One last Best of list for 2015
January 13, 2016 9:17 AM   Subscribe

This is an excellent list. Thanks.
posted by koeselitz at 9:26 AM on January 13, 2016

This list is impossibly cool and I love it.
posted by dogwalker at 9:41 AM on January 13, 2016

I love this list not only for the possibility of finding music I wouldn't have otherwise, but for the way the list itself reminds me of how much wonderful creative work is being done all over the place. It made me feel good.
posted by not that girl at 9:44 AM on January 13, 2016

Yeah, I got some new-ish music to catch up on!
posted by Kitteh at 9:44 AM on January 13, 2016

I don't listen to a lot of "Southern" music explicitly any more since it's kind of all around me in Austin, but I was going to throw a fit if Rhiannon Giddens' album wasn't on this list. It did not disappoint.
posted by immlass at 9:45 AM on January 13, 2016

Interesting list. Half of it is lost on me as I don't listen to hiphop or pop music. But there is some good stuff there. I thought Latham's album was promising. I really liked Stapelton's album. And I think Andrew Bryant has something, but he needs to ditch the busy band and put his song's lyrics front and center. Actually, he should take to heart Moreland's insight in that article about why he moved from punk to "quiet guitars": “In hardcore, there might be great lyrics in a song, but you have to read them off a piece of paper to know it." I thought Isbell's new album was not as strong as Southeastern--which is one of the best of the last decade--but I agree it is still superior to almost everything else being put out.

But for me, a local favorite Leon Bridges wins the award for best southern album. It's a revelation. I always wondered why people couldn't ape some of that great 60's soul/R&B/motown kind of sounds and have success. Leon Bridges took on that challenge and made an album that would have been an all-time great in the 60's. Bridges is an interesting young kid. I hope he sticks to authenticity and keeps his sound and doesn't let himself get turned into something different.
posted by dios at 9:51 AM on January 13, 2016 [2 favorites]

I am so happy to see John Moreland on this list. I got to see him do a house concert last year. I suspect he won't be doing many more of those considering all the attention he's been getting.
posted by maurice at 9:54 AM on January 13, 2016

The top two are right on the money, but Natalie Prass should be #3.
posted by emelenjr at 11:36 AM on January 13, 2016

Frankly I find the—I was going to write "fetishized" but maybe that's too strong a word so let's say "strongly imagined"—vision of "the south" implicit in these lists a little eye-rolly, but if your blog is called "bittersoutherner" then I guess that's the way things are going to roll.

Given that tendency, I'm surprised The Kingston Springs Suite was overlooked. If it wasn't actually produced in 2015, not many of us had ever heard of it before then. It was one of my favorites from last year and I suspect it will be one of yours, too, especially if you dig "the south" as a thing.

I'll also rep for anything by Daniel Bachman who comes from NC and VA and who made almost no splash last year with River. If you like solo guitar à la Jack Rose or John Fahey, then I can't recommend him highly enough.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:56 AM on January 13, 2016

Great list! Leon Bridges is absolutely fantastic, such a vintage soul sound for a modern young guy. Added a bunch of new artists to spotify, looking forward to discovering some new favourites!
posted by ellieBOA at 12:03 PM on January 13, 2016

Oh and since part of it was actually recorded in a southern swamp, I'll include another of last year's favorites (tho I think it actually came out at the very end of '14), Michael Pisaro et al.'s Continuum Unbound.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:06 PM on January 13, 2016

Thanks for this. Lot to work through. I think Ray Wylie Hubbard's The Ruffian's Misfortune at least deserves an honourable mention.
posted by Leon at 12:13 PM on January 13, 2016

Frankly I find the—I was going to write "fetishized" but maybe that's too strong a word so let's say "strongly imagined"—vision of "the south" implicit in these lists a little eye-rolly

Maybe I missed something, but this list is purely geographical: "records made in the South or by Southerners working elsewhere." The "South" seems to be a readily identifiable geographical region (with maybe some arguments on the fringes of which states should be included). But I don't see anything "fetishized" or "strongly imagined" or even a "vision of the south". It's simply a geographical criteria The best music from "New York" or "Amsterdam" or from a particular label would not draw such a dismissive eye-roll. At least not from anyone who did not harbor a prejudice against those places.

(Candidly, I did not read anything else at that site, so I don't know if the writer grinds axes elsewhere. I am just basing this on the description in the link which seems to be, accurately, a list made on pure geographical origin.
posted by dios at 12:21 PM on January 13, 2016 [6 favorites]

#1 is also close to the top of my regular list.

Future should be hella higher though.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:29 PM on January 13, 2016

Mod note: Couple comments removed; if there's a less annoying version of that conversation that's going to actually add something to the thread, feel free to have it instead but otherwise this is more spat than contribution.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:50 PM on January 13, 2016

Cool. Thanks !
posted by nicolin at 12:53 PM on January 13, 2016

Thanks for posting this, I always find at least one or two news loves from their annual lists.
posted by yerfatma at 12:56 PM on January 13, 2016

"Who's Gonna Get Fucked First?" is my new theme song.
posted by ColdChef at 1:52 PM on January 13, 2016

Don’t hit us. We know there are many of you who believe that if Jason Isbell makes a record, it should be on the top of this list and every other list. But just because we happen to think he didn’t make the best Southern album of the year doesn’t mean we don’t know he made a hell of a record.

I lol'd. But yeah, it's a hell of an album, and now I have a number of others to check out.
posted by eclectist at 4:02 PM on January 13, 2016

Slightly disappointed not to find Holly Herndon's Platform (my album of 2015) on the list, given that Herndon hails from Tennessee originally.
posted by acb at 4:24 PM on January 13, 2016

The minute I found this list I ran over to Spotify. Thanks to Kitteh for bringing it forward.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 5:38 PM on January 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Disappointed to see that neither All Them Witches nor Baroness made the list, but I didn't get the sense that Bitter Southerner is into stoner rock or ... uh ... whatever Baroness is.
posted by komara at 6:33 PM on January 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

I made a special trip to Rochester's Record Archive to purchase my copy of Sound & Color by the Alabama Shakes. I got back into my car and I put the CD in and listened to it as I drove the few blocks to my apartment. I parked in the parking garage and shut down the car, but I could not leave the car. I had to listen to the entire CD.

I had to.

My life ain't been the same since. It is a wonderful recording. I went to see them perform the following summer and my only disappointment was that they didn't just play Sound & Color gavel to gavel. It is a remarkable album, and if you don't own it yet, I don't know what you're sitting around for.

Hooray to this list for its appropriate placement of the Shakes' Sound & Color.
posted by NedKoppel at 7:03 AM on January 14, 2016

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