Saturday, January 2, 2016

Top Indie Albums/EPs of 2015

Another year is in the books here at MY Indie Music Blog, so that means it's time for my list of the top albums/EPs for 2015. Unlike last year, when I couldn't bring myself to single out just 10 artists, I made a firm commitment to that number this year. Although the number of posts was down this year from years past, that doesn't mean that I wasn't listening! There was a ton of quality work put out by independent artists all over the globe, and I took in as many of them as my ears and wallet could handle.

So without further ado, here is the MY Indie Music Blog top indie albums/EPs of 2015:

10. Jesse W. Johnson - Primal Scream

The lead single and title track, Primal Scream, is one hell of an indicator as to what's in store for you. At only 5 songs, Johnson manages to pack quite a bit into a small package. He runs the gambit from rock to folk to Americana and back again, and never skips a beat. Song after song flows by and before you realize it, you've been listening for an hour or so on repeat. That's an hour or so well spent.

Jesse W. Johnson official website

 9. Ships Have Sailed - Moodswings

Los Angeles alternative pop/rock/electronic duo Ships Have Sailed are making their debut on MY Indie Music Blog. This is a fine example of "just because I haven't featured them doesn't mean I haven't been listening". From the moment I first downloaded Moodswings and hit play, they felt like an act that I've been listening to for years. Catchy pop melodies blend in well with just enough electronica to pull together a nice sound tailor made for a new musical revolution that is indie music.

Ships Have Sailed official website

8. Star-Splitter - Afterglow

Another first timer on the blog is Atlanta electronic duo Star-Splitter and their debut EP Afterglow. Coming in at just 3 songs, this is what happens when an artist gives you more with less. This is the most melodic, hauntingly beautiful 3 songs I've heard this year. You can hit play and let the songs repeat on an endless loop and get lost in the harmony over and over again. This is a very well put together effort and I can not wait to hear what Andi and Torin have up their sleeves for their full length debut.

Star-Splitter official website

 7. Kingdom of Few - Revolution
A long-time favorite of mine here at MY Indie Music Blog, Kingdom of Few hit our earholes with a rock n roll explosion this summer with Revolution, their highly anticipated follow-up to their 2011 debut EP, Ep. The guys have stepped up their game in quite a substantial way. Revolution is as polished an effort as anything offered up by cookie-cutter mainstream acts. Their sound is more refined. This is rock done right.

Kingdom of Few on Reverbnation

6. Chris Watkins & Drunk Poets - London Can Take It

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of the Americana sound, and Alaska native Chris Watkins hits all the marks with London Can Take It. This album easily takes top prize for the "not yet featured on this blog" album of the year (if one such prize existed!). I will be righting that wrong soon and get a full length feature up on this newly discovered (to me) talent. I've already begun to check out other offerings by Watkins and only get more excited by the prospect of having his music in my life. He really is an exceptional talent that I can not believe hasn't been discovered by the mainstream. Oh well, their loss is our forever win!

Chris Watkins/Drunk Poets on Soundcloud

5. Message to Venus - Victims & Villains

No strangers to MY Indie Music Blog, Message to Venus made a HUGE statement this year with the release of their highly anticipated full-length debut album Victims & Villains. To say that this is the future of modern rock music is somewhat of an understatement. This is the savior of the genre. Message to Venus put everything they had and then some into a stellar effort. Hard hitting, huge stadium worthy guitar riffs and some of the hardest hitting percusions around wound together tightly by one of the premier frontmen in rock music today, Message to Venus has laid down the gauntlet on today's rock genre. The challenge is now there for the major label acts to try to keep up!

Message to Venus official website

 4. Twelve Years Driven - Twelve Years Driven

 Twelve Years Driven proved that it's never good enough to rest on your own laurels. The guys have taken the old adage of "stepping up their game" to an entirely new level. From the second that you hit play, the band is already at full throttle with Devil's Way and you just know you're in for something special. This four song EP is the best thing going on in the world of metal music right now. Period. There isn't a single artist played on mainstream radio that I'd take over this band right now. These guys are peaking at the right time. I see 2016 being their year!

Twelve Years Driven official website

 3. Featurette - Crave, Volume 1 & 2

 Playing in two distinct volumes, Crave is best described by lead vocalist Lexie Jay as "(a) ‘featurette’ - like a mini movie - so we’ve written the songs to express that story and really help the listener feel what the girl is going through. The first vol. is rather dark (craving passion, lust, destruction - the wild side), and then the second is the resolution (craving love, respect, resolution, self acceptance)..."
I've found that it's nearly impossible to get the hauntingly beautiful vocals of Lexie out of my head. The passion and emotion in the vocals are about as real as they come. What FEATURETTE has done is written a cohesively perfect album that brings back storytelling. There's depth and meaning to every word being sung. It flows perfectly from track to track to tell a distinct story of love and lust from the dark beginnings of Broken to the resolute finisher Procession.

FEATURETTE official website

2. When Particles Collide - This Town

WPC recently celebrated their 5th year together as a band. It's been roughly 4 and a half years of that time that I've been a fan. I've had the pleasure of driving all over Maine and New Hampshire to see them play and have gotten to know Sasha and Chris over the years. I was even in attendance with my daughters when they got married a few summers ago in Bangor. It's their hometown that's on full display on This Town and is a fitting tribute to the town and people who made them what they became as both a band and as individuals. For those who were there and lived these songs, This Town is a tribute to lost lives. Having heard these songs played out on numerous ocassions live, I know first hand the raw emotion and honest truths behind the lyrics. There isn't a harder working duo in the music industry today, and soon, the whole world is going to know what I already do.

When Particles Collide official website

 1. Chaser Eight - Chaser Eight/Naked

2015 was the year of Chaser Eight for me. Having featured them on this blog on multiple ocassions and cutting my teeth with the Chaser Eight live experience, the release of Chaser Eight and the companion EP Chaser Eight Naked, was the turning point in my love affair with this band. There aren't many acts out there, mainstream or indie, that transfer their energy from the studio to the stage as flawlessly as Chaser Eight does. Their artistry is pure and genuine and you never feel put off by the disappointment that what you listened to at home isn't what you heard when you saw them live. I'd even be willing to go out on a limb to say that the live product is a step above the recorded product. And THAT is saying a lot. 2016 promises to deliver more of what I've come to know and love from this band as they have already slated new single releases beginning this month and continuing into March. This is a great time to be a #Crazy8, and I take pride in being the biggest one of all!

Chaser Eight official website 

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