Year-end lists are everywhere…and I can see why they’re important to people. But, seeing as we generally walk off the beaten path more often than not, our list of the Top 50 Albums of 2015 is in no particular order, save alphabetically. It seems pointless to rank one piece of art higher than another, especially when the four of us at ATH all have varying tastes. We just put this list together of the albums we loved the most this year. Are we saying they’re better than records by Grimes or Kendrick Lamar? No, we’re just saying that these are the records we loved more than others. So, you can read on for what we thought was hot.
Also…put links to individual stores where you can buy the albums from the bands…as that’s how we all survive in this music world.
Sometimes, simple is great—whether you’re in the mood to just jam out or not, stripped down rock songs will always be there to take you away. Such is the case with New Paltz, New Yorkers, Quarterbacks and their incredibly high-energy twee-punk sound. On this self-titled debut album, these three gents don’t give you a song that lasts even two minutes, but they do give you lots of them, leaving you to question just why anyone would bother with creating longer tracks.
The general sound on this album is that of borderline out of control spastic drumming, electric guitar riffs that just won’t quit, and the vocals that just try to keep up with the instruments. Opening with a quick number, “Usual,” they instill this high energy from the beginning, that classic electric guitar sound making sure you’re wide awake before they fully launch into things. From here they don’t really stop—while they may slow down slightly, the whole album seems to run on pure raw energy. The lyrics come at you full force, and little details all become apparent at once in this youthful release.
Just because the overall sound on this album is hyper-fast and feisty doesn’t mean that it lacks tenderness. Surprisingly, there are a ton of softer moments embedded in the mix, which provides the necessary juxtaposition to the twangy punk guitars and nasal vocals that serve as the main focus of the group. These moments sometimes have whole individual tracks devoted to this sound, and other times they come as a blip interred into an otherwise rambunctious track. The tender, slower moments seem to be wound into the fiber of Quarterbacks sound, and this gives the album a real emotive quality that harkens back to 90’s emo bands. This melancholy tone runs through the album alongside the playful, which is quite effective for the band—see “Knicks,” or “Center”
While the hyper-short song lengths may seem a little ridiculous at first glance, at the end of Quarterbacks, you understand why the band has such a choppy catalog of songs for you to enjoy. Simply put, It works perfectly for this genre; the brevity of each track makes you appreciate it more, as before you even get the chance to really sink your teeth into the number it’s gone. Such is the same with the album as a whole: if you blink, you’ll miss it, so keep your eyes and ears open.
There’s one record on the horizon that I think everyone is going to love; it’s the newest self-titled album from Quarterbacks. You’re not going to find an album full over-indulgence, but instead you’ll get a ton of short songs, each delighting in its own way. There’s hints of jangling pop in there, which you know I love, but there’s also a passion in the songwriting that really makes the whole record rather uplifting. I guarantee this will be a hit for you all; look for the LP on February 10th from Team Love Records.
I just can’t stop listening to this record. The songs are quick and to the point, yet they’re always infectious, getting stuck in your head. But, like the song below, they’re all fairly short, so the listen isn’t daunting by any means; it’s refreshing in fact, blasting through with fun hooks in under 30 minutes. I implore you to look beyond perceived simplicity in the lyrics and just indulge in what’s been a great surprise from Quarterbacks. They’re self-titled album will be in stores on February 10th courtesy of Team Love Records.
This song’s been all over the Internet the last few days, so why not let your week get wrapped up with this undeniably catchy little bit of pop from Quarterbacks. At first listen, the vocals imply that the track prescribes to modern jangle-pop touches, but the guitars aren’t quite that clean and angular, allowing for the band to create their own little musical space. Honestly, the tune reminds me of the music I listened to during my early college years when I was a young uber twee fan, though the band still has tricks up their sleeve with the slow drawn closing. Look for their debut LP on February 10th via Team Love Records.
Download: Quarterbacks – Center [MP3]