Dave’s Music Discoveries 2015

December 27, 2015

I enjoyed documenting my music discoveries last year so much that I thought I would go ahead and do it again this year.  I kind of had it in mind all year that I was going to do this though, so I’ve had albums in the back of my mind all year.  My list has been constantly changing with each new discovery, and each time I would come across a new favourite, it would bump off something else – sometimes an album that had been on the list for a while.  It was hard to let go of some albums, and I was almost tempted to make this a top 10 list instead of a top 5.  I ended up scrapping that idea; I found the farther away from #1 I got, the harder it was to put them in order.  Five is a much more manageable number.

Since I was paying closer attention to new music throughout the year, there were a few big changes that happened in the industry that I noticed as soon as they happened.  The first is the change to new music day.  Tuesday has for decades been the day that people would be lined up at their record stores all across North America to get the latest from their music heroes.  As of July 10 of this year, the day is now Friday.

 The other change is the unfortunate demise of the online music streaming service Rdio.  I wasted my time singing its praises last year, and I apologize to any that jumped on that sinking ship.  Just over a month ago, they filed for bankruptcy.  I have since switched to Spotify, the reasons for which would be another article for another time.

For now, without further ado, let’s start this year’s countdown starting at number 5!


#5) Atlas Genius – Inanimate Objects


When I first listened to this album, it was the day after it came out in late August.  I was doing a long run, training for a half marathon and this album was on repeat.  I had one of the best runs of my training!

I love the sound of this one, fitting right in my rock/electro happy place.  It was a great follow up to their first album released in 2013 (you may remember “Trojans” and “If So” from that album).  So far, Molecules is the only one I’ve heard on the radio, but there isn’t a bad song on the whole album.  “The Stone Mill” is a good intro song easing you into the album, “Stockholm” brings you along with its strong chorus, and “Friends With Enemies” shows you their range with a song you could slow dance to.  I would see them next time they make the trip from their hometown of Adelaide, South Australia to Vancouver.

Here is a link to their video for Stockholm which made it onto the FIFA ’16 game sound track:

It’s not an exciting video, but it shows you where the album art comes from.  It may look like a robot kitteh wearing a gas mask, but it turns out that’s not the case.


#4) Chvrches – Every Open Eye

This was an album that was highly anticipated by me because my top album of 2013 was their debut entitled “The Bones of What You Believe”.  The sophomore album wasn’t a disappointment.  I do have to say, I like the songs performed by Lauren Mayberry best, so the track “High Enough to Carry You Over” is a bit of a yawn for me.  What can I say, she’s kinda my music crush.  She’s not just a nice voice though; she has a law degree and a masters in journalism.  The schooling comes in handy for double checking contracts with music labels and lyric writing, I’m sure!  The Glaswegian (from Glasgow) accent doesn’t hurt either.
This album has the farthest leaning on the electronic side for my list this year, and as is common with any kind of EDM, it’s hard to provide a whole lot of variety.  My one complaint with the album is that by the time you hit “Bury It” (Track 10), it feels like the record is already on repeat.

Here’s a link to the first single “Leave a Trace”:

I think this song will cause many an in-car argument on whether she says the word ‘relief’ or ‘release’.  Actually, she says both; she changes the word between the bridge and the chorus.  Argument settled.


#3) Børns – Dopamine

This was a late entry into my list.  It came out in mid-October, but I didn’t really discover it until a few weeks ago.  I’ve been hearing “Electric Love” for a while on satellite radio, and “10,000 Emerald Pools for the first time a couple weeks ago.  The album is such a great listen.  The music sound is just so well layered and I found it lyrically satisfying too; describing a girl’s eyes as ‘green like American money’… how cool is that?

I always like a good singer too, and Garrett Borns has one of those strong high ranges, with perfect harmonies though a lot of the songs.  Don’t let his stage name fool you into thinking he’s super exotic/foreign though; he’s from Michigan.

I predict the next single will be “Dug My Heart”.  I can see it being a favourite song for mushy couples the world over.  Here’s the video for his first hit “Electric Love” though:

The video gets a bit trippy, but I like him, and I look forward to see what he comes out with next.


#2) Tame Impala – Currents

This album has gotten a lot of play time from Dana and I while we’re hanging out at the house chilling.  It’s a chill album, that’s all there is to say about it.  I would expect nothing less from a band that has been described as being in the category of ‘psychedelic rock’.

For his influence for the sound of this album, the mastermind behind Tame Impala – Kevin Parker – said he listened to the Bee Gees while on mushrooms.  He also likes to experiment with sounds and fool the listener into thinking a guitar is a synth and stuff like that.  However he does it, I like the result.

Some of my favourite tracks include “Eventually” with its good use of the quick pause, and with the catchiness of “‘Cause I’m a Man” I’m often catching myself with it stuck in my head.

The only negatives I can think of are the talking parts in “Past Life” and the broken record part of “Let It Happen” that goes on for just a bit too long.  Fortunately, that part isn’t included in the video version that reduces the song length by about three-and-a-half minutes:

There’s also a video for “The Less I Know The Better”, but I won’t post that because it’s pretty NSFW.  One last thing though: with the origins of this band being Perth Australia, that now makes two Aussie bands making my list this year!  Good on ya Aussies!


#1) Joywave – How Do You Feel Now?

This album has held the top spot for most of the year on my constantly changing list.  I just gave it another good listen to see if I could find any songs to comment on that stand out for me.  It was harder than I thought it would be; it’s just solid all the way through.  If you’re with me so far on my music taste, and you haven’t given this album a listen yet, do it!

Most people would have first heard music from this Rochester band back in 2013 with the collaboration they did with Bid Data called “Dangerous”.  They followed up with an EP in 2014 entitled “How Do You Feel?”, and their first full length album “How Do You Feel Now?” didn’t come out until April of this year.

Here is the video for the first single off the album “Somebody New”.  I thought it was a fun video but it definitely goes under the category of ‘don’t try this at home’…

Yeah, I like them even better after seeing this.  I can’t say enough good stuff about this album.  If anyone hears about any concert dates, be sure to reach out to me; I think these guys would be awesome live.


Well, that does it for this year’s list.  I should give a mention to a few albums that didn’t quite make the list but deserve an honourable mention.  That list for me would include ‘Glitterbug’ by The Wombats (would have had a better chance without the whiny guitar intro on track 1!), ‘Blurryface’ by Twenty One Pilots (I so wanted to include this one!  They do an amazing job of blurring genre lines, and without the use of a banjo I might add…), ‘2.0’ by Big Data, ‘Vitals’ by Mutemath, ‘LOVETAP!’ by Smallpools, ‘Girls in Peacetime Want To Dance’ by Belle & Sebastian, ‘Wiped Out!’ by The Neighbourhood, and Nothing But Thieves’ self-titled album.  I’ll leave it to you to explore these other great albums at your leisure.

I’m already looking forward to new music in 2016 including new stuff from Panic! At the Disco, Bloc Party, St. Lucia, Chairlift and The 1975 to name a few.  If anyone out there reading this shares my love of new music, feel free to pass along your discoveries with me!  Until next year, keep rocking in the free world and all that…



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