SMAB’s Favorite Albums of 2015 & Early 2016

Marc’s Pick: Adventure by Madeon

Madeon_-_Adventure_Adventure by Madeon was released on March 27, 2015 by Madeon off of Columbia Records. Despite this being Hugo Pierre’s first album, it has gained popularity worldwide for its creativity and uniqueness. The album tells a story, and each song leads into the next. The album is written in the “Adventure Alphabet” which is purely unique to this album and artist. The music video series of this album tells the story of the album in a movie perspective, in which the songs are scenes along the “Adventure.” With all of this being said, Madeon is still a very small artist, but has some incredibly devoted fans, such as myself.

Recommended Song: Nonsense (Feat. Mark Foster)


Melvin’s Pick: Not to Disappear by Daughter

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Loneliness and depression are just other kinds of fragile aesthetics. This London trio is always good at creating their own spacious and cold world with fluent guitar lines and narrating heartbroken stories with Elena Tonra’ s melancholy voice. Compared to their 2013 debut, If You Leave, Daughter piles on the agony in a much more dramatic way by using a series of drastic percussion. They’ve become more confident than ever before. While the album itself is based on indie folk structure, the band attempts to fuse different kinds of music ideas. The arrangement of “New Way” is close to post-rock, “Alone/With You” is more experimental, and my favorite, “Fossa,” is a doomy dream-pop and shoegaze song with plenty of suffocating distortion.

Recommended Song: Fossa


Julia’s Pick: Nonagon Infinity by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard

cdcd.pngReleased last April by Australian 7 piece band King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Nonagon Infinity defies garage rock with this impressive feat of an album. Seamlessly recorded and produced, Nonagon Infinity was designed to loop continuously. The first song “Robot Stop” meshes and loops perfectly with the last song “Robot Train.” However, don’t think you’re going to get an album where all of the songs sound the same, because King Gizzard keeps Nonagon Infinity complex and interesting throughout with their use of effects, complex melodies, multiple drummers, old school microphones, and even a harmonica. Overwhelming at times with it’s fast pace and layered instruments, this album is my pick for best album of 2016 (so far), as it challenges not only garage rock, but also recorded music in general, all while keeping a unique, interesting and distinct sound.

Recommended Song: Big Fig Wasp


Mariella’s Pick: Missed Calls by Tunji Ige

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Tunji Ige is one of those rappers whose music I find myself rediscovering time and time again.  I first discovered Tunji Ige last year when he posted his mind-blowing mix tape, The Love Project on SoundCloud (which he made when he was only a sophomore in college!). One year later, I’m still listening to it weekly and consider it to be severely underrated. Back at it again, with his first official album Missed Calls, Tunji Ige both raps and produces songs that echo influence from major artists like Kid Cudi, Frank Ocean, Drake and Kanye West, and yet is able to create his unique own sound. Though still relatively unknown, it is clear that Tunji Ige is set to be the next big thing. With catchy pump up tracks like “All Night” and “Fired Up” or more personal ones like “Change That” and “22,” Tunji Ige kills it in everyone song, and something tells me, he’s just getting started.

Recommended Song: All Night


Maria’s Pick: Currents by Tame Impala

currents.pngCurrents is the third album by Tame Impala, released last July. Tame Impala’s distinct psychedelic-pop sound and masterful lyricism are maintained with each track. The album is critically acclaimed and even caught the attention of top performers such as Rihanna, who covered their song “New Person, Same Old Mistakes” on her album Anti. As a band, Tame Impala is pretty well-known and continually comes out with chart-topping music. Personally, this album reminds me of the summer before college and the lyrics meshed well with my mood at the time, as songs like “Yes I’m Changing” talks about getting older and moving on.

