Here’s what a number of CKXU volunteers and programmers had to say about the past year:
Top R&B albums of 2015
Get Up, Git Down (Thursdays, 3:00-4:00pm)
1. Haitus Kaiyote – Choose Your Weapon – Sent from the future to sink deep into your soul. Great musicianship to boot. I swear I’ve worn it out on air by now.
2. Jeremih – Late Nights: The Album – The modern master of sensual modern r&b does it again. Go to the club and find the love in your life in a drunken haze.
3. Miguel – Wildheart – A soulful auteur of the craft picks up a guitar, goes for coffee, surprises yet again. Fantano had it wrong.
4. Daniel Caesar – Pilgrim’s Paradise – This EP is better than most full albums. Canada goes to bat for R&B and finds its true king. If only the best song was clean 🙁
5. The Internet – Ego Death – Odd Future’s sultry soul group goes 3D with a lush, full band sound and mature, sexy grooves.
6. Tinashe – Amethyst – Tinashe’s latest fantastic release is a strong reminder that she kicks out better stuff for free than most music artists try and sell.
7. Brendan Philip – Brendan Philip/Culture Power Vol. 0 – Canada’s own outsider R&B maverick, blending deep electronic sounds and sublime vocals on two fantastic EPs.
8. Autre Ne Veut – Age of Transparency – A goliath and almost uncategorizable machine, Autre Ne Veut creates yet another masterpiece.
9. D.R.A.M. – GAHDAM – Singer/rapper and ‘Cha Cha’ partyboy D.R.A.M. releases another fun EP with a jam for every single mood.
10. Leon Bridges – Coming Home – I saw Sam Cooke on SNL put on a heck of a show. Turns out he’s dead and it was this guy. He’s had a huge year.
Top albums of 2015 (alphabetically)
Something To Write Home About (Wednesdays, 6:00-7:00pm)
Anamai – Sallows – Singer-songwriter lets her tones ring out.
Big Brave – Au de la – Empty. Harsh. Gentle. Intense. Brutal. Beautiful.
D.F. W K.B.D. and J.G A – A Chance Happening – One murky room field recording.
Girl Band – Holding Hands with Jamie – Noise rock in nonsensical lyrics and glissandi.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress – Two melodic monsters encompassing two noisy drones.
Hag Face – R.I.P. – Evil incarnate witch-punk desecrates doom metal.
Health – Death Magic – Dynamic industrial rock played into a room the size of a chasm.
Holly Herndon – Platform – A foley artist making skittery breakbeat pop from vocal snippets.
Rafael Anton Irisarri – A Fragile Geography – An entrancing 40 minutes of ambient drone soundscapes.
Valiska – Repetitions – A new master of ambience.
The Reverend of Steel‘s
Top metal albums of 2015
Metal Mass (Sundays, 10:00am-12:00pm)
1. Motorhead – Bad Magic – Motorhead is always number one.
2. Khemmis – Absolution – So heavy. Feels like a herd of elephants trampling through one ear, stomping all over your brain and marching out the other side. Amazing modern doom.
3. Kauan – Sorni Nai – One of the most beautiful atmospheric metal/alt rock albums in existence. Nature sounds captured in the Siberian wilderness coupled with cellos and Ukrainian vocals.
4. Chron Goblin – Backwater – Great stoner rock band from Calgary. A solid release of non-stop toe tapping/head bopping.
5. Ghost – Meliora – Better than the last one. Theremin is always a great addition to any album.
6. David Gilmour – Rattle that Lock – One of the worlds most memorable guitar players releases a new album and it is good! Great licks, great solos, great vocals.
7. Iron Maiden – Book of Souls – A solid release. Some aspects reminded me of earlier works from Seventh Son era. Post-tongue cancer Bruce sounds great!
8. Unleash the Archers – Time Stands Still – Great power metal from Vancouver. This album benefits from far superior production than previous releases thanks to Napalm Records signing.
9. Blind Guardian – Beyond the Red Mirror – It’s a BG album. Very Guardian-esque. Not their best album but it’s a gooder.
10. Leprous – The Congregation – Prog metal. Good.
Favorite songs in 2015
Lethbridge Public Library On Air (Tuesdays, 6:00-7:00pm)
LP – “Forever for Now” – Best. Voice. Ever.
Joni Mitchell – “Chelsea Morning” – Classic university life song by the Canadian master. Perfection.
The Bleachers – “I’m Ready to Move On (featuring Yoko Ono)” – The whole album is absolutely incredible; I fell in love with this last January. This song is especially awesome because of reasons.
Bastille – “Oblivion” – Beautiful song. So different from “Pompeii” but still incredible. I cry everytime!
Gem Club – “Polly” – Gem Club only makes incredible music, but I especially love this one because it reminds me of my best friend, Akane.
Death Cab for Cutie – “Little Wanderer” – This song has a special significance for me, because it happened to exactly correspond to a certain time of my life in 2015.
MADE IN HEIGHTS – “Murakami” – Haruki Murakami is my favourite author, so I was delighted to find a song about his writing!!! Thanks to my friend Hailey!!
