Charlotte said I should post this but I didn't want to
Death and the Penguin
To save you from all the preamble, you can read about why I'm a year late to this on The Music of 2015. This is still as relevant as ever, and I'm still as self-indulgent as ever. But if you're here, you probably don't mind that anyway. With that in mind, here's the music I've heard of from 2016 that I still listen to and love. Obviously there's more than this, but this is the good stuff.
Listen to: The Reverie II (listen to all of it though. It's really good)
Listen to: Pia Mater
Listen to: Deception
Listen to: Behold the Swine (but listen to the whole thing)
Listen to: Lotta Years
Listen to: Billy No Mates (but seriously. Whole thing)
Listen to: Anything Chemical
Listen to: Tiger Hologram
Listen to: Crawling Through Nothing to Nothing
Listen to: Nonagon (but the whole thing is a riot)
When Apple removed the 3.5mm jack from the iPhone, I was annoyed. They'd bought Beats, and I assumed (still do) it was a long term play to only allow Beats to have officially endorsed Lightning headphones, and effectively erase most of a market. Given my reasonably heavy personal investment in headphones, this is irritating. I mean sure I could have just not bought a new iPhone but come on.
Apple's inclusion of a Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter with new iPhones solves half a problem - you can now use your headphones. Unless your battery is about to die - then you have to use that Lightning port to charge. Super courageous.
If you trawl head-fi, or keep reading here, you'll discover that Apple's USB-3 Camera Connection Kit will allow you to use a low-powered USB device, and daisy-chain Lightning, meaning that you can charge and run a low-power USB DAC to give you that 3.5mm port. I mean, sure, it looks ridiculous, but you can do it.
It's still pretty early for this configuration, but more and more stuff is coming out. USB DACs aren't exactly a new concept, but powered ones are another thing to charge, and I can't be bothered with that, so I went for the AudioQuest Dragonfly Red, and if you ignore all the inconvenience, the audio quality is noticeably better, especially with a decent pair of headphones. I'd love to give the Chord Mojo a proper spin, but I'd rather have a Nintendo Switch so that's going to have to wait.
If I've learned one thing from tweeting about music, it's that people don't seem to care all that much about music that I share. I've always taken as simple an approach as possible to everything I do, and recommending music is no exception. If I like it, I share it because you might like it too. I'm not really interested in reading a lot of words about an album - I'd sooner listen to it and draw my own conclusions - but this is a conversation about something a little more meta: End of Year lists.
At the end of every year, everyone with an internet connection scrambles to share their End of Year list with people. Like your tweets and blog posts; no-one reads them, but there's something fun about dipping through a year's worth of something to highlight that which really shone.
And that, for me, is the key: Shone. The volume of music that gets released, combined with the ease of access facilitated by Bandcamp, Spotify, Apple Music, et al means that there's no possible way to hear everything that would appeal to you, much less give it enough of a chance to speak to you. And, come Christmas, when everyone's putting together their Top Albums of the Year That I Heard and You Didn't lists, you get a brand new backlog just in time for the new year.
With this in mind, and to focus on really trying to listen to albums and appreciate them, here is my list of albums released in 2015 that I'm still listening to now. There was an incredible amount of music released in 2015, and I enjoyed a lot more than appears on this list, but I think a great album stays with you and becomes something that you can specifically name as something important to you.
If you're interested and have time on your hands, there's also a full list of stuff that I enjoyed enough to buy
Listen to: Condolence
Listen to: fragmented footnotes on self-diagnosis
Listen to: Watching Films to Forget I Exist
Listen to: 36 Views of Mt. Fuji
Listen to: Forever Scum
Listen to: Paul
Listen to: We Own The Night
Listen to: Priss
Listen to: Divers
Listen to: Wasting
All cover art used absolutely without permission
When you see Every Time I Die, the crowd is as fun to watch as the band. There's no limits at these shows: no barriers, and they encourage you to get up on stage and throw yourself off. Now, I've got a wife and kids and a hybrid car. I've got a good life I can't risk losing, so I stand a safe distance back and enjoy the spectacle of it all. And there is a lot of spectacle. You should go and see them if the opportunity presents itself.
I had the idea for this video but I am even worse at making videos than I am at making photos so I didn't get enough audio for this to really work.