Staff Picks: Best Albums of 2015

2015 was a big year for music. Though that can be said for just about any year, it seems that 2015 marked a change in the way that we consume our music and the artists that we're paying attention to. From artists like Adele who chose not to stream her new album, 25 on Spotify and Taylor Swift who decided to pull all of her music from the streaming service completely, to bands like Bring Me The Horizon who shocked fans by changing their sound entirely, this year has been full of ups and downs, big headlines and drama. But above all, it has been filled with great new music, making it nearly impossible for us to rate any albums from best to worst. Instead, The Prelude Press staff chose to highlight some of our favorite albums of 2015 in no particular order. There are plenty of other releases that didn't quite make the cut, but without further adieu, here are some of our favorites.

Don Broco - Automatic

Picked by Dom Vigil

You can't find Don Broco's new album Automatic on Spotify or iTunes, or anywhere in the U.S., actually, but it is definitely worth the work that it'll take for you to find a place to purchase this album. (Trust me, it took me a while, too.) Artists like The 1975 and Bastille have broken out in the U.S. recently after much success overseas, and if Don Broco follows that pattern, then they are definitely next in line for major success across the pond. The deluxe edition of Automatic is fourteen tracks in length, and no two songs sound the same. Simple yet complex, Automatic is carried by flawless vocal harmonies and spectacular bass work, making it easily one of the most well written and catchiest albums I've listened to in at least five years. Not only is Automatic one of the best releases of 2015, this album is guaranteed to launch Don Broco into success in 2016. Now if only they'd hurry up and come to North America already...

Too Close To Touch - Nerve Endings

Picked by Shannon Shumaker

Nerve Endings from Epitaph's newcomers Too Close To Touch was my first favorite album of 2015. Released back in March, Nerve Endings is the epitome of raw and emotional, a direct reflection of the album's title. On top of that, the album has a little bit of everything. From the heartbreaking title track and aggressive "Hell To Pay," to poppier songs such as "Pretty Little Thing" and "Perfect World," Too Close To Touch deliver hit after hit with Nerve Endings. This album is sure to launch them even further in 2016 as they continue to ride the waves of its success. 

Souvenirs - You, Fear and Me

Picked by Dillon Crader

I have had tons and tons of records that were absolutely stunning, but there have only been a few that have stuck out to me this year. The one album that came out this year that I still haven't stopped listening too would be Souvenirs' You, Fear and Me. I know this album came out December of 2014 but it was later released as a deluxe edition that included three more songs that the original release didn't have. This album is catchy, dark, passionate, and beautiful sounding; everything I look for in the music I listen to. If you haven't go and check out my absolute favorite release that came out this year (kind of) because I can tell you that you will not be disappointed at all. 

Coheed and Cambria - The Color Before The Sun

Picked by Shannon Shumaker

Now that it has been out for a couple of months, I hope it's not too ambitious of me to say that The Color Before The Sun is Coheed and Cambria's best release since Good Apollo. The songwriting on this album is spectacular, from singles "You Got Spirit, Kid" and "Here To Mars" to the stunningly beautiful final track, "Peace To The Mountain," which is accompanied by a full orchestra. There are big moments on The Color Before The Sun, like "The Audience," which are highlighted by softer, quieter songs such as "Ghost." The Color Before The Sun is not only beautifully written, but it is also very diverse and something fresh from Coheed and Cambria, proving that even after eight studio albums, they've still got what made us fall in love with them from the very beginning. 

Gin Wigmore - Blood to Bone

Picked by Shannon Shumaker

Blood to Bone is the soulful new release from Gin Wigmore, and it would be a crime to not at least mention this album in our end of the year post. Wigmore's raspy voice is a breath of fresh air, and musically, Blood to Bone is catchy and poppy all while remaining emotionally vulnerable and dark at the same time. "Written In The Water" makes you want to get up and dance, while final track, "I Will Love You" is an emotional love song. 

Halsey - Badlands

Picked by Shannon Shumaker

Halsey blew up this year after the release of her highly successful album, BadlandsFollowing the album release, she embarked on a string of sold-out tour dates across North America, and even had a guest appearance on Justin Beiber's new album. Needless to say, 2015 was a big year for Halsey, and a lot of it was thanks to this album. Like some of my other favorite releases this year, Badlands is dark, yet dreamy and poppy, filled with smart lyricism and catchy songwriting. 