Imogen Heap – “Xixi She Knows” – Sparks is such an inspiring album; I love the sense of life and … joyful desperation(?) that is conveyed in this song.
Raised by Swans – “Secret Garden/S.C.” – I also heard this song at a strangely corresponding time in my life last year. I dreamt about it several times too.
Son Lux – “Lost it to Trying (Paper Towns Remix)” – I loved the movie Paper Towns, but I loved the soundtrack even more. This song (and remix) is just amazing.
Top albums of 2015
Audio Director for Live at CKXU (Fridays + Saturdays, 5:00-6:00pm)
1. Carly Rae Jepsen – E•MO•TION – The best pop album in recent history, yet strangely overlooked.
2. Braids – Deep In The Iris – Dense, lush multilayered electronic production, with tight drumming, and reflective lyricism.
3. Julien Baker – Sprained Ankle – A very intimate album with minimal elements, but the atmosphere she creates is quite powerful and poignant.
4. Grimes – Art Angels – Grimes steers more towards a cleaner pop sound, but still retains her weird and intersting aesthetic.
5. Pumpkin & Vin’S da Cuero – Peinture Fraiche – French hip hop with a female emcee on top of unique groovy electronic beats.
6. Jamie XX – In Colour – A colorful mix of electronic tracks that evoke warm feelings, and includes one of the songs of the summer.
7. Purity Ring – Another Eternity – Purity Ring move beyond the aesthetic sound of their debut, and create a great, tighter followup.
8. Chelsea Wolfe – Abyss – A gothic rock/metal album mixed with electronic sounds, creates one uniquely dark and heavy album.
9. Björk – Vulnicura – Björk delivers one of the most unique takes on breakup songs, with fresh, and dark, production mixed beautifully with strings.
10. Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think… – An album that brings back some 90s alt rock vibes, but with some lyrical wit from Courtney.
Top metal & rock albums of 2015
Global Metal (Mondays, 10:00-11:00pm)
1. Ghost – Meliora – It’s Ghost what more is there to say? Huge choral arrangements make this my favorite album of 2015!
2. Leviathan – Scar Sighted – An extremely powerful black metal album. Leviathan’s first album in 4 years and it’s absolutely amazing!
3. Swallow the Sun – Songs from the Night I, II, III – I love melodic death metal and this is my choice for melodic death album of the year!
4. Iron Maiden – Book Of Souls – Five years off and back in full force. If you are a fan of classic metal, then this is perfect for you. Its got some killer tracks.
5. Paradise Lost – The Plague Within – The heaviest these guys have ever been and I am loving the doom/death feel to this whole album -a must buy!
6. The Moon Runners – Starblanket – After seeing these guys in Lethbridge, I had to put it on the list. The extensive use of guitar pedals as an extension of their instruments is amazing!
7. Northlane – Node – Metalcore done right. So heavy and it reminds me of my high school playlists. Great album!
8. Cattle Decapitation – The Anthropocene Extinction – Pure brutal death metal! Gore and disgust line these lyrics with clean vocals sprinkled in throughout -it’s great!
9. Adrenechrome – Tales from Adrenechrome – These Canadian rockers have been on repeat for months in my car! I cannot get “God Sized Shadow” out of my head!
10. Disturbed – Immortalized – I know its not the heaviest or best, but I have a nostalgia soft spot for the band.
Favorite songs of 2015 (no particular order)
Gateway to the Underground (Mondays, 6:00-7:00pm)
Hugeative – “Behemoth” – Hugeative had a lot of great 2015 releases, but “Behemoth” was the danciest and catchiest one of them all.
Lacerta – “Polygons” – Not for the faint of heart, but the sound design is incredible and clean-cut. Fans of flanger sounds, give it a listen.
Toby Fox – “Bonetrousle” – The game, Undertale, sticks as the defining thing of 2015 in my mind, even surpassing Star Wars. This song is my favourite, even beating “Megalovania.”
PhaseOne – “Extinction” and “Nangs” – The EP these come from would file as one of my favourite albums of the year. These two songs in particular have great sticking power and great production.
Rick and Morty – “Get Schwifty (Andromulus Remix)” – Rick and Morty is by far the best animated show on television, and this remix turns the massive joke song into a sweet hybrid trap tune.
Prozzak – “Baby I Need Your Love (Pussy Cat)” – First release from Prozzak for a long time, and it’s worth the wait. Electro pop meets light rock.
Hiroyuki Sawano – “In The Forest (vocals by mpi)” – The entire OST of Xenoblade Chronicles X is worth checking out, but this piece gives me goosebumps every time I even think about it.
Kill The Noise & Bryn Christopher – “Mine” – KTN’s album Occult Classic was great overall, but this song stuck out to me. Super clean sidechained sound.
Joe Ford & Icicle – “Crossbreed” – I had to include some of the mind-destroying DnB that came out this year. Trying to wrap your heard around this track is entertainment enough.
REZZ – “Maze” – Sounds like something right out of “Hotline Miami.” Tempo gets faster and faster, providing an awesome build-up to the final release.