Thursday, December 31, 2015

Best Music of 2015: #1 Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell

It's happened in a number of prior years. Going into December, I basically have my mind made up regarding my #1 album, then I give some late consideration to #2 only to eventually realize I had it right in the first place.

One such year that comes to mind is 2005 when I briefly considered Sufjan Stevens' Illinois over Okkervil River's Black Sheep Boy

Stevens was in my top spot most of this year, but in the later months it looked like Kacey Musgraves would end up #1. So, it looked like Sufjan was going to be a bridesmaid once again, but upon giving several final listens to both Carrie & Lowell and Pageant Material, I realized the former was clearly my favorite of 2015.

This being the darkest album on my year-end list, it pairs well with the darkest beer among my 2015 favorites, Bell's Expedition Stout.

Thanks to those of you who tuned into my little best-of-2015 countdown, despite an 11-month absence here. I'm not sure what 2016 has in store for this blog, but I wish you all the best in the new year. Cheers.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Best Music of 2015: #2 Kacey Musgraves - Pageant Material

Every Christmas I buy my dad a CD of one of the year's best country albums, in my opinion. It's not always my favorite, but rather something I really like that I think he will too.

This is the highest-ranking album I've given him as a gift, at least partly because it's so damn difficult to buy CDs anymore. I was initially a little concerned about the frequency of (mostly) subtle marijuana references on this one, but I couldn't find Willie and Merle's Django & Jimmie, so I went with it. 

Pageant Material is chock full of clever lyrics about simple living, being yourself and generally just not being an asshole. It seems like the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon of drinking Lagunitas Born Yesterday. Oh, and there may actually be another connection.

Best Music of 2015:
#3 CHVRCHES - Every Open Eye

CHVRCHES are the first of two female-fronted acts in my top three. While, in this case, we're talking about a female lead vocalist backed by two male members, the remaining female artist is a solo act.

The Scottish electro-pop band made my top 20 with their 2013 debut album, but really elevated their game this year with Every Open Eye, a record with barely a weak moment.

It's also the most unique album on my year-end list of mostly rootsy stuff, kind of like a Pipeworks Yuzu Saison on a beer list dominated by IPAs. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Best Music of 2015:
#4 Jason Isbell - Something More Than Free

Jason Isbell is the third artist in this year's top tenRyan Adams and Tame Impala are the othersto score their second top ten this decade. The fourth such act to hold this distinction is Isbell's former band, the Drive-By Truckers, but they did it in the decade's first two years and had their run of five consecutive top ten albums end last year.

It's safe to say Isbell has overtaken his former band, in popularity for sure, and now in my eyes as well. So, I'm raising a toast to him in the form of a Brewmaster Jack The Little Brother.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Best Music of 2015:
#5 Tallest Man on Earth - Dark Bird is Home

Sweden's Tallest Man on Earth is the first (but not the last) European artist to show up on this year's list, with Australia's Tame Impala the only other non-American act.

That's right, no Canadians this year (no Ryan/Bryan Adams jokes, please). Actually, the northerners haven't been doing as well as they used to this decade, but if Neil Young could've made an album that was as strong all the way through as The Monsanto Years' best songs, it might be a different story. 

For fairly obvious reasons, Dark Bird is Home would go perfectly with Tree House Green.