Best Albums of 2015 – Part 2

Here are the second five albums in the Now I’ve Heard Everything Best of 2015 list; you’ll find the first part here.

JesseMalin New York Before the WarJesse Malin – New York Before the War
Jesse Malin has been around NYC for quite some time, but somehow, I just never connected with his music. This record changed that. To the extent that title, New York Before the War, is meant to invoke a time period, it is probably before the war of gentrification, which pushed out much of what was in Jesse’s main hangout of the East Village. The music on this record is mostly rock, but it does peak into all the corners of that genre. The first four songs of this collection, The Dreamers, Addicted, Turn Up the Mains and Oh Sheena are a tour de force.

Kristin Diable CreateKristin Diable – Create Your Own Mythology
I’ve been paying attention to Kristin Diable for a while now; this New Orleans based artist used to live here in New York City. The album she released this year, Create Your Own Mythology, is the record that will demonstrate her talent to those who can’t get to see her live. Kristin’s music is a mix of blues, Americana and soul covered in her honeyed Louisana drawl. The addition of keys to the band and the production by Dave Cobb take this record over the top. The standouts here are Time Will Wait and I’ll Make Time for You.

Misty Boyce The Life CoverMisty Boyce – The Life
Although she was long a regular at The Rockwood Music Hall, Misty Boyce left New York City for the greener pastures of Los Angeles a few years ago. This past January, she released this long in the making record. It was worth the wait. The 10 songs here feature imaginative arrangements, often going back and forth between guitar and keyboards. Misty is a wonderful singer with range and she’s comfortable enough to go into her lower range when a song calls for it. She sings backup on many of the tracks here, providing superb harmonies. London-based Dave Izumi produced this time around and he gave Misty the right sonic setting. It’s tough to pigeonhole this record, so call it ballady pop rock. Suffice it to say that it got constant replays when it first arrived in my house.

The Damnwells - The Damnwells reducedThe Damnwells – The Damnwells
This is a reunion album, the first with all the original members of the band on it in about seven years. And with the band regrouped, this album features songs about another break up: that of the marriage of lead singer and songwriter Alex Dezen. The album is full of rockers, and the two best are the lead off track, Money and Shiny Things, and the sublime Lost. Also of note is the sole ballad on the album, the concluding song, None of These Things. It lies someplace between an ache and a mediation on the finality of a break up. I do think that this album is mixed a bit louder than would be optimal, though.

Waterboys Modern BluesThe Waterboys – Modern Blues
Mike Scott is the lead singer and songwriter of The Waterboys. He also happens to be a force of nature. Modern Blues attests to that. Mike lives in Ireland and is well known for the Celtic flavored songs The Waterboys recorded back in the late 80s. He’s moved past that long ago and this album was recorded in Nashville. It still retains just a bit of Irish flavor, but its nine tracks are mostly blues and rock, heavy duty style. Lyrically the songs hold your attention, whether they discuss gentrification, growing older together or reconnection with an old love when both persons have changed. That last song, November Tale, is the standout on the album.

One Response to Best Albums of 2015 – Part 2

  1. says:

    Eliot – I hope this message finds you in good health and full of joyful thoughts for the holiday season. I wanted to drop you a little note letting you know I very much enjoy your enthusiastic reviews on all things music related. Your end of year Top Albums and songs are wonderful.

    I still put together my end of year list and samples of my choices to my three children on CD. This year’s standout album was an old school sound of sorts from Jeff Lynn and his release of Alone in the Universe.

    Since its release I must have listened to it in its entirety at least three dozen times. Very rare these days to enjoy a full album’s worth of songs from any artist for me. I am not certain of that’s a sign of my decaying attention span for such things or the quality of the music. I do admit to still fully enjoying our shared old school records from our youth in their entirety. Perhaps, knowing a record so well my brain knows what to expect helps with the attention span thing.

    You mentioned in your end list The Waterboys and low and behold I quite honestly do not know how I missed this release – which I will get a copy of after finishing this message to you. Mike Scott and I go way back with his voice as one of my mainstays since the very first Waterboys debut back in 1983 which ironically or poetically includes the song December.

    I spent nearly 8 years with earphones plugged in to my head walking at times 10 and 15 miles daily listening to music that to this day is my main go to drug. Bring Em All In from Mike’s solo album was a constant echo for years as I journeyed through the chaos that was unemployment and difficult times.

    Anyways thank you for the fine work you do keeping people up to date on what’s happening in the music world.

    Keep smiling and rock on – Kiddrane out near Lake Marie with Karma to Burn.


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