Sunday, July 10, 2016

McQ's Best Of 2015 Mix Collection

Hey Friends,

Here we go once again, with my annual mix collection celebrating the best I heard in across the full spectrum of popular music in 2015.

As always, each mix is designed to be burnable to a standard 70 mb CD.  Click on the mix titles for additional information about the artists and albums profiled, printable track listings and year-end summaries, links to Amazon, iTunes, and Youtube, and all other sorts of good stuff.


As is now tradition, we start things off with top tracks from my favorite 2015 albums. 

Let's be clear about one thing.  Women weren't just major players in classic/alt-flavored rock this year...they owned it.  Featuring cuts by Courtney Barnett, Sleater-Kinney, Hop Along, Torres, Waxahatchee, Evans The Death, Chelsea Wolf, Screaming Females, Wolf Alice, Speedy Ortiz, Kate Temptest, Dilly Dally, Bully, and Colleen Green...there's nothing groundbreaking in this collection of hard-rocking songs from all-female or female-fronted acts, but the quality level is fantastic throughout.  An easy call for my favorite of this year's themed mixes.

2015 was also very rich in works evoking the singer/songwriter vibe of the late 60s/early-to-mid-70s. Tracks from Sufjan Stevens, Destroyer, Father John Misty, Natalie Prass, Matthew E. White, Ryley Walker, James McMurtry, Tobias Jesso, Jr., Darlingside, Joanna Newsom, and Laura Marling are featured here. 

I hope no one takes offense to this mix's title. I actually stole it in part from the linear notes of D'Angelo's 2014 comeback album Black Messiah, where he stated he couldn't abide by limiting genre labels like blues, gospel, R&B, Funk, and Hip Hop when describing his music...for him, if it's expressing the African-American experience, regardless of the details of sound or song structure, it's Black Music, and it's in this all encompassing, cross-genre, political-minded spirit that this compilation was formed.  Includes tracks from Kendrick Lamar, Kamasi Washington, Ibeyi, Young Fathers, Pusha T, A$AP Rocky, Future, Leon Bridges, Jazmine Sullivan, Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment, Algiers, and Dr. Dre.

Volume 5 - Bigger In Britain:

A collection of songs from acts not necessarily from Britain, but whose 2015 efforts were, for the most part, better received overseas than in the states. Those with a taste for Indie-Rock and Brit-Pop will most likely find they like this mix best of the 2015 set.  Includes songs from Bop English, Twerps, The Charlatans, Belle And Sebastian, Blur, Ezra Furman, Algiers, The Mountain Goats, Paul Weller, EL VY, Mini Mansions, Low, Sleaford Mods, Foals, Django Django, and Zun Zun Egui.

Without question, the most shamelessly mainstream, teeny-bopper and soccer mom pleasing mix I have ever put together, structured in three short suites profiling fan favorites in mainstream R&B, Alt-Country, and Tween-Pop/Indie-Pop. Includes tracks From Mark Ronson, The Weeknd, Shamir, Miguel, Rihanna/Kanye West/Paul McCartney, Alessia Cara, Chris Stapleton, Patty Griffin, Kurt Vile, Jason Isbell, Wilco, Adele, Florence + The Machine, Andrew McMahon, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Lana Del Rey.

Representative tracks from the year's best and most interesting chill electronica, shoegaze, art rock, and dream pop efforts are blended here into an often odd but mostly relaxing tonic. Includes contributions from Julia Holter, Ghost Culture, Deerhunter, Panda Bear, Jenny Hval, Floating Points, Bob Moses, Swervedriver, Gwenno, Holly Herndon, Oneohtrix Point Never, Haiku Salut, Beach House, and Bjork.

Easily this year's most challenging and abrasive mix, this assortment of post-punk, garage, hard rock, noise rock, industrial rap, and death metal numbers is nonetheless one of the three or four strongest mixes in this entire collection - at least for those who have the stomach for it.  Includes efforts from Titus Andronicus, Royal High, Beach Slang, METZ, Dungen, Death Grips, Deafheaven, Lightning Bolt, Built To Spill, Viet Cong, Ought, and Protomartyr.

The year's best electro-pop goes here. A decent, easy-to-digest mix, definitely worth a listen, but in truth, it wasn't a stellar year in electro-pop, so overall, I consider this the weakest mix in this year's batch.  Includes tracks from New Order, Grimes, Chvrches, John Grant, Chromatics, Hot Chip, Jamie Xx, Lower Dens, Tame Impala, Hudson Mohawke, and LoneLady.

A celebration of the small font acts that made the 2015 Coachella festival memorable - not as eclectic as these mixes are, given how rock-heavy the line-up was in 2015, but still a nice assortment of youthful and veteran efforts. Include work from Sylvan Esso, St. Lucia, Kasabian, Sturgil Simpson, Alabama Shakes, George Ezra, Hozier, Tame Impala, Royal Blood, Brant Bjork, The Cribs, Joyce Manor, Desaparecidos, Jon Hopkins, The Reverend Horton Heat, Action Bronson, PHOX, The Orwells, The Allah-Las, Joyce Manor, Hozier, Jungle, Eagulls, and Saint Motel.

Everyone's favorite - year in and year out. Curated by my lovely wife Nancy, who gets first pick of all the year's material, I will willingly admit, this is one of the best she's ever put together. Includes tracks from Saint Motel, Bop English, Courtney Barnett, Sleater-Kinney, Waxahatchee, Florence + The Machine, Alabama Shakes, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Leon Bridges, Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment, Kamasi Washington, Sufjan Stevens, The Decemberists, Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell, Patty Griffin, Tobias Jesso, Jr., Adele and Miguel.

No comments: