Other Notable Releases of 2015

Best EP:

Trust Fall (Side A) – Incubus

I’ll admit I wasn’t expecting too much from Incubus when they announced new music. Not only was the title track not anything special, but I didn’t care for their last LP. But since I’ve followed Incubus for a while I decided to give it a shot. And to my surprise I loved what I heard. The music wasn’t dull, slow, or mundane like it sounded on their previous release. Tracks like “Absolution Calling” recalled to the band’s earlier days, while others like “Make Out Party” and “Dance Like You’re Dumb” found them experimenting with different styles. It’s upbeat and a lot of fun to listen to. I’m actually pretty excited to hear what they’ll do next on Side B, which is apparently coming early next year.

Best Compilation Album:

PINK – Mindless Self Indulgence

Some of you may remember how I hated MSI’s previous effort. Most of it was forgettable, repetitive, and too familiar. So I wasn’t expecting much from this “lost album,” but I was still intrigued. And while it’s not flawless, I still enjoyed it more than their 2013 release. A big part of this is all the older material on the album. The songs are all unreleased from both Jimmy Urine solo projects and MSI, which is probably why it’s more exciting, insane, and wild, something missing from their previous album. Many of the songs here could easily find a place on other MSI albums. Fans new and old should be able to find plenty of songs to lose their minds to. It’s also a great way to trek the band’s history – how they got to their unique blend of rap, rock, punk, electronic, and whatever else you want to throw in there.

Best Punk Album:

Freedom – Refused

This Swedish punk band were most prominent in the 80s and 90s with their third album The Shape of Punk to Come often being hailed as one of the best of the decade. After that the band split only to reunite in 2012 and again this year to release their long awaited fourth album. It’s not always pretty when bands who have been inactive for a long time reunite (talking about you No Doubt) but the band was harder, edgier, and more in your face than before. They beefed up their wild punk sound with doses of funk and soul, like on the track “Fraçafrique.” Singer Dennis Lyxzén’s vocals are filled with venom and fire while he sings charged message like “Destroy the man!” Everything about the album is intense, heavy, and full of bravado making it one of the most energized and powerful albums of 2015. The change in sound did irk some critics, but Refused were never about living up to someone else’s expectations.

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