1. La Di Da Di — Battles
La Di Da Di is off-the-wall, strange and sometimes upsetting, but in the best way. While listening to it, you find yourself realizing that Battles’ trademark cacophonic sound sometimes buries drum riffs in a manner that seems almost impossible.
The most impressive work on this album definitely lies in the drumming. While there are some pieces that feel a bit repetitive, this is an extremely fascinating and unique album. Decide to give it your full attention whilst listening and you will probably love it.
2. Coming Home — Leon Bridges
This is just a sweet record. There isn’t much to say besides that. Leon Bridges is making fantastic sappy pop that feels straight out of Motown. He has a modern and original sound, but you can still hear influences from Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, The Temptations and Stevie Wonder.
3. It Follows — Disasterpeace
It Follows’ score stands out because the sound it carries is overall one that hasn’t been explored in a long time. It’s a very original, genuinely scary listen obviously — and welcomely — influenced by John Carpenter. It Follows’ distinguished synths and extremely catchy themes will keep you wanting more for sure.
4. Sour Soul – Badbadnotgood and Ghostface Killa
This LP isn’t really underrated, but it’s been forgotten since it was released in back in February. Don’t ignore Sour Soul for this reason, though — the album is consuming, fantastic and worthy of more attention than it initially got.
5. Dumb Flesh — Blanck Mass
This album kind of feels like listening to flashes of adolescence. The track “Dead Format” makes you think of playing laser tag while “Loam” makes you feel like you’re spinning in circles until you fall down. It makes your stomach churn a little bit, but in an enjoyable way.
6. Thank Your Lucky Stars – Beach House
Unpopular opinion: it was better than Depression Cherry. Thank Your Lucky Stars returns Beach House to a more intimate sound reminiscent of their 2008 album, Devotion. This album is simple, but genuine and warm without compromising good lyricism and storytelling.
7. Gliss Riffer — Dan Deacon
Gliss Riffer is similar to La Di Da Di in the sense that you will enjoy it the most if you are listening to it with no distractions and as though you are trying to solve a puzzle. Still, Deacon takes the album in a less serious, much more ‘fun’ direction, making it more colorful than La Di Da Di. This record is extremely danceable and difficult to not enjoy.
8. Painted Shut — Hop Along
This album is easily one of the most raw and emotional albums released this year. Its scratched vocals and unrestrained tenderness make it comparable to Mitski’s Bury Me At Makeout Creek or Angel Olson’s Burn Your Fire For No Witness.
9. The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam — Thundercat
Pretty much anything Thundercat puts out is perfect background hangout music. That’s not to say that it’s boring, though. It just makes you feel comfortable.
10. Bad Neighbor — Madlib / M.E.D. / Blu
This album fits very well into Madlib’s discography without feeling too expected. If you enjoy hip-hop in any way, Bad Neighbor is worth a listen. Bonus: it has a song featuring MF DOOM and he has never been featured on a bad or even so-so album, so definitely check it out.
Honorable mention: Father John Misty’s I Love You Honeybear. It’s actually not underrated at all — it seems to be sweeping up the acclaim that it deserves. It is lovely, mushy, and by far the best album of the 2015.