Year In Review: 2015

Let's cut to the chase: there aren't enough people writing about music being created in this scene and that's probably not a good thing. I started Tone Glow as a way to force myself to engage more critically with music but as the year went on, it became increasingly clear that my presence is somewhat needed. I don't mean to sound like Tone Glow has actually done anything significant—I question the value of my writing (and online music criticism in general) pretty frequently—but I feel obligated to do something, anything, when the only mention a (great) album gets online is a Facebook cosign.

Which points to another glaring problem: I wouldn't have known about countless albums from this year if I hadn't added every musician as a friend on Facebook (that Facebook's algorithm is shoddy doesn't help things either). At the very least, I hope to provide a space where people can be caught up on new releases via the news section. Alas, writing can be extremely tedious and I've become a bit burnt out on music overall but I hope to be more consistent in 2016 than I was in 2015. Before I start writing reviews again, I wanted to take a look back on some of my favorite releases of the last year. I'm a bit embarrassed, however, that I was unable to review some of these; I apologize to all the artists I was hoping to write about but never got around to.

A big thank you to every single musician, producer, label owner, et al who took part in any of the albums I reviewed this year or that are listed below. If I wrote about it, chances are I liked it more than most anything else I was listening to at the time. I'm also, of course, incredibly grateful for anyone who sent me promotional material this year. And thanks to anyone who's ever taken the time to peruse my site, you make me feel like I'm not completely wasting my time doing any of this.

 

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Record Label of the Year
Erstwhile Records

Devin DiSanto/Nick Hoffman - Three Exercises

Devin DiSanto/Nick Hoffman - Three Exercises

Eric La Casa/Taku Unami - Parazoan Mapping

Eric La Casa/Taku Unami - Parazoan Mapping

Takahiro Kawaguchi/Utah Kawasaki - Amorphous Spores

Takahiro Kawaguchi/Utah Kawasaki - Amorphous Spores

Jeph Jerman/Tim Barnes - Matterings

Jeph Jerman/Tim Barnes - Matterings

Kevin Drumm/Jason Lescalleet - Busman's Holiday

Kevin Drumm/Jason Lescalleet - Busman's Holiday

Graham Lambkin/Michael Pisaro - Schwarze Riesenfalter

Graham Lambkin/Michael Pisaro - Schwarze Riesenfalter

Kevin Parks/Vanessa Rossetto - Severe Liberties

Kevin Parks/Vanessa Rossetto - Severe Liberties

More than fifteen years into its existence and Erstwhile Records still feels as vital as ever. There is no question that Erstwhile was my favorite record label of 2015—the fact I reviewed each one isn't just a coincidence—and its seven records towered over a lot of other music I listened to throughout the past year. Three of them in particular—Three ExercisesParazoan Mapping, and Amorphous Spores—felt especially forward thinking. The former was my favorite experimental release of the year, an entirely engrossing and beautiful crystallization of DiSanto's task-oriented works. Hoffman's role shouldn't be underemphasized though as Three Exercises is both conceptually successful and sonically interesting due to his input. Comparisons to Motubachii and Teatro Assente are expected but the DiSanto and Hoffman work in a different mode here. We're not being made aware of the sounding world around us; this is a very specific setting with distinct and familiar sounds (duct tape, a boggle game, a bingo cage). The mysterious nature of Teatro Assente is very much present here but it exists despite numerous attempts at transparency, something that I found to be extremely fascinating. It's just an incredibly fun record that sounded like nothing else in recent memory.

Parazoan Mapping holds a special place in my heart for being the very reason Tone Glow even started. It was my favorite of the first batch Erstwhile released in 2015 and I was enamored by its magnification of various spaces and actions. Even more, the sequencing allowed the entire album to flow smoothly through connected sounds and provide a quasi-linear listening experience. Many field recordings have been able to draw out the beauty in the quotidian but Parazoan Mapping felt more astute in its editing than most records of its kind.

