KCSU's Favorite Albums of 2015


Sam Bulkley

Editor’s note: KCSU does not support BØRNs, their label or their actions.

As Christmas quickly approaches, it’s time to reveal my top albums and concerts of 2015. Thanks to everyone new and old for sharing these awesome musical experiences with me this year, sometimes the show is that great because of the people you’re with having a blast. I’m interested to see how 2016 will top this year of music, but it seems to happen every year.


1.    Currents– Tame Impala

2.    Extras In A Movie– Papadosio

3.    To Pimp A Butterfly– Kendrick Lamar

4.    Space Is Still The Place– The Bright LightSocial Hour

5.    In Colour– Jamie xx

6.    The Epic– Kamasi Washington

7.    The Beyond / Where The Giants Roam– Thundercat

8.    Made For Pleasure– The New Mastersounds

9.    PLUMP Chapter One– Twiddle

10. The Waterfall– My Morning Jacket

11. Shadow Of A Doubt– Freddie Gibbs

12. Fairchildren-Ott.

13. HolyWater Pool– Heaters

14. Dr.Spookymuffin– Genetics

15. PandaBear Meets the Grim Reaper– Panda Bear

16. VegaIntl. Night School– Neon Indian


18. PilotTalk III– Curren$y

19. InviteThe Light– Dam-Funk

20. Mr.Wonderful– Action Bronson

Currents was on repeat for me for weeks after it’s release. Tame Impala continue to impress with each album they put out and Currents was a little bit different than the Tame Impala I’m used to. I like every song on the album and it’s very fun to listen to. Listen to “The Moment.”

Papadosio held the #2 spot last year, and now again in 2015. Extras In A Movie focused more on the content of each song instead of the improvisation like in Night & Day last year. The album saw Papadosio utilize more powerful lyrics about political topics like their albums in the past, but this album seems like Papdosio has finally found their concrete sound. Extras In A Movie’s songs are great and I look forward to seeing them more often in their live shows. Listen to “Epiphany.”

To Pimp A Butterfly comes in at #1 for most people but it was very hard for me to pick my #1 between my top 3 so I ended up putting it at#3 because I listened to the first two albums way more. TPAB was one of the greatest pieces of art we’ve seen in a while and Kendrick Lamar almost did a 180 with his production on this album compared to Good Kid Mad City. TPAB was very jazzy thanks to Kamasi Washington and Thundercat but Lamar’s powerful lyrics are what really stood out. I would not be listening to Hip-Hop if it were not for Kendrick Lamar, and this album continued my love for the music he puts out. Listen to “These Walls.”

Bright Light Social Hour’s album held my top spot for awhile at the beginning of the year. It’s hard rocking and very psychedelic, and takes me to awesome musical places. This is a band that should be on everyone’s radar. Listen to “Dreamlove.”

Jamie xx’s In Colour was a great chill electronic album that I played a lot after seeing him live at Pitchfork. The album is carefully thought out and is solid all the way through. It’s one of those albums that I love starting from the beginning and listening all the way through.

#6-20 are also awesome albums, but here are some that really stood out: After listening to The Epic countless times, I now appreciate jazz so much more and have been listening to more because of this album. I also really dove into the funk genre more this year, and The New Mastersounds, Made For Pleasure really stood out, and is crazy to hear an English band sound like they’re straight out of New Orleans. Shadow Of A Doubt was one of my late additions because I haven’t stopped listening to it since it came out. Definitely different than what I usually listen to, but seeing Gibbs live this summer made me appreciate his style of Hip-Hop more.


1.    Lotus 11/28 Riviera Theater

2.    STS9 3/6 House of Blues

3.    Papadosio 10/2 Boulder Theater

4.    Pigeons Playing Ping Pong 9/3 Fox Theatre

5.    Tipper 5/16 Red Rocks

6.    Grateful Dead 7/3-5 Soldier Field

7.    Russ Liquid & Thriftworks 2/11 CervantesBallroom

8.    Phish 9/6 Dick’s Sporting Goods Park

9.    Rustie 6/13 Primary Night Club

10. STS99/10 Boulder Theater

11. Yamn7/11 Martyrs

12. Lotus10/31 Fillmore Auditorium

13. moe.2/6 Ogden Theater

14. ODESZA2/22 Boulder Theater

15. PigeonsPlaying Ping Pong 3/15 Barkley Ballroom

16. TheMagic Beans 3/27 Hodi’s Half Note

17. SunSquabi3/13 Hodi’s Half Note

18. Ott.8/14 Mishawaka Amphitheater

19. TheDisco Biscuits 4/18 Ogden Theater

20. RunThe Jewels 1/29 Ogden Theater


1.    Sunday of Pitchfork

2.    STS9- Summercamp

3.    Lotus- Electric Forest

4.    Flying Lotus- Lollapalooza


Doe Paoro-After

Youth Lagoon- Savage Hills Ballroom

Zhu-Genesis Series

Travi$ Scott- Rodeo

Marian Hill- Sway

Tame Impala- Currents

BORNS- Dopamine

Andra Day- Cheers to The Fall

Toro Y Moi- What For?

