Lizard Hips’ Top 10 Albums of 2015

Another bloody year. It looks like end of year lists are being rattled out now, so best to jump on that bandwagon and rank a load of records I’ve listened to in some sort of order of preference. In all seriousness, it’s been another fantastic year – some proper agonising decisions about what to keep in and what to leave out. It hasn’t been easy let me tell you. So, below are my top 10 albums of 2015 and several others that are definitely worth your time.

itfollows_album10. Disasterpeace – It Follows Soundtrack (Milan Records)

I don’t think I would have enjoyed It Follows without its soundtrack. To me, Disasterpeace (Rich Vreeland) has crafted an incredible score, up there with the work of John Carpenter. Unnerving and inhuman electronic shrieks, raw-shredding noise, moments of gleaming tranquillity and disorientating, jarring waves of creeping dread radiate from this like some malevolent and wayward computer virus, spreading and infecting. I listened to this whilst drifting off to sleep once. Never, ever, ever do this. (Review)

Top track: Old Maid

9. Brawlers – Romantic Errors of Our Youth (Alcopop)BRAWLERSREOOY1440

The energy on this is utterly exhausting (in a good way). Brawlers punch out 10 tracks in 25 minutes and its gloriously infectious. From the spritely punk rock burst of opener Annabel to the blistering title track, which sounds like the best sing-a-long to every great drunken night ever. There’s a passionate autobiographical streak running through this and it’s wild, relentless and full of beer-soaked zeal. (Review)

Top track: Windowmisser

8. Hawk Eyes – Everything Is Fine (Pledge Music)hawkeyes-everythingisfine

There’s no-one sounding like Hawk Eyes at the moment which surely means they should have been snapped up by now, right? Sadly, they seem to be at the same level, which is a real shame, as the strength and the quality of the songs and musicianship on Everything Is Fine, is staggering. Vocalist Paul Astick has a way of channelling Mike Patton-style yelps and growls one minute, before switching to a creepy, dead-voiced monotone and then to raging, bloody screams the next, whilst the rest of the band manage to wring out this psychedelic noise-rock strangulation, drawing on so many styles I’ve lost count. There’s talent here that burns very bright indeed. (Review)

Top track: The Ballad of Michael McGlue

7. METZ – II (Sub Pop)metz_ii

Why bother mellowing? METZ pretty much destroy their instruments halfway through II, and have to make do with playing the mangled remains. The theme is “if it’s not drenched in feedback, you’re doing it wrong” and METZ have that in shedloads. That’s not to say II isn’t meticulous in its detail – a lot of work has gone into making this aggressive and charred sound – Nervous System is a bilious scrap of wild, noxious energy, whilst the slovenly grunge-punk of Spit You Out strangles out a guitar solo just for the hell of it. (Review)

Top track: Nervous System

6. No Spill Blood – Heavy Electricity (Sargent House)nospillbood-heavy

Creating an album that should soundtrack every science fiction movie ever, No Spill Blood’s Heavy Electricity is both striking and terrifying. In places it draws uncomfortably sinister parallels to Trent Reznor’s darkest, mind-bending moments, whereas in others it has that bizarre thunder-smack of the Melvins, exploring a new galaxy through the medium of space-sludge-metal. Tracks like the harsh hardcore-splatter of El Duurto and the bleak space-oddity melt of Thinner showcase just how impressive, diverse and mind-altering Heavy Electricity can be. (Review)

Top track: Heavy Electricity

5. Axis Of – The Mid Brae Inn (Smalltown America)The Mid Brae Inn

A breathtaking return from this Portstewart trio – The Mid Brae Inn is Axis Of defining their sound, crafting some of the most uplifting and infectious heavy-pop-rock you’ve heard. This crunching, part-autobiographical journey is laced with hope, optimism and radiates pure elation. The word ‘ANTHEMS’ is scorched into The Mid Brae Inn and it couldn’t be more apt – this album bursts with pride and some of the finest song-writing and lyrical couplets of 2015. (Review)

