Taylor’s Turntable: Why 2015 is looking bright for music

Columnist Taylor Ysteboe on why established artists and hidden gems will release their best works in 2015.

By Taylor Ysteboe | Jan. 20, 2015

Tags: Music pop culture Reviews

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Last year was quite a year for music. We heard established artists like Sun Kil Moon and The Antlers growing stronger, but we also caught a glimpse of new artists such as Hozier and Benjamin Booker striding forward to lead the pack.

But guess what? I have a feeling that 2015 will be even better. I predict that this year is going to offer brilliant pieces from the usual suspects, along with some hidden gems due to two rising trends in the industry.

First off, it has become ordinary and even expected for new albums to come in a variety of formats. The most treasured format, of course, is vinyl. Its recent renaissance (documented in #MOVEgoeslong No. 2) has brought on the rebirth of the album as a statement. In the ‘60s, when The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” was hailed as the epitome of artistic evolution, the album was realized as a vessel to convey the overall theme. However, the digital age ushered in a false idol: the single. Thankfully, the vinyl gods drowsily reemerged from their slumber to convince artists to think of the album as a piece of art, as a novel, where all the elements work harmoniously. When you put a record on, it’s more difficult to skip to the next song than if you were listening to your iPhone. Now, artists are more conscientious when selecting songs for their album, and even the track order because it all affects the listener experience. Undoubtedly, many of the albums in 2015 will be released as vinyl in addition to other mediums.

A man who has released his music on vinyl for his whole life will debut his 36th studio album on Feb. 3. That’s right, good ol’ Bobby Dylan will be releasing “Shadows In The Night,” an album of 10 Frank Sinatra covers re-imagined. Each track was created in no more than two takes as Dylan wanted to give raw life to these classic songs.

Even young twenty-somethings release their work on vinyl. Though already on stands across the globe, George Ezra’s “Wanted On Voyage” is finally being released in the U.S. at January’s close. The bluesy-pop English singer-songwriter has captured many a heart thanks to his husky voice and his catchy melodies in hits like “Budapest” and “Blame It On Me.”

The second trend, and perhaps most logical reason as to why albums will be better, is because artists are becoming better. Let me explain. Many artists have signed their Declaration of Independence from major record labels, whether they are financially able or not. Either way, independent musicians are learning each step of the recording business. By refining their skills and becoming self-reliant, they become masters of their craft and attentive to every last detail from start to finish.

Filmloom, an unsigned folktronic outfit from Michigan, is releasing its debut album, “Perennial,” on March 14. The duo creates mesmerizing and cinematic tracks with a keen eye for traditional instruments like the trumpet and experimental leanings toward electronic undercurrents.

The year 2015 will keep cranking out gems, such as when British quartet The Slow Show, signed to the independent German label Haldern Pop, steps out on the scene with their debut album, “White Water.” The Slow Show is honing in on their simple style to layer complex sounds. “White Water” will surely not disappoint.

Of course, some artists are bound to release superb albums no matter what.

Father John Misty, or Josh Tillman of Fleet Foxes fame, is releasing “I Love You, Honeybear” on Feb. 10. As his second full-length album, this 11-track work promises to reach higher in its lyrical touch and its envisioned soundscapes.

And I would be completely remiss as a music columnist if I did not include that Sufjan Stevens is rising from the ashes to release “Carrie & Lowell” on March 30 after a five-year album-releasing hiatus. Named after his mother and stepfather, Stevens will enchant us with his folk roots and remind us that his absence was certainly worthwhile.

So buh-bye, 2014, with all of your demos, EPs and LPs. Here’s to you, 2015. Here’s to great albums and even greater musicians. Do me proud.

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