I'm bucking tradition by delivering my "best of" lists for 2015 in 2016 because I CAN. I could, IF I WANTED TO, deliver my 2015 lists in 2020, EVEN. Before I become too drunk with power, I think instead I shall move forward and offer you my picks for what new sounds floated my boat in 2015, because I'm always hoping your boat may be floated in a similar manner and then we can head out to sea like Lemmy leaning into the wind on the bow of the Titanic, or something perhaps slightly less crazy and doomed, like Keith Richards in a Boston Whaler. Please to enjoy!


Ty Segall: Mr. Face EP (Famous Class)

Famous Class puts out the best little gems on 45, and this guy is certainly is a charmer. Mr. Face finds Ty at his weirdo best: free to add in little quirks like a penny whistle while keeping that California psych-garage vibe that feels like you just uncovered some dusty '60s freakbeat record at a yard sale. Ty totally gets both the playful and heavy aspects of '60s music, and makes it all his own. Bless you, my little prolific one.


Jacuzzi Boys: Happy Damage EP (MagMag, Burger)

How I love Miami's Jacuzzi Boys, and love them extra-much for providing me with their new "Happy Damage" EP on MagMag Records, which contains the song "Sun," which just makes me feel like flying up into the sky in joy...without doing that whole Icarus deal, of course. Sweet and strange in all the right ways, and big, shimmering production. Cool vid, too.


I'll tell ya straight up: I think Seattle has the best new music scene in all the Yoo Nighted Staytz. Throw a rock anywhere and you'll hit a great band that's combining compelling performance and kickass songwriting and their own unique thangs that are just soooo gooood as to make me feel guilty that I don't go out every single night to the clubs while it's all in full bloom. Can it stay this way? I don't know, but I know that WE IS HOT right now. I want to also say that you shouldn't throw real rocks at bands as that is not nice. Here are several Seattle releases that I loved to pieces this year.

Wimps: Suitcase (Kill Rock Stars)

Wimps' long-awaited sophomore album is a delight. Witty, world-weary lyrics and stripped-down DIY punk mesh into something that is thoughtful, fun, flip, and just a touch nutty, LIKE PEOPLE ARE. Are you always the "old guy" at the party? Listen to "Old Guy." Do you spend a lot of time on your couch? Listen to "Couches." Do you have a living situation that is at best a ramshackle collection of ruffians, layabouts, old food, and rats? Listen to "Dump." Wimps have you covered.

Pony Time: Rumours 2: The Rumours Are True

Luke Beetham and Stacy Peck make a much bigger noise that you would think two people could manage with a minimal drum kit and a fuzzed-out bass/baritone guitar. It is a good noise, a very good noise, grumbly and rumble-y with glimmers of '70s pop glam and throat-grabs of primal garage rock. This album will be released on vinyl on S.S. Records in 2016, which gives you even more opportunity to love it. Dig this Alvin Stardust video vibe!

Steal Shit Do Drugs: First Comes Money EP (Help Yourself)

Steal Shit Do Drugs (or SSDD if your grandma is around) burst forth this year in a big way, releasing their first EP, going on a West Coast tour, and playing some pretty high-profile gigs. Get in now so you can say you knew them when, folks, and DO NOT miss the chance to see them play. Kind of like the Stooges with lots less blood and more shirts, you can't keep your eyes off them.

The Gods Themselves: Pink Noise

This trio brought an impeccably-produced album that effortlessly mixes decade-spanning genres -- late '60s psychedelia, '70s funk, '80s technopop, '90s rap, and a little post-punk and classic rock thrown in for good measure. When this band finds its audience outside of Seattle, I think sky's the limit. They also dress really, really well.

Childbirth: Women's Rights (Suicide Squeeze)

Tammy Wynette, in the first line of her 1968 hit song "Stand By Your Man," sang "Sometimes it's hard to be a woman." YA THINK, SISTER? YA THINK?? Even in 1968 I thought that it was not fair that women were treated like second class citizens, but figured the adults would work that out for me by the time I got to be an adult myself. SURPRISE! Despite many gains, we still are drowning in a world that thinks we are lesser beings, disposable and controllable. One could get very depressed and angry about this bullshit, but if you are Childbirth you turn your angst into fun and funny feminist songs that remind you that a sense of humor is not only personal salvation, but a very clever weapon, indeed.

I've played this song more times than I'd be willing to admit.


The Intelligence: Vintage Future (In The Red)

Courtney Barnett: Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit (Milk!)

It's true: sometimes all I want to do is to play "Tequila" over and over again and dance around like a sunburned, drunk cruise ship matron. But more often, I prefer some intelligence with my groove-on. Specifically, if I get an album by L.A./Seattle band The Intelligence in any given year, that year is then made 74% more cerebral and 100% better. It feels like I waited for "Vintage Future" THREE WHOLE YEARS, because I did, and now I hug it to my chest and dare anyone to try to get it from me. Go buy your own! Thank you, The Intelligence, for making it. Go make more, before my hearing goes.

People do like lists, and you may have noticed Courtney Barnett made a whole lot of 2015's bests. Let us all get down on our knees and thank this young Australian for writing lyrics that are so damn smart you have to listen over and over again just to figure them all out, ala Elvis Costello in his verbal heyday. Barnett goes past pithy wordplay into storytelling; the funny, weird things that happen in everyday life seem absolutely compelling in her hands. The music is simple, three-chord stuff, anchored by Barnett's heavily-accented talk-singing style and some sweet harmonies. I could not be happier that now lots and lots of people get to hear what she's doing; she's a gas, gas, gas.


Action Aid: All I Want For Christmas Is A Goat


Oh, god. I made this my ringtone.


The Sonics: This Is The Sonics (Revox)

The minute I heard "This Is The Sonics," I knew. I knew, even though there would be a TON of great albums out this year, this was the one. I'm still awestruck months later and suspect that The Sonics, the '60s progenitors of garage rock and, one could argue, punk rock as well, are magical beings rising out of some kind of mystical Tacoma industrial swamp. How else can one explain it that, 50 YEARS LATER, they make an album that sounds like no time has passed at all??? HOW HOW HOW HOW? I'm serious. "This Is The Sonics" has the same swagger and bite, the swing and snarl, the juvenile delinquent attitude and the Saturday night dance party joy as they delivered in 1965. Ain't nothing slowed down here, ain't no keys lowered, no quarter given to aging bones and muscles. I've never heard anything like it in my whole life, and don't suspect I will again...other than maybe if The Sonics make another album.

"This Is The Sonics" is great rock n' roll, and beyond that, a triumph of brilliant production, willpower, spirit, and resilience. It is my album of the year.