Friday, January 1, 2016

2015 and its beautiful music, as told by its beautiful musicians

Another year come and gone! This one was busy for me in and out of the music world, I wrote a couple reviews for Cvlt Nation in the spring, I continued playing bass with my heavy shoegaze/post-rock trio Cosmic Yawn, I screamed about the gods of Chaos in Great Unclean Ones (coming soon), and I wrote FREE BITCH on my stomach as I screamed a Lady Gaga cover into a mic’d warhorn with Cøurtney. Outside of music, I played some sweet video games and then got hired on as a Research Assistant in a lab. But enough ado, here are the lists of top albums from some of Nashville’s finest:

Mikey Owins (Boo Dudes, Ascent of Everest)
Golden Xtrx magick pens
Title Fight - Hyperview
Astrobrite - Deluxer
Cloakroom - Further Out
Greywoods - Infinite Nothing
Idle Bloom - Some Paranoia
Cheatahs - EPs/Mythologies
Supercrush EPs
John Carpenter - Lost themes
Chain of Flowers - S/T
Chasm of Teeth - You Will Lose Everything
Yautja - Songs of Lament
Kraftwerk at the Ryman
DJ Ichabod
Barnie Sandlers
Edgy Egyptian Memes

Stan Richardson (Skoolgirl)
Sun hotel - Rational Expectations
Taylor & the Puffs - Knifer
Linear Downfall - Sufferland

I believe Sun Hotel's Rational expectations (their final album) is the best album by what I consider to be one of the best bands I've heard that started since the late 2000s. Best album of the year. Listen to it. Then listen to it again 5 more times and you will finally be able to fully appreciate the masterpiece that it is.
Also Sharks' Teeth/Somebodyparts (split) - Jaundiced Views (it's a cassette and digital) Former local somebodyparts and sun hotel frontman Sharks' Teeth comes an incredible collaboration
Knifer is the best weird pop rock record you've never heard. Taylor Hollingsworth is a genius and he's completely unaware of it. Highlights "Knifer" "Saturday Cartoons" and "No Dad" no physical copies which is a goddamn crime but hey at least it's on Spotify.

Taylor Carpenter (Bleed the Pigs, Mother Adam, Deaf Kid)
As far as Nashville goes, Yautja put out one of the best records of the year with Songs of Lament. They also put out a very cool split with Fórn. They are one of the most crushingly relentless bands I have ever listened to. Act of Impalement is another one of my favorite bands in Nashville. They released a demo and their split with Forest of Tygers this year. I never get tired of seeing them live. Last but certainly not least, Synecdoche is definitely one of the coolest bands in Nashville. They put out an EP this year that is killer. Synecdoche also runs Nostromo, which is where they started putting on house shows this year. All of the money from Nostromo shows goes right into the pockets of touring bands, which is how it should be in my opinion. Another DIY space called Drkmttr also opened up this year. All of the shows that I’ve played at Nostromo and Drkmttr have had a great turnout. This was a great year for music in Nashville.

That being said, here’s what stood out to me this year:
Act of Impalement - Split w/ Forest of Tygers
Axis - Show Your Greed
Chon - Grow
Cult Leader - Lightless Walk
Deafheaven - New Bermuda
High on Fire - Luminiferous
Loma Prieta - Self Portrait
Mew - +-
xRepentancex - The Sickness of Eden
Synecdoche - Carry Your Head
Toe - Hear You
Torche - Restarter
Yautja - Songs of Lament

Nicky Schmidt (Van Hägar, Spoon Thief)
Favorite albums of 2015.
Between switching jobs, career paths, and cities, i havent had a lto of time to sit and listen to as much new music as ive wanted to, so my list will be short. These are the best albums I've heard this year.
Call of the Void - Ageless
Hailing from Denver, formerly known as Iron Horse before being signed to Relapse and having to change their name. this is a rare breed of heaviness that trascends genres in a very original, "not trying too hard" sort of way. I think a lot of heavy music is hard to really pin down and explain to people. and that's what draws me to it.
The guitar and bass playing, the riffs, the insanely powerful drumming, the vocals: every aspect of this band is as tight as it could be. see them live or buy their LP, you wont be disappointed.
Bummer - Spank
BUMMER from KC have been at it for a long while for a bunch of young dudes. with a few short EPs under their belt, theyve been taking their time really working out their own sound. They are a rare band that sounds heavy and fucking huge on Record, and then blows that record out of the fucking water live. They tour a lot and are some of the nicest young men you'll ever meet.
Their new EP Spank is fuckin amazing start to finish. for fans of Melvins, Waxeater, Vestibule, Wrangler Brutes, SST.
Fight Amplification - Constantly off
Slow, Heavy, Punk rock. With songs all clocking in under 4 minutes. Even with slow music i dont have the attention span for 9 minute long songs. Really tight players doing something that could be labels stoner metal if they through the word "bong" in a title somewhere.
La Armada - Crisis
Last but not least (told you it'd be short) is La armada's Crisis EP. This band makes me care about Hardcore again. one of the most interesting albums ive heard in years. It technically came out in 2014 but i didn't hear it until this year. sue me its on my list.