Recommended Song: Yes I’m Changing


Emma’s Pick: Good Grief by Lucius

Good Grief off Mom + Pop Records is the sophomore Untitled 2release from Brooklyn band Lucius. The album follows what one could call an arc of love—from early excitement in “Born Again Teen” through growing older and finding one’s way through life without losing hope in “Dusty Trails.” Known for their infectious vocals, Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig bring striking harmonies, frantic energy, and alluring melodies. If you were a fan of their debut album, you’ll notice Good Grief is more polished and perhaps more pop-oriented which either takes away from their original charm or just proves an evolution in their sound; take it as you will. Personally, I find this new album incredibly catchy and have been listening to it non-stop for the past two months.

Recommended Song: Gone Insane


Grif’s Pick: 燃えない灰 (Moenai Hai) by The Gerogerigegege

Untitled 4Long lost obscure neo-dada/harsh noise/fetish-rock band The Gerogerigegege have resurfaced from the depths of hell to bless (or curse) us with a new recording, 15 years after their last release. I mean, I guess they have. It’s 2016 and nothing should surprise anyone anymore. Whatever. It’s true though. Juntaro Yamanouchi, “frontman” of this mysterious and to some, perverted group is not dead like so many have assumed, and instead has released one of the finest records of his career. Moenai Hai, Japanese for “Noncombustible Ash” (I don’t get it either) is a masterpiece on both ends of The Gerogerigegege’s twisted spectrum of art and sound. Opening with “Out of Saiga,” a hollow, lonely piece of beautiful dark ambience, the listener is embraced in a sonic cloud of despair and sorrow that only a group like this can deliver. Thankfully this is much more than your run-of-the-mill dark ambient release, it’s a Gero release! Track two, titled after the group themselves, harkens back to the group’s Tokyo Anal Dynamite era, with a full band (or at least drums and guitar) strangling their instruments and creating deeply interesting sonic textures, or at least just a bunch of screaming and distortion.  Is it truly an actual band playing on this record? Just like it is with most aspects of this band’s secretive and insane “career”, we’ll probably never know. Musical credits list a simple “J.Y.” Spooky. Or not. Either way, this album is one of the best things 2016 has to offer so far, and hopefully not the last thing this extremely strange group does. God bless The Gerogerigegege.

Recommended Song: ゲロゲリゲゲゲ (The Gerogerigegege)


Teresa’s Pick: You’re a Man Now, Boy by Raleigh Ritchie

Untitled 5.pngYou’re a Man Now, Boy shows off Raleigh Ritchie’s strong and distinguished sound while packing meaning behind every single song. The album touches on a wide range of feelings, from invincibility  in “The Greatest”, love in “The Last Romance,” and internal struggles in “Stronger Than Ever.” Each song tells its own unique story and his voice is so moving that you can’t help but feel involved with his life story. Raleigh Ritchie may sound familiar to Game of Thrones fans for his role as Grey Worm. Personally, as someone who’s averse to actor-singers and rap, it’s very clear that he has the passion and skills to hold his own in the music industry while winning over a die-hard alternative music listener such as myself.

Recommended Song: The Greatest


Music Reporter Anna’s Pick: The Colour in Anything by James Blake

Untitled 6Although James Blake sort of fell off the grid over the past few years, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the follow up to his 2013 release, Overgrown. After Beyoncé managed to raise him back to life from the music dead with his feature on her track, “Forward,” I was back to impatiently waiting for new tracks from the British lad. Luckily, Blake pulled a Beyoncé as well, just about a week after the surprise drop of Lemonade. On Cinco de Mayo Blake announced that he was dropping his new record, The Colour in  Anything, a day later on May 6th. The opening track, “Radio Silence,” catches my breath every time from the first note, and it’s needless to say that the rest of this album continues to prove that James Blake is one of the most talented musicians of our generation over the course of just over an hour. “Love Me in Whatever Way” cleverly uses the MacBook PhotoBooth sound as a sample, and “Timeless” drags you into a sticky sweet pit of nostalgia. Also, who else could create a near-flawless 17 track album with only one feature (with that feature being Bon Iver on “I Need a Forest Fire”)? Please don’t say The 1975.

Recommended Song: I Need A Forest Fire (ft. Bon Iver)


MELVIN YUEN | Assistant Music Director

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