George A. Paul’s Top 10 Albums of 2015

by George A. Paul

top-10In 2015, many music consumers were busy purchasing or streaming albums by Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith and Maroon 5 (all of which came out the year before) or actually going into stores to buy physical CDs by Adele. The latter’s “25” has already raced past the 7 million mark in just over a month’s time. But several truly daring and original releases came from acts outside the mainstream that were unafraid to pen confessional songs (often swathed in reverb), a bunch of Brits who are getting better with age, a grunge rock-era survivor who traded bombast for a fine, stripped down effort and more. The following are my top 10 albums – in order – and some which barely missed the cut.

  1. Dawes, “All Your Favorite Bands” (Hub)
  2. City & Colour, “If I Should Go Before You” (Dine Alone/Cooking Vinyl)
  3. Dustin Kensrue, “Carry the Fire” (Vagrant)
  4. Lord Huron, “Strange Trails” (IAmSound)
  5. Blur, “The Magic Whip” (Warner Bros.)
  6. The Vaccines, “English Graffiti” (Columbia)
  7. Josh Ritter, “Sermon on the Rocks” (Pytheas/Thirty Tigers)
  8. The Cribs, “For All My Sisters” (Sony)
  9. Florence + the Machine, “How Big How Blue How Beautiful” (Republic)
  10. Chris Cornell, “Higher Truth” (UMe)

Honorable Mention: Joe Jackson, “Fast Forward” (Sharp Practice/Caroline); The Mavericks, “Mono” (Valory Music Co.); Stereophonics, “Keep the Village Alive” (Stylus/Ignition); Don Henley, “Cass County” (Capitol); Chvrches, “Every Open Eye” (Glassnote)

Top 10 Concerts of 2015:

  1. U2, The Forum (Night 2), Inglewood, Calif.
  2. The Lone Bellow, Stagecoach Festival (Day 1), Empire Polo Field, Indio, Calif.
  3. Mike Peters, The Coach House, San Juan Capistrano, Calif.
  4. Spandau Ballet, Pacific Amphitheatre, Costa Mesa, Calif.
  5. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, The Orpheum, Los Angeles, Calif.
  6. Vintage Trouble, NAMM, Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, Calif.
  7. St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Coachella Festival #2 (Day 2), Empire Polo Field, Indio, Calif.
  8. The Mavericks, Doheny Blues Festival (Day 1), Doheny State Beach, Doheny, Calif.
  9. Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Coachella Festival #2 (Day 2), Empire Polo Field, Indio, Calif.
  10. Blur, Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood, Calif.

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