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Best of 2015

Top 20 Buffalo Tracks: 20-11

It’s that time of year again, where we re-think and dissect every local song that we’ve come across organically or via submission. This is our fourth year counting down our top songs and this year, like every other year, has been difficult to whittle down. Like we always remind people, this list is subjective and not the end-all be all. I am sure there are amazing local songs that aren’t on our radar,  but from what we have heard, we as a group have determined blog’s favorite songs of 2015.

Yesterday we posted our five songs that ALMOST made the cut.  Here is the top half of our annual top 20 countdown, 20-11.

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20. Lesionread – “Addicted”

Lesionread (Shawn Lewis) has had a big year. Between the release of the experimental artist’s excellent Greatest Hits! Volume 1, touring it across the country, and slew of local shows (one of which opening for electronic big shot Neon Indian this fall), it’s hard to believe Shawn has the same amount of hours in his days as the rest of us. Time manipulation aside, Lesionread lit us up this year with “…addicted,” a textured soundstack of a track complete with a danceable house beat and moody, neurotic overtones. There’s a lot going on here, including (and certainly not limited to) a cello sample courtesy of Josephine H. Isom to command that delicious neuroticism. When organic and electronic elements collide like this, the results are nothing short of otherworldly… and nobody in Buffalo is better at ‘otherworldly’ than Lesionread. – Ronald S. Walczyk

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19. YLXR – “BOI”

In 2015, R&B producer YLXR burst on the scene with his single “BOI.” The trip-hop  track splicer started off the year strong, with averaging a song a month for the first four months of 2015.  In March, YLXR collaborated with visual artist Malt Disney to debut the video for “BOI,” a single from the ground up, combining ambient vocals, swirling sounds, and growing synths to package into one delicious song. – Michael J. Moretti 

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18. The Naturalists – “Fortune, Always Turning” 

“Fortune, Always Turning” is the grungy track off The Naturalists latest EP Home Honey, I’m Hi. The Buffalo-based trio released the EP this past fall, solidifying their Placebo meets Chevelle sound. “Fortune, Always Turning” encapsulates the best traits from The Naturalists, combining their simple, driving sound with well-thought-out effects and production. The dichotomy between singer Craig Perno’s clean and gravelly deliveries is another particular highlight. – Nick A. Sessanna

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17. Jax Deluca – “Dirt in the Ground”

Jax Deluca is equal parts delicate, intentional, and unwavering. On her first official solo-effort, the capturing Wither Without You, the ukulele songstress starts strong with the opening track, “The Dirt is in the Ground,” singing “Oh, the land has changed the game / the game has gone too far.” The track capitalizes on a profound simplicity–just uke, pipe organ, and Deluca’s voice swirl around the space in which it was recorded, a cavernous sounding manuscript museum. In a word–beautiful. In more words, don’t let its initial stripped-down nature fool you, this is one of the most striking tracks (and albums) of 2015. -RSW

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16. Cooler – “Saint Bernard”

Cooler’s “Saint Bernard” has the perfect ingredients for a memorable tune — minimalistic but hard-hitting lyrics, dreamy harmonies, and instrumentals that are head-bob worthy. Cooler’s undeniable 90’s grunge flare would prompt a rush of nostalgia for anyone. I’m definitely placing my bets on this band to really do things 2016. – Shauna K. Presto

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15. Sixties Future – “Skeleton”

Sixties Future? What does that mean?” Well, if you’ve been to any of the freshly-formed Buffalo band’s recent string of shows, you know it means one thing. Rock. And. Roll. EP opener “Skeleton” channels the all-American energy of a young Springsteen with the indie rock know-how of The National–screaming guitars, a commanding rhythm section, and the svelte baritone of singer Chris Couche. If “Skeleton” is any indication, it should come as no surprise that Sixties Future has found a commendable degree of success in its first year, from grabbing support in the blogosphere beyond Buffalo, to its packed-house EP release party in November. Look alive, these guys are blazing a trail.  – RSW 

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14. Matthew McCheskey – “Principle”

Before Humble Braggers filled Buffalo’s synth-pop void, there were Canary Girls and Early Attic. Needless to say, we were more than happy to hear that Attic’s front man Matthew McChesky was going to surprise us earlier this year with a lush, synth-driven EP. “Principle” is the album’s lead track and also its stand out – McChesky’s soothing delivery (“I’m opening windowwwws”) floats pleasantly above swelling synths that ebb and flow. “Principle” has vibes that fall somewhere between Passion Pit and Washed Out, but would fit comfortably on either album. – NAS

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13. dreambeaches – “Trademark” 

In 2015,  former Humble Braggers bassist, Corey Bzibziak, debuted his solo project, dreambeaches, which immediately commanded attention. “Trademark” was the first song Dreambeaches released into the world, and it encapsulates the band’s sound in a nutshell: pretty, sunny, garage-pop. Think the upbeat vibes Reptar,  Beach Fossils’ ability to stick in your head, and the pop-sensibilities of Bombay Bicycle Club and you’ll get the idea.  “Trademark” is song is all about an individual losing their identity, which is ironic because this song is how dreambeaches finds their own. – MJM

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12. Passion in Constellation – “Tropical Love”

If you’re searching for an upbeat house track that’ll transport you straight to the tropical shore of Bora Bora, look no further than Passion In Constellation’s “Tropical Love.” With over 17,000 plays, “Tropical Love” is somewhat of a phenomenon in the Soundcloud circuit. There’s no better summer jam, especially when it makes you want to shake your rump and double-fist margaritas by the end of it.  – SKP

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11. Fourem – “Mum and Dad

Applennium mastermind Chris Groves’ alter-ego (Fourem) is at it again, this time with the groovy “Mum and Dad.” Groves packs his instrumental jams with a number of ear-catching samples – this time, that fancy sample happens to be a harp. “Mum and Dad” is music for mood-shaping. One thing I will say, it’s easy to get lost in the vocaless space within this track. Key into the ever-so-slightly swung drum beat and relax. – NAS

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