2015 proved to be an extremely creative year for the Louisville music scene. I’m so proud of our local musicians who put out one great album after another or recorded singles and EPs we could play for you on WFPK. It made me love my job as the local music liaison of WFPK even more so this year because I got to hear first some wonderful new bands or witness the apparent growth of some of our older bands who just keep getting better. 2015 was extraordinary in its scope of greatness and I wanted to share some of the highlights with you and hope you’ll check out our excellent local record stores to find these releases. I also want to tip my hat to the local producers, engineers and recording studios who made them all sound so great. This is only a partial list and I didn’t rank them in any particular order but I thought these were some of the best of the best. So here it goes:
THE NEW BANDS:
GRAFFITI – EVIL EP – rock’n’roll with good hooks. Check out “Evil” and “Magazine Woman”.
TWIN LIMB – ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE AND NOTHING MAKES SENSE – dreamy pop with accordion, guitar, drums and lots of effects landed them on the Forecastle stage practically right out of the gate. Check out “Long Shadow” and “Gold From Teeth”.
BRENDA THE BAND – BRENDA – a rock/pop band who call their genre (with tongue firmly planted in cheek) “Germantown Rock”. Check out “Pterodactyl” and “Goose”.
MAXIMON – THE FLAME (Single on vinyl) – shimmering pop that soars to great heights!
BEWARE THE IMAGES – EVERYONE ELSE – heavily influenced by The Smiths and catchy as all get out. Check out “I’ll Be Fine”.
NELLIE PEARL – “LIVE/DIE” (Single) – from an upcoming full length in 2016, this Americana-Roots Rock band continues to surprise with great melodic music and super catchy songs. From their EP So It Goes, also check out “Canoe”.
WILDER STALLIONS – DON’T LET YOUR MEATLOAF – all instrumental funk infused jazz from some excellent musicians. Check out “Funk 48”.
ATOMO – THE EVAPORATED LIFE – electronica dance synth pop all instrumental artist on a new label called Auralgami Records. Check out “IT’S 2015 AND I DRIVE A COMPUTER”.
LAURIE JANE & THE 45’S – LAURIE JANE & THE 45’S – debut album from rising stars of the Blues genre. Check out “Whiskey Will”.
THE SEMI-OLDER BANDS:
NEW BRAVADO – SUN AND MOON – heavy psychedelic rock on their second full-length. Check out “Sol Similar” and “White Jesus”.
MAIDEN RADIO – WOLVERING – made up of three very talented women who all have solo careers as well, they are Cheyenne Mize, Julia Purcell and Joan Shelley. Here, they sing in harmony on old traditionals and new originals. Check out “Adieu False Heart” and “Sweet Sunny South”.
SMALL TIME NAPOLEON – PACKED – they were nominated for jazz/avant garde artists of the year mainly because they’re so hard to categorize and also very, very good! This was their first full length album and it was indeed packed with some great original music. Check out “Sucker For A Tomboy” “Airship” and “Packed”.
QUIET HOLLERS – QUIET HOLLERS – fronted by songwriter Shadwick Wilde, this band put out one of the best records of the year in my opinion and not just locally. It’s been great to watch their growth and to hear them sounding better than ever. Check out “Aviator Shades”, “Liar Song”, “Mont Blanc” and “Cote D’Azur”.
BRIDGE 19 – RIDING ON A WIRE – Excellent pop/rock album from start to finish by a group that has grown by leaps and bounds this year. It’s like they figured it all out on this record, the magic formula that’s making it work from the songwriting to production, job well done! Check out “Nothing Else”, “Chain” and “Go Back Now”.
JUSTIN PAUL LEWIS – EVERY LITTLE THING – Justin will be releasing his EP early 2016 but he already released the first single from it and it’s excellent. It was recorded with some of the guys from Small Time Napoleon called “Go Outside”.
HOWELL DAWDY – “SUMMER CREAMS” (Single) – song of the summer came from a persona of Alex Smith’s called Howell Dawdy who mixes rap with some cool beats and loops creating a total earworm.
THE HEAVY HITTERS:
HOUNDMOUTH – LITTLE NEON LIMELIGHT – Southern Indiana/Louisville rockers hit again with their fantastic songwriting, harmonies and sing-a-long choruses. They are selling out venues all over the country for a reason–they rock and their second full length album is proof they’ve got staying power. Check out “Sedona”, “Say It” and “By God”.
WHITE REAPER – WHITE REAPER DOES IT AGAIN – great punk/surf/pop/rock and roll, Ramones-esque. Check out “Make Me Wanna Die” and “Pills”.
WAX FANG – “EXIT STRATEGY” (Single) – great song by one of Louisville’s favorite rockers. Look for a full length album in 2016.
JOAN SHELLEY – OVER AND EVEN – recorded at Daniel Martin Moore’s house and guest starring Nathan Salsburg and Will Oldham, it’s a gorgeous record through and through. Joan also won Singer/Songwriter of the Year at the recent Louisville Music Awards. Check out “Over and Even” and “Stay On My Shore”.
DANIEL MARTIN MOORE – GOLDEN AGE – produced by My Morning Jacket’s Jim James at La La Land, this is Daniel’s most haunting and beautiful record to date. Check out “How It Fades”, “On Our Way Home” and “Proud As We Are”.
THE SEASONED VETERANS:
DANNY FLANIGAN + THE RAIN CHORUS – RIVER – a new single from a forthcoming full length album due in 2016. They just celebrated their 25th year as a band!
COLISEUM – ANXIETY’S KISS – heavy metal rockers put out a great album, their 5th studio recording. Check out “Escape Yr Skull”, “Sunlight In A Snowstorm” and “We Are The Water”.
MY MORNING JACKET – THE WATERFALL – It’s hard to even call them local anymore except every now and then I’ll run into one of them at Kroger or somewhere and be reminded we live among rock stars, it’s true. But yes, they are from Louisville and live here and we are lucky to call them our own. They also put out a beautiful record this year and won Song of The Year for “Believe” at the Louisville Music Awards. Recommended tracks are “Believe (Nobody Knows)”, “Spring (Among The Living)”, “Big Decisions” and “Compound Fracture”.
Locally yours, Laura Shine