Enter Shikari - The Mindsweep

Picked by Gabrielle DB

The Mindsweep by Enter Shikari is the epitome of music with purpose. This album displays the band's stunning lyricism and signature sound. This masterpiece was delivered at a pertinent time being that 2015 was strife with sociopolitical happenings.

Frank Turner - Positive Songs For Negative People

Picked by Shannon Shumaker

I think what makes Positive Songs For Negative People so good is how painfully honest it is. If you can't connect with one song on the album, chances are, you'll be able to relate to the next track. Emotionally, Frank Turner holds nothing back on this release. The album's lead single, "Get Better" is an upbeat anthem for anyone who has ever dealt with depression or hardship, and the rest of Positive Songs For Negative People follows suit. Lyrically, this album is phenomenal. It's blunt and straight to the point, but at the same time very poetic and artistic. The final track, "Song For Josh," about losing a friend to suicide, is a prime example of that, and will likely having you crying like I was by the time it comes to an end. On top of that, the songwriting is matured compared to Turner's older material. While Tape Deck Heart and England Keep My Bones are classics, it seems that Frank Turner has really grown with this release, and we've all grown up a little with it. 

Twenty One Pilots - Blurryface

Picked by Jordan Hyde

The ever growing musical duo, Twenty One Pilots released their fourth album, Blurryface earlier this year. An album that has changed the face of music as we know it, with hits such as “Stressed Out,” “Lane Boy,” and “Ride,” they were able to perfectly blend every musical style you could think of, whether it was the reggae vibe in “Ride” or the fast paced rapping in “Lane Boy” or the catchy choruses and dance beats throughout the rest of the album. While they have seen much success with this new album, it has only brought Twenty One Pilots closer to their fans, which is what they care about the most. We had the amazing opportunity of covering their intimate show here in Colorado recently at Youth On Record’s Dream Gig, and we can’t wait to see what they do next.

Night Riots - Howl

Picked by Jordan Hyde

Night Riots are a five piece alternative group from California. Newly signed up with Sumerian Records, they released their highly anticipated EP, Howl earlier this year. With a sound reminiscent of the New Wave era, they captured a refreshing dark and intense, yet poppy sound with this EP. With Hits like “Contagious” and “Oh My Heart” they set a new standard in alternative music scene today. We had the pleasure of covering one of their shows here in Colorado and can't wait to see what they do next.  

Marianas Trench - Astoria

Picked by Dom Vigil

If you don't know why Astoria is on this list, then you obviously haven't listened to it yet. The new release from Marianas Trench is honestly as close to Queen that newer generations are ever going to get. Each and every song on this album is an explosive rock ballad. Astoria is larger than life, as Marianas Trench hold nothing back on this release. It's big, but not too big, loud and in your face, but incredibly well written and poetic. The seven minute long title track is better than many bands' entire albums this year, going from sounding similar to Journey in the beginning to Justin Timberlake in the middle and Queen in the end. Don't believe me? Listen to it for yourself. You won't be disappointed. 

Bring Me The Horizon - That's The Spirit

Picked by Dom Vigil

That's The Spirit marked a huge change for Bring Me The Horizon. Many people loved it, many people hated it, but regardless, they were talking about it. If you've been a fan of BMTH from the beginning, the change may not seem very drastic, as the band also went through a transformation on their previous release, SempiternalThat's The Spirit proved that it's possible for a band like Bring Me The Horizon to completely overhaul their sound and do so successfully, selling out tours across the entire world. 

Thy Art Is Murder - Holy War

Picked by Jordan Hyde

Earlier this year Thy Art Is Murder released their highly anticipated sophomore album, Holy War. Taking the metal scene by storm with their highly controversial cover art and lyrics, they absolutely made quite the name for themselves this year. With crushing tracks like “Holy War” and “Light Bearer,” they deliver a powerful message about the atrocities taking place in the world today and weren’t afraid to speak their minds about it. 

Turnover - Peripheral Vision

Picked by Shannon Shumaker

Turnover is another band that completely changed their sound in 2015 and did it successfully. Swapping pop-punk for a softer, more ambient sound on Peripheral Vision, Turnover succeeded in what can be a very big feat for many bands, and managed to gain quite a bit of traction in doing so. Peripheral Vision also hosts some very beautiful instrumentals and smart lyrics.