2015 has been stuffed full of fantastic music thus far. So much so that AV Installers must be working extra hard trying to install cutting edge audio systems so that people can enjoy their favourite music in the best way possible. The Shows I Go To team couldn’t wait until the end of the year to list their best, so here’s our Best of 2015 list so far! Enjoy. 🙂 If these songs aren’t enough for you, these picks of must hear songs will keep you entertained!
Mitch Foster, Editor/Publisher:
1. Rocky Votolato – Hospital Handshakes. The album title alone is a very heavy thought: Hospital Handshakes. In the opening track, “Boxcutter,†there is an echo that rings more true than anything ever has. “Trust that everything happening is perfect.†I’m putting everything on the line for this company, my passion. I’m trusting my heart. I’m trusting that everything happening is perfect. It’s something I needed to hear at this exact moment.
2. Kintsugi by Death Cab For Cutie. The basic principle of the Japanese art, Kintsugi, is fixing broken pottery with precious metals, like gold, making the repaired piece more valuable than it originally was, while showing its scars. Ben Gibbard does a flawless job of showing his scars on the album, and hints at his new better-than-ever strength. And, there’s no one who’s fucking better than Ben Gibbard at dissecting scenarios and situations involving love, with a heartbreaking accuracy.
Notable Mention: Space Phunk Booty Junk by DJ DizzlePhunk. This album is the funnest mashup/mixtape I’ve heard in a while, and it features live musicians performing over the mixes!
1. “White-Knuckles†by Rocky Votolato. This song furthers my thought that “everything happening is perfect.†The song starts out with “It’s time to white-knuckle this shit. Make friends with these demons and just get on with it.†Fuck. Yes. Get a grip, and keep moving. That’s been my angel/devil on my shoulder lately, saying KEEP MOVING. It’s the little things that can change your life.
2. “Tear In My Heart†from Twenty One Pilots album, Blurryface. I’ve always been a huge fan of Twenty One Pilots live performances. Namely, the fact that their drummer crowd surfs, while playing the drums. This song sold me on their lyricism. Tongue-in-cheek but direct and equally powerful. “Sometimes you gotta bleed to know that you’re alive and have a soul. But it takes someone to come around to show you how.†And that wordplay with “armor†and “carver†[insert hearts in eyes emoji]. “My heart is my armor, she’s the tear in my heart, she’s a carver, she’s a butcher with a smile, cut me farther than I’ve ever been.”
3. “Wrong†by The Airborne Toxic Event. I’ve screamed this song, at the top of my lungs, naked, in my apartment, at 3am. I’ve whispered it, cooking eggs in the kitchen at 2pm. I love Mikel Jollett’s pure, honest passion. He bleeds a bit on this album, and even more so, a lot more so, on the accompaniment, Songs of God and Whiskey. I think that album got swept under the rug in the shadow of it’s big sister, Dope Machines. Dope Machines is a fantastic record. It’s produced really well. But, Songs of God and Whiskey is exactly like it sounds: drunkenly honest questions about life. My favorite song from God and Whiskey is “Change and Change and Change and Change.†When you break up with someone you love, you often lose your best friend. I lost my best friend earlier this year. “So I fucked it up like I always do, I was born to be alone. I don’t even know if the words were true that I screamed into the phone. All I know is everybody leaves or so it seems to me.”
This was my most difficult category to narrow down. As mentioned in our Best of 2015 Podcast, it’s crazy to think of how much music collectively we’ve all taken in, and how much hearing we’ve lost as a whole. 🙂
- Andrew WK @ Social
- Hank & Cupcakes @ Wills
- Against Me! @ Beacham
- Gasparilla 2015 – Namely, Modest Mouse
- OK Go @ The Beacham
- Brand New @ St Augustine Amphitheatre
- Alkaline Trio – Night 3 at The Social
- The Rolling Stones @ Citrus Bowl
- The War On Drugs @ The Beacham
- Ryan Adams @ Big Guava Music Festival 2015
- Third Eye Blind & Dashboard Confessional at @ House of Blues Orlando.
