Stasisphere’s Top 50 Songs of 2015

Starting this blog/music journal/experiment in the middle of this year presented a lofty challenge. Could I really pen a review about an album each and every weekday (let alone a positive one) and maintain that regimen week after week, while holding onto some semblance of inspiration that made me want to initiate this project in the first place? The question continued to rattle around in my brain, even up till my 100th review.

Now having just finished my 150th, I guess the takeaway is this: if you want to do something, even if it sends your mind reeling with uncertainties and goes against the grain of everything surrounding you, just try it. Uncertainty is good.

That being said, I’m going to take a short break from album reviews to spend some time listening to holiday music with my family and working on other writing endeavors. Don’t worry, daily reviews will start back up at the beginning of 2016! I wanted to end this year with something a bit different, though. Since I spend so much time talking about albums, here are my top 50 favorite and unordered songs of this year (playlist at bottom):

  • Susanne Sundfør – “Slowly” (from Ten Love Songs)
  • Hiatus Kaiyote – “Breathing Underwater” (from Choose Your Weapon)
  • Kendrick Lamar – “King Kunta” (from To Pimp A Butterfly)
  • Lower Dens – “To Die In L.A.” (from Escape From Evil)
  • Father John Misty – “When You’re Smiling And Astride Me” (from I Love You, Honeybear)
  • The Tallest Man On Earth – “Sagres” (from Dark Bird Is Home)
  • My Morning Jacket – “Compound Fracture” (from The Waterfall)
  • Hot Chip – “Easy To Get” (from Why Make Sense?)
  • Braids – “Taste” (from Deep In The Iris)
  • Unknown Mortal Orchestra – “The World Is Crowded” (from Multi-Love)
  • Nozinja – “Nwa Baloyi” (from Nozinja Lodge)
  • Maribou State – “Raincoats” (from Portraits)
  • Domenique Dumont – “Comme Ça” (from Comme Ça)
  • Leon Bridges – “Coming Home” (from Coming Home)
  • CFCF – “Rain Dance” – (from The Colours Of Life)
  • Deradoorian – “Komodo” (from The Expanding Flower Planet)
  • Gangrene – “The Man With The Horn” (from You Disgust Me)
  • FKA twigs – “Glass & Patron” (from M3LL155X)
  • HEALTH – “DARK ENOUGH” (from DEATH MAGIC)
  • Beach House – “Sparks” (from Depression Cherry)
  • Widowspeak – “My Baby’s Gonna Carry On” (from All Yours)
  • Tamaryn – “Last” (from Cranekiss)
  • Beirut – “No No No” (from No No No)
  • Silkie – “Majik” (from Fractals)
  • Botany – “Raw Light Overture” (from Dimming Awe, The Light Is Raw)
  • Auscultation – “Promise You’ll Haunt Me” (from L’étreinte Imaginaire)
  • Woolfy vs. Projections – “Jackie” (from Stations)
  • Benjamin Damage – “Monolith” (from Obsidian)
  • Deafheaven – “Baby Blue” (from New Bermuda)
  • Empress Of – “Everything Is You” (from Me)
  • Darkstar – “Stoke The Fire” (from Foam Island)
  • Alex G – “Salt” (from Beach Music)
  • Nicole Dollanganger – “Poacher’s Pride” (from Natural Born Losers)
  • Neon Indian – “Annie” (from Vega Intl. Night School)
  • The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die – “January 10th, 2014” (from Harmlessness)
  • Pure Bathing Culture – “Pray For Rain” (from Pray For Rain)
  • Baio – “Sister Of Pearl” (from The Names)
  • Jamie Woon – “Movement” (from Making Time)
  • The Japanese House – “Clean” (from Clean)
  • Floating Points – “Silhouettes (I, II, III)” (from Elaenia)
  • Grimes – “Flesh without Blood” (from Art Angels)
  • Oneohtrix Point Never – “Mutant Standard” (from Garden Of Delete)
  • DJ Paypal – “Awakening” (from Sold Out)
  • Kode9 – “Third Ear Transmission” feat. The Spaceape (from Nothing)
  • James Ferraro – “Pollution” (from Skid Row)
  • Freddie Gibbs – “Fuckin’ up the Count” (from Shadow of a Doubt)
  • f(x) – “4 Walls” (from 4 Walls)
  • Triathalon – “It’s You” (from Nothing Bothers Me)
  • Erykah Badu – “Phone Down” (from But You Caint Use My Phone)
  • Fatima Yamaha – “Love Invaders” (from Imaginary Lines)

 

– stasi (@stasisphere)

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Stasisphere’s Top 50 Songs of 2015

Top Live Acts of FYF Fest 2015

FYF Fest 2015

Let me preface this by stating that FYF Fest is one of my absolute favorite events year after year. This was my fifth time attending this gloriously diverse festival, and I felt compelled to write a bit about the most captivating performances. I narrowed this “non-ranked” list down to a rounded ten, five each from Saturday and Sunday. Please check out albums by all of these artists, because they are all amazing in their own right!

