Now the Pazz & Jop is out, so I can check for albums from early in the year that I’d forgotten. Here’s my best-of list, in which compared to the nominal P&J critic I overvalue sonic beauty and timbre, production and engineering, and harmony; undervalue lyrics, melody. (For reference: 2013 and 2012)
Best-of 2015 (version 3)
Punch Brothers, best of the year, of which every time I listened I think of someone to whom I could drop-ship a copy.
Joanna Newsom, almost as good as Have One on Me, maybe better if you appreciate the efficiency of packing as much into a single-album package.
Sufjan Stevens, took a while to grow on me, unusual in serving equally well as background music or listening music
Low, my favorite of all the Lows so far, just the right mix of spooky and something else
Dave Rawlings Machine, is not a Gillian Welch record, but as close as we get is still a really engrossing listen
Sturgill Simpson, like everyone else who liked this album, I don’t much like country, but I keep listening for that vocal tone and will file it away between Bill Callahan and Nick Cave
Torres, rockous and catchy in the same way that Metric used to be
Metric, rockous and catchy almost in the same way that Metric used to be
Decemberists, slowest burner of the year (as was The King is Dead) but now pop-easy to listen to and hum along