As we wind down another year in new rock history it is important to reflect on some of the great new music that was released during 2015. In addition to highlighting five incredible new albums, it is also relevant to pay homage to a few of the vintage musicians who have inspired these new artists. Following a suit that has been played for many years in a row, on the charts 2015 will go down as a year dominated by solo record-breaking female recording artists (in particular Taylor Swift and Adele). For fans of new rock, 2015 will go down as the year that the early to mid-nineties came back for a visit; the year that Gwen and Gavin called it quits; and the year that alternative rock lost the legendary Scott Weiland. With a new year right around the corner and plenty of exciting music anticipated in 2016, lest we forget the year that has passed, here are 10 required audio album picks for 2015 – five new releases and five vintage selections.
1. Silversun Pickups – Better Nature
Haunting and powerful, Better Nature is not an album one could easily skip through. Released in September of this year, Better Nature is definitely one of the best new rock albums of 2015.
2. Wolf Alice – My Love Is Cool
Resurrecting the sounds of mid-nineties vintage alternative music, Wolf Alice’s debut album My Love Is Cool is definitely a top alt rock pick for 2015.
3. Cage The Elephant – Tell Me I’m Pretty
Cage The Elephant’s psychedelic, progressive rock sound is unique among new rock recording artists today. A pinch of Zepplin, a dash of The Beatles, and so much more. The band’s fourth studio album, Tell Me I’m Pretty, has all of the charm of a classic rock album with an updated new rock twist.
4. Muse – Drones
Released in June, Drones adds to the already impressive Muse discography. Dead Inside, the album’s lead single, has remained in regular rotation on the radio since it was released in March – because it is that good.
5. Florence + The Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
The message in 2015 has been clear – female voices reign supreme – and Florence Welch is among them. How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful was released in May of this year, the singles What Kind of Man and Ship To Wreck the infectious fruits of an album that is truly required audio for fans!
1. Stone Temple Pilots – Core (1992)
Scott Weiland’s death in 2015 merits the inclusion of Core on this list. Stone Temple Pilot’s debut album Core brought the band (and Scott) to the forefront of the alternative music scene and is heralded as a classic new rock album with vintage hits such as Plush and Creep to its credit.
2. Portishead – Dummy (1994)
Trip Hop, in addition to the alternative rock of the early to mid-nineties, is another sound that found its way back into popular music this year. If you like Florence + The Machine, Alessia Cara or Halsey, Dummy is the vintage album for you.
3. No Doubt – Tragic Kingdom (1995)
Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale announced the end of their marriage earlier this year. In 1995 this vintage new rock power couple were topping the charts in their respective bands, No Doubt and Bush. No Doubt’s power ballad, Don’t Speak, from their phenomenal breakthrough album Tragic Kingdom, naturally found airplay on its 20th anniversary this year with its breakup theme.
4. Sonic Youth – Goo (1990)
Sonic Youth may no longer be, but we did not forget about Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore. In 2015 both continue to tour and remain active musically (check out Kim Gordon on the latest Peaches album). Distortion has resurfaced with a vengeance this year making Goo essential vintage for fans of Wolf Alice, Death From Above 1979, or Muse.
5. Weezer – The Blue Album (1994)
Weezer released two new songs this fall, Thank God For Girls and Do You Wanna Get High?. Weezer is another vintage alternative act that continues to release new music today. The Blue Album, released 21 years ago – remains the classic required audio album that put Weezer on the proverbial map.