- Kaleigh Baker as Janis Joplin
Tyler Holland, Staff Writer & Podcast Producer:
BEST ALBUMS of 2015 so far
1. Dustin Kensrue – Carry The Fire (Vagrant Records)
Technically his fourth solo outing. Carry The Fire is Dustin’s proper sequel to his debut album 2007’s wonderful Please Come Home. This album is more electric than acoustic and delivers more heartfelt melody. No stranger to crafting love songs, this album is full of beautiful romance. Being 1/4 of the almighty Thrice, Dustin is a hero of mine. I look up to him, and his musicianship is masterful. His songwriting is so powerful. Listening to this album will make you a better person.
2. Turnover – Peripheral Vision (Run For Cover Records)
Less Pop Punk is a good thing as Turnover moves away from that sound. This album is a midtempo wave ride through melody. Gone are angst ridden songs and in exchange are well written mature songwriting. I got to thank Garrett East for selling me on this album.
3. Citizen – Everybody Is Going To Heaven (Run For Cover Records)
Their 2012 debut Youth is held in high regard. Everybody Is Going To Heavenbuilds upon it and more! Sounding a lot like post Deja Entendu Brand New, this album is full of complexity and darkness. Citizen are at their best here and are going to be huge in the scene! Just like I called it here last year: Citizen Live Review.
4. Mewithoutyou – Pale Horses (Run For Cover Records)
Their sixth album has them returning to the sound of their earlier works which I both enjoy and adore!
5. Doomtree – All Hands (Doomtree Records)
Since there has not been a release from Run The Jewels this year, All Hands produces the best underground hip-hop album thus far. It has nearly an hour of fun and energy. I love the mile-a-minute references that are dropped throughout the album.
1. Action Bronson – Mr. Wonderful (Atlantic/Vice)
The first proper album from Queensman Action Bronson. Benefitting from releasing mixtapes, there has been a lot of hype surrounding him and this album lives up to all of the hype. With his Ghostface Killah like flow and the sous chef inspired rhymes, Mr. Wonderful is my favorite mainstream rap album of the year thus far. It seems unlikely that this is going to change come December. Mitch showcases why Action Bronson is so awesome on Episode 2 of the podcast during his Big Guava recap!
A dramatic transformation from post hardcore/emo to a more melodic and shoegaze style may have disappointed some, but not I. I love the dreamy-ness of this album. From the dissonant guitars to the reverberating harmonies. The perfect progression for this band!
1. Tanner Merritt of O’brother, Andy Hull of Manchester Orchestra, Dustin Kensrue of Thrice at The Bell House Brooklyn.
An intimate session with in a wooden warehouse with great musicians. Kevin Devine showed up. Dustin played new songs and songs from his debut album. Covered a couple Thrice songs and Tom Waits. A recap can be heard on the first episode of the SIGT podcast.
2. Skate And Surf 2015 (Thrice, mewithoutyou, Manchester Orchestra, Diamond Youth, The Gaslight Anthem, From Autumn To Ashes) at Asbury Park NJ.
A music festival that was a meeting of old school and new school. Awesome reunions and young bands that lead the current scene. Full recap Skate and Surf Recap on Episode 3 of the Podcast.
3. A Wilhelm Scream + Pennywise At The Starland Ballroom NJ.
I first saw these bands 10 years ago at Jannus Landing in St. Petersburg. Life has drastically changed since then, but what has remained the same is these bands are still FUCKING AWESOME! I rock a Pennywise tattoo for a reason and AWS is one of my favorite bands to see live. None can match their energy.
4. The Gaslight Anthem Terminal 5 NYC
Not technically a hometown show (NJ is their hometown) but close enough! Playing an incredible set that was pretty much a “Best Of”. Seeing them play “Red At Night” mashed up with a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire” is a sacred moment that I will never forget. Read my Gaslight Anthem Live Review.
5. Doomtree Highline Ballroom NYC
Not only one of my favorite hip hop shows of all time, but one of my favorite shows of all time! So much energy. They are ‘The Avengers’ of hip hop! Read my Doomtree Live Review.
