5) “Currents” – Tame Impala
Kevin Parker is Tame Impala. The 29-year-old Australian wrote, recorded, produced, mixed, and performed every instrument for each track on Tame Impala’s third record “Currents.” The album replaced its psychedelic guitars for a more dance-oriented record, filled with lush synthesizers and vibrant instrumentation. The result is a kaleidoscope of colors and landscapes that demand the listener’s attention. Parker also shows a wide range of tracks on the album with songs lasting a mere 55 seconds to the mammoth seven-minute lead single, “Let it Happen”. “Currents” will undoubtedly act as a stepping-stone for Kevin Parker’s career from an Australian talent to worldwide phenom.
Artist: Tame Impala
Release date: July 17, 2015
Genre: Psychedelic Pop
Listen To: “Let It Happen”
4) “Multi-Love” – Unknown Mortal Orchestra
On Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Twitter, Ruban Nielson, the man behind UMO describes the band’s sound as #PsychRNB #DadWave #DepressionFunk. Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s newest release leaves the bedroom lo-fi, it became defined for and becomes exactly what his Twitter describes. In an interview with Pitchfork back in May, Nielson disclosed that every album he’s released thus far is centered around an emotional theme he’s experienced. For this album, Nielson’s love life took an interesting turn when he and his wife decided to become polyamorous and invited a new woman into their relationship. The album is filled with weird feelings, funky synths, and overall good vibes.
Artist: Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Release date: May 26, 2015
Genre: Indie Alternative
Listen To: “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone”
3) “Carrie & Lowell” – Sufjan Stevens
For the last 15 years, Sufjan Steven has become a staple in independent music. “Carrie & Lowell” added another keepsake to an already impressive catalog. Unlike some of Sufjan’s most recent releases, “Carrie & Lowell” see the return to a folk oriented album with minimalist instrumentation and Sufjan’s agonizing lyrics. “Carrie & Lowell” deals with the death of Sufjan’s mother and the childhood memories that surround him in a headspace that is filled with grief and unbearable sorrow. While the album deals with the major theme of death it also represent a glimpse of hope. As Sufjan attempts to piece his understanding for life itself, he inevitably also begins to climb out of a bottomless pit of his mourning.
Album: “Carrie & Lowell”
Artist: Sufjan Stevens
Label: Asthmatic Kitty
Release date: March 31, 2015
Genre: Indie Folk
Listen To: “No Shade In The Shadow Of The Cross”
2) “I Love You, Honeybear” – Father John Misty
Josh Tillman has been involved in everything, from the Fleet Foxes to now, his surging solo career as Father John Misty. After an impressive 2012 debut “Fear Fun,” Misty released “I Love You, Honeybear” a concept album about his perspective on life, death, his wife, himself, and ultimately love. Dripping in irony and sarcasm, Misty’s contemporary outlook on his life is hilarious yet haunting. With tracks about white privilege, turning down overly aggressive women, impressing ladies in all the wrong ways, and alcoholism, Misty’s honesty bleeds on every track. “I Love You, Honeybear” somehow serves as cynically repulsive, yet irrationally beautiful.
Album: “I Love You, Honeybear”
Artist: Father John Misty
Label: Sub Pop
Release date: February 10, 2015
Genre: Indie Alternative
Listen To: “Holy Shit”
1) “To Pimp A Butterfly” – Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar’s last release “good kid, m.A.A.d city” was hailed as one of the best in 2011. How do you top that? Lamar took a 180-degree turn with this release and incorporated influences of jazz, funk, and even spoken word. Like his last release, “To Pimp A Butterfly” also listens as a concept album. In this record, Lamar writes a poem to a supposed revenant Tupac Shakur about the struggle of success and fame for an African American in today’s culture. The album ends with an edited interview of Tupac where Lamar adds himself as if they are having a conversation.
Album: “To Pimp A Butterfly”
Artist: Kendrick Lamar
Label: Top Dawg
Release date: March 15, 2015
Listen To: “The Blacker the Berry”