Sounding off for 2015
Who rocked your world this year? Tame Impala or Bitch Falcon? All Tvvins or Soak? Kendrick or Kamasi? Björk or Grimes? It’s time to get off the fence and make your call for The Ticket Awards 2015, writes Jim Carroll
Come on in, 2015, your time is up. Come late November/early December and the critics have had enough. There may still be a few weeks to go until the year’s end, but The Ticket’s team of music writers have already put a cap on it. Memo to Frank Ocean: don’t, for the love of all that is holy, do a D’Angelo and release your new album at this stage or we’ll split ya. Also, Rihanna - we’re so not impressed with your
Anti antics. The word of the year around these parts for 2015 is algorithm, and we relied on a complex one to turn individual critical ruminations (ie a bunch of top 10 lists) into the finely tuned collective lists you see on these pages. Enda Kenny may have pushed the general election out to February, but here’s your chance to vote in 2015, though Fine Gael, Renua, Sinn Féin, Fianna Fáil and whatever the Anti-Austerity Alliance/ Socialist Party/People Before Profit are calling themselves this week do not feature.
So, what are we to make of the year that was? It’s always worth totting up the appearances and, by that count, it was a cracker of a year for Girl Band, who received nominations in every category they were up for, namely best album, best band, best Irish act and best video. Other acts who received multiple nods include Kendrick Lamar, Tame Impala, Father John Misty, Björk, Grimes, Villagers and, oh yes, Kamasi Washington.
The west-coast saxophone thriller features twice in his own stead, but he actually had a hand in two of the albums which are at the sharp end of the top 10, in the shape of both his own sprawling masterpiece The Epic and Kendrick Lamar’s second album
To Pimp A Butterfly. Who knew that The Ticket’s crew were so jazz-friendly? (Though it failed to capture the ears of our regular jazzer, Cormac Larkin.) We foresee a rake of jazz acts receiving a lot of love in 2016.
But the band who made a seismic impression on 2015, judging by these results, were Girl Band, and their appearance in multiple lists is proof positive that the Dublin band had a thrilling year. If there was a section for best gig, they’d probably be there a few
times too, given the number of times their live show was cited this year as an essential attraction. While the band have been out of action in the last few months due to health issues, they’ve already announced shows for 2016, and that Choice Music Prize gong and cheque is, we would predict, a foregone conclusion.
There were also multiple slots for two other Irish acts in Villagers and Róisín Murphy, while there was healthy competition for the best Irish act list with Soak and Anderson benefiting from strong album releases in 2015. It’s great to see Rusangano Family feature in this particular shake-up as well for the second year in a row, and we look forward to hearing new material from them in the year to come.
There was much love for Australian psych adventurers
Tame Impala and their second album, Currents, while former Fleet Fox Josh Tillman’s folk-rock loverman turn as Father John Misty is also proving to be a critical darling, picking up nominations for best album, best act and best track for Nothing Good Ever Happens at the Goddamn Thirsty Crow.
Surprises? One may be a fairly low-key showing for Adele who clocks up just one nomination with Hello in the best track category and, unless you count an appearance for her co-writer Tobias Jesso Jr, that’s it. Perhaps it was down to the late-year release for comeback album 25, or perhaps it was down to the fact that the album was not exactly great shakes when all is said and done, but a multi-million selling album does not win over The Ticket’s music writers. Sorry, Adele.
And the rest
Another surprise? Many may be taken aback by the good showing in the best album category for Floating Points’ Elaenia, but we’re not. Released in early November, Sam Shepherd’s debut is a deep, dazzling, graceful, freewheeling, inspiring and soulful set of tracks. Hopefully its inclusion here will mean more people will check it out.
That’s our critical take on 2015. As always, it will be interesting to hear what you make of the shortlists and who you deem worthy of your votes. You have until midnight on Sunday December 13th to make your views count. The winners will be announced in the special festive issue of The Ticket on Friday December 18th, and we’ll be holding the annual prize-giving ceremony in the pub at the North Pole on December 25th. The Ticket voting lines are now open.