Rebecca Weinberg, Staff Photographer:
- The Lone Bellow, Then Came The Morning
- Catfish & The Bottlemen, The Balcony
- Seinabo Sey, For Madeleine
- Dustin Kensrue, Carry The Fire
- Veruca Salt, Ghost Notes
- “Right on Time” Dawes
- “Gemini” Alabama Shakes
- “Let It Carry You” Jose Gonzalez
- “Younger” Seinabo Sey
- “Mural” Lupe Fiasco
- “The Bends” Doomtree
- “Tyrants” Catfish & The Bottlemen
- “The Diving Bell” Gang of Youths
- “What Beautiful Things” Dustin Kensrue
- “Eyes on You” and “The Sound of Leaving” Veruca Salt
- “Marietta” The Lone Bellow*** seriously beautiful, probably my #1 of 2015 if I had to choose.
Amanda Starling, Staff Writer & Photographer
Oso Oso, Real Stories of True People Who Kind Of Looked Like Monsters
This Oso Oso beauty arrived in my mailbox just weeks ago and it’s been an addiction ever since. The 11 songs were long awaited after the smashing success of 2014 songs in a self-titled release, before they dropped the third “oso.†(Osoosooso was so much fun to say, but I get it.) Jade Lilitri, formerly of State Lines, leads a winding, pumped-up bounce wrapped into reflective poignancy that defines his latest project. It’s familiar for his fans, but innovative that transcends the band’s previous tracks. Listen to “Wet Grass,†“Josephine,†and “Where You’ve Been Hiding.”
BEST ALBUM RUNNER-UP (But Should Really Be Tied) – Hop Along, Painted Shut
In many ways, this Hop Along release was long overdue. Gritty, growling, and yet idyllically indie, the band’s sophomore LP delves into serious subject matter in haunting hit “Powerful Man,†but doesn’t stutter for a second. The rolling, thumping build in “Waitress†is iconic and blends in an organic fashion that can only be described Frances Quinlan’s best. Hop Along’s eclectic energy captures a room–just check out their NPR Tiny Desk performance:
BEST EP RELEASE – Meridian/Pinch Hitter Split
If a friend were to ever ask me how to get into folk punk, I would point them in the direction of Ohio’s Meridian and Australian outfit Pinch Hitter. Live renditions are phenomenal, and my review of the brothers duo captures an idea of just what it’s like to bond with Meridian.
The two bands recorded on this split show the two sides of the growing genre. Meridian takes a full band spin on two of their best songs, notably a rocking, rich treatment to “Wait, Move†that is both true to its acoustic origins and blasted with memorable energy. Pinch Hitter, often compared to American Football, takes the strings-old vibe with acoustic, blasting flavor that makes the banjo applicable to any palette. Of the two picks, “I Like That You Make Bad Decisions,†is my go-to whimsical swing set pumping choice. Just check out their tour collaboration:
BEST SONG – Spraynard, “Bench”
Slow-jam built up into a drawing roar, it’s the sort of artistry that I’ve craved since the reunion of Spraynard year ago. As one of two tracks on the spring-released EP, it’s been a nice appetizer for upcoming full-length, Mable. It’s next evolution of the pop-punk act, delving into a newer, darker flavor of Spraynard, who explore contemplation and crossroads over rolling, fuzzy chords. While you’re perusing the EP, give cover “The End of the Rock Piano†a listen- it’s equally as catchy.
BEST SHOW (for Shows I Go To)
I struggled to pick my favorite shows of 2015 so far- which I found to be an absolutely unfair question because I can say I haven’t been to a single bad show. Yes, I sound like a hippie- but it’s impossible to pick just one. Except maybe this one – Tigers Jaw, Lemuria, and Somos, The Social, Orlando May 1, 2015
I spent a solid hour or so squealing over how adorable Sheena Ozzella of Lemuria is with my best friends packed inside of the Social. That in itself constitutes a great night. Smashing with sass and spunk, Lemuria never disappoints in belting out favorites like “Lipstick†and “Brilliant Dancer.”
The fact that I was able to finally experience the cataclysmic chemistry that is Tigers Jaw cemented the night for me. The crowd was enraptured by Brianna Collins and Ben Walsh- and I really couldn’t blame them.
