Local Wire

The 25 Best Albums Made by Phoenix Bands in 2015, Part One

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15. The Through & Through Gospel Review - On The Lords Wrecking Crew

I never thought in a million years that a gospel album would finish as one of my favorites of any year. Leave it to Joel Marquard (Gospel Claws, Spiritual Warfare) to make an indie rock gospel album so engaging that I still can't stop playing it over eight months after its release. It's the lo-fi take on these gospel originals that really create the soul of the album, well that and the indie rock flourishes and surf guitar on occasion. There's a little bit of seriousness and a little bit of irony in every step of the way here and I'm never sure which is more authentic.
14. Scattered Melodies - Modern Repair
Scattered Melodies really topped themselves on their second full-length album this year and assembled one of the most impressive supporting casts possible drafted from the local music scene. It's also a socially conscious album that never gets heavy handed or stands on a soap box. Yes it delivers a message about the current condition of the world and the hope to change it, but it doesn't take a dour approach. Instead they take that spirit and carve out one of the most enjoyable albums of the year.
13. RPM Orchestra - Hit On All Sixes
RPM Orchestra has to be one of the weirdest local music outfits on the scene and certainly one of the most fascinating. To attempt to define them would be a disservice and every song on their five song full length album is vastly different from each other. Hit On All Sixes is probably the weirdest album of the year and for that reason it is also endlessly fascinating. From the backwoods American of the opener "Bury Mine" to the classical cum Sonic Youth take on Debussy's "Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp" called "Decomposing Claude Debussy" which is more than 18 minutes long, the entire album is a wild ride.

12. The Woodworks - Unhealthy Decisions
Across three full-length albums, The Woodworks have simply gotten more impressive over the last four years and Unhealthy Decisions is a giant leap forward in their sound and dimensions. Solo Lounsbury's voice has never sounded better and their songwriting skill has progressed to a professional level. This may be due to the fact that they've put out three albums since 2012 and they play gigs constantly around town, honing their skills continuously. There are too many good moments on this record to even count.
11. CooBee Coo - Liven Up
There are albums that are great because they make you think or make you contemplate deep meaning, and then there are albums like Liven Up that just make you happy and glad to be alive. This is the band's fourth full-length album in three years' time, and they've topped themselves once again. This time around, they have a serious Black Keys/Arctic Monkeys dynamic going on, but they are doing it better than either of those bands. This is another go-to album in my collection that fits my mood on every occasion and impresses me every time I do.

Come back tomorrow for the 10 best albums made by Phoenix artists in 2015.
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Mitchell Hillman