Best Music Of 2015: Editors' Picks

author PP date 17/12/15

It’s the season, dear readers, for traditions aplenty, sure enough, but most importantly it is the season for one tradition to rule them all: It’s time for Best Of The Year Lists! Just as so many other publications, we join in taking the approaching New Year as an occasion to look back and single out the best new works of music from the preceding twelve months. This year the Rockfreaks.net team will have managed to review almost 600 albums by the time the champagne pops and the fireworks go off, while sampling quite a few more that we could not find time to write about. And seeing as we know that few others in their right mind has that kind of time to keep up with music, we offer you here our annual recap, where our contributors have taken turns at picking out the shiniest highlights from their listening efforts this year.

The rules are simple: Each writer chooses and lists as many records as he or she deems fitting, with the option to include unranked “honorable mentions” as well. The only criteria is that to merit inclusion, an album must have the consistency and strength of expression to appear like one we will easily be reminded of and gladly revisit for the foreseeable years to come. Great singles are good to have, and exciting new styles and sounds can impress us too, but to get on the list, consistency is key. Thus whatever you take interest in from below, rest assured that we have listened to it many times over and ultimately found that these records satisfy from first track to last, or at least as close to as possible.

As done in years prior, we have divided our efforts into two articles - one for our four editors and one for our remaining writers - and because they are the most big-headed and influential, the editors are up first. So read on, find out where our interests developed to this year, and find out who’s right and who’s absolutely in the wrong. And more importantly, let us know in the comments! Did we miss something? What does your list look like? Let the festivities begin!

(Note, all entries link to their respective reviews. If a link leads nowhere, we do not have a review of the record in question)

Petteri Pertola (PP)

Another strong year of music behind us, where yours truly spent the majority of the time covering punk rock, hardcore, and related releases, with a few forays into other genres. Some truly magnificent records came out - Torche’s consistency is frightening and Beach Slang wrote some timeless sing along anthems on theirs - alongside massive surprises: Turnstile’s back-to-the-90s hip hop interpretation of hardcore worked against all odds, PEARS released one of the most innovative punk albums of late, and Senses Fail turned their soundscape upside down. Not to even mention the spoken-word poetry of Hotel Books, the “90s skate punk never died” brilliance of Good Riddance, the dreamy perfection of City Of Ships, or the resurgence of Blur as one of the best alternative rock bands this generation has seen on their comeback album. Sandwiched in between, lots of familiar faces and styles of music. Technical punk veterans Strung Out delivered their best in more than a decade, Frank Carter triumphantly returned to hardcore, Nasty showed it’s possible to write good beatdown songs, and Adventures’ charming female/male dynamic makes them one of the bands to watch out for in the coming years.

Honorable mentions (in no particular order):

Aleksi Pertola (AP)

AP has an affinity toward music with a lot of focus on the instrumental aspects: prog, stoner, post-rock and -metal... It’s all about the riff. At the same time though, you won’t hear him saying ‘no’ to the best punk rock or extreme metal either - or anything else, as long as it makes him want to stop whatever he’s doing and lose himself in it.

Honorable mentions:

Tim Larsen (TL)

TL got into music in the early 00’s via emo, pop-punk and alternative rock, and has since widened his interests to cover anything softer than straight up metal, while also keeping an eye on metalcore, post-hardcore and the odd melodic hardcore act. Stylistically he looks for adventurous atmospheres, cutting edge productions and bands that experiment with combining genres in new ways. Technically, tight, detailed songwriting, expert vocal work and thoughtful lyricism are also requirements for a good grade from him.

Honorable mentions:

Bo Kastaniegaard Vinberg (BV)

BV specialises in all things psychedelic and has done so for as long as he can remember. However, over time he has developed a soft spot for stoner rock, doom metal and country rock. Basically, if the music sounds like you should be on drugs while listening to it, BV is probably all over it.

Honorable mentions:

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