Jazzi Bay Mowery (Van Hägar)
New albums for the year that were too good:

Well, first I've got to mention this band Burn/Ward and their Black Friday Demo. I had never heard of this band until just this September. Since we've moved to Richmond from Nashville (I know, I'm not local anymore and I'm cheating by being on this list of people with opinions) we've seen them twice, and I just want to see this band play every day. Totally crushing powerviolence, super tight. They make me get that big, dumb involuntary grin on my face every time, and this demo is amazing. 

Another RVA band that makes me make stupid faces is Caust. I might be a little biased because these guys are some of my favorite people ever, but they legitimately blow me away every time I see them. If you find yourself in the mood for some brutal screamo/emoviolence that makes you drool -and may or may not be sassy?- listen to Anatomy and Dissection that came out this April, and then proceed to binge-listen to the rest of their stuff.

Ex-Breathers from Tallahassee also put out a fucking killer record this year, called Past Tense. They never seem to disappoint, live or on recordings, and it's all totally unique, never the same. Whoever said that you can't do anything new or different with a hardcore punk band is a fucking idiot.

Of course on the Nashville local docket is everyone's favorite short-short sporting SillyBoy duo, Gnarwhal with Shinerboy. This record is beautiful, and it feels like we've been waiting forever to get it. For how long I've known these two, this album makes me get a little misty when I hear it, because you can really tell how much they've both grown as musicians. And people, really, but on top of that it's dedicated to a dear departed true Nashville original and one-of-a-kind artist and friend, Dylan Pitman, who took the picture on the album's cover, which gets me more than a little misty. 

One of my favorite fastcore/powerviolence/experimental mindfuck bands that jumps back and forth from a million genres with not only ease but dumbfounding sucess (kind of like Nashville weather! Don't like it? Wait 30 seconds.), Violent Opposition from California, has put out an immense amount of material this year. Basically all of it is for splits with other bands like Mindboil, Embryonic Devourment, and, ahem, Van Hagar. Listening to all of it takes about 10 minutes, but if you're like me, you keep playing it over and over saying "Wait, what the fuck did I just hear?". 

Grin and Bear It, powerviolence kings of Cleveland, put out a few tracks this year for splits with Gods America and MDFL, and I've just been listening to them on repeat with my head in my hands, contemplating giving up on music. As those who know me well or those who for some reason ever watched me during shows instead of the bands playing at the Owl Farm would know, I have a nasty little habit of tearing up or full on crying like a baby whenever I see a really good powerviolence or grindcore band play. There just happen to be multiple videos of Grin and Bear It playing at venues I've run in Nashville (taken by Jesse Mowery, the show recording master) with me standing just within view, losing my shit and literally crying for more. Go listen to this band right now.

Finally, I have to list Thetan, the elusive Nashville powerviolence two-piece that pleases my little southern heart and powerviolence fetish simultaneously. Thetan is unstoppable, and Dan and Chad are constantly cranking out better and better material -and quickly. Take your pick of their split with Bleed the Pigs, Who Will Protect Us//Relief pt2, or (the admittedly not-so-quick release) the 4-way split with Stubborn Father, Altar of Complaints, and SeeK. They're all great, but the latter is specifically notable because it has been very, VERY long awaited and shows off two Nashville locals -Thetan, obiously, and Alter of Complaints, a sadly defunct screamo "super group"- and two Japanese bands: SeeK and Stubborn Father. Snatch a copy up if you get the chance, because it's a small run and there's lot of people waiting for this record for a while, not to mention its truly an fantastic record that I highly recommend (if that means anything).

Jesse Mowery (Van Hägar, Altar of Complaints)
When I first was asked to write about my favorite releases of 2015 I thought it would be easy. Then I started going through what I liked that was released this year and realized there was a ton of stuff I had to list, so to not take up too much space or time I'll just mostly put a short description with a link to where you can listen to it. The past few years I've been mostly listening to post-hardcore/real screamo/emoviolence, so don't be surprised as to how much of what I list is that, but there's so much going on all over the world they all sound different, so if you don't like one band I put down don't let that deter you from checking out others, because while the genre tags may be the same the sounds are very varied.