Takahiro Kawaguchi and Utah Kawasaki's Amorphous Spores sounded like nothing else this year but it also felt incredibly unique in the context of both artist's discographies. Its second track in particular felt like a creative leap forward, a track that had the smile-inducing precision of a mid-period Autechre track but still felt definitively them. There's a sense that every little detail on the album was carefully arranged and placed. The result, though, is not one of stiffness. Instead, it's just potent, concentrated impacts whether it be the beautifully clean tone of a horn or warbling noise.

The other four releases from Erstwhile didn't excite me as much (something that's a result of personal preference more than anything) but were excellent nonetheless. I wanted to draw specific attention to Busman's Holiday, however. It was an album I found to be severely underrated, especially in comparison to last year's The Abyss, an album that was interesting for its ambition but one I ultimately found inconsistent. I imagine fans were a bit worn out from how prolific both Drumm and Lescalleet were in the past couple years but as far as a complete album statement, Busman's Holiday moved me more than anything else. Though, admittedly, seeing the material performed live surely helped.

 

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Artist of the Year
Gabi Losoncy

"Dry By Morning" from Nice Weather For War (Kye)

"Dry By Morning" from Nice Weather For War (Kye)

Didn't Take Much (Alien Passengers)

Didn't Take Much (Alien Passengers)

Manhattan Story pt. 1 (YouTube)

Manhattan Story pt. 1 (YouTube)

Manhattan Story pt 2 (YouTube)

Manhattan Story pt 2 (YouTube)

Complete Idiot (YouTube)

Complete Idiot (YouTube)

"Tillie Olsen (YouTube)

"Tillie Olsen (YouTube)

While the lo-fi outsider 'rock' of Good Area heavily appealed to the Shadow Ring lover in me, Gabi Losoncy's numerous solo releases in 2015 have had a much more lasting impression. When my friends and I first started talking about Losoncy's body of work, we were enamored by the sort of 'digital mundanity' of her solo recordings. Based on some sounds on these releases (tapping via texting on "Dry By Morning", the vibrations on Didn't Take Much, the general sound quality), it's likely that these were recorded with a cell phone. There's no magnifying of subtle sounds, no added instrumentation, and no heavy manipulation of anything we hear; it's all very vérité-esque. She of course condenses her recordings into a single piece but as far as I can tell, they're all in chronological order.

Considering the rawness in presentation, it only makes sense that the sort of stuff on these recordings can feel so affecting. On Didn't Take Much, we find Losoncy in the aftermath of an allergic reaction, waiting to get discharged from a hospital. What results is more or less what you'd expect but there's a beauty in the plainness of it all—the various beeping monitors, the conversations you overhear, even Losoncy going to the bathroom (something which manages to not feel gimmicky given the context). During her first conversation with a nurse, Losoncy goes on to explain how she's feeling fine and wishes to be discharged. In the middle of it, we hear her phone loudly vibrate and it's a small, surprising moment of unintentional humor.

Losoncy's "two-part YouTube Drama" Manhattan Story also features a number of quotidian happenstances. The most dazzling moment comes near the end of part one. Losoncy's just purchased nail clippers and The Jive Five's "My True Story" can be heard over some speakers, perhaps from someone's car. Shortly after we hear honking, a car engine, and a police siren and it all coalesces beautifully. There's also something charming about her conversation with someone about tin foil—the slight apprehension in her voice when trying to determine what this other person is talking about captures the feeling of being in such a situation well.

The second half of Manhattan Story finds Losoncy moving indoors and there's a stark contrast between what was heard before. We're once again in a bathroom but the various ambient noises here create feelings of uneasiness. We eventually hear her eating foods and it ends with what I assume is self-induced vomiting. It's dark, naturally, but it's presented as just another part of her daily life and that makes it all the more powerful. It's certainly not some sort of performance either (cf. Hijokaidan's "マントヒヒ(大阪)April 26, 1981"). She turns on The Pipkins' "Gimme Dat Ding" and the song's quirky, novelty nature sounds like an attempt at distracting herself from the reality of what's going on. When it ends, the bathroom is all we hear and the album ends on a solemn note.

