Six Underrated Albums of 2015

Other Lives, Rituals
rituals
Stillwater, Oklahoma-based atmospheric indie rockers invoke names like Alt-J, Fleet Foxes, and early Radiohead.
 

Ultimate Painting, Green Lanes
greenlanes
Formed by James of Veronica Falls and Jack of Mazes, this duo crafts simple and true ’60s and ’70s-inspired guitar pop.
 

Ryley Walker, Primrose Green
primrosegreen
An accomplished fingerstyle guitarist/songwriter whose music bridges similarities with Tim Buckley’s, Sandy Bull’s, Davey Graham’s and John Martyn’s.
 

Zun Zun Egui, Shackle’s Gift
shacklesgift
Bristol-based band blending an eclectic mix of genres.
 

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Paper Mâché Dream Balloon
papermachedreamballoon
Freaked-out psychedelic madness by way of Melbourne, Australia.
 

Bop English, Constant Bop
constantbop
Colorful retro pop from White Denim frontman James Petralli’s solo project.

EL VY

My dad told me to check these guys out. A quirky musical collaboration between National vocalist/lyricist Matt Berninger and multi-instrumentalist Brent Knopf of Menomena and Ramona Falls.

Love & Mercy

Love-Mercy

“When you listen to Pet Sounds, use earphones in the dark, and you can hear everything.”

Though I’ve long known that Pet Sounds is considered one of the greatest albums ever recorded, it was not until I watched a film called Love & Mercy that I ever gave the record a proper listen.

The movie depicts two eras in the life of the Beach Boys’ musical genie Brian Wilson. The mid-60s version, played by Paul Dano, is a young man overflowing with sonic inspiration, and hints at the shadow that will eventually swallow Wilson for a while. John Cusack plays the man in the 1980s, when he has become zombified by a mad doctor who badly mistreats Wilson’s mental disease.

While both eras of the picture are compelling, it was the sections that focused on the Pet Sounds sessions that intrigued me the most and made me seek out these songs. I now listen to the album on repeat on my long walk to work, letting it’s whimsical melancholy wash over me like a harmonic ocean.

The movie is worth seeing if only to give you a chance to hear life with new ears.

Ultimate Painting

Ultimate-Painting
Formed by James of Veronica Falls and Jack of Mazes, this duo crafts simple and true ’60s and ’70s-inspired guitar pop. Their latest album, Green Lanes, is great bopping-around music.

Influenced by: The Velvet Underground
Similar to: Real Estate

New Music: Other Lives

Other-Lives

These guys opened for Radiohead a few years back and yet hardly anyone’s heard of them. An Oklahoma band that sings from the heartland. Haunting strings and ethereal vocals, perfect for a folksy Western soundtrack. New album, Rituals, is that electrified. They’re on tour now, so buy a ticket if they’re coming to your town.

Wasted Words (already been heard)

bookcoverskysun

“There’s new love, heartbreak, good friends, not-that-much studying and a-few-too-many beers, all written with great wit. Highly recommended.”

“This short novel gives an insightful and emotional perspective of a college student who is an outsider even when he is in a group. The prose is witty and playful, the comedic elements are laugh out loud funny, and there is no doubt this book will touch anyone who has ever felt different.”

“Lucas’s apathy is often frustrating but ultimately heart-breaking as he drifts through life waiting for something that never truly comes. Wonderfully written with an acerbic wit and deep vulnerability, Wasted Words is an ideal read for the many who feel a haunting disappoint in life. Highly recommended.”

“A must read for those with a misspent youth. And for those current adolescents, a road map by which to guide the next years of your life. Enjoy.”

Click here to read Wasted Words.