Lower Dens FYF

Lower Dens

Since the release of their spectacular new album Escape From Evil, I’ve been highly anticipating a chance to witness the splendor of this band in a live environment. Jana Hunter’s stoic stage presence entranced the late afternoon crowd seeking refuge from the sun in the cool, dark Arena stage, as the group performed choice cuts from the new record. Highlights: “I Am The Earth,” “To Die In L.A.,” closing with “Brains.”

BADBADNOTGOOD FYF

BADBADNOTGOOD

Here’s a group that stands alone when it comes to live improvisation. Within the Arena, this jazz-minded trio of drums, guitar and bass were joined by a brilliant saxophonist that infused a new level of energy into the band’s instrumentally expanded covers of legendary tracks by a variety of producers. These guys deal in “sessions,” so each song is stretched to it’s furthest artistic capabilities. Highlight: “Putty Boy Strut” by Flying Lotus.

UMO FYF

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

The Lawn stage holds a cherished place in the hearts of many FYF veterans; you can’t beat the wide-open grass field, bountiful shade, and easy access to two beer gardens with decent views and sound, so when Unknown Mortal Orchestra took the stage in the late afternoon haze just before the sun set, their timelessly funky charm knew no bounds. Highlights: “The World Is Crowded,” “So Good At Being In Trouble,” “Multi-Love.”

Jon Hopkins FYF

Jon Hopkins

Back in the Arena, Jon Hopkins put on an otherworldly performance like I’ve never experienced. Hopkins is a sound design warlock that takes audiences on a subtly evolving journey through visceral, bass-heavy electronic dance music; this, combined with the Arena’s tendency to amplify those lower frequencies, resulted in some ethereally transcendant moments. Highlight: “Open Eye Signal.”

Battles FYF

Battles

If I spoke about bands that I’ve been aching to see live, there’s a good chance that this group was somewhere near the top of the list. Battles is a trio of bombastic drums and two wonderfully imaginative multi-instrumentalists utilizing various guitars, loops, and synths to create interlocking rhythms that entranced the Trees crowd in a primal way. Watch for the release of their new album La Di Da Di in September. Highlight: “Atlas.”

Run The Jewels FYF

Run The Jewels

What more can I say about Run The Jewels’ live performance that hasn’t already been exclaimed countless times across nearly every music outlet? It’s astounding that a group possesses this much energy, and they didn’t once let up even slightly during the course of their Main stage bombardment. Bottom line: you need to see these guys live every chance you get. Highlight: “Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck)” with Zack de la Rocha.

HEALTH FYF

HEALTH

This is another one of those bands that I never thought I’d get the chance to experience live. Accurately encompassing HEALTH’s sound in a few words is nigh impossible, and they displayed their perplexing brand of eerily percussive, noise-filled pop-rock to an entirely captivated Trees stage audience. Watch for a “review” of their new album DEATH MAGIC on here soon! Highlights: “Die Slow,” “STONEFIST,” “Crimewave.”

Flying Lotus FYF

Flying Lotus

FlyLo, FlyLo, FlyLo. Let it be a testament to the supreme talent of this artist that this was my seventh or eighth time witnessing his live performance, and he’s never once put on a show that was anything less than breathtaking. This year, he was called upon at the last minute to fill a nighttime DJ slot in the Arena, and the lack of preparation time did nothing to deter his supernatural ability. Highlights: “Camel,” “The Killing Joke.”

Kanye West FYF

Kanye West

I haven’t seen Kanye live since ’06, so I had my doubts that were quelled soon after the start of his epic Main stage performance. He’s another artist that was called upon at the eleventh hour, but stepping in as a replacement for headliner Frank Ocean presents massive shoes to fill. I’m happy to report that he stole the show on Saturday. Highlights: “Black Skinhead,” “Jesus Walks,” “Gold Digger,” “Can’t Tell Me Nothing,” etc. etc. etc.

DAngelo FYF

D’Angelo & The Vanguard

Here it is, folks; the be-all and end-all, top live act of FYF 2015. D’Angelo has a charismatic live presence unlike any other artist, and some of the tightest musicians this side of anywhere accompany him in his new backing band The Vanguard. There’s a reason that a D’Angelo performance is so highly lauded, and that’s because he’s a goddamn spectacle. Highlights: “Brown Sugar,” “Spanish Joint,” “Really Love.”

I hope you enjoyed this list of my favorite live acts of FYF Fest 2015! It’s something a little different and I plan to return to daily album “reviews” tomorrow, but let me know if these lists are something that you’d like to see more of, and I urge you to attend 2016’s FYF Fest and to check out albums by all of these artists!

– stasi (@stasisphere)

Top Live Acts of FYF Fest 2015