While the long-form narratives of these two releases are impressive, nothing quite spoke to me as much as "Dry By Morning", her piece on Kye's Nice Weather for War compilation. It was, without question, my favorite track of 2015. If there's anything I really understood in 2015, it was the feeling of shameful loneliness. I was in a Master's program during the 2014-2015 school year and it was the first time I had my own bedroom—my twin brother and I had always shared bedrooms throughout our entire life, even in college as we happily roomed together in dormitories. It was also the first time in my life where I felt like I had absolutely no concrete plans for my future. It became clear that I needed to be out of school for a bit and that I didn't want to pursue previously considered careers so I was left stuck, wallowing in guilt and fear.

Much of "Dry By Morning" finds Losoncy in a restaurant. I've found that most of the time, I spend my time simply absorbing the track's various sounds—the clanking of dishware, the conversations from a nearby table, the music playing in the background. When Losoncy finally leaves and goes home, we hear a stark contrast between this relatively silent setting and the busyness of the aforementioned restaurant. That specific transition perfectly captured numerous feelings I've had throughout 2015 and it's affected me to the point of tears more times than I can count. Maintaining relationships requires far more effort than I often desire to put in, and I'm often just satisfied with them in their shallowest state. Hearing the conversations take place in the track's first half, and finding a sort of solace in it, felt like a confirmation of exactly that. Hearing the elevator doors open and close, Losoncy walk towards her room, and then the stillness of the track's final minute was the bitter reality check I needed. Thanks, Gabi.

 

 

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Artist of the Year
Cristián Alvear

quatres pièces pour guitare & ondes sinusoïdales (Rhizome.s)

quatres pièces pour guitare & ondes sinusoïdales (Rhizome.s)

Radu Malfatti - shizuka ni furu ame (b-boim)

Radu Malfatti - shizuka ni furu ame (b-boim)

Manfred Werder - Stück 1998 (Irritable Hedgehog)

Manfred Werder - Stück 1998 (Irritable Hedgehog)

Michael Pisaro - Melody, Silence (Potlatch)

Michael Pisaro - Melody, Silence (Potlatch)

Ryoko Akama - Hermit (caduc.)

Ryoko Akama - Hermit (caduc.)

Diatribes & Cristián Alvear - Roshambo (trio) (1000füssler)

Diatribes & Cristián Alvear - Roshambo (trio) (1000füssler)

Cristián Alvear, Santiago Astaburuaga, Gudinni Cortina, Rolando Hernández, Jacob Wick ‎– c≠c

Cristián Alvear, Santiago Astaburuaga, Gudinni Cortina, Rolando Hernández, Jacob Wick ‎– c≠c

I spent more time listening to Cristián Alvear than any other experimental artist in 2015. There wasn’t much more I looked forward to this past year than coming home after a busy day and simply resting in the sounds of Alvear’s classical guitar. It’s surprising to think that Alvear was virtually unknown a few years ago. Yet with the constant and consistent stream of albums he released in 2015, he’s become one of my favorite artists working today. At the beginning of the year, I was particularly enamored with the disc Rhizome.s released. Each of its four tracks was written by a different composer and you could see how well Alvear could adjust his playing accordingly. The Bruno Duplant piece was perhaps my favorite. I was transfixed by the interplay of sine waves, guitar, and silence; each component carried a lot of emotional weight and their presence (or absence) at any moment in the track was strongly felt.

Of course, much is to be said of the composers involved. Ryoko Akama’s delightfully poetic score for Hermit features multiple parts which are cleverly interconnected. For example, certain notes are played at one point in the track but end up becoming motifs that are revisited throughout the piece. The piece has a variety of sounds, relatively speaking, yet it feels seamless because of how Akama has structured the composition. Michael Pisaro’s Melody, Silence is similar—there are twelve composed parts but Pisaro allows the performer to play any or all of these in an order of their choosing. Even more, one is allowed to insert various elements into the piece (e.g. silence, a sustained tone, improvised notes), leading to a personal and unique realization of the score. Most memorable for me, though, was Radu Malfatti’s shizuka ni furu ame. A deceptively straightforward composition featuring more of Malfatti’s ‘memory traps’. There’s a striking and nuanced sensitivity to which Alvear plays his guitar on the recording and it really felt like Malfatti and Alvear at their very best.

