albums that defines a rapper’s career and more importantly, his message.”
Max Cherry, Music Writer ’17

Father John Misty — I Love You, Honeybear
“Scathing social commentary wrapped up in Josh Tillman’s pulsing baritone is what makes I Love You, Honeybear quite the showstopper. Pulling influence from his days with Fleet Foxes, Father John Misty — Tillman’s self-generated moniker — harnesses the beauty in harmonizing with himself. He discusses social ennui in “Bored In The USA”, a titular spoof on The Boss’s breakout success; he crafts an epic poem about meeting his wife with “Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)”; he touches on religion and other social constructs in “Holy Shit”– in short, Father John Misty is a cultural phenom, translating his opinions artfully and skillfully into I Love You, Honeybear.”
Anna Marketti, Assistant Music Editor ’17

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