2015: Tom's End Of Year Review

The Best Of 2015

by Tom Haugen


Divers – Hello Hello

An incredible mix of punk, garage and classic rock. If The Clash never broke up and keep their roots intact, it might resemble this.


Louise Distras – Dreams From The Factory Floor

Gritty and raw punk rock that takes influences from Billy Bragg and Patti Smith as well as current stars like Frank Turner, Distras might be the new voice of rebellion, but she's got some great campfire songs in her as well. Though this album came out digitally in 2013, the physical release was in 2015, so I'm counting it.


Chris Riffle – Out Of Town

I can't even keep track of the amount of Elliott Smith impersonators out there today. Riffle also draws parallels to Smith with his breathy and introspective songcraft, but he is talented enough to forge his own path as well, making this one of the best singer-songwriter albums of the year.


Bully – Feels Like

Grunge rock meets alt-rock after listening to a Lou Barlow record, this is the band that we all wished Hole would become. If you grew up watching 120 Minutes, waiting for that obscure new band to knock you off your feet, you can't go wrong here.


Bad Bad Hats – Psychic Reader

Minneapolis indie-pop that isn't afraid to delve into folk, garage and alt-rock, this young band could be the next household name from the Twin Cities. Soft melodies, gorgeous female vocals and diversity easily make this one of the year's best.


Jeen – Tourist (Deluxe Edition)

The vocalist for Cookie Duster and members of Broken Social Scene come together for a '90s alt-rock masterpiece. This one will make you nostalgic for Mazzy Star and The Breeders and long for the days when artists wrote complete albums with zero filler.



Youth Worship – LP1

Asobi Seksu alumni James Hanna released this scorcher of giant guitar work and post-punk frenzy, thus stepping back from his dream-pop roots into a more primitive vein. It's loud, fast and glorious in a youthful punk rock fashion. Fans of Sonic Youth, Blag Flag or Dinosaur Jr. will be grinning here.


The Bottle Rockets – South Broadway Athletic Club

They've been in the game since the beginning of alt-country and are still one of the best. As good and sometimes better than Wilco, The Jayhawks, and Uncle Tupelo, this 12th album solidifies these veterans as a must hear for the working class crowd who love their rock 'n' roll the way Guthrie and Westerberg played it.


Ryan Culwell – Flatlands

Thankfully Culwell returned to music this year after raising his family for the last decade. His powerful Americana is as timeless as Dylan and compelling as the best work achieved by Ryan Adams. Honest storytelling and soulful music from an ordinary guy who just has a knack for songwriting you won't soon forget.


Play Date – We All Shine

Greg Attonito of the Bouncing Souls and his wife pen kiddie rock tunes ideal for just about any occasion. Other members of Bouncing Souls, hip-hop icon P.O.S and jazz legend Brian Auger lend a hand, too, making this a listen perfect for anyone looking to channel their inner pre-teen.


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