 

 

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Top 50 Experimental Albums

Lists should always be highly personal and an honest reflection of one's own taste. I do honestly believe that my #1 choice is the 'best' album released in 2015 but I'm sure several people will disagree. I'm also sure that a lot of people dislike lists in general but I've always enjoyed them as a time capsule-of-sorts (to see how my tastes have changed throughout the years is always fascinating). Ordering this list would be a bit arbitrary aside from the first handful so I've listed my favorite 20 releases in order and then alphabetized the rest. As you'll see, I've grouped certain releases together as I saw fit. I'm not making a list for tracks but let it be known that Gabi Losoncy's "Dry By Morning" was my favorite song of the year.

 
  1. Devin Disanto/Nick Hoffman - Three Exercises (ErstAEU)
  2. Radu Malfatti - shizuka ni furu ame (perf. by Cristián Alvear)  (b-boim) / One Man and a Fly (Cathnor)
  3. Species Pluralis (Jarrod Fowler/Taku Unami) - (1):01-04 / (2):05-08 / (3):09-12 (Leaving Records)
  4. Eric La Casa/Taku Unami - Parazoan Mapping (Erstwhile)
  5. Jürg Frey - String Quartet No. 3 / Unhörbare Zeit (Edition Wandelweiser Records) / Grizzana and Other Pieces 2009-2014 (Another Timbre) / Circles and Landscapes (Another Timbre)
  6. Gabi Losoncy/Various Artists - Nice Weather For War (Kye) / Didn't Take Much (Alien Passengers) / Manhattan Story (self-released)
  7. Takahiro Kawaguchi/Utah Kawasaki - Amorphous Spores (Erstwhile)
  8. Mel Bentley - Red Green Blue (Vitrine)
  9. Rie Nakajima - Four Forms (Consumer Waste)
  10. The Set Ensemble - stopcock (Consumer Waste)
  11. Eva-Maria Houben – Air: Works for Flute and Organ (Edition Wandelweiser Records)
  12. Sean Colum - Guitar (Speculations Editions) / April / September / October (self-released)
  13. Michael Pisaro - A mist is a collection of points (New World Records)
  14. Various Artists - Experimental Music Concert (Slub)
  15. Frank Denyer - Whispers (Another Timbre)
  16. Keith Rowe / John Tilbury - Enough Still Not To Know
  17. Gil Sanson – Immanence, a Life (Makam)
  18. Joshua Adam Acosta & Joe Wheeler - Differential (Speculations Editions)
  19. Marc Baron - Carnets (Glistening Examples)
  20. Joseph Clayton Mills - Sifr / The Letter (Suppedaneum)

 

And now, 'thirty' more albums that I couldn't really order and have listed alphabetically. All definitely worth engaging with.

 

