Inevitably, the releases of the year 2015 (part three)

Onwards with more of the best new releases of 2015, as usual in no order, but with the first mentioned especially worthy of earspace…

Oblivionized – Life Is A Struggle, Give Up (Secret Law Records)


Oblivionized spent the years 2008 – 2013 or so building a style that was dense, technical, experimental and explosive and roughly in the borderlands between technical death metal and grindcore, a period perhaps best experienced on 2011’s Abhorrent Evolution EP. Thereafter, the band reconfigured to a three piece and stripped their music to its unpredictable, emotionally volatile core. Life Is A Struggle… is the perfect encapsulation of the style they arrived at and is a perfect distillation of some of the more vital aspects of the UK extreme [enter preferred genre name here] underground.

Oblivionized band

Ratatat – Magnifique (XL Recordings)


Ratatat’s peculiar ‘rocktronica’ is as distinctive as ever on this, their fifth album. I haven’t heard all of their work, but based on the bits I know, this seems ‘typical’, in that it is strangely soothing even when woozily off key or actually sort of instrumental-version-of-Queen-ish.

Nechwochen – Heart of Akamon (Nordvis Produktion)


2015 was a good year for folk and/or ‘heritage’ influenced American black metal and while Obsequiae (rightly) got most of the plaudits for the extraordinary Aria of Vernal Tombs (which will feature in this end-of-year-roundup at some point), Nechochwen’s Heart of Akamon is a superbly atmospheric album which has its roots in the history and culture of north America – still surprisingly rare in USBM compared to the influence of essentially European themes.

Alif – Aynama-Rtama (Nawa Recordings)


I hate to use a term as meaningless as ‘world music’ but I don’t know enough about Arabic music (or want to, really) to say anything very intelligent about this beautiful and (to my ears) unusually-textured music.

Chris Cornell – Higher Truth (Universal Music)


Despite my affection for Soundgarden, I was quite surprised to find how much I enjoyed this album; compared to recent Chris Cornell albums, it’s simple, straightforward, not boring and heartfelt. Plus his voice is still great.

OLD ALBUM OF THE YEAR: contender# 3

Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers – Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers (Berserkley Records, 1976)


Genuinely timeless in its strange mixture of sparse instrumentation (acoustic guitar/bass/drums), harmony vocals and childishly straightforward songwriting; a great album