Articles and thoughts by Peter Holslin

The 10 Best Albums I Listened To in 2015 That Didn’t Come Out In 2015

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mellon collie

I listened to lots of new music this year, but I probably listened to more old music. Therefore, in keeping with annual tradition, I give you my list of the 10 best albums I was obsessed with this year that didn’t actually come out this year.

John Coltrane, Ascension (Impulse!; 1966)
Coltrane’s sax sounds like a wild snake trying to get away from him; he wrestles it and wrangles it and eventually they work it out.

Dinosaur Jr., You’re Living All Over Me (SST; 1987)
This is perfect listening if you’re feeling emo and you have nothing to do and nowhere to go, so you just cruise on down the freeway cranking the epic screeches of distortion at top volume.

Erykah Badu, New Amerykah Part One (4th World War) (Universal Motown; 2008)
When the engine in my car blew up earlier this year, this is what I’d listen to while going on long walks through Chinatown, gazing at the city as it spread out across the horizon from the view on Hill Street.

Jimmy Eat World, Bleed American (DreamWorks; 2001)
To get a sense of the love and care that went into this album, go to Donut Friend in Highland Park, the indie-rock-themed donut shop run by Bleed American producer Mark Trombino. Belly up to the glass case showing off all of his doughy creations, and take a close look them. Regard with admiration the way that they’re all painstakingly crafted, with decorations of frosting, fruit, candy, and more. Buy yourself a Hüsker Blü, and then go home and put on “The Middle.” Take a bite and reflect on the power of dough and art.

Primitive Noyes, Slow Emergency (self-released, 2013)

My friends made this album three years ago. It was like their own version of the search for the treasure of the Sierra Madre. And they found it. Oh, they did.

Funkadelic, Maggot Brain (Westbound; 1971)
Life is all about 10-minute guitar solos and screaming bodies buried up to their necks in dirt.

The Fallujah Seven, Chobiat
I bought this CD at an Arabic music store in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, almost 10 years ago. To date it is still the most amazing piece of Iraqi choubi I’ve ever heard — gritty drum machine beats, rapturous synthesizer runs, heartfelt vocals, songs fit for a true celebration, going on and on into the starry desert night. In the age of YouTube and mp3s, it seems discs like these just aren’t common anymore. This summer I went back to the shop I bought it at and was disheartened to find that it’s now a cellphone store.

fallujah seven

Various Artists, Harafin So: Bollywood Inspired Film Music from Hausa Nigeria (Sahel Sounds; 2013)

Um, OK, for real, this stuff is amazing.

Xiu Xiu, Fabulous Muscles (5 Rue Christine; 2004)
I know a lot of people can’t stand Jamie Stewart’s voice, but I love it and I love everything else about Xiu Xiu. I’ve always held this band close to my heart.

Smashing Pumpkins, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (Virgin; 1995)
This is an album that just screams “moody teenager!” It came out when I was in elementary school and it’s been years since I’d given it a listen, but I plunged back in this fall. I was going through a bummer moment, frustrated and disillusioned, beaten down by the hatred and violence of the world and suddenly painfully aware of my own shortcomings. Sitting at my computer one night, I felt an urge to put on the video for “1979,” and there it was — the dreamy guitars, the rolling tractor tire, the beautiful abandon of youth. Bald Billy Corgan never looked so contented, and I relished the catharsis and escape Mellon Collie gave me.


Written by Peter Holslin

December 30, 2015 at 12:26 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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