  • Cristián Alvear - Quatre pièces pour guitare & ondes sinusoïdales (Rhizome.s)
  • Laurence Crane (perf. by Cikada Ensemble) - Drones, Scales and Objects (Lawo Classics)
  • Lucio Capece - Epoché (Hideous Replica)
  • Choi Joonyong, Kevin Drumm, Hong Chulki - Normal (Balloon & Needle)
  • Kevin Drumm/Jason Lescalleet - Busman's Holiday (Erstwhile)
  • Bryan Eubanks / Stéphane Rives - fq (Potlatch)
  • Steve Flato - Exhaust System (Kendra Steiner Editions)
  • Fraufraulein - Extinguishment (Another Timbre)
  • Elynor Freyss - Firm Moonlight (Speculations Editions)
  • Guido Gamboa - Saturday's Notes (Pentiments)
  • Arek Gulbenkoglu - The Reoccurrence (self-released)
  • Jeph Jerman/Tim Barnes - Matterings (Erstwhile)
  • Jin Sangtae - Shadow Boxer (popmusic25)
  • Eric La Casa - Soundtracks (Herbal)
  • Graham Lambkin - Live at Cafe Oto (Otoroku) / c05 (Penultimate Press) / Chance Meeting (Lambkin/McPhee) (Kye)
  • Graham Lambkin/Michael Pisaro - Schwarze Riesenfalter (Erstwhile)
  • Alec Livaditis - Clear and Cloud (Kye)
  • Meridian - Tuyeres (caduc.)
  • No Intention - Armchair Elecronics (Vitrine)
  • Kevin Parks/Vanessa Rossetto - Severe Liberties (ErstAEU)
  • Michael Pisaro  - Melody, Silence (perf. by Cristián Alvear) (Potlatch) / Mind Is Moving IX (perf. by Denis Sorokin) (Intonema) / Add Red ‎(perf. by Julien Héraud) (Crisis)
  • Prants - Hot Shaker Meet Lead Donut (Notice Recordings)
  • Slötakvartetten - Ålleberg (Bombax Bombax)
  • stilllife - archipelago (Ftarri)
  • Graham Stephenson & Aaron Zarzutzki - No Dice (Hideous Replica)
  • Greg Stuart & Ryoko Akama - Kotoba Koukan (Lengua de Lava)
  • Taku Sugimoto - Septet (Ftarri) / Taku Sugimoto/Manfred Werder (Slub)
  • Akio Suzuki - あいしゃ = a i sha (Edition Omega Point)
  • VA AA LR - Polis (Intonema) / Ping Cone (Mantile)
  • Rutger Zuydervelt - Sneeuwstorm (Glistening Examples)
 

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Other Favorites


I imagine the overwhelming majority of my readers won't care for the rest of this feature but I've decided to put this here for the sake of writing it down somewhere. In 2015, experimental music constituted probably a third of my entire music listening. The rest of it was primarily filled with (k-)pop, hip hop, and dance music. Interestingly, there were very few albums I cared about this year and if anything, I could just sum up my entire year with three artists: Carly Rae Jepsen, Young Thug, and Future. I made considerably less effort to keep up with new music than I ever have before but nevertheless, here are some lists.

 

Top 20 Albums

Carly Rae Jepsen - Emotion

(604/School  Boy/Interscope)


After the unexpected success of “Call Me Maybe”, Carly Rae Jepsen and her team set out to release Kiss as soon as possible. Given these conditions, it was a miracle that Kiss ended up being as strong as it was, let alone one of the best pop albums of 2012. With Emotion, Jepsen fought for her own songs to make the cut, and she won. Having written over two hundred songs for the album, and personally seeking out some of the best pop songwriters and producers around to make her vision complete, it isn’t surprising that Emotion is so strong and cohesive (bonus tracks included). There was no doubt in my mind that it would remain my favorite album of the year by the time December came; I listened to it obsessively all year and it continually revealed itself to have depth in and underneath its infectious hooks.

Perhaps the best way to emphasize the phenomenal toplines on Emotion is to compare the album to Taylor Swift’s 1989. Throughout her entire career, Swift has been a refreshing presence in the pop world for her understanding of vocal melody as a propulsive element. It’s an incredibly rare talent, especially today, but 1989 found her struggling to maintain it while navigating a new mode of songwriting—namely one which involved placing a stronger emphasis on production and instrumentation to drive a song. Emotion doesn’t suffer from awkward pacing or confused vocal melodies; everything comes together perfectly. At times, she knows just the perfect lyric to capture the entirety of a mood. The giddy and flirty “I Really Like You” reaches its peak with the tongue-in-cheek “Who gave you eyes like that? / Said you could keep them?” while “Favourite Color” paints the romantic and comforting dimension of sex with “When I’m close to you / we blend into / my favorite color”. Jepsen accomplishes the rare feat of making music that’s marketed towards teens and simultaneously mature. There’s no Good Girl Gone Bad transition that happened between Kiss and Emotion yet she seems far more Adult here than those who have had one (cf. Olivia Newton-John, Britney Spears, Ariana Grande)