The Weeknd- Beauty Behind the Madness

Bonzai- Royah (EP)

Wavves- V

Zak Downtown- Winning Means Everything


Washed Out- Paracosm

*No particular order, but each of these albums either inspired, motivated and/or encouraged me through 2015. I give my love and happiness to these artists that turned their creative musical energy into their own expressive pieces of work.*

Olivia (Luna)

9. Foals – What Went Down

8. Sleater-Kinney – No Cities to Love

7. La Luz – Weirdo Shrine

6. Grimes – Art Angels

5. Death Cab for Cutie – Kintsugi

4. Thundercat – The Beyond/Where the Giants Roam

3. Beach House – Depression Cherry

I am very biased towards Beach House. I love everything they do, and Depression Cherry was no exception. Also the actual album was covered in red velvet so you just can’t really go wrong here.

2. Tame Impala – Currents

This album totally stunned me. After their last album, I frequently heard comparisons to the Beatles. This album changed that by showing new production, heavier electronic influence, and a ton of variety. The Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Music Album is well, well deserved.

1. Tobias Jesso Jr. – Goon

Tobias Jesso Jr. had all but given up as a songwriter. He was writing songs, but none of them were making it to albums, so he decided to just put out an album himself. I immediately fell in love with the vulnerability and beautiful piano lines in his music – and apparently so did Adele. After this album released, Tobias and Adele got together and wrote “When We Were Young” which made it to the final tracklist for Adele’s album 25.

Tyler (Hyperballad)

Squarepusher- Damogen Furies

FKA Twigs- M3LL155X

Young Thug – Slime Season

Chelsea Wolfe- Abyss

Jamie xx- In Colour

Big Bang- E

Arca- Mutant

Oneohtrix Point Never- Garden of Delete

Miley Cyrus- Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz

Grimes- Art Angels

Bjork- Vulnicura

No particular order to these, but Bjork and Grimes are my top favorites.

Haley (TBD)
-Lianne La Havas – Blood
She’s up for a Best Urban Contemporary Album Grammy for this, and it’s definitely deserved. Beautiful vocals, fascinating lyrics, and a relaxed vibe that you can’t help but snap and tap your toes to.

-Andra Day – Cheers to the Fall
I’ve been a fan of hers for a while because she’s been putting out amazing content on Youtube for years, and her first studio album definitely did not disappoint. Soulful, raw, and jazzy, some have compared her to the likes of Amy Winehouse and Adele. She’s also up for 2 Grammys, Best R&B Album and Best R&B Performance for her song “Rise Up.”

-Twenty One Pilots – Blurryface
They really broke into the mainstream with this summer album, and I could not be more happy and proud of their success. They have been close to my heart for quite some time, so I’m also a little biased. But this album is fun, unique, and every song brings something new to the table. All the songs are exciting and sometimes silly, but still hold that same emotional sincerity that all Twenty One Pilots songs have.

Christine and the Queens – Self Titled

Marina and the Diamonds – Froot

Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats – Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats

Chvrches – Every Open Eye

Moon Taxi –Daybreaker

Sam (Squid)
“The off the charts top ten”

1.) Twenty One Pilots- Blurryface

Twenty One Pilots completely blew their fans away with this album. They jumped back into the completely unique niche that they have created for themselves. I think what makes this album so much bigger is the way that Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun present the music live. With such an intense, live experience that they bring, it makes the music more personal and impressive. This album confronts Joseph’s problems with being in the music industry and making music for a larger company that can demand them to make music a certain way. This album takes the win for me.

2.) The Front Bottoms- Back On Top

TFB has been my favorite band since I had first seen them perform at The Summit after their van had just been broken into and were playing with spare instruments. Ever since I first heard Brian Sella’s unique voice and lyric style combination of pop-punk rhythms and melodies in the back I could not stop listening to them. This album was very conflicting for me. They had just signed to a bigger record label, which also harbors Twenty One Pilots and Paramore, and I was not sure what that would do to the music. You can tell it changed their sound. But is that a bad thing? They haven’t sold out in this album and are keeping their “Rock-and-Roll” lifestyle but you can tell the more polished sound is a huge turning point for this band. “Fuck Jobs” will be a top favorite for me.

3.) Modest Mouse- Strangers to Ourselves

This album went under the radar for way too many people. While not Modest Mouse’s best album that they ever made, this creation is a beautiful collection of songs that should have been available for a while. This album reaches everywhere throughout their whole discography and you can find touches of all ages of Modest Mouse throughout the whole album. I didn’t like the album at first and thought it took too long for them to get it released but it has definitely grown on me throughout the entire year.

4.) Desaparecidos- Payola
5.) MC Lars- The Zombie Dinosaur LP
6.) Sorority Noise- Joy, Departed
7.) The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die- Harmlessness
8.) Turnover- Peripheral Vision
9.) Foxing- Dealer
10.) FIDLAR- Too