Albums to watch

Half Year

Kendrick Lamar: To Pimp A Butterfly is not only the highest rated album of the year so far but also our all-time highest rated album

ADM 2015: The half year report

We're six months into 2015 so it's time for our look back at the most critically-acclaimed music so far this year

Three short months ago in our ADM 1st Quarter Report we were babbling excitedly about what a musically epochal year 2015 looked set to become on the basis that three and a half early-year releases had vaulted into our all-time top 10 (the half courtesy of D'Angelo And The Vanguard's album which was released towards the end of December 2014 too late to properly figure in the 2014 reckoning).

With albums still to emerge from the likes of Grimes, Frank Ocean, Raekwon and Deafheaven to mention but a few, it felt like 2015 was almost guaranteed to go down as a vintage year.

And, three months further on, it still could. But it ain't happened yet. The aforementioned albums have still to emerge. Kendrick Lamar, D'Angelo, Sufjan Stevens and Sleater-Kinney are still sitting pretty in our all-time roll of critical honour.

Elsewhere, there have been some solidly-appreciated releases in the past three months, most notably from Vince Staples, Mbongwana Star and - perhaps most intriguingly - Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment, aka Chance The Rapper's side project self-released free download mixtape iTunes blog giveaway soul-jazz-hip-hop collective sort-of album.

Surf has garnered acclaim among a smaller circle of reviewers than it might have attracted had it had a less unconventional release, which is perhaps surprising given the way many respected hip hop artists nowadays circumvent the traditional major-label route. Who knows, with more attention from a wider range of critics, it could have been up there alongside Lamar, Frank Ocean, and Kanye West.

 

-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

9.25

Kendrick Lamar

To Pimp A Butterfly

"One day, To Pimp A Butterfly could be regarded a cultural and historical document worthy of academic discussion. It most certainly should be"
Pretty Much Amazing

More reviews

-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

8.77

Sufjan Stevens

Carrie & Lowell

"He's never produced an album this nakedly autobiographical, so stripped of complex conceptual trappings"
Slant

More reviews

-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

8.74

Sleater-Kinney

No Cities To Love

"From front to back there's not an ounce of flab - a perfectly toned muscle that sits out of time in the best possible way"
DIY

More reviews

-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

8.57

Vince Staples

Summertime '06

"A triumph not just for Staples, who has never sounded this engaging, but also for executive producer No I.D., who takes big risks behind the boards"
AV Club

More reviews

-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

8.50

Father John Misty

I Love You Honeybear

"A messy, extravagant, astonishing, beguiling and honest experience: that's love, and that's also what I Love You, Honeybear is. Just magnificent"
The Line Of Best Fit

More reviews

-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

8.48

Mbongwana Star

From Kinshasa

"A gripping mix of excitement, apprehension and sensory overload"
The Guardian

More reviews

-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

8.31

Natalie Prass

Natalie Prass

"Everything she sings here feels honest and convincing, and, like the best soul music, her songs here transform the personal in to the universal"
musicOMH

More reviews

-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

8.28

Courtney Barnett

Sometime I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit

"Sometimes is the work of probably the best lyricist writing today, and roundly deserves to be an album for the ages"
The Line Of Best Fit

More reviews

-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

8.24

Björk

Vulnicura

"The best in two decades from one of a handful of the greatest artists of their era. Vulnicura is a truly significant achievement"
Crack

More reviews

-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

8.23

Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment

Surf

"Surf succeeds on multiple levels: as a rap album, as a soul album, as a showcase of musicianship and as proof that the industry ladder can be ascended without a label or sales"
Exclaim

More reviews

-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

And the next 20

11. Lone Wolf Lodge
12. Susanne Sundfør Ten Love Songs
13. Lonelady Hinterland
14. James McMurty Complicated Game
15. Kamasi Washington The Epic
16. Jamie xx In Colour
17. Young Fathers White Men Are Black Men Too
18. Ryley Walker Primrose Green
19. Napalm Death Apex Predator - Easy Meat
20. Jim O'Rourke Simple Songs

21. Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat The Most Important Place...
22. Bassekou Kouyaté And Ngoni Ba Ba Power
23. Lightning Bolt Fantasy Empire
24. Viet Cong Viet Cong
25. Holly Herndon Platform
26. Everything Everything Get To Heaven
27. Bop English Constant Bop
28. Torres Sprinter
29. Godspeed You! Black Emperor Assunder, Sweet...
30. Panda Bear Panda Bear Meets Grim Reeper

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest Reviews

More reviews