Hurt Ensemble "Still"- Post-hardcore/post-rock from Providence, RI
Maths "The Fires Courting The Sea"- Chaotic Hardcore/emoviolence from UK (don't know where exactly)
Burn/Ward "Black Friday Demo 2015"- Grindcore/powerviolence from Richmond, VA
Envy "Atheist's Cornea"- Japan's longest running forward thinking hardcore band's first album in 5 years encompasses the different sounds of their entire career, from melodic hardcore to beautiful post-rock, Envy's influence worldwide shows more and more each year
Sed Non Satiata/Carrion Spring split- Sed Non Satiata hail from France and deliver more of their signature beautiful post-hardcore, while Carrion Spring from Portland, OR further their dark mathy screamo sound. Both bands have some wonderful guitar work going on.
Greyscale "Limn Everything"- I've been listening to and playing shows with these dudes from Memphis, TN for quite a few years now, and every time I see them they have changed in some way, always moving forward with their sound. This album has way more ambiance to it than previous releases, yet is more technical at the same time, with the guitar playing reminding me of Hot Cross.
Tropical Ice Land "C"- emoviolence from Torello, Spain. Silly name, great chaotic stuff
New Grass "Fake Drums"- New Grass is a one man mathy hardcore/screamo project based out of Philly now, and like the name of the ep suggests, he uses programmed drums. Somehow the music comes across as very organic and complete though. If you are a fan of Capsule I highly recommend you check this out, I'm waiting for more from this guy.
Ravin "Ravin II"- Ravin are from Perpignan, France and play some great spastic melodic hardcore/screamo. Their ep last year was one of my favorites, and while they've changed vocalists and don't have the blackened overtones of the previous, this is still a beautiful chaotic release. A great extension of the French screamo sound
Ostraca "Deathless"- Richmond, Va's Ostraca used to be called Kilgore trout until one of the guitarists left the band last year. This is their first release since then, and lacking a member hasn't stopped them from progressing their sound. There is definitely a strong June Paik influence, but they aren't ripping them off in any way either. Very dark, depressing chaotic emoviolence
People's Temple Project/Мятеж split- I may be a little biased towards this, as I played bass in the touring version of Мятеж, but I love both of these bands. People's Temple Project are from Long Island, NY and play a version of screamo that is very 90's influenced without sounding rehashed or dated, ffo Indian Summer, Shotmaker, Amber Inn. Мятеж is a collaborative project between Chris Story from Portland, OR, who played in a bunch of bands in the 90's like Makara, The Anasazi, Jenny Piccolo, and Yaphet Kotto, and David Norman from Hamilton, Ontario, who runs one of my favorite labels Zeguma Beach Records. Chris does all of the music and David does vocals. The music varies from chaotic emoviolence to more post-rocky ambient depressing jams.
Tentacles "Ambivalence"- stunning grind/emoviolence from San Antonio, TX, super crushing and brutal.
Republic Of Dreams/Autarkeia split- Republic Of Dreams are from different parts of Germany and have all been in other amazing German bands like Louise Cyphre, Apoplexy Twist Orchestra, Tristan Tzara, and Ressurectionists, plus their bassist Lars runs the amazing label React With Protest. They deliver 5 tracks of chaos reminiscent of Jerome's Dream and Louise Cyphre. Autarkeia are from Ft. Lauderdale, FL and play 90's influenced screamo. They have one track but it is easily one of their darkest and heaviest yet. The drummer Nevin also runs IFB records and has one of the best distros I've ever seen.
Anodes/Laika split- Both bands reside in St. Louis, MO, and while both can be called screamo they have different sounds and approaches. Anodes are one of my favorite active bands, and while there are plently of bands that get compared to Envy they are one of a few that I would actually compare to them, as I kinda hold Envy in pretty high regards. Their sound is more depressing though, there are no glimpses of light in their music. Laika are more mathy and urgent sounding, but still very dark and depressing too. This is their first and will probably their only release with 2 guitars, as the 2nd guitar player left the band I believe. While very spastic and chaotic, there are many groovy and even jazzy parts in their songs.
Via Fondo "Efter, Utan Under"- Sweden has been at the forefront of extreme music for years now, but only really in the past 5 years has there been surge of screamo/post-hardcore bands coming out. That being said, there is very much a Swedish screamo sound, and Via Fondo are helping push that sound a lot. Very beautiful dissonant melodies that are crushing at the same time, with a lot of delayed guitar parts as well and very driving drums.

