by James Calvet
Finals are almost here! It's the most wonderful time of the year. We are kidding. We hate finals as much as you do. But that also means that it's list season. We are putting together a compiled listener year-end list. Log on to radio1190.org or visit our Facebook/Twitter and submit your top 10 albums of 2015. Keep your eyes on our website and social media for staff lists and other year-end lists.
Though many bands come out of the east coast, none have really stood out quite like Philadelphia band Palm. Their newest record Trading Basics, out on Exploding In Sound Records, their biggest release in their very short career. Though it may not be as experimental or wild as their earlier album Ostrich Vacation, Trading Basics is still an uncompromised, visceral listen. Like most of their tracks, the second track is "Crank", a jagged, angular track that charges forward in a very solid groove. The track then ends in a guitar-based cacophony only ending in one tight hit.
Over the course of the album, the group heavily utilizes polyrhythms and dissonant melodies that sound influenced by experimental punk bands like This Heat. Though many of the songs forego traditional melodies and song structures, catchy hooks burst out of nowhere. On the stand out track "Ankles", the refrain, which repeats the mantra “I don’t need you any more” which easily can get, stuck in the listeners head. The music is incredibly interesting and mind-bending; it can be quite taxing over the span of eleven songs. But undoubtedly, Palm have an incredibly unique sound unlike any band out right now, quite possibly making Trading Basics the sleeper hit of 2015.
Accompanied by a documentary of the same name, Junun, Paul Thomas Anderson recruited musicians from the east and the west including Shye Ben Tzur, Jonny Greenwood, and The Rajasthan Express. From Radiohead fame, Jonny Greenwood teams up with Israeli composer Shye Ben Tzur and Rajasthan Express which is composed of 19 traditional musicians. The album was recorded in the Mehrangarh Fort in Rajasthan, India. The film documents the making of the album, an organic process of musicians coming together and creating something unique together. The western musicians infuse their style in the traditional eastern music with fantastic results. Hints of electronica and rock music riddle the album throughout. The two-disk collection is diverse, emotive and incredibly enjoyable. Though the album and documentary don't do anything truly profound, the fact that these culturally different musicians come together to make something unique and interesting is something special in itself.
It was just a matter of time until Ty Segall released another album. This time around Mr Segall has put out a tribute album to his favorite band, T-Rex, aptly titled Ty Rex. Covers of tracks "20th Century Boy" and "The Slider" are fantastic homages to Marc Bolan and company with Segall's signature sound in the mix. Notably, Ty has infused fuzzier, grittier and rawer guitars and production into the mix. Unlike his previous album, Manipulator, we see a more punk-leaning sound from Ty Segall sounding much closer to his roots than ever. Though, obviously since it's a cover album, there is no new territory found on Ty Rex, but it's the perfect way to hold over garage rock fanatics until the next original Ty Segall LP.