Better yet, I didn’t realize at the time, but I was bonding with one of my now-favorite bands- Somos. I’d listened to them many times before, but after that brilliant performance, I had Temple of Plenty on repeat for weeks. It’s addictive, ambient energy that lifted the performers to the top of my favorite shows list.
BEST SHOW (OVERALL)
Propagandhi, RVIVR, War on Women at State Theatre, St. Petersburg January 3, 2015.
Just days after the start of the New Year, I was 99 percent sure that any other show would never come close to achieving the level of ecstasy I felt screaming along to these flat-out legends. I mean, you can’t pass up Propagandhi– and I’ll admit half of the fun was listening to my friend reminisce about the first time he saw Propagandhi years and years ago.
But damn, RVIVR and War on Women can command a crowd. RVIVR is a mainstay favorite of mine, and I was thrilled that the socially conscious Olympia, Wash. band was able to swing through St. Petersburg so early in the year. Belting out songs of identity, anger, and community all in one set, they’re all I could ever ask for in a punk band.
Then there’s fiery feminist War on Women- who are the angry alter ego that I unleashed during their set. Few things in life have felt better than when Shawna screamed just inches from my face about pro-choice and misogyny.
BEST SHOW (RUNNER-UP)
You Blew It!, Tiny Moving Parts, Rozwell Kid, Will’s Pub, Orlando February 27, 2015
So this night was probably one of my best of the year so far- musically and personally. I met a lot of great people that night that have become friends (cue your obnoxious cooing sounds right about now). Then the bands of the night amazed.
Hometown shows always ooze sentimentality and unrivaled energy- which You Blew It! fed on. Fans demonstrated the loyalty and love a local scene can foster for a growing act. With freshly released Pioneer of Nothing, the band debuted live performances of the emo-punk ballads and dipped into favorites from older albums, too.
But my favorite of that night was hands-down Rozwell Kid. I jammed to “Kangaroo Pocket†on repeat for a week after the show, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to hear a song live (except maybe at AFI a few years ago, but that’s another story). Scratch that- all of Too Shabby was on repeat for about a month. The trip video definitely fed into my love of the band, too.
Sean Dorsett, Staff Writer
1. Hiatus Kaiyote – Choose Your Weapon
2. Rising Appalachia – Wider Circles
3. Slightly Stoopid – Meanwhile… Back at the Lab
4. The Floozies – Do Your Thing
5. Chance the Rapper – Surf
BEST SHOWS (not including festival performances)
1. Nahko and Medicine for the People at the Culture Room (Ft. Lauderdale)
2. OK Go at the Beacham
3. Neutral Milk Hotel at the Beacham
4. The Bright Light Social Hour at the Social
5. Melt Banana at BACKBOOTH
BEST FESTIVALS (through June)
1. Purple Hatters Ball (SOSMP)
2. AURA (SOSMP)
3. Orange Blossom Jamboree (Sertoma Youth Ranch)
4. Zach Deputy’s Disc Jam (SOSMP)
5. Little Econ Love Fest (Maddox Ranch)
Sarabeth Jackson, Staff Writer
1. Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color
2. Purity Ring – Another Eternity
3. Florence & The Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
Honorable Mention: My Morning Jacket – The Waterfall
1. Mae – 10th Anniversary Tour of The Everglow at House of Blues Orlando
2. Fleetwood Mac at Amway Center
3. Hundred Waters at Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center in Orlando.
Honorable Mention: From Indian Lakes at Backbooth in Orlando
Trevor Bosmans, Staff Writer:
- The Strokes at Big Guava Fest. I have been waiting to see The Strokes since their debut album fourteen years ago. It was definitely worth the wait because this was the best show I have ever seen. The whole band was in top form and they played a career spanning set of pretty much every song I wanted to hear (Except “Juicebox”). I think what made this show so special was build up of waiting fourteen years to see one of your favorite bands. The Strokes only play a few festival dates a year these days, so I was lucky to finally get my chance to see them live.
- St. Paul and The Broken Bones at The Beacham. This show was definitely a close second. I have never seen anyone put as much heart and soul into their performance as front-man, Paul Janeway. This guy has one of the best voices I have ever heard live. They played their entire debut album Half the City and a string of covers ranging from Otis Redding’s “Down in the Valley” to a killer version of “Fake Plastic Trees” from Radiohead. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this amazing new band.