Now onto some stuff from Nashville:
Gnarwhal "Shinerboy"- I waited so long for this to come out, and it was totally worth it. I've known these dudes since their first show, and they've only gotten better and better. A lot of this material was written in a short time, as they used to be a 4 piece, but 2 of them quit when they already had a tour booked with the Catalyst, so I think they maybe played once as a 2 piece before going on tour. Having less members hasn't limited their music, it's in fact enhanced it and given it freedom to grow into something unique. I really can't think of many bands to compare them to, maybe a mix of Tiny Hawks and A Flower Kollapsed? I dunno, they rule and are amazing live, and I can't wait to hear where they go next on their music journey. I'm so happy they are touring a lot and that a label picked this up, because they are some hard working mofos.
Yautja "Songs Of Lament"- Tyler from Gnarwhal also plays in the mighty Yautja. Anyone who's seen them will agree they are one of the best metal bands out right now. There's a reason why bands like Cult Leader and Inter Arma are taking them on tours and that their first LP with Forcefield records is on it's 3rd pressing already. You can't pigeonhole this band and say they sound like this or that band, you can only kinda guess who their influences are. With each release they move metal forward, a world that often holds itself back.
Mother Adam "I"- The term metalcore, like screamo, tends to carry some negative weight to most people who haven't really looked into it or only know more mainstream examples of the music. Mother Adam resides more in the world of Botch and Coalesce, but with plenty of blast beats and some blackened overtones. Yes, there are breakdowns and chug parts, but they manage to do them in a way that's not cheesy or macho.
Nouveau "All Narrows Unsutured"- Although they are based in Chicago now, I still think of Nouveau as a Nashville band cos, well that's how I know them. Zach moved up to Chicago, where the drummer Michael is going to school, so they could focus on their music more. They got a consistent bassist up there, which shows in the writing. The music is still in the realm of real screamo, but you can hear the influence of Tera Melos, and even parts that remind me of bands like June of 44. There is a big maturation between their first album and this, and I can't wait to hear more from them.
Lastly, Thetan has put out 3 releases this year and had a release show for all of them on the same day. Dan has always been a major force in the local Nashville scene, playing in bands like Moral Decay, Sanctions, and Karoshi, plus recording and mastering bands, and now doing plates and etchings for vinyl for people all over. Thetan have their own sound, frantic bass/drum powerviolence mixed with elements of almost all other extreme music genres. Check out their 3 releases, especially the 4 way split, which maybe I'm biased because one my bands Altar of Complaints is on it, but the other 2 bands from Japan Seek and Stubborn Father both rule.
Well I ended up going against what I originally said and didn't keep it short, and I know I forgot some stuff, and I know there's some stuff I haven't heard that should probably be on this list, but I've already spent too much time on this and am tired of starting at a screen.

Keith Chandler (Lucy Stoner, Oceanray, grand vizier of Sweet Sounds Records)
best shows that i saw in nashville all happened at mouthhole or phat bites.
best shows were mission of burma, faith no more, hum, death grips,
best local bands i saw were pelvis lesly, cosmic yawn, the chewers, fragments of god
but by far and large the best thing about the year was all the good shit that went down with sweet sounds records and the mouthole and all the cool bands and people we met and got to hang with
our little personal community, us seeing that burroughs doc at belcourt (highlight of the year for sure); everyone going to the shows and being around; all the good pot we smoked...
that stuff.
Another of the best concerts was seeing some jazz band play A Love Supreme in it's entirety. It was an all Coltrane night but the best part was it was in the historic Fisk Chapel. That was a fuckin' smokin' set.

Spencer Moore (Chasm of Teeth, Animality, Phobos)
Intronaut - dank titties prog metal to make love to, Cattle - dank titties death metal to make you hate humanity, Chon - dank titties prog rock to make you love everybody, Hate Eternal - dank titties death metal to kill people to, Maruta - dank titties grind to make you want to punch a hole in the wall, Der Weg - dank titties black metal to make you feel sad and cold, Four Year Strong - dank titties pop punk/hardcore that makes you want to sing and get better at guitar, Dahlia - dank titties melodeath that's perfect for beer drinking and weed smoking, Cult Leader - dank titties angry, hate-filled tunes, Torche - dank titties sludgey happy summer jams, Arkaik - dank titties groovy tech death, Abiotic - ^see above description, A Loathing Requiem - dank titties technical and melodic death metal by the mastermind of Inferi, Abhorrent - dank titties brutal slammin' nasty dissonant death metal, Mgla - dank titties atmospheric black metal to make you want to wear corpse paint and hang out in the woods, Baroness - dank titties metal-but-not-metal-psychedelic-rock jams that will stick in your head and never leave. So in short, 2015 was pretty dank titties.

Elias MacDonald (Chasm of Teeth, Altar of Complaints, Phobos)
Grievances - Kowloon Walled City
Grow - CHON
Summertime '06 - Vince Staples
Watcher/Sallow split
EP - Jr. Clooney
I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside - Earl Sweatshirt
For Christ Sake - ThouxandbandFauni
New Bermuda - Deafheaven
Year of the Savage - Robb Banks
The Direction of Last Things - Intronaut
Songs of Lament - Yautja
Greater Than - Basecamp
Shinerboy - Gnarwhal
Live From the East - Chris Travis
Freewave EP - Lucki Eck$
Pipe Dreams - Chico
Stain EP/Wet Twat - ICYTWAT
No More Thotties - UnoTheActivist
Wan Lovey - silkmoney
+ - (plus minus) - Mew

Kayhan Vaziri (Yautja, Coliseum)

