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5 Tracks You May Have Missed in 2015 (But Should Still Check Out)

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More stories from Jonathan Extract

Blackstar Shines Bright
February 2, 2016

Jon Elbaz

Jon Elbaz

Aside from ”To Pimp a Butterfly” by Kendrick Lamar  and ”Currents,” the third studio album by Australian rockers Tame Impala, major record releases of 2015 (like Adele’s “25”) seemed to smother radio waves, leaving little room for competition. While everyone is still bumping Kendrick, here are five other tracks that are worth checking out:

1) “Beautiful Blue Sky” – Ought

I caught Ought while covering Pitchfork Music Festival, and while practically every kid and their dad was watching Wilco, I was treated to the blissful surprise of seeing this song live, and it was great. What is most captivating is Tim Darcy’s vocals.With an artsy smack of Iggy Pop, he lashes out the mundane drivel of everyday life, “How’s the family?/Fancy seeing you here/Time and off again” to ecstatic and transcendental levels. The effect is mesmerizing.

2) “Bunker Buster” – Viet Cong

Viet Cong have had a bittersweet year. Their debut record initially received critical acclaim, but was ultimately snubbed by most music critics for top 2015 picks. Furthermore, the controversy over their poorly chosen name has taken the spotlight away from their ferocious and satisfying live shows. ”Bunker Buster” highlights all of the best aspects of Viet Cong; juxtaposed icy and melodic chords over biting grungy energy-  all in off timing – while culminating into one cohesive and exciting track. By far it’s one of the best songs of the year.

3) “Note to Self” – Mild High Club

“Timeline,” Mild High Club’s debut record, was the psychedelic album that I really wanted this year. It doesn’t have the lush, hook-filled precision of Tame Impala’s ”Currents,” , but this hazy- dazey, melodic, dreamy LP easily sneaked past Mac Demarco’s ”Another One” to become my make-out record of the year . Kissing aside, tracks like ”Note to Self” provide a colorful, seemingly effortless mood with jangly guitars, tasteful synths, and dreamy lyrics and vocals. This track is certainly  the highlight of the record.

4) “T.I.W.Y.G.” – Savages

Savages are like The Pretenders of 2015, except this time Chrissie Hynde is pissed.  Given the three excellent singles that have dropped in promotion of their upcoming album ”Adore Life, T.I.W.Y.G stands out  as an aggressive and exciting new sound. Perhaps it is indicative of where lead singer Jehnny Beth’s head it right now: someplace angry, vengeful, and yet vulnerable. 

5) “Be Small” – Here We Go Magic

This was another record completely snubbed by the music critic machine. Here We Go Magic was a promising group back in 2009, but they then proceeded to make a series of sleepy records that lost the attention of anyone who had been listening. They do a 180 with “Be Small” as a record, creating a complicated, artsy, Brian-Eno-like affair, with beautiful production and hypnotic composition. The title track brilliantly highlights all these motifs.

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