Chris D’s Top Singles of 2015

The Host of Toast-n-Jam Ranks the 15 Best Radio Songs

15) DJANGO DJANGO – Shake & Tremble

Glorious in its borrowing from arrangements and instrumentation of the past.  Solid sonic ear candy.

14) BECK – Dreams

A seemingly random assemblage of noises on first listen, these noises proved to fix themselves in my brain for months.

13) CERNY BROTHERS – Nightburn

Jangly and retro in all the right ways.  Sonically urgent yet emotionally reserved; good driving music.

12) BEACH HOUSE – Sparks

Just two people haven’t produced recordings this dense since the White Stripes broke up.  Utterly hypnotic.

11) LORD HURON – the World Ender

Like the soundtrack to a David Lynch film which never existed.  Gloomy lyrics juxtaposed with a rockabilly beat and a dreamy sensibility.

10) MARLON MCCLAIN – That Ain’t Right

Funky as all get-out.  Sounds like music from a 70s-era blaxploitation flick, if Bootsy Collins had produced it in the 80s. 

09) FATHER JOHN MISTY – Strange Encounter

Folky and atmospheric in Josh Tillman’s inimitable idiom.  He owns the Indie Folk genre like a boss, and has a real talent for aggrandizing the mundane.

08) MOCEAN WORKER – Soul Swing

One of my favorite producers.  He has a way of taking old jazz records and reworking them into something which sounds absolutely contemporary and danceable.

07) G. LOVE and SPECIAL SAUCE featuring CITIZEN COPE – Muse

One of the hookiest sides G. Love and Special Sauce have released in recent memory.  Not so much a return to form as an interesting step in a new direction.

06) JOSÉ GONZÁLES – Leaf Off / the Cave

I don’t normally go in much for the guy-with-a-guitar thing, but this is one of the prettiest recordings I heard in 2015.  Seemingly simplistic, but memorable and beautifully textured.

 

05) WIDESPREAD PANIC – Steven’s Cat

Opening with a retro-sounding, organ-drenched riff reminiscent of the late-60s track “Chest Fever” from The Band (which Panic has famously covered in the past), this touring monster of an outfit proves again they can stamp out perfect 4-minute recordings when the mood strikes and the planets align.

04) SAINT MOTEL – My Type

Goofy and sexy, like a robot trying to out-disco-dance John Travolta.  This recording is a call-back to when songs were just stupid, catchy, and fun.  The lyric “I’m a man with very specific taste” makes me wonder if it was tied in (no pun intended) to the film version of “50 Shades of Grey,” but not enough to actually investigate further.

03) JAMES McMURTRY – How’m I Gonna Find You Now

He’s like a lyrical terminator: he can’t be bargained with, he can’t be reasoned with, and he absolutely will not stop.  The bassline coupled with the rapid-fire verses make this one of McMurtry’s grooviest sides of all time, and a great jam to see live; it’s like dance music smothered in gravy.  I hope he never stops writing and performing.

02) DAWES – All Your Favorite Bands

Taylor Goldsmith (and co-writer Jonny Fritz) have fashioned the perfect Emo-Indie-Folk side.  It’s charming, nostalgic, and by the end, so subdued it almost hurts.  At the point where most bands would fire up the bombast with a drum kit and a heavy bassline and crushingly jam on for several minutes, this song just stops and leaves you wanting more.

01) MARK RONSON featuring BRUNO MARS – Uptown Funk

Although released at the tail end of 2014, this single really came into its own in 2015, racking up many weeks at #1 on the pop charts worldwide.  Don’t let that fool you, though, it’s really an incredible record.  Just about every band covered it.  Oddly, its ubiquity did nothing to dilute my enthusiasm for hearing it when it came on the radio.  It practically dares you not to get up and dance.