Tyler Coburn (Yautja, Gnarwhal, Alraune)
Records i really really enjoyed this year: Palm - Trading Basics
Palm - Trading Basics
Pile - You’re Better Than This
Kowloon Walled City - Grievances
My Disco - Severe
Stove - Is Stupider
Voice Coils - Heaven’s Sense
Torche - Restarter
Bjork - Vulnicura
Ex-breathers - Past Tense
Viet Cong - Viet Cong
Krill - A Distant Fist Unclenching
Pissgrave - Suicide Euphoria
Krallice - Ygg huur
Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp A Butterfly

records i missed last year that i got way into this year:
Baring Teeth - Ghost Chorus Among Old Ruins
Mitski - Bury Me At Makeout Creek
Total Control - Typical System
Emptiness - Nothing but the Whole
Blonde Redhead – Barragan

Ethan Rock (Act of Impalement, Vile Desecration)
Archgoat – The Apocalyptic Triumphator
Noisem – Blossoming Decay
Genocide Pact – Forged Through Domination
All Hell – The Red Sect
Hellish - Theurgist

John Judkins (Laser Flames on the Great Big News, Rwake, Protomen)
What I listened to the most this year:
Vhol: Deeper Than the Sky
Royal Thunder: Crooked Doors
Tribulation: Children of the Night
Elder: Lore
The Sword: High Country
Jason Isbell: Something More Than Free
Torche: Restarter
Mutoid Man: Bleeder
Kurt Vile: B’lieve I’m Goin Down
High On Fire: Luminiferous
Natalie Prass: s/t
2014 releases but I listened to the shit outta these this year:
Zebulon Pike: Nostalgia for the Unreal
Yautja: Songs of Descent
Sturgill Simpson: Metamodern Sounds in Country Music
James McMurtry: Complicated Game

Derek Martin (Greywoods)
Albums I was really into this year:
Gold - No Image
Metz - II
Desolate Shrine - The Heart of the Netherworld
Disappears - Irreal
Ex Breathers - Past Tense
The Growlers - Gay Thoughts EP
Hivelords - Tapered Limbs of a Human Star
King Dude - Songs of Flesh and Blood - In the Key of Light
Sumac - The Deal
Yonatan Gat - Director
Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress
Forn - The Departure of Consciousness
Nightfell - Darkness Evermore
Leviathan - Scar Sighted
Joey Bada$$ - B4.DA.$$
Alabama Shakes - Sound and Color
Chon - Grow
Grime - Circle of Molesters

 Jesse Weilburg (Alraune, Chainshot, Sky Burial)
This list has no order or genre specifically, all albums had constant rotation in my life in 2015

Black Twilight Circle - Desert Dances and Serpent Sermons
Blaze Of Perdition - Near Death Revelations
Rixe - Coups & Blessures 7"
Deiphago - Into The Eye Of Satan
L.O.T.I.O.N. - Digital Control And Man's Obsolescence
Skepticism - Ordeal
Ysengrin/Black Grail Split - Nigrum Nigrius Nigro
Creeping - Revenant
Twin Shadow - Eclipse

Jeff Hyde (Lark's Tongue)
1. Alabama Shakes: Sound and Color
2. Disappears: Irreal
3. Tame impala: Currents
4. The Thing: Shake!
5. Kowloon Walled City: Grievances
6. White Manna: Pan
7. Ryley Walker: Primrose Green
8. Blown Out: Jet Black Hallucinations
9. Jane Weaver: The Silver Globe
10. Lubomyr Melnyk: Rivers and Streams

Chris Frey (Tijuana Goat Ride)
Sumac ~ The Deal
Fight Amp ~ Constantly Off
Kowloon Walled City ~ Grievances
Cherubs ~ 2 Yfynyty
He Whose Ox Is Gored ~ The Camel, The Lion, The Child
Motherfucker ~ Confetti
KEN mode ~ Success
Cloakroom ~ Further Out
Muted Man ~ Bleeder
And So I Watch You From Afar ~ Heirs
Chelsea Wolfe ~ Abyss
Wild Throne ~ Harvest of Darkness
my disco-severe

Blake Dellinger (Flummox)
My favorite record of the year has to be Fable Cry's "We'll Show You Where the Monsters Are." I listened to this album on repeat so many times without getting tired of it. Whenever I try to describe this band in short, I say they are kind of like if Danny Elfman and Ian Anderson had a rock band together. Yet they are so much more. The instruments utilized on this album that manage to weave together and blend together so elegantly boggles my mind as a musician. Anyone can take something from this album - everyone from the most hardened metal elitist to the least musically educated teenybopper. Close runner ups for my favorite record of the include the new albums from High on Fire, Faith No More, Ghost, & Opposite Box.

Lauren Strange (Lauren Strange and the Pretty Killers)
10) Runners in the Nerved World – The Sidekicks
9) FROOT - Marina & the Diamonds
8) Kintsugi – Death Cab for Cutie
7) American Spring – Anti-Flag
6) Fear and Saturday Night – Ryan Bingham
5) Zipper Down – Eagles of Death Metal
4) Ghost Notes – Veruca Salt
3) Petals - Darlia
2) Sorry – Meg Myers
1) Kicking Every Day – All Dogs

Josh Cochran (Billy Castro)
Top 5 of 2015
1. Deafheaven - New Bermuda
2. Windhand - Grief's Infernal Flower
3. Beach House - Depression Cherry
4. Baroness - Purple
5. Weedeater - Goliathan
Honorable Mention:
False - Untitled
Disappointment of the Year:
Modest Mouse - Strangers To Ourselves

T.G. Olsen (Across Tundras)
Dave Rawlings Machine "Nashville Obsolete"
Natalie Prass "S/T"
Florence + The Machine "How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful"
Lana Del Rey "Honeymoon"
City and Colour "If I Should Go Before You"
Fuzz "II" and live @ The Waiting Room
Dorthia Cottrell "S/T"
Tame Impala "Currents"
Dungen "Allas Sak"
Graveyard "Innocence and Decadence"
Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats "Night Creeper"

Chappy Hull (Gnarwhal, Davega Bike, Rusty Shackleford)
No particular order. If there is an album I missed on here, I obviously forgot.
Watcher/Sallow Split – My favorite two Nashville bands on one burned CD I listen to constantly in my car!?! Hell yeah
Spencer Radcliffe – Looking in – Got this for free on a whim and it really blows me away how much I like it. The production is really great and different along with the downright catchiness of the songs
Ava Luna – Infinite House – After I saw this band for the second time in two days at SXSW I knew this album would be my favorite of the year and it is. I love playing this for people.
Yautja – Songs of Lament – lol, duh.
Kowloon Walled City – Grievances – This band only gets better and better. The tones.
Swings – Detergent Hymns – Said I wouldn’t put any EIS records on here but the loophole is Swings also put out this album this year and it is a true rocker. One of the best bands to see live also.
Bully – Feels Like – Awesome to see Nashville bands really get out there. So catchy.
Sheep Shifter – Triple 7” Split Release – Another of my favorite local bands doing a really sick idea for a release with awesome etchings done by Black Matter Mastering
Edhochuli – Dream Warriors – One of my favorite bands with their best recording to date. These songs got the riffs.
All Exploding In Sound Releases – Didn’t want the entire list to be all Exploding in Sound releases so I put them all as one even though these releases were most of what I listened to this year. Love all the records Palm, Pile, Krill, Ex-Breathers, Woozy, Stove, and so many more.

Blake Conley (Cosmic Yawn, Little Paws, Lucy Stoner, Spoon Thief, Brother Ares)
*kurt vile- b'lieve i'm going down
*battles- la di da di
*waxahatchee- ivy trip
*colleen green- i wanna grow up
*algiers- s/t
*chelsea wolfe- abyss
*sleater-kinney- no cities to love
*theesatisfaction- earthee
*body/thou- you, whom i've always hated
*body/krieg- body/krieg
*mountain goats- beat the champ
*courtney barnett-sometimes i sit and think and sometimes i just sit
*built to spill- untether the moon
*speedy ortiz- foil deer
*metz- II
*goatsnake- black age blues
*eleventh dream day- works for tomorrow
*low- ones and sixes
*lana del rey- honeymoon
*wolf eyes- i am a problem: mind in pieces
*locrian- infinite disolusion
*spandrels- i hate songs and people
*sunn O)))- kannon
*disappears- irreal
*daughn gibson- carnation
*no joy- more faithful
*my disco- severe
sun city girls- torch of the mystics
okkerville river- black sheep boy
sonny sharrock- ask the ages

Dan Emery (Thetan)
Lord I'm a dummy. And a late one on top of that. Okay here is my list for the shoehorning. Top (Nashville) records of 2015... Sea Witch-Behold The Ancients LP- 2015 brought the return of one of Nashville's loudest, heaviest bands. This band was nearly lost to time. Only to sneak in through the back door early this year. This LP is 4 monolithic crushing fucking beasts. BETRAYAL is an unholy racket that takes me back to drinking in Centennial Park in 2006 and hearing them clear as day playing in the Springwater. They were seriously the loudest shit ever. Asschapel-Unearthed 1999 Demo- Asschapel has been my top favorite Nashville hardcore/thrash band for about 15 years. Their shows were the most chaotic. Their albums still stand the test of time. This late 90s demo only saw the light of day in the form of a handful of cassettes at the turn of the century. Remastered by some doofus, and unleashed back into the world earlier this year. Fuck. Act Of Impalement/Forest Of Tygers- Split 7"- AOI are the torchbearers of old school death metal perfection. Songs about war and death delivered with the right amount of crusty griminess. On the flip FOT come with a more polished sound that falls somewhere between shoegaze and black metal, but doesn't stick to any predisposed genre. The video for their song on this record is the best music video I have seen in years. Bleed The Pigs- Mind And Matter EP- BTP is one of my favorite bands to come out of Nashville in recent years. Lyrically they have some of the most on point things to say, and their live shows deliver those messages profoundly. With every new batch of songs, they reinvent themselves in the most menacing way. Yautja- Songs Of Lament EP- Yautja have been cementing their path in the metallic hardcore genre for a few years now. Everything new they record completely blows away their previous material, and NOTHING they have ever done can be perceived as sophomoric. They are in my opinion, Nashville hardcore's crown gem. I look forward to seeing how they top this record.

