Julia Ward – Best of 2015

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Julia’s list! You can check out all our Best of 2015 lists here.

1. Kamasi WashingtonThe Epic
Maximalist, spiritual music for your jazz-starved soul.

2. Kendrick Lamar - “Alright”
Is it the New Black National Anthem? Maybe. That’s history’s call. It was, however, the right song for a community dealing with the bullshit of 2015.

3. Güeros
A gorgeous first feature from director Alonso Ruiz Palacios, Güeros’ main characters go in search of a reclusive, Dylanesque rocker whose music is represented by silence, letting your imagination do the work. It’s a lovely, Nouvelle Vague-y gesture in one of this year’s most underrated flicks.

4. Grace Jones – I’ll Never Write My Memoirs
Has our gender-bending, would-be transgressive, DGAF world finally caught up to Grace Jones? Probably not, but she’s still here to inspire us to greatness. Find your inner Grace Jones via her recently-published memoirs and repeat after me: “If the fuck don’t feel right, don’t fuck it.”

5. Romare – Projections
I can’t help but love an album that opens with Nina Simone conspiratorially singing, “Whatever happens…  keep your eyes on me.”

6. Courtney BarnettSometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit
Dryly funny rocker who draws pictures of chairs.

7. Eden
French director Mia Hansen-Løve’s flick documenting the rise of French Touch and what it’s like to come up with Daft Punk, but not become Daft Punk. Contains some of the most realistic nightclub sequences ever committed to film.

8.  Floating PointsElaenia
Who knew this classically-trained, uber-eclectic DJ had this 40-odd minutes of loveliness in him? A slice of slowly-building sonic heaven. Bonus: The last of his famed Plastic People UK residencies—another of my 2015 faves—is available for streaming via SoundCloud.

9. Jessica Hopper The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic
One of music criticism’s finest.

10. Irma, the Magic Castle’s piano-playing ghost
I’m learning magic. