SPRING BRINGS MANY things: blossom, lambs and fortunately – with Record Store Day in the middle of it – lots of new album releases.
Blur returned with their first album for over a decade. Paul Weller and Young Fathers followed up thought-provoking records with even more innovative visions, while the likes of Leon Bridges, Jamie xx and Matthew E White enhanced their burgeoning reputations.
Following on from our selection of the best releases of the year’s first three months, MOJO’s staff and writers have sprung into action to assemble the best albums of 2015’s second quarter (ie. April, May and June), and here are our Top 20.
BlurThe Magic Whip
PARLOPHONE “For a collection with an eye on the setting sun and the slow decline, it's a fine late flowering. If they've made it, finally to the end, there's nothing to regret here.” Victoria Segal
Leon BridgesComing Home
COLUMBIA “He's only 25, but with his clean cut image and authentically retro approach to music-making this honey-voiced dancer/choreographer-turned singer comes across like a late-‘50s/early-’60s throwback.” Charles Waring
Chastity Belt Time To Go Home
HARDLY ART “Across the album, the guitars lurch and skip, the voice soars and dips, which makes you feel giddy and drunk and perfectly matches the daft-then-melancholy lyrics.” Anna Wood
East India Youth Culture Of Volume
XL “William Doyle, aka East India Youth, has barely tinkered with the formula for his second full-length record – a good thing, as his proprietary blend of home-spun techno and forlorn songcraft proves fertile ground.” Stevie Chick
The Fall Sub-Lingual Tablet
CHERRY RED “The most on-message Fall album since The Infotainment Scan. Rejoice-ah! ” Andrew Perry
Bill Fay Who Is The Sender?
DEAD OCEANS “Songs that leap out and penetrate to the heart.” David Sheppard
Mbongwana StarFrom Kinshasa
WORLD CIRCUIT “This album has more daylight than a summer solstice.” David Hutcheon
My Morning Jacket The Waterfall
ATO/CAPITOL “The Waterfall suggests My Morning Jacket have made their own big decision. It’s coherent without sacrificing quirk and charm." Keith Cameron
Jaakko Eino Kalevi Jaakko Eino Kalevi
WEIRD WORLD/DOMINO “The most coherent album so far from the former Helsinki tram driver is a gem.” Kieron Tyler
Jim O’Rourke Simple Songs
DRAG CITY “Far from simple, these are songs of achingly delivered, baroque pop complexity.” David Sheppard
Palma VioletsDanger In The Club
ROUGH TRADE “Pulsing with youthful rebellion, Palma Violets sound wildly bacchanalian." Paul Stokes
Ben Salisbury & Geoff Barrow Ex_Machina
UNIVERSAL/ INVADA “Minimal anodic drones disrupted by distant sour notes of ambient noise, naive piano melodies engulfed in waves of metal racket, all underlining that all is not well in this new technological Eden.” Andrew Male
Boz Scaggs A Fool To Care
429 “A Fool To Care has scarcely a weak note, let alone track.” Geoff Brown
Richard Thompson Still
PROPER “If this was a new act people would be falling over themselves to sing its praises, but Thompson raised the bar so high so many years ago that this is simply what's expected of him.” Mike Barnes
Various Artists Shirley Inspired
Earth Recordings “Given that she never wrote a single song, Collins might seem a surprising subject for a tribute album. Yet somehow it all makes sense.” Pete Paphides
Thee Oh Sees Mutilator Defeated At Last
CASTLE FACE “Adds sophistication to the band's trademark thrash-psych.” Stevie Chick
Kamasi Washington The Epic
BRAINFEEDER “The Epic boldly aims to overhaul jazz for the progressive hip-hop generation.” Andy Cowan
Paul Weller Saturns Pattern
PARLOPHONE “There's a newly relaxed vibe, a sense that anything might be allowed to happen, and results tend towards the quietly strange and pleasingly enigmatic.” Danny Eccleston
Jamie xxIn Colour
XL “In Colour presents the full spectrum of Jamie xx's talents, from subversive pop producer to ambient soundtrack conductor.” Priya Elan
Young Fathers White Men Are Black Men Too
BIG DADA “White Men Are Black Men Too places Young Fathers firmly alongside Suede, Dizzee Rascal and Arctic Monkeys in the pantheon of those whose post-Mercury follow-ups confirm they know exactly where they're going and aren't going to let a modest prize distract them.” Ben Thompson
And don’t forget there’s amazing music from the past to be discovered amongst MOJO’s 10 Best Reissues Of 2015, April to June.
NB. The best albums of 2015 are listed in alphabetical order, not ranked in terms of relative brilliance (yet…).