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 an edgy, hip-hop informed sound, Foreign Air is crafting dark rock music very much in the mold of Glass Animals or The Neighbourhood. The duo hail from North Carolina and D.C., but their music has a moody, ethereal, placeless feeling.
“Free Animal” is the group’s first release, and it has generated tremendous buzz behind buzzy, ominous guitar, frenzied electronic drums and some woozy sample chopping. The single is bluesy and hypnotic, featuring an impressive array of vocals from singer Jesse Clasen, including a haunting falsetto second verse.
Foreign Air’s debut EP is slated to drop in February 2016, and if the rest of the tracks are as tight as “Free Animal” you can expect these guys to be all over next summer’s festival circuit.
I have a weird confession. I had not heard the “LA Girl” part of “Robocop” until I saw clips of Kanye’s recent live performance of 808s & Heartbreak on YouTube. I don’t know how this happened. I must have downloaded an unfinished version of “Robocop” from LimeWire when it leaked and never replaced it with the finished version! For years I have been unaware of one of the most beautiful album interludes of all time by my favorite artist of all time.
To make up for it and way overcompensate for that prior gap in knowledge, I made a mixtape inspired by “LA Girl.” It continues to highlight the recent upward trend of California-inspired art à la Gia Coppola’s Palo Alto, The Weeknd’s “The Hills,” and this past July’s Tape Tuesday The Hills Have Eyes.
Goin’ up in L.A., girl I know what you’re used to / Don’t worry ’bout a thing, we can just keep it simple
NOTE: The SoundCloud mix is missing track 13 (“Daddy Issues” by The Neighbourhood).
It was merely two years ago when The Neighbourhood reeled music fans in with their hit single “Sweater Weather”. The edgy, unique vibe that came from these California boys had them gaining fans left and right. Since that moment, they’ve toured around the world and have collaborated with other great artists like Raury (see their mixtape # 000000 & # FFFFFF). Now, they’re here to bring their newest single “R.I.P. 2 My Youth”. It’s got the NBHD sound fans have grown to love over the years, with a mix of gloomy pop and a sprinkle of indie combined with some hip hop influence. It doesn’t stray too far from what fans know, but it also has a glimmer of something new. Take a listen to the track below and keep your eyes peeled for their new album WIPED OUT!, out this October.
For a moment this collaboration seemed like a dream, but it is in reality. Our favorite dark pop band The Neighbourhood have teamed up with everyone’s favorite new artist Raury and it’s a winner. The track oozes a beautiful darkness and is a cry for love. It starts as a track that is a familiar NBHD sound but suddenly there’s an intensity that builds up through the track. Raury puts his touch on it which makes this track that much more special. Listen to the pure music masterpiece below.
When we were introduced to The Hard Knocks this spring, we instantly compared them to modern indie favorites like The Neighbourhood and The 1975. But that was before “Hosana.” This track is a two-and-a-half minute bulldozer over every preconception we had about LA band. It expands our previous comparisons to legends like Michael Jackson and Queen. On the recording lead singer Shane Hunter sounds like he’s singing for his life, sparking this ball of retro energy that is a perfect reminder of what our generation is missing. We’ll keep you posted on the band’s upcoming ME+ EP.
Hot off the presses! To celebrate teaming up with The Neighbourhood for a nationwide tour, JMSN decided to drop this dreamy, somber track for us today. “Fool” starts you off with some soft strings and haunting vocals and eventually takes you to… well, soft strings and haunting vocals. But it’s awesome. And so are you. Happy Thursday.
I think it’s obvious The Neighbourhood have made an impact on all our ears and will only continue to do so. They seem to treat us with a new track every few weeks and I’m not complaining about that one bit! Today they released a track called “$TING” which is smooth and gloomy in the best way possible. Head over to Complex to also hear a new JMSN track which will appear on the 7″ single featuring “$TING”. It’s available on “The Love Collection Tour” this summer.
After touring extensively over the past few years, The Neighbourhood is finally going on their first national headlining tour. They are bringing a few friends with them–friends who happen to also be some of our favorite artists, including Lovelife, The 1975, and JMSN. Icing on the cake? The guys are releasing three limited split 7″ singles with their friends; these will be available at every show.
The NBHD has never been shy about their hip-hop influences. “West Coast” marks the return of lead singer Jesse Rutherford’s rapping (previously known as Jesse James) and truly is a sun-kissed, summer jam. Lovelife’s “Every Minute” is a silky smooth, dramatic taste of indie rock witha falsetto bit that will change your life. Thank God for bands that care.
I’m so West Coast, it’s a goddamn shame
It’s almost here. On April 23rd The Neighbourhood will release their debut album I Love You via Columbia Records. You can stream it below in all of its glory, thanks to Rolling Stone. I don’t know if I was anticipating an album this year more than this one, and so far, it does not disappoint. All aspects of one of our favorite bands are in full effect here; it’s dark, brooding, sensual, raunchy, bleak, confident, transformative, manipulative, suave, angry, and always lovely.
The Neighbourhood have found their niche within the industry and look to expand upon it with their debut full-length I Love You, which will be out on April 23rd via Columbia Records. I genuinely believe these guys will rightfully infiltrate the mainstream by the summertime. You can quote me on that. Below are two video snippets, featuring brand new songs, “Everybody’s Watching Me (Uh Oh)” and “W.D.Y.W.F.M?,” from I Love You. If for some reason you weren’t already excited for the album, now you will be.
[via Pigeons & Planes]
I get emails from people I don’t know. That’s just part of my life now. Depending on how intriguing the subject line is or even how much free time I have, I’ll open the mass email, and occasionally, I’ll like the song held within it. When I get an email that says, “For fans of The 1975, Pacific Air, [and] The Neighbourhood,” I have to stop and pay attention to it. This guy knows what he’s doing, and either he will be dead off in his comparison or he’s managing my new favorite band. Luckily in the case of The Hard Knocks, he’s managing my new favorite band. The SoCo-based four-piece is headed in the right direction, garnering comparisons to some of my favorite buzz bands of the past few years. It’s gonna be very interesting to see where this single takes them, and what’s next for this group.
We’ll keep you posted on The Hard Knock’s debut ME EP, coming out May 7th.