By now you have probably read 5-10 “Best Albums” lists compiled by your favorite music conglomerates. This list is different for several reasons. First, this is a list of my (Arjun’s) personal favorite projects from the year. I did not have to dilute my taste through a group dynamic. This is my unfiltered opinion, which I think makes for a more honest list. Secondly, I did not include any artists for political reasons, which larger sites are prone to do. Lastly, this list is a bit unusual in that it combines albums, mixtapes, and EPs under the blanket term “project,” which in the age of long EPs, free albums, and high quality mixtapes is a necessity.
I am not going to write about every album on the list. Nobody has time for that. Instead, let’s hit the highlights and the lesser known projects.
With any significant shift in technology comes a learning curve. In our generation the big shifts in technology have been smartphones and the web. I think in 2015 artists are on the brink of fully understanding how to effectively use these technologies and how to carve out lanes for themselves in an oversaturated online music universe.
The most beautiful thing about music in 2015 is that there is something for everyone. The sheer volume of music on SoundCloud alone is overwhelming to imagine. To simplify things let’s separate artists into two categories: those concerned about quantity and those concerned about quality. The quantity group uploads faux freestyles over ripped YouTube instrumentals of the latest street hits, hoping someone important will notice them. This exhibits very short-range thinking. GOOD Music president Che Pope called this type of music “disposable music” at an RBMA lecture in Paris. The quality group, on the other hand, is a slave to their vision. They have an idea, they record their idea, they perfect their idea, they have their idea mixed and mastered properly, and they collaborate with a designer on a piece of artwork that visually represents their auditory idea. This exhibits the understanding I mentioned earlier, and I am seeing more and more artists tending to the quality of releases over the quantity. Mic Kellogg is one such artist.
Over the past year Mic has methodically released singles from his debut project Breakfast. Each single garnered a breakfast-themed cover and usually an accompanying post on Pigeons & Planes. This September Mic released the conceptual Breakfast LP and further proved that he was an artist of substance and thought. In order to kill the mystique of great art, we asked him to breakdown our favorite tracks from the project and give us insight into the making of Breakfast.
I am not going to talk about flowers in this writeup. The name of the tape is more of a feeling. This is morning at the beach music. You can start your day with any of the first 13 tracks — preferably in the arranged order. After track 13, the mix veers into darker territory. It is like when the high wears off, and you realize that the summer is coming to an end.
And the flower is dead. Sorry, just needed one flower reference for it all to make sense. And the beginning is like the flower of love, blooming. Ugh, gosh, sorry… two.
I know enough about being high to know you my ultimate drug
We all know how difficult it is to make a good first impression. When introducing ourselves to new people, we want to make sure we look good and we talk good and seem interesting and are attentive and all of our little flaws are repressed for this one introductory meeting. Now, imagine how difficult it is to introduce yourself to the entire music internet by having your first three singles posted on Pigeons & Planes. Instantly, all these eyes are on you and your music. Your life is changed as soon as the blog post goes live. You just hope that you have presented yourself in the best possible way. You hope the hype machine does not chew you up and spit you out like it has to countless artists in the past.
That got very heavy, and I am sorry.
Mic Kellogg has made the best first impression I have seen in awhile. The Milwaukee-based rapper and producer has released four quality tracks in just three months. The songs are personal, unique, and catchy–each unveiling pieces of Kellogg’s life and personality. Each track features artwork related to Breakfast, the title of his debut project. Young artists and managers should use his Soundcloud as a model for how to introduce a new artist.