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2015 wasn't a year for landmark releases, but there were some rather impressive outings from veterans and newbies alike.

The Best Music of 2015, by Charlie Doherty (Starring Clutch, Ryan Adams, Beach Slang, Bruce Springsteen, and More)

Clutch - Psychic Warfare2015 was not the best year in music (at least in the rock world), to my ears. There were no real groundbreaking releases that I heard being raved about, just some impressive full-lengths by veterans like Clutch, Noel Gallagher, Iron Maiden, and Motorhead (R.I.P. Lemmy), and others that were more or less satisfyingly good enough to get by (My Morning Jacket, Kurt Vile, 2 Beach House LPs, Silversun Pickups, etc.).

You could say, however, that the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Deafheaven did nothing to ruin their reputation as genre-defying artists and that the return of loved and innovative rock groups like Blur and Sleater-Kinney and new albums by even more legendary bands like Faith No More, The Sonics, and Death (Michigan punk forefathers) were all causes worth celebrating. The same is also true of Slayer and Baroness. Slayer’s 11th LP Repentless, its first without the late co-founder Jeff Hanneman, and Baroness’s latest record, Purple, which was recorded after a near-fatal tour bus accident, should forever be treasured by fans based on the tragic circumstances those bands overcame just to make them.

With that, here’s a look at my favorite albums and EPs from 2015 – both national and some local (Boston) acts as a bonus section. This list is in no particular order.

2015 albums

Clutch – Psychic Warfare

New Order – Music Complete

Baroness – Purple

Robin Trower – Something’s About to Change

Halie Loren – Butterfly Blue

Keith Richards – Crosseyed Heart

Mocean Worker – Self-Titled

Beach House – Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars

Iron Maiden – The Book of Souls

Deafheaven – New Bermuda

Kurt Vile – b’lieve i’m goin down…

High on Fire – Luminiferous

Sly Stone – Live at the Fillmore East: October 4th and 5th 1968

Desaparecidos – Payola

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Chasing Yesterday

Beach Slang – The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel Like Us

Motorhead – Bad Magic

Birth of Joy – Live at Uba

Muse – Drones

The Wooden Sky – Let’s Be Ready

Heather Woods Broderick – Glider

Faith No More – Sol Invictus

Ryan Adams – Blue Light EP and 1989 (Taylor Swift covers album)

Steven Wilson – Hand. Cannot. Erase

Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly

Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock – Spirit on a Mission

Godspeed! You Black Emperor – Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress

Best Coast – California Nights

Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit

The Amazing – Picture You

Torche – Restarter

Sleater-Kinney – No Cities to Love

Modest Mouse – Strangers to Ourselves

Chris Cornell – Higher Truth

My Morning Jacket – The Waterfall

Bruce Springsteen – The Ties That Bind [Box Set]

Bjork – Vulnicura

Honorable Mentions

Slayer – Repentless

Raven – ExtermiNation

Marilyn Manson – The Pale Emperor

Silversun Pickups – Better Nature

DCFC – Kintsugi

Kurt Cobain – Montage of Heck

Idlewild – Everything Ever Written

Death – N.E.W.

Blur – The Magic Whip

Pentagram – Curious Volume

Local Spotlight: Boston Bands

Speedy Ortiz – Foil Deer

Cruel Miracle – Manifesto

Sonic Disorder – Human Kind

Jesse Ahern – Tales from the Middle Class

Jamie Lynn Hart – The Let Go

Alek Darson – Panopticon EP

2015 Songs

Kurt Vile “Pretty Pimpin”

Speedy Ortiz “Raising the Skate”

The Lowlifes “In Winter” (Matt Pond and Chris Hansen)/Matt Pond PA “Four Eyes”

Radiohead “Spectre”

Baroness “Try to Disappear”

Ringo Deathstarr “Guilt” (with Jeff Schroeder of The Smashing Pumpkins)

Five Finger Death Punch “No Sudden Movement” (It’s anthemic like prime Slipknot.)

DIIV “Dopamine”

Bishop “Wild Horses”

Conrad Sewell “Hold Me Up” (Co-Produced by fellow Quincy, MA native (and buddy) Lou Bell, this became a radio hit, and was featured in an episode of Nashville!)

Slayer “Repentless”

Disturbed “The Vengeful One”

Idlewild “Utopia”/“Nothing I Can Do About It” (Even though they’ll never really get their due here in the States, it’s great to hear these Scottish rockers are still going strong.)

Oh Mercy “Sandy” (Melbourne “chill rock”)

Desaparecidos “City on the Hill”

Pyramaze “Disciples of the Sun” (Denmark power metal)

Mechina “On the Wings of Nefeli” (10-string guitars, says Alt Nation)

Heather Woods Broderick “A Call for Distance” and “Wyoming”

Everclear “Sugar Noise”

Faith No More “Superhero”

Ryan Adams “Style” (Notice the subtle tributes to Mazzy Star (“Fade Into You”) and Sonic Youth (“Daydream Nation”) Adams does in his rockin’ version of this Taylor Swift hit.)

Ryan Adams “On My Life” (This one is from the Blue Light EP.)

Mumford & Sons “The Wolf”

My Morning Jacket “Believe (Nobody Knows)”

Gacha “Waterfall”

X Ambassadors “Renegades” (You’re living under a rock if you didn’t hear this song on the radio or in TV/radio ads in 2015.)

Lower Dens ”To Die in L.A”

Tobias Jesso Jr. “Without You”

Best Coast “California Nights”

Mac McCaughan “Lost Again” (Superchunk leader gets it done solo style.)

Sufjan Stevens “No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross”

The Singles “Candy”

Nadastrom “House Shoes (feat. Nina Kinert)”

The Amazing “Winter Dress” and “Picture You”

The Sonics “Bad Betty”

Blur “Go Out”

Echo Sparks “Torch Song”

Rae Sremmurd “No Flex Zone”

Alek Darson “Sprockets”

About Charlie Doherty

Senior Music Editor and Culture & Society (Sports) Editor at Blogcritics Magazine; Prior writing/freelancing ventures: copy editor/content writer for Penn Multimedia; Boston Examiner, EMSI, Demand Media, Brookline TAB, Suite 101 and Helium.com; Media Nation independent newspaper staff writer, printed/published by the Boston Globe at 2004 DNC (Boston, MA); Featured in Guitar World May 2014. Keep up with me on twitter.com/chucko33

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