The year in music 2015: Punk and garage


Punk and garage releases figure prominently in my annual top albums’ roundup. Chicago punks Negative Scanner rated No. 2 this year and Texas rockers Radioactivity weighed in at No. 7.

Finding the best punk albums each year is a challenge. They may be self released or on a tiny label. Most of them tend not to get a lot of publicity. Often, I find the year’s best punk releases the following year.

So here are the best punk and garage albums I heard this year (alphabetized by band):

Ex-Cult – Cigarette Machine

Golden Pelicans – Oldest Ride, Longest Line

Institute – Catharthis

Negative Scanner – Negative Scanner

Nots – We Are Nots

This album was actually released in 2014 but then re-released in 2015. (It’s so good, I had to mention it again.)

Power – Electric Glitter Boogie

Radioactivity – Silent Kill

Reatards – Grown Up, Fucked Up

This is a reissue from the late Jay Reatard’s first band.

Timmy’s Organism – Heartless Heathen

Ty Segall Band – Live in San Francisco (Also check out the Ty Segall / King Tuff split, Live at Pickathon.)

The year in music 2015: Reissues, rarities and other stuff

Jay Farrar

Son Volt’s Jay Farrar

Son Volt’s Trace marked its 20th anniversary, Velvet Underground’s Loaded turned 45 and John Coltrane’s Love Supreme celebrated its 50th birthday. All three albums were reissued with a lot of extra music. Two other masterpieces — the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers and Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks — also got the reissue treatment this year.

That means five of the best albums ever made were reissued in expanded releases this year, exciting both longtime fans and newcomers.

I am as geeked out as anyone about these special reissues. These celebrations of truly big albums are great, but I also like the rare occasion where I discover bands and artists that I — for some reason — overlooked over the years. Lizzy Mercier Descloux was one of those discoveries for me in 2015. The French disco punk’s 1979 debut album, Press Color, was reissued in August.

Ork Records: New York, New York was one of the best albums released in 2015. A compilation of mid- to late ’70s punk and post punk singles, I included it in my top 10 albums because, frankly, how many people remember some of these releases? While Television, the Feelies, Alex Chilton and others became music legends, some of the bands released by the New York label had short, overlooked careers. But just as Nuggets shed light on an amazing time in rock history (the psychedelic ’60s), the Ork compilation shows the brilliance of New York music in the 1970s.

Other highlights from the year:

Cass McCombsA Folk Set Apart. McCombs released 19 songs — rare tracks and a few unreleased songs. There’s some really good stuff here.

The Fresh & Onlys’ Early Years Anthology is a must-have for fans of this great band.

Light In The Attic, the label that reissued Press Color, unearthed a collection of songs from 1960s garage band the Kitchen Cinq. Check out When the Rainbow Disappears: An Anthology 1965-68.

Grizzly Bear’s debut album, Horn of Plenty, was reissued on vinyl for Record Store Day. The album included a download for 17 cool remixes.

Chicago’s Pink Frost reissued its debut, Gargoyle Days, which sounds great. (The band was known as Apteka when the album originally came out in 2011.

The top albums of 2015

20. John Andrews & the Yawns – Bit By the Fang

19. Destroyer – Poison Season

18. Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit

17. Michael Rault – Living Daylight

16. Wilco – Star Wars

15. Neon Indian – Vega Intl. Night School

14. Deerhunter – Fading Frontier

13. Kurt Vile – B’lieve I’m Going Down

12. Jamie xx – In Colour

11. Fuzz – II

10. Torres – Sprinter

9.Grimes – Art Angels

8. Kamasi Washington – The Epic

7.Radioactivity – Silent Kill

6. T. Hardy Morris – Drownin’ On a Mountaintop

5.Thee Oh Sees – Mutilator Defeated At Last

4.Palehound – Dry Food

3.Various artists – Ork Records: New York, New York

2. Negative Scanner – Negative Scanner

1. Viet Cong – Viet Cong

See the rest of the top 40 albums of 2015 here.

All the Young Punks’ Top 40 albums of 2015

40. Axis: Sova – Early Surf

39. Golden Pelicans – Oldest Ride, Longest Line

38. King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Quarters

37. Heaters – Holy Water Pool

36. White Reaper – White Reaper Does It Again

35. Woolen Men – Temporary Monument

34. Wavves x Cloud Nothings – No Life for Me

33. Shopping – Why Choose / Consumer Complaints

32.Royal Headache – High

31. Waxahatchee – Ivy Trip

30. Panda Bear – Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper

29. Deaf Wish – Pain

28. Speedy Ortiz – Foil Deer

27. Father John Misty – I Love You Honeybear

26. Protomartyr – The Agent Intellect

25. Salad Boys – Metalmania

24. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi-Love

23. New Order – Music Complete

22. No Joy – More Faithful

21.Lou Barlow – Brace the Wave

Click here to see the top albums of 2015.