LxL’s 20 Best Songs of 2015

bestmusic2015-albums
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.

Continue reading “LxL’s 20 Best Songs of 2015”

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

Apocalypse NOW: The 10 Best Apocalyptic Tracks

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fear-the-walking-dead

Editors note: This originally published in 2013. With the release of the new Walking Dead spin-off series Fear the Walking Dead, we revisit one of our favorite lists, our ten favorite apocalyptic tunes.

We all love us some Edgar Wright (and Simon Pegg and Nick Frost for that matter), so with the opening of The World’s End this weekend, we thought it appropriate to dig up the top ten apocalyptic songs.  A few words about The World’s End first though.  I am endlessly excited to see this movie, but it just has the worst title ever.  The title is not bad in and of itself.  It is descriptive.  It is succinct.  But unfortunately it is too similar to another apocalyptic comedy from earlier this summer (This Is The End) as well as a Pirates of the Caribbean poopcicle (At World’s End).  This obviously won’t effect the quality of the movie, but its a pet peeve of mine from a differentiation standpoint.

Now that all that is out of the way, enjoy these top ten tracks for the end of times.

10. Prince – “1999”

prince, apocalypse
Continue reading “Apocalypse NOW: The 10 Best Apocalyptic Tracks”

Apocalypse NOW: The 10 Best Apocalyptic Tracks

Tame Impala Review Royale: Currents

Tame Impala

Currents

tame-impala-currents-details-release-date-tracklist

For having never touched a drug in my life (alcohol and prescriptions excluded), I’ve always been surprisingly in love with psychedelic rock. Maybe it’s its ability to transport you to another place, or just being heavily exposed to “Paperback Writer” as a young lad. Either way, nobody scratches my psychedelic itch quite like Tame Impala, Australia’s finest band.
Continue reading “Tame Impala Review Royale: Currents”

Tame Impala Review Royale: Currents

Aussie Takeover: 10 Best Australian Music Acts

australian music
With Courtney Barnett and Tame Impala quickly sweeping over the music scene like a non-violent version of a tornado, we thought we would give a shout out to our favorite music from the land down under. And yes, obviously Men at Work made the list. Enjoy, and give us your qualms:

10. Dirty Three
dirty_three band, Australian band
Pure Aussie instrumental rock. Warren Ellis is like if the devil stole the boy’s fiddle in “Devil Went Down to Georgia”.

Continue reading “Aussie Takeover: 10 Best Australian Music Acts”

Aussie Takeover: 10 Best Australian Music Acts

The Top 10 Songs of 2015….so far

LxL_TopTenThursdays_02_900x300

best songs of 2015

2015 has been a solid year in music so far as we examined last week with our list of best albums up to this point.  This week, we take a look at some of the best tracks 2015 has had to offer.  I think we have a very nice diverse list, although many of the songs have some sort of electronic element, but that’s just been the trend in the music industry the past few years.  Enjoy the list, and please let us know your favorite tracks from 2015.

10.  Viet Cong – “Silhouettes”

We all like post-punk with some teeth, and Viet Cong is currently hearkening back to some of our favorite artists of the early 80’s.  “Silhouettes” is a great example of what Viet Cong has burst onto the scene with, not just settling into the genre, but expanding on it.
Continue reading “The Top 10 Songs of 2015….so far”

The Top 10 Songs of 2015….so far

Unknown Mortal Orchestra Review: Multi-Love

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Multi-Love

Unknown Mortal Orchestra Multi-Love album cover art

For some reason, over 40 years after the fact, some of the best psychedelic rock ever has come from the land down under and their little brother, New Zealand. As guitar rock has largely disappeared from the airwaves, the far-out sounds of Tame Impala have continued to permeate, as three albums in, they now stand as one of the best rock bands on the planet. The Kiwis ain’t no chumps neither. New Zealand-born Ruban Nielson has helmed one of the most fun psych-rock projects going today in Unknown Mortal Orchestra, a band whose playful sounds are nearly impossible to shake.

The self-titled debut turned 60’s era psychedelic pop into catchy, hip-hop infused ear candy. The second album, (aptly titled II) turned inward pointing at the darkness brewing just under those sunny, psychedelic grooves. Now, Multi-Love, takes the first two and extrapolates it out into the corners of soul, jazz, and funk.

The album title, unsurprisingly, is speaking about an ended polyamorous relationship between Ruban, his wife, and another woman who lived with them the two for a time; certainly strange material to cover in music, but probably not that unusual for a psychedelic rocker. What isn’t weird is the music that the relationship produced: with Nielson exploring his fragile state that emerged from this situation.

Rather than using the studio and money provided to him by the record label, Nielson chose to create a home studio (pictured on the album cover), where he would record in the middle of the night (remnants of the insomnia he was diagnosed with years ago). With this decision comes an intimacy in the music that is apparent from the lone keyboard that springs out of the opening track. Playing his guitar like a sitar, “Multi-Love” sounds like one of those Indian-influenced George Harrison tracks from the last few Beatles albums, except if you added in a dose of shake and shimmy. “Like Acid Rain” returns the celebratory pop of their first album, if only for two minutes and one second. “Ur Life One Night” releases a funky new side to the band, sort of channeling Sly Stone’s There’s a Riot Goin’ On with its distorted funk and catchy soul.

“Can’t Keep Checking My Phone”, Multi-Love’s lead single, is probably the biggest outlier in all their catalog to this point, but a worthwhile change. It pure disco dance pop that would have been right at home on the new Hot Chip record, led by one big and relatable hook, “I can’t keep checking my phone.” It’s a song that will likely alienate those that came to UMO for their big psychedelic guitar riffs, but it’s hard to deny its infectiousness.

The album standout comes in “Extreme Wealth and Casual Cruelty”, a song that strangely conjures the genuine-hearted jazz spirit of Louis Armstrong. Nielson husks up his voice like Armstrong’s and has his father, a professional horn player back in New Zealand, play the soaring sax solo that takes the song to another plain. The song explores the sort of escapism we have all probably felt: what would it be like if we just left the baggage of our lives behind to start a new life happily together on an island somewhere, “abandoning extreme wealth and casual cruelty.” It’s an intriguing sentiment, one that feels instantly possibly and ecstatic from the sounds and mood that Nielson conjures up on the song.

The next track, “The World Is Crowded”, continues the spirit of escapism, in a highly romantic and funky slow groove, with Nielson channeling that slippery Prince falsetto. “Necessary Evil” keeps the groove going, with Nielson’s father playing a light trumpet hook to lift out of the murk of the rambling, anxious organ.

Multi-Love closes with guitars blazing on “Puzzles”, which certainly provides some visceral release after the strange haze of the rest of the album, but feels the least at home here. Still, at nine tracks, Nielson wisely keeps his albums nice and tight, even if the songs explore all corners of the known musical universe. Multi-Love is yet another colorful and stimulating album from one of the best voices in rock going today.

LittlebyListen_Scores_85

Can’t Miss: “Extreme Wealth and Casual Cruelty”, “Ur Life One Night”, “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone”

Can’t Hit: “Puzzles”

Unknown Mortal Orchestra Review: Multi-Love