A US-centric list of 2015 musical highlights picked by Louder Than War’s New York Correspondent Carrie Quartly.

Protomartyr The Agent Intellect1. Protomartyr – The Agent Intellect (Hardly Art)

Protomartyr’s third offering is an emotionally brutal narrative of oppression, desperation, and drunkenness. The caustic drawl of singer Joe Casey is Mark E. Smith’s cousin with a conscience, yet also often Ian Curtis-like in its violent intensity. Despite the venomous existential conflict contained within The Agent Intellect, it somehow manages to sound brighter and more hopeful than its predecessor Under Color of Official Right.

Viet Cong2. Viet Cong – Viet Cong (Jagjaguwar)

Although they are jokesters at heart, Calgary art-rock four piece Viet Cong delivered a complex and moody self-titled debut of epic codas with bone rattling beauty. Read Louder Than War’s full review here.


Uniform Perfect World3. Uniform – Perfect World (Alter/12XU)

On Perfect World, Brooklyn duo Ben Greenberg (former The Men bassist) and ex Drunkdriver leader Michael Berdan create a throbbing monolithic drone of screeching nihilism that is dark, hypnotic, and strangely danceable. It’s an aggressive skree of irritable shrieks, controlled guitar blasts and Akai drum tracks, mixing hardcore and industrial styles with the choleric spleen of early English post-punk. Recommended for fans of Nurse With Wound, Whitehouse, and Suicide.

Jared Leibowich Welcome Late Bloomers4. Jared Leibowich – Welcome Late Bloomers (Unblinking Ear Records)

Welcome Late Bloomers is the first solo outing of Jared Leibowich of The Zoltars, which reinforces his seemingly innate ability to craft timelessly spooky gloom pop. His lonely lyrical fixations glide buoyantly over melodies so fragile and delicate, you think at any moment they might break. A true Saturnine outsider gem in the same vein as some of Daniel Johnston‘s earlier efforts.

The Barreracudas Can Do Easy5. The Barreracudas – Can Do Easy (Oops Baby Records)

The ‘Cudas are number one when it comes to euphoric pop janglegasms and larger than life singalong foot stompers. They are probably the most straightforward, unpretentious and good-humored band currently out there, and perhaps that’s why they sparkle so brightly.

Part Time Virgo's Maze6. Part Time – Virgo’s Maze (Burger Records)

Virgo’s Maze is an ambitious 20 song double album by San Francisco based synth-pop master tunesmith David Loca. The recordings span 5 years and a whole gauntlet of styles, from psychedelic indie pop and fuzzy lo fi to 70s glam and soft rock nostalgia. From start to finish, Virgo’s Maze is a joyously dreamy and whimsical experience with surprising consistency for a double album.

Car Seat Headrest Teens of Style7. Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Style (Matador)

Seattle singer-songwriter Will Toledo crafts smart, densely layered pop odysseys as Car Seat Headrest. He has received many Guided By Voices comparisons due to his extremely prolific output and DIY ethos, recording and self-releasing 11 albums since 2010. Teens of Style collects re-recorded versions of older songs for Toledo’s first Matador release.

Colleen Green I Want To Grow Up8. Colleen Green – I Want To Grow Up (Hardly Art)

Colleen Green continues to develop as a songwriter without sacrificing the core simplicity that makes her music so effective. True to its name, the themes of I Want To Grow Up focus on entering adulthood and leaving bad habits behind. This may seem like a bummer, but it’s an incredibly strong-minded and empowering collection of songs, also featuring JEFF The Brotherhood shredder Jake Orrall and original Diarrhea Planet drummer Casey Weissbuch.

Circuit des Yeux In Plain Speech9. Circuit des Yeux – In Plain Speech (Thrill Jockey)

In Plain Speech is a meditative masterwork exploring the sad, transient nature of human relationships that urges us to reconnect with one another. Its songs are full of strange, piercing climaxes that alternately jolt and soothe, while Haley Fohr’s booming, operatic baritone lends the eerie, avant garde bleakness a radiant power and hopeful light.
Read my full album review here, and my Haley Fohr interview here.

Buck Biloxi and The Fucks Streets of Rage10. Buck Biloxi and The Fucks – Streets of Rage (HoZac Records)

Buck Biloxi and The Fucks are great at bashing out a dirty, Southern fried punk rock racket, and their song titles read like a comprehensive catalog of gloriously lame brained adolescent angst (“You Can’t Tell Me Shit”, “Everything Is Fake”). All but one track on Streets of Rage clocks in at under 2 minutes long, so it’s a fun blast of “I don’t give a fuck” that never overstays its welcome.


All Words by Carrie Quartly, you can read more of her writing on the site here.

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Lifelong music fan and avid gig-goer with bases in South East England and New York City. Spent formative years reared on punk, which taught me to never adopt a uniform (unless it looked really good with hand made badges and a stencil paint job on it). Love garage rock, bubblegum pop and psych, basically anything with heart that makes me want to sway and groove. Follow me on Twitter @Carrie_Quartly if you eat/sleep/breathe music and don't mind being grossed out occasionally.


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