The most refreshing thing about Emotion, though, is how openly vulnerable Jepsen presents herself. It’s an album filled with insecurities and self-doubt expressed with careful precision. Relatable because they’re presented as part of a larger emotional spectrum and not just hammered into a song outright. On the title track, she starts with sass—”Be tormented by me babe / Wonder, wonder how I do / How's the weather? Am I better? Better now that there's no you?” But as her cadence smoothens and the instrumentation turns from playful to somber, it’s clear she’s grieving—”In your fantasy / Dream about me / And all that we could do with this emotion.” Sometimes, her vocal delivery tells you all you need to know. The titular line of “I Didn’t Just Come Here to Dance” initially sounds like a come-on but when the chorus comes in, her impassioned tone strips away any perceived confidence and you understand the line as the desperate plea that it is.

While there are some deeply sad songs on the album (“All That”, “Your Type”), it helps to make the more joyful ones all the more life-affirming (“Run Away With Me”, “Let’s Get Lost”, “When I Needed You”). On “Gimmie Love”, a wobbling bassline echoes the anxiety-inducing, butterflies-in-stomach experience of communicating how much you want someone. The chorus finds Jepsen doing exactly that, but in the middle of it she sings “I want what I want / Do you think that I want too much?” It’s too anthemic a song to linger on such a thought though. As the chanting “oooh’s” enter, Jepsen adds “I wanna feel like this forever [...] and I never thought I’d say forever” and it’s like the whole world is encouraging her to break free from fear. It feels victorious, and it exemplifies how transferable the emotions on Emotion are due to its astute songwriting.

I’ve always been a proponent of largely valuing albums that are more ‘ephemeral’—ones that may not be All Time Classics but greatly define a certain time period in your life, for better or worse. When Emotion came out in late June, I felt confident it would soundtrack my summer. But then came Autumn, and Winter, and now I’m not so sure it was ever one of those albums in the first place. There’s far more nuance, personality, and vulnerability on here than any other pop album in recent memory. It’s not just the best pop album of the year, it’s the best one of the entire decade.

  1. Carly Rae Jepsen - Emotion (604/School Boy/Interscope)
  2. Young Thug - Barter 6 (300/Atlantic) / Slime Season 2 / Slime Season 3 / Leaks
  3. Red Velvet - The Red (S.M. Entertainment)
  4. Future - DS2 (Epic/Freebandz) / 56 Nights / Beast Mode
  5. easyFun - Deep Trouble / easyMix (PC Music)
  6. Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell (Asthamtic Kitty)
  7. Grimes - Art Angels (4AD)
  8. Lifted - 1 (PAN)
  9. Dawn Richard - Blackheart (Our Dawn Entertainment)
  10. Jam City - Dream A Garden (Night Slugs)
  11. Rahel - Alkali (self-released)
  12. Andrew Chalk - A Light at the Edge of the World (Faraway Press)
  13. Purl - Stillpoint (Silent Season)
  14. f(x) - 4 Walls (S.M. Entertainment)
  15. Drake - If You're Reading This It's Too Late (Cash Money)
  16. Hunee - Hunch Music (Rush Hour)
  17. Viet Cong - Viet Cong (Jagjaguwar)
  18. Project Pablo - I Want To Believe (1080p)
  19. Kehlani - You Should Be Here (self-released)
  20. Anthony Naples - Body Pill (Text)
 

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Top 100 Tracks

 

Red Velvet - Ice Cream Cake
 

(S.M. Entertainment)


Before dropping the best K-pop album of the year, Red Velvet had already become one of my favorite K-pop groups with the release of “Ice Cream Cake”. Now ten months later, it’s still the most exciting pop song in recent memory, much of it owing to the song’s meticulous and thoughtful production. The song’s teaser revealed its music box loop and “la la” melody but it’s recontextualized into something less creepy in the real thing. This distinct contrast makes clear why “Ice Cream Cake” works so well—it’s able to extract certain elements of its various musical cues and position them accordingly to maintain constant momentum.