Jody Lester (Flummox)
15) Stoned Jesus - The Harvest
Stoned Jesus done gone and gotten pissed off. As one of the bands that got me into doom/sludge metal, I always hold Stoned Jesus in high regard. While this record is VERY different from their previous ones, it shows them becoming more unique. While they do add in VERY strong punk elements, they bring in tracks like Rituals of the Sun to remind you that they can doom with the best of 'em. Love the evolution that these guys made here.
14) High On Fire - Luminiferous
Thrashy Sludge Metal
Steal beating myself in the head for not seeing these guys live. Riff God, Matt Pike shows his more aggressive side with this record. Moshy riffs all over the place that are still just expertly crafted. Great music for getting in a bar fight.
13) Look What I Did - Zanzibar Pt 3
Mathcore Rock Opera
The third Nashville band to make it on this list, Look What I Did are quite possibly my favourite local band ever and with this record they've outdone themselves. Dizzying riff writing and extremely experimental passages from start to finish. As soon as they start going one way, they head the next and even keeps me guessing on repeat listens. And then every once in a while, they sprinkle in a nice bit of catchy to make sure you're still paying attention.
12) Baroness - Purple
Pretty Sludge
If this record had came out earlier in the year, it would probably be higher, but as it stands it's still an astounding sludge rock record with beautifully constructed riffs and extremely catchy choruses. I find my self singing "Shock Me" more than once every day as well as few other choruses throughout this record. While the vocals play a big part, don't let me take anything away from the fantastic riff-writing
11) Leviathan - Scar Sighted
Ultraviolent Black Metal with extra Violence
This is the most hateful, disgusting black metal record I've heard in a long time. Filthy riffs from start to finish with gruesome vocals and not even the faintest hint of a positive emotion. The slight hints of death metal and even bits of what sounds like power violence at times really keep this record varied enough to keep my interest from start to finish.
10) Torche - Restarter
Sludgey, Poppy, Fun Metal
One of my favourite bands ever, Torche pulls out yet another record that sets it apart. Arguably Torche's heaviest record to date (with extra-pummeling tracks like Annihilation Affair and Barrier Hammer), Torche still maintains their hooky, poppy sound to create a really solid mixture of the two. Also, seeing these tracks performed live (which if you haven't seen Torche before, fucking do so) moved this album up my list.
9) Panopticon - Autumn Eternal
American Black Metal
Consistently my favourite American black metal project, Panopticon also incorporates elements of American folk/bluegrass to create this atmosphere that I can only equate to being tortured by a crazed mountain man at the bottom of a coal mine or trudging along the snowcapped Appalachian Mountains in winter after slaughtering a black bear in defense. This album is dark, but with a sense of beauty. Even with it, you can still see the terror behind it. Aaaaaah I love this record.
8) Ghost - Meliora
Satanic Scooby Doo Chase Music
My favourite Ghost record to date FOR SURE, and their heaviest. Some of these riffs just gallivant their way through to set up an almost warm and inviting atmosphere, some of them stop to pummel you just to remind you this is a metal record. Evil, evil music with a poppy edge. I'll be singing these songs for years to come.
7) Faith No More - Sol Invictus
Alternative/Experimental Metal
THE MIGHTY RETURN!!!!! After almost 20 years a band that I continuously cite as one of my biggest influences returns and they returned in a HUGE way. While Angel Dust is still my favourite of theirs, this is right up there with it. Never losing one ounce of their experimental nature, but still having catchy hooks, Faith No More have crafted a truly memorable record.
6) Fable Cry - We'll Show You Where The Monsters Are
Theatrical Scamp Rock
More Nashville natives making the list! These fine ladies and gentlemen have crafted one of the most unique records I've heard in years. Between the lyrics, instrumentation, and overall delivery, they craft this "world" with each song that you can really feel yourself in. You can almost smell the dank atmosphere and feel your feet sinking into a steaming bog in songs like Fancy Dancing. Also, they're total sweethearts and if you don't buy this record you're doing yourself a disservice.
5) Death Grips - Jenny Death/The Powers That B
Experimental Hip-Hop
What can I say about these guys that hasn't been said already. One of the most inventive bands of all time puts out the second half to a mind-numbing double album that has some of the craziest electronics I've ever heard, not to mention one of my favourite drummers ever behind the kit (Zach Hill), this album encompasses everything that fans love about Death Grips while not feeling rehashed.
4) Battle Path - Ambedo
Blackened Doom Metal
Nashville natives that I've had the pleasure of sharing the stage with a few times this year. These guys crafted together a dark, dank record that fills the air with atmosphere so thick you can cut it with the knife and then shatters through it with a pummeling blast beat section or really heavy doom riff. This record will always keep you guessing and it makes it a pleasure to listen to from start to finish
3) Indian Handcrafts - Creeps
Sludgy Rock N Roll
This is the stankiest, drivin'-fast-with-windows-downingest, keg-standingest, bar-fightin'est record I've heard all year! The dynamic duo bring forth some ferocious riffs mixed in with nice, catchy choruses mixed in to give it just the right ammount of accessibility. While they do wear their Melvins influence on their sleeve (They even covered Night Goat when I saw them), Indian Handcrafts manages to set themselves apart from the pack without alienating Sludge fans. I recommend listening to this album while driving down a long country road with the windows down in a 60's muscle car, or slamming brews and playing Mad Max.
2) Cattle Decapitation - Anthropocene Extinction
Death Metal/Deathgrind
This album begins beating you to a pulp from the first guitar chord and doesn't stop until it ends. Some of the best musicianship I've ever heard in a death metal band that never comes off as them just showing off. Each riff and fill is so precisely placed while still keeping intensity. A mind-bending death metal record that continues to blow my mind with every listen
1) Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp a Butterfly
Not only is this my favourite album of the year, it's a serious contender for my favourite hip-hop record of all time. Kendrick's lyricism is top notch and the instrumentals are extremely varied and always bring something different to the table. This album deserves every bit of praise it has received. If you haven't listened to it yet, you're really missing out.
ALSO, mentioning the new SikTh EP, Opacities. Would easily be in my Top 5 if it was a full album