- The Avett Brothers at House of Blues Orlando. The Avett Brothers are one of my favorite bands to see live so when they announced they were playing two nights at House of Blues Orlando, I knew I had to get tickets for both nights. I had seen The Avett Brothers numerous times at bigger venues but I had yet to see them in a place as intimate as House of Blues. I was amazed that over the course of two nights these guys only repeated two of their more popular songs. Both nights were completely unique experiences and I loved every minute of it.
- Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear. The year may only be half over but I don’t think anyone is going to be able to top Father John Misty’s I Love you, Honeybear. This is the second album from former Fleet Foxes drummer Josh Tillman under the moniker Father John Misty. His haunting vocals and brutally honest lyrics add to the uniqueness of this release. I loved this album from the very first listen and it just gets better with time.
- Alabama Shakes – Sound and Color. Alabama Shakes took a chance on their sophomore album branching off from their signature sound that made their debut so successful. The result is a mind blowing album that transcends genres and secures their place in the world of rock music.
- Wolf Alice – My Love is Cool. I have only heard this album a few times since it was just released last week but it is already shaping up to be one of my favorite albums of the year. These guys played a great set at Glastonbury this weekend and I can’t wait for them to come to the states. This is the best debut album of the year (So far).
- Ben Folds with YMusic- “Capable of Anything.” Ben Folds has the ability to constantly reinvent himself while still staying true to his roots. On the latest release from Ben Folds he collaborates with YMusic from New York City. The strings and brass add an extra element to Ben Folds’ already complex music. If his recent performance at Bonnaroo is any indication, when the full album comes out it might be a contender for album of the year.
- Florence and the Machine-“Ship to Wreck.” The newest song from Florence and the Machine is so catchy that it is hard not to like. Florence has the best live voice of any woman I have ever seen perform. Florence and the Machine’s new album How Big, How Blue, How beautiful was released in early June and in my opinion it’s a step above her last effort, Ceremonials. I’m looking forward to hearing these new songs live the next time Florence and the Machine come to town.
- Mark Ronson featuring Mystikal – “Feel Right.” I haven’t heard anything from Mystikal since “Shake Ya Ass” so when I woke up to his voice on the newest song from producer Mark Ronson I was very surprised. I’m pretty sure it’s the video that makes this song but it’s a damn good one that leaves me wondering what the rest of the album (Besides Uptown Funk) sounds like.
Garrett East, Director of the Calendar of Events
So, we’ve been asked to talk about our favorite shows, bands, and albums of this year so far. I gotta say, these picks do not come easily, so I thought I would do top 3 of each, especially since I’ve been immersing myself into the music scene pretty heavily. So, without further ado, here we go!
BEST SHOWS I’VE BEEN TO
1. Bayside/Senses Fail/Man Overboard/Seaway at the House of Blues, Orlando: This show has been my favorite one so far, for multiple reasons. For one, I got to go with my best friend and her boyfriend, and while I was there, ran into some more friends that I haven’t seen in a long time. Second, look at that lineup!!! None of the bands were similar to each other, which already makes for a fantastic show, plus, every band was fantastic. From the haunting melodies of Seaway, to the harmonies of Man Overboard, to the utter raw emotion from Buddy Nielsen and Senses Fail, all the way to my favorite sad person music of Bayside, this show was perfect from beginning to end.
2. Night One of AlkalineTrio’s 4 Night Residency at The Social, Orlando: The first night of four, and probably my favorite. This show involved Alkaline Trio playing all of My Shame is True, and Goddammit!. I wish we had been able to catch the openers, Dikembe, because those guys are awesome, but still, this show set the standard for the rest of the nights, and for good reason. You could tell that the band really enjoyed playing their new album without the crowd giving them shit for only playing new stuff, and then when they started playing Goddammit!, the crowd erupted, and the band seemed like they had a lot of fun playing songs that they normally don’t play anymore, just because they are so old. All in all, a fantastic night, and one to always remember.