Top track: Quarrel Reef

4. Mutoid Man – Bleeder (Sargent House)Mutoid Man - Bleeder

Nearly everything I want in a metal band is compacted into Bleeder by Mutoid Man (if only they were Norwegian). Fast enough for the punk rock/thrash fans, heavy enough for the extreme metal crowd, bonkers vocal yelps by Stephen Brodsky (him off of Cave In), plus Ben Koller’s fucking incredible drumming make Bleeder a destructive unpredictable rampage of screaming awesome power. You’ll be sweating buckets 3 songs in – brutal, shredding pandemonium that crackles with raw energy in just under 30 minutes. This is the party and everyone is invited; you won’t be able to stop grinning when listening to Bleeder. (Review)

Top track: 1000 Mile Stare

3. Girl Band – Holding Hands With Jamie (Rough Trade)girl_band_-_holding_hands_with_jamie_-_600

DO YOU RECKON BATMAN AND ROBIN EVER KISSED?” Gabbles Girl Band vocalist Dara Kiely on The Last Riddler. Probably spooned as well. Holding Hands With Jamie is a mind-melt of extremes. Guitars howl and rage with banshee-like screams, the bass lives in a perpetual mire of toxic waste and the tribal drums rumble and roll like millions of barrels clattering down some metal stairs. That’s not forgetting the vocals, which, slur, roar, babble and rant with intoxicated fervour (with all the lyrics basically about food.) You’ll struggle to find a noisier, more alienating, challenging and deeply personal album this year that you can still dance like a maniac to. Also, their videos are majestically horrible as well. (Review)

Top track: Paul

2. USA Nails – No Pleasure (Smalltown America)usanailsnop

Can’t catch a break, huh? Number 2 spot last year as well. No Pleasure couldn’t be more apt a title; as this second album by USA Nails, is revoltingly brilliant. Layering on impending doom and darkness with power drills, circular saws and unhinged laughter, No Pleasure is a seeping wound of gross and vile distaste. The near 6 minute bludgeon of the kraut-rock noise fuzz of They’d Name An Age is demented and desolate, whilst the creeping slide of the bizarre Automated Cyst and the noise-punk anger of I Am In A Van will keep you awake at night. Gloriously wrong, yet so right. (Review)

Top track: They’d Name An Age

1. Down I Go – You’re Lucky God, That I Cannot Reach You (Holy Roar) Down I Go 2

Whilst there’s still breath in my lungs and the need for concept albums to be made about anything imaginable, Down I Go will always, ALWAYS be a band. You’re Lucky God, That I Cannot Reach You is the only album you’ll hear this year about Icelandic folklore. This hybrid of mathcore-metal-jazz-punk-noise fusion has the crushing intensity of prowling giants across the fjord, as venomous a bite as a giant sea serpent and will splatter any doubts you have across the world, like porridge and brains. Down I Go are true pioneers of their time, outstanding in every single way. Album of the year, hands down. (Review)

Top track: The Serpent Of Lagarfljót

Playlist of tracks of 2015

Best of the rest from 2015

Adventures – Supersonic Home 
Alright The Captain – Contact Fix 
Anakin – Celestial Frequency Shifter 
And So I Watch You From Afar – Heirs
Beach Slang – The Things We Do to Find People That Feel Like Us
Blacklisters – Adult
Christian Fitness – Love Letters In The Age of Steam
Clutch – Psychic Warfare
En Garde – Weekenders
False Flags – Hexmachine

Faith No More – Sol Invictus
Heads – S/T
Loma Prieta – Self Portrait
Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard – Noeth Ac Anoeth

Math the Band – Math the band the band
Refused – Freedom
Robot Death Monkey – Booze Cruise
Sleaford Mods – Key Markets
Timeshares – Already Dead
Travis Waltons – Separation Season
Turnstile – Non-Stop Feeling

We Never Learned To Live – Silently, I Threw Them Skyward
Workin’ Man Noise Unit – Play Loud


Lizard Hips

Junior Vice President of Keep It Fast. In other news: I work in social media, talk about dinosaurs, run a book club and have amazing facial hair. I am also a male man who is still not dead.

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