The best albums of 2015
Sitting quietly in scorching reimagined suburbia
— “Luna” by Deafheaven
For many months in 2015, I was convinced SUN COMING DOWN by Ought — my 9th ranked album — would end the year atop this list; so strong was the year's new music. Ultimately, though, the highest ranking could only go to NOYAUX, one of two new recordings released by Benoit Pioulard this year (the other, SONNET, also made this list).
NOYAUX seemed to come out of nowhere — I wasn't expecting it. Nor could I have expected its visceral impact, which, for me, was profound. NOYAUX offers ethereal, wordless soundscapes, in a vein similar to Olan Mill, but with slightly more dissonance. Possibly, this is the sound of the universe expanding. Or the sound of loss. Or the sound of the past unfolding. However you might interpret it, NOYAUX is pure sonic, cinematic transport. It's a powerful and hauntingly beautiful experience that elicits emotions that are seldom felt, or that maybe were never before known. That is the purpose of all art, of course, and here Pioulard has done it, and with only four tracks and twenty five minutes, and without words.
THE TERROR by The Flaming Lips, BARROW by Cemeteries, THE REPUBLIC by Sam Prekop, HYPNOPHOBIA by Jacco Gardner, THE ORIGINAL FACES by Helen, W-X by W-X, CARDAMOM TIMES by Weyes Blood, MONASTIC LIVING by Parquet Courts, FAKE PALMS by Fake Palms, A FOLK SET APART by Cass McCombs, COWBOY WORSHIP by Amen Dunes, ESCAPE FROM EVIL by Lower Dens, EMPIRE by Unwound, FADING FRONTIER by Deerhunter, BRACE THE WAVE by Lou Barlow, THE EVIL HAS LANDED PT. II by Holy Wave, I COULD HAVE SWORN by Hamilton Leithauser, BASEMENT HYSTERIA by PC Worship, TIME TO GO HOME by Chastity Belt, STAR WARS by Wilco, GOLEM by Wand, LO by Crosss, A YEAR WITH 13 MOONS by Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, MR. FACE by Ty Segall, PANDA BEAR MEETS THE GRIM REAPER by Panda Bear, MUTILATOR DEFEATED AT LAST by Thee Oh Sees