Even more, despite the song’s straightforward lyrics about youthful love—the chorus finds a girl comparing oneself to ice cream and telling someone to chase after them— there’s a surprising emotional range explored with the instrumentation and vocal delivery.  You get innocent infatuation with the verses’ Brill Building-isms, towering confidence on the stomping cheerleader chants (fans screaming and all), and jittery excitement from the rocket countdown and frenetic brostep-y electronics. In the bridge, Irene’s rapping comes off intimidating thanks to the lone music box melody that accompanies it. Soon after, the song peaks with the delightfully incessant cry of “gimme that ice cream”. There’s a lot going on in Red Velvet’s “Ice Cream Cake”, but its tightly controlled maximalism allows every detail to feel exhilarating.

 

  1. Red Velvet - Ice Cream Cake (S.M. Entertainment)
  2. Sufjan Stevens - The Only Thing (Asthmatic Kitty)
  3. Carly Rae Jepsen - Let's Get Lost (604/School Boy/Interscope)
  4. Young Thug - Pacifier (300)
  5. Kendrick Lamar - u (Interscope/Aftermath/Top Dawg)
  6. Big Bang - Bae Bae (YG Entertainment)
  7. f(x) - 4 Walls (S.M. Entertainment)
  8. Kacey Musgraves - Late to the Party (Mercury Nashville)
  9. Oh My Girl - Cupid (WM Entertainment)
  10. Future - March Madness (Freebandz)
  11. Grimes - Kill V. Maim (4AD)
  12. Julia Holter - Feel You (Domino)
  13. Miguel - Coffee (RCA/Bystorm)
  14. DJ Koze - XTC (Pampa)
  15. 一十三十一 (hitomitoi) - The Memory Hotel (Billboard)

And now, the rest of the list in no particular order:

  • ゲスの極み乙女。 - 私以外私じゃないの (Space Shower Music)
  • シケイダ (Cicada) - Naughty Boy (Para De Casa)
  • 六ノ岳ミドリ太 - ふうらい (Hakanairo)
  • 真美鳥 Ulithi Empress Yonaguni San - Tengoku (Live) (Bruit Direct Disques)
  • カラスは真っ白 - 正義とアクチュエータ (Space Shower Music)
  • 4Minute - Crazy (Cube Entertainment)
  • Andrea - Outlines (Ilian Tape)
  • Ari Solus - Marissa (Somewhere to Hide)
  • A$AP Rocky - M'$ (feat. Lil Wayne)
  • Boozie Badazz - Retaliation (Atlanta/Trill Entertainment)
  • Braids - Taste (Arbutus)
  • Braque - Maraude (D.KO Records)
  • Crush - Oasis (feat. Zico & Zion.T) (Amoeba Culture)
  • daoko - かけてあげる (Toy's Factory)
  • Dawn Richard - Calypso/Warriors (Our Dawn Entertainment)
  • Demi Lovato - Cool for the Summer (Hollywood/Island)
  • Denzel Curry - Envy Me (L&E x C9)
  • Dej Loaf - Back Up (feat. Big Sean) (Columbia)
  • DJ Rashad - Cause I Know U Feel (feat. Gant-Man) (Hyperdub)
  • DJ Sprinkles & Mark Fell - Insights (Sprinkles Alt. Mix) (Comatonse Recordings)
  • Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment - Wanna Be Cool (feat. Big Sean, KYLE & Jeremih) (self-released)
  • Drake/Future - Diamonds Dancing (Epic/Cash Money)
  • Drake - Legend/Madonna (Cash Money)
  • dvsn - Too Deep (self-released)
  • Earl Sweatshirt - Solace (self-released)
  • Entro Senestre - Rosegold (W.T. Records)
  • Father - Back in the "A" Freestyle/On Me (Awful Records)
  • Fetty Wap - 679 (feat. Remy Boys)/RGF Island (300)
  • Fiestar - You're Pitiful (LOEN)
  • Fit Siegel - Carmine (Fit)
  • Flava D - Tell Me (self-released)
  • Haco - Never Get Over (Nuovo Immigrato)
  • Hannah Diamond - Hi (PC Music)
  • Hop Along - Waitress (Saddle Creek)
  • iLoveMakonnen - Forever (feat. Santigold & 1st) (Warner Bros./OVO Sound)
  • iO & Silat Beksi - V.Noch (Mulen)
  • IU - Twenty-Three (LOEN)
  • Jack J - Thirstin' (Future Times)
  • Jack Ü - Where Are Ü Now (feat. Justin Bieber) (Atlantic)/Justin Bieber - Sorry (Def Jam)
  • James Blackshaw - Summoning Suns (Important Records)
  • Jazmine Sullivan - Brand New (RCA)
  • Jeremih - Oui (Def Jam)
  • Jessy Lanza - You Never Show Your Love (feat. DJ Spinn & Taso) (Hyperdub)
  • Joanna Newsom - Anecdotes (Drag City)
  • Joanne Robertson - Out (Feeding Tube Records)
  • Johnny May Cash - Try Me (self-released)
  • Jonghyun - NEON (S.M. Entertainment)
  • Kat.D - Lovin' (self-released)
  • Kelela - Rewind (Warp/Cherry Coffee)
  • Kevin Gates - 2 Phones (Atlantic/Bread Winners' Association)
  • Lil B & Chance The Rapper - First Mixtape (self-released)
  • Lil Herb - I'm Rollin (self-released)
  • Lim Kim - Awoo (Mystic89)
  • Liz - When I Rule The World (Mad Decent/Columbia)
  • Main Attrakionz - Spoken Jewelz (Vapor Records)
  • Major Lazer & DJ Snake - Lean On (feat. MØ) (Mad Decent)
  • Mamamoo - Um Oh Ah Yeh (Rainbow Bridge World)
  • Maxo - Reach You (self-released)
  • Mick Jenkins - Slumber (feat. Saba, Sean Deaux, and Donnie Trumpet) (Cinematic Music Group)
  • Morkebla - Inhale/Exhale (S Olbricht Remix) (Farbwechsel)
  • Mrs.GREEN APPLE - ナニヲナニヲ (Probably Records)
  • Natalie La Rose - Somebody (Universal Republic)
  • Oneohtrix Point Never - Sticky Drama (Warp)
  • Perfume Advert - Sissy Drip (Opal Tapes)
  • Primary - Don't Be Shy (featuring Choa and Iron) (Amoeba Culture)
  • Rae Sremmurd - Somebody Come Get Her/This Could Be Us (Interscope/Ear Drummer)
  • Rainbow - Pierrot (DSP Media)
  • Rich Homie Quan - Flex (Ooh, Ooh, Ooh) (T.I.G. Entertainment)/Don't Know Where I'd Be (feat. Lucci)
  • Sabre - Cascavel Breeze (Royal Oak)
  • Samo Sound Boy - Baby Don't Stop (Body High)
  • Selena Gomez - Hands to Myself (Interscope/Polydor)
  • SHINee - Your Number (EMI)
  • Sicko Mobb - Kool Aid (self-released)
  • Sleater-Kinney - Fangless (Sub Pop)
  • Sound Stream - Starstrike (Sound Stream)
  • Teen Top - Ah-Ah (Top Media)
  • Tory Lanez - Say It (Mad Love/Interscope)
  • Tove Styrke - Ego (Sony)
  • Traumprinz - 2Bad (DJ Metatron 'What If Madness Is The Only Relief' Rework) (Giegling)
  • Vince Staples - Norf Norf (Def Jam)
  • Waxahatchee - Air (Merge)
  • The Weeknd - The Hills (Republic/XO)
  • Wonder Girls - I Feel You/One Black Night (JYP Entertainment)
  • The World is a Beautiful Place & I am No Longer Afraid to Die - January 10th, 2014 (Epitaph)
  • Zum Goldenen Schwarm - Schwelle (Forum)