Aaron Hortman (Vile Desecration)
1. Bonehunter - Evil Triumphs Again 2. Archgoat - The Apocalyptic Triumphator 3. Gruesome - Savage Land 4.Mgla - Excerises in Futility 5. Deathhammer - Evil Power 6. Satanic Warmaster - Fimbulwinter (Even though it was released in Nov. 2014, the vinyl wasn't released until spring of 15 so I'm including it) 7. Plutonian Shore - Sphere of Geburah 8. Clandestine Blaze - New Golgotha Rising 9. Abominator - Evil Proclaimed 10. Perversor - Anticosmocrator 2015 was a great year. 2016 will not be a disappointment I'm sure. The nashville scene is growing, and every band in the area should strive to be as good as Act of Impalement. 696 bestial hails. Diehards only.

Court Reese (Cosmic Yawn, Cøurtney, Great Unclean Ones, the dang author of this blog)
Runner up
High on Fire - Luminiferous
High on Fire kill it. This is their 7th album, and instead of being burned out, between this and the last record, De Vermiis Mysteriis, HoF feel full of momentum, like a great lumbering leviathan charging at full speed. Matt Pike and company seem to be aiming for the spot that Metallica seemed to hold at their apex, that of the most solid, most central to the core example of what modern metal could sound like. Hell, Greg Fidelman even produced their album Snakes for the Divine right after producing Death Magnetic (and later Lulu.). If someone asked me what a good representation of modern metal was, I would show them this record.

Album of the year (cop-out Tie)
Dragged Into Sunlight/Gnaw Their Tongues - N.V
Where High on Fire’s latest is a fantastic example of what metal at its core can be, this collaborative effort from some of the already darkest metal makers on their own represents what metal can be at its most extreme fringes. Swinging from breakneck blastbeat black metal to wholly crushing doom metal all the while coated in noise like falling ash, N.V. puts on a showcase of pushing the limits of extreme music while still remaining recognizably metal. The only time this album relents sonically is to allow weight of a different kind to pervade by including audio samples taken from people talking about how they strangled someone with their bare hands until their hands hurt, or how if you’re going to shoot someone, don’t stop until they hit the ground.

Susanne Sundfør – Ten Love Songs

Oh god not again, another album of the year that isn’t metal, or even heavy? I thought we were done with this after last year’s stretch. Sorry folks, but this album has stuck with me all year since it was released in February. Don’t be fooled by the name however, the same weight carried in the subject matter of the samples in N.V mentioned above carry over here. Despite the Euro beats and synthy flavor of most of these songs, Susanne has herself come out and said that this episode is about violence. This is especially evident by the very last track on the album, “Insects”, when out of a solid dance beat come the lyrics “And we’re having fun/Don’t make a sound/Don’t tell anyone/That we’re having fun”. Each song shows off a different flavor and nearly each one pulls me in like no other pop song ever has.

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