3. Silverstein “Discovering the Waterfront 10th Anniversary Tour†at the Beacham: This show was special to me, even though I arrived only just in time to see Silverstein, and missed the openers. It was Valentine’s Day, and like usual, I made plans to go to a show, because there is always a fantastic show on Valentine’s Day in Orlando. This one definitely did not disappoint. Discovering the Waterfront is probably my favorite post hardcore album of all time, and a very influential album for me back in high school. Being able to see it played all the way through was something I never thought I would be able to see, and hearing it just brought me back. Of course, Silverstein was fantastic, with Shane Told singing and screaming the lyrics just as he did way back when. This was probably my favorite of the recent nostalgia/10th anniversary tours that has come through, with Senses Fail’s “Let It Enfold You†tour coming pretty close behind, but that was last year.
1. Moose Blood – I’ll Keep You In Mind From Time to Time: Moose Blood’s debut LP has had me feeling things I haven’t felt since Deja Entendu/The Devil and God came out. It’s not quite pop punk, but not quite emo, but that happy(in this case, kind of sad) medium where it wouldn’t alienate fans of either genre. Every song is just really well written, from the hooks to the melodies and lyrics. Plus, the fact that they’re British just adds a fantastic element to the music that I cannot quite figure out. I’ll be super excited to see them at Warped Tour this year.
2. Turnover – Peripheral Vision: Turnover’s second full length has them moving even further away from their pop punk, emo roots, and putting out a dream pop album that just screams summer. It’s not hard to listen to this album over and over again, because every time I listen to it, I hear something new that I hadn’t heard the first 20 times, and that amazes me, to hear an album with such depth from such a young band. Cannot wait to see them at Backbooth on my birthday.
3. Senses Fail – Pull the Thorns from Your Heart: Senses Fail has always been one of my favorite bands of all time, and their new album did not disappoint. PTTFYH is the first album to come out since lead singer Buddy Nielsen came out as a bisexual and started talking about his troubles with drugs and alcohol, many stemming from the fact that he was struggling with his sexuality. He really lays himself out for the listener, with lyrics that tell stories of self hate and loathing, and the feeling of redemption that comes with accepting yourself for who you are. Of course, musically, the album is fantastic, with elements being drawn from each of their previous albums all building towards a masterpiece of a hardcore album
- The Story So Far – “Nerve”: This is just classic TSSF. Hard chugging guitars, a fantastic drum beat, and great lyrics that lead singer Parker Cannon just blows away. Easily the best song off the album.
- Moose Blood – “Pups”: This is just my favorite song off of an album of amazing songs. This sounds like Brand New, and has to deal with a son wanting to show his father how much he loves him, and just wants to spend time with him.
- Turnover – “Diazepam”: If there ever was a perfect song, this would come pretty close to it, at least for me. It’s so hard for me to describe what I love about this song, because how do you talk about the way a song just affects you? It has a whole emotional rollercoaster throughout the song, it’s beautiful sonically, and all you can do is just get swept up for the ride.
Jeff Roach, Staff Photographer:
BEST ALBUM – Wale – The album about nothing
BEST SONGS – Melanie Martinez – Pity Party
BEST EVENT – Record Store Day 2015 at Park Ave CD’s.
We want to hear what your best shows, songs, albums, festivals, and events were for 2015! Join the conversation below or on our facebook!
Listen to our Best of 2015 Podcast Below!
Shows I Go To – Shows I Go To Episode 11: Special Edition “The BEST of 2015 SO FAR!”
Please support our friends who support us! Tell them Shows I Go To sends love! 🙂
- The Commission Beer Chamber
- Kingfish Records (Clearwater)
- Nora's Sugar Shack!
- Park Ave CDs
- Montgomery Drive Presents
- RT-Art Printing
- The Mary Jane 'High-Quality' Art Gallery
- The Owl's Attic Vintage Shop
- Broken Strings Brewery
- American Combat Club
- Lazy Moon Pizza
- Ten10 Brewing
- Conrad's Beer Shanty
- AKT Shirt Printing
- Smartpunk Records & Shop
- No Clubs Presents
- DaddyKool Records
- Galactic G Skateshop