Regular Studio Albums, 2015
Bonus Edition Handicap: The white-vinyl box edition not only contains extra songs, but is a thing of great beauty. How can you NOT want it?
Bonus Edition Handicap: The four-LP box set may be a little overstuffed, but is a beautiful and stunning thing to behold.
37. Gwenno, Y Dydd Olaf – Sci-fi dystopias in English tend to be tense and somewhat frenetic affairs, ranging from Bowie to Janelle Monae. Former Pipette Gwenno Saunders opts instead for an ethereal cautionary tale about cultural blanding and robotic response, sung in Welsh and Cornish and executed in a dreamy style somewhere between Stereolab and Trailer Trash Tracys. Fascinating, but the language barrier isn’t as daunting as getting serious politics delivered via dream-pop.
Bonus Edition Handicap: The remix tracks in the CD box are nothing special, but the patches and buttons and stickers and junk are to die for.
Bonus Edition Handicap: The 16-song version is essential, if only for the cover of Johnny Cash’s “I Walk the Line.”
60. Joy Williams, Venus – In the post-Civil Wars era, Joy has elected to stretch and move beyond her country-folk. Her effort mostly succeeds.
71. Jessica Pratt, On Your Own Love Again – Pratt has an odd style, a slight British accent and singing inflection a la Vashti Bunyan, but one which becomes familiar after repeated listens.
Bonus Edition Handicap: An Adele fan is going to want the 16-track edition, no doubt, though that doesn’t imply greater variety.
Bonus Edition Handicap: If you’re going to snare the master, go for the book and third disc with the Mondial Jazz Festival live set.
Bonus Edition Handicap: Of course you want the edition with seven 45-rpm records instead of six, because then you get songs from Devil in a Woodpile and Tijuana Hercules. How could you do without that?