LxL’s Top 10 Movies of 2015

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The 88th Academy Awards will take place this Sunday, and although we at LxL loathe such one-sided, money driven, political award machines, we also love our movies. So here are our thoughts on 2015’s crop of fun films. Not all of us have everything we would have liked to have seen from last year, so as always feel free to call us out on what we missed. Also, sadly you will not see Star Wars on the list, but know that it does hold dearly a special place in all of our hearts. Onto the list:

10. Love & Mercy
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If we are all being honest, biopics run a dime a dozen theses days and most of them are only about half as interesting/true as we want them to be. However, we are a music blog and have a soft spot for the post-fake surf and pre-bed ridden Brian Wilson years. Love & Mercy does a good job breaking the mold on the standard biopic, and really shows an interesting perspective of a mad musical genius ahead of his time, taken advantage of by friends and drugs… but not exactly in the party crazed rock n roll way you might be thinking.
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LxL’s Top 10 Movies of 2015

LxL’s Top 10 TV Shows of 2015

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Award season is upon us, with the Golden Globes just in the rearview mirror and the Oscars upcoming. It’s the one time of year we allow ourselves to move away from music and dip our toes into movies and TV. We are still very much in the golden age of television, and these 10 shows are just the tip of the iceberg of all the great TV out there.
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LxL’s Top 10 TV Shows of 2015

LxL’s 20 Best Songs of 2015

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We may be running a bit behind already in 2016, but better late than never. Here is what we at LxL agreed were the top tracks of 2015:

20. Alabama Shakes – “Don’t Wanna Fight”
From the moment Brittany Howards screeching intro to beers into your ears, you can feel in your bones that this track is going to be great. It does not let down one bit throughout either.

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LxL’s 20 Best Songs of 2015

Best of 2015: Personal Favorites

kendrickHere are our personal top 10 albums and songs of 2015:

Wes

Songs:

 

10. Grimes – “Kill V. Maim”
9. CHVRCHES – “Leave a Trace”
8. Jidenna – “Classic Man”
7. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – “Extreme Wealth and Casual Cruelty”
6. Jamie xx – “Loud Places”
5. Tame Impala – “Let It Happen”
4. Vince Staples – “Summertime”
3. Kendrick Lamar – “King Kunta”
2. Courtney Barnett – “Pedestrian at Best”
1. Sufjan Stevens – “Fourth of July”

Albums:

courtney-barnett-sometimes-i-sit-and-think-sometimes-i-just-sit

10. Low – Ones and Sixes
9. Wilco – Star Wars
8. Tame Impala – Currents
7. Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment – Surf
6. Vince Staples – Summertime ’06
5. Kamasi Washington – The Epic
4. Grimes – Art Angels
3. Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell
2. Courtney Bartnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit
1. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly

Todd

Songs:

10. Baio – “Sister of Pearl”
9. Death Grips – “On GP”
8. Ought – “Men for Miles”
7. David Bowie – “Blackstar”
6. Kurt Vile – “Pretty Pimpin”
5. Grimes – “Kill V. Maim”
4. Jamie xx – “I Know There’s Gonna Be Good Times”
3. Courtney Barnett – “Pedestrian at Best”
2. Tame Impala – “Let It Happen”
1. Kendrick Lamar – “King Kunta”

Albums:

kendrick-lamar-to-pimp-a-butterfly

10. Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment – Surf
9. Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell
8. Baio – The Names
7. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi-Love
6. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear
5. Grimes – Art Angels
4. Kurt Vile – b’lieve i’m goin down…
3. Courtney Bartnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit
2. Tame Impala – Currents
1. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly

Austin

Songs:

10. Dr Dre – “One Shot One Kill”
9. Grimes – “Easily”
8. Jason Isbell – “The Life You Chose”
7. Viet Cong – “Silhouettes”
6. David Bowie – “Blackstar”
5. Titus Andronicus – “Lonely Boy”
4. Courtney Barnett – “Pedestrian at Best”
3. Jamie xx – “I Know There’s Gonna Be Good Times”
2. Vince Staples – “Lemme Know”
1. Kendrick Lamar – “King Kunta”

Albums:

Summertime-06

10. Death Grips – Jenny Death
9. Janet Jackson – Unbreakable
8. Viet Cong – Viet Cong
7. Jason Isbell – Something More than Free
6. Joanna Newsom – Divers
5. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly
4. Titus Andronicus – The Most Lamentable Tragedy
3. Grimes – Art Angels
2. Courtney Bartnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit
1. Vince Staples – Summertime ’06

Best of 2015: Personal Favorites

LxL’s 20 Best Albums of 2015

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We are nearly two weeks into the New Year which many would classify as late for end-of-year lists, but we’ve chose to wait for two reasons. First, we want to get it right and make sure we aren’t missing any last second releases like D’Angelo’s Black Messiah last year or Beyonce’s self-titled surprise the year before as well as giving everything a thorough listen. Second, frankly the holidays get in the way and we haven’t had a lot of time. This year was one frontloaded with monster releases that have topped our list, though there are a couple surprises in our top 20. Unfortunately, years like 2015 where there are all-time great releases like those we got from Kendrick Lamar and Courtney Barnett, frankly these lists aren’t as exciting as years where the best album of the year is more subjective.

20. Titus Andronicus – The Most Lamentable Tragedy

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The New Jersey punk-rockers led by Patrick Stickles put out a double album that is somehow not even their most ambitious album. The Most Lamentable Tragedy is a 29-song rock opera around the subject of Stickles own mental illness.

19. Sleater Kinney – No Cities To Love

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The powerful female rock trio Sleater Kinney returned from their 9-year hiatusfor their most rocking album yet.

18. Jamie xx – In Colour

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The best dance record of the year, British producer Jamie xx delivered the goods on In Colour with club jams like “Gosh”, “Loud Places”, and “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)”.

17. Low Cut Connie – Hi Honey

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A return to the rock ‘n’ roll of old, Low Cut Connie lovingly revives the sound of Jerry Lee Lewis and the Rolling Stones, even making a fan out of the most powerful man on Earth.

16. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear

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Josh Tillman aka Father John Misty is bringing a much-needed sense of humor back into the independent music world.

15. Kamasi Washington – The Epic

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The L.A. saxophonist revived our love of jazz in 2015.

14. Janet Jackson – Unbreakable

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Our biggest surprise of 2015, Janet Jackson returned with one of the best R&B albums of 2015, full of great guest stars and even greater songs.

13. Viet Cong – Viet Cong

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Who knew Canadians could pack such a punch. Calgary newcomers Viet Cong absolutely bring the hammer on their self-titled debut.

12. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi-Love

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New Zealand’s Ruban Nielson, the man behind Unknown Mortal Orchestra, continues to expand his psyschedelic pop sound to invigorating new territory.

11. Death Grips – Jenny Death

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Back from a surprise early breakup, industrial hip hop duo Death Grips delivered two albums: The Powers that B and Jenny Death with the latter being our favorite of the two.

10. Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment – Surf

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2015 will be the year that Chance the Rapper broke out big, even cementing himself as Chicago Magazine’s “Chicagoan of the Year”. He especially made a big impact in his role in friend Nico Segal aka Donnie Trumpet’s debut album, one of the most joyous albums of the year.

9. Kurt Vile – b’lieve i’m goin down…

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Kurt Vile may just look like a stoner in your high school that skipped class, listened to Pink Floyd, and worked fast food (and he may have indeed been that guy), but he is also one of the hardest working and best songwriters going right now.

8. Bjork – Vulnicura

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Bjork’s Vulnicura is just like it’s title: a vulnerable breakup album which is made all the more affecting with Bjork’s chilling voice and the help of the mysterious and experimental Venezuelan producer Arca.

7. Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell

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Speaking of vulnerable, it doesn’t get a lot more vulnerable than talking about your late mother who left you due to addiction. Sufjan sings about darkness and brokenness with as much grace and beauty as anyone since Elliott Smith.

6. Joanna Newsom – Divers

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Joanna Newsom is certainly not for everyone (her voice upon first listen sounds like a frog and her songs are long and complicated), but if you allow yourself to suspend disbelief and go into her world, you will truly be blown away by her magical music world.

5. Tame Impala – Currents

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Three albums in, Australian psych-rockers have quickly become one of our favorite bands. Currents moves their band in a more dance pop direction, further proving they can’t seem to do no wrong.

4. Vince Staples – Summertime ’06

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If it wasn’t for the larger-than-life brilliance of Kendrick Lamar, Vince Staples’ double-disc debut would be an easy pick for best rap album of the year. Vince Staples raps and sometimes croons about the danger and confusion he faced growing up with serious conviction.

3. Grimes Art Angels

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Few artists are bold enough to throw away a year’s worth of work, but that’s exactly what Claire Boucher aka Grimes did when she wasn’t happy with the album she was set to release in 2014. Instead, we waited and were rewarded with Art Angels, an album only Boucher could make.

2. Courtney Bartnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit

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Pure joy to listen to, Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett sings, writes, and plays like no one else on her brilliantly-titled studio debut.

1. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly

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What more do we need to say that hasn’t been said. Kendrick Lamar is embracing his African-American musical heritage yet pushing music forward to a bold new frontier.

Just Missed:

Wes – Wilco – Star Wars

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The first Star Wars of the year was also my favorite (sorry JJ Abrams).

Todd – Baio – The Names

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Vampire Weekend bassist Chris Baio released a surprising and fun solo debut in The Names.

Austin – Jason Isbell – Something More than Free

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Something More Than Free somehow flew under the radar even though Jason Isbell really couldn’t be blowing up any more right now.

 

 

 

LxL’s 20 Best Albums of 2015

The Best Live Acts of 2015

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When it comes to end of year lists, you tend to just see half of the music world covered: recorded music. But many more people are interested in live music, and in turn want to know who are the acts I should be spending my hard-earned dollars to go see. That’s what we try to accomplish each year with our favorite live acts list. While certainly not comprehensive, these are the 10 acts we saw that we would say are definitely worth it.
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The Best Live Acts of 2015

The 10 Best New Artists of 2015

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Every year when December comes around, we get excited like all other music fans about putting together our end-of-year lists. Of course we get excited about best songs and albums, but maybe the most exciting list is the best new artists. These were fresh and exciting new faces that surprised us with their debuts, and we can’t wait to see where they go next. For example, the members of our favorite new artists of 2012 list are now giants in their own right and will likely top our 2015 albums list (Kendrick Lamar, Alabama Shakes, Father John Misty, and who knows, maybe Frank Ocean will surprise us with an album release before 2016). So without further ado, our favorite new aritsts of 2015.
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The 10 Best New Artists of 2015