Top albums 2015 nzyan0

10. Time to Go Home - Chastity Belt

While Seattle's rapidly shifting cultural landscape has many outside the tech class up in arms, Chastity Belt walks the path of resistance via unbridled emotional detachment. On Time to Go Home the band of Capitol Hill troublemakers revel in nights gone wrong as Julia Shapiro wryly drones midtempo rock tales about embracing promiscuity and yearning to escape boring and trite scenes. March 2015

9. Color Wheel - OCnotes

“OCnotes greatest strength comes from his ability to be a thematic chameleon. Color Wheel can confront police brutality and class disparity on 'Hum Drum Killer' and 'PD' one moment and also have space for 'Blowing Up My Phone'—a bubbly R&B tune about people calling him too much, which tagged on voicemail clips reveal was his actual (super long) voicemail greeting—without any of it seeming out of place. And there’s simply not another MC in Seattle who could pull off a song like “The Fall,” which sports a sly rock guitar lead that blurs genre lines without ever feeling like anything that would be considered rap rock in the traditional sense. Despite these dramatic shifts, the listener never gets the bends. It’s almost like his brain is a radio tuning knob, taking listeners on a ride as it spins between stations and static.” June 2015

8. Bleeders Digest - Say Hi

“Attention creatures of the night: it’s time to boogie. [Say Hi's] ninth album, Bleeders Digest is a collection of indie rock-meets-synth pop songs about vampires with fun-loving vibe that’s more “Monster Mash” than watch-the-movie-screen-through-the-slits-in-your-fingers horror... It’s actually Say Hi’s second vampire concept record, a spiritual sequel to 2006′s Impeccable Blahs. While Elbogen can craft a great songs about things other than Dracula’s cronies (see: last year’s Endless Wonder), it’s clear that the immortal bloodsuckers have their fangs deep in his psyche.” October 2015

7. The Narrow Valley - Bryan John Appleby

“There’s beauty to be found in disaster. As Bryan John Appleby creates a musical earthquake on 'The Fault Line,' the opening track from The Narrow Valley, undulating vocalized ooos that mirror the poetic calamity of the actively rolling hills. While woodwinds back his acoustic guitar picking, Appleby paints a lyrical picture of when 'the walls began to shed their plaster hides' as 'the fault line cracked a long smile / a hideous rock tooth grin open wide...' In this setting, Appleby finds a new, lush sonic landscape that stirs with orchestral majesty."

"The Narrow Valley feels like an escape from everything else that currently constitutes the Seattle sound. It’s a detour caused by zoning out on a drive down the Pacific Coast and missing an exit or two, but just deciding to go where the road takes you. The unexpected destination may not have the smoothest roadways, but damn the scenery is gorgeous.” December 2015

6. Ad Infinitum - Telekinesis

“Sometimes moving forward necessitates looking back. For the fourth Telekinesis LP, Michael Lerner ditched the traditional instruments that built his power pop sound and cozied up in his basement with vintage synthesizers. The resulting album, Ad Infinitum, is a record of warm middle grounds. The sonic tones have shifted, without feeling like a total reinvention that scraps everything that came before it... The new instrumentation provides allusions to an ’80s sound without itself feeling overtly retro, and Lerner’s effervescent songwriting core remains the same as ever.” October 2015

5. EarthEE - THEESatisfaction

“Welcome to EarthEE. Discovered by the sonic explorers known as THEESatisfaction, it exists in some distant galaxy that appears little more than a speck of dust in the night sky from our home planet. It’s one of those lush sci-fi dream worlds covered entirely in streams, waterfalls, and a canopy of greenery. The Seattle duo’s latest album fusing of hip-hop, R&B, and soul proves to be an audio oasis worthy of frequent escapist trips... While it might not be familiar musical terraferma, EarthEE is immensely habitable.” March 2015

4. All Around Us - Briana Marela

“It takes Briana Marela precisely one minute to firmly establish a sonic aesthetic. All Around Us opens with 60 seconds of looping vocal flutters and coos that slowly grow from mere chirps to a lush canopy of delicate electronic indie pop. When discernible lyrics finally pop up (on 'Follow It'), the opening lines could easily double as a description for the experience of listening to the album: 'You could get caught up in it / Feel the fall and see if it fits.'” August 2015

3. Hospital Handshakes - Rocky Votolato

“The first striking thing about Hospital Handshakes is the fullness of the album’s rock sound. With the help of [his brother] Cody, bassist Eric Corson (the Long Winters), Andy Lum (My Goodness) on drums, and aux instrumentation from Casey Foubert (Sufjan Stevens), it ventures further from the folky vibe that has colored many of Votolato’s records. Songs like “The Hereafter” and “A New Song” feature a tinge of aggression that’s hasn’t been present in his music since Suicide Medicine. The lyrical honesty and sincerity that’s long been Votolato’s calling card still shines through as he tackles the demons that threw up mental blocks and almost made him abandon music making.” April 2015

2. Kintsugi - Death Cab for Cutie

Kintsugi is an album about reconstruction. The title of Death Cab for Cutie’s eighth studio album—named for the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold to make the cracks an artistic part of the object’s history—makes that point evidently clear. Relationships die. Band members leave. Love and loss are never mutually exclusive experiences, and Ben Gibbard lyrically wrestles with this inevitability over the course of Kintsugi’s eleven tracks. When a marriage ends in metaphorical car crash, it’s painful to pull out all the cutting shards of glass out of your face, deal with the visual scars they leave, move past the haunting memories of the ghosts of passengers that once rode shotgun, and get over your skittishness to return to the driver’s seat.” April 2015

1. Women's Rights - Childbirth

“In the acidic modern climate where the mere act of a women making a stand for equality online can illicit an outpouring of direct threats of violence, rape, and murder (be it Gamergate, #ShoutYourAbortion, or any number of less mainstream occurrences), empathy seems lost. Women’s Rights is a vessel capable of inducing empathy, even if stealthily so because of the satirical tone... The fact that Childbirth gets these points across while eliciting laughs, only makes the messages more powerful. As individuals increasingly harden their hearts and minds to opinions that differ from their own, they become less willing to listen to stern counter arguments. But perhaps Women’s Rights resulting in a little disarming chuckle is enough to crack those protective shells just ever so slightly to allow the seeds of empathy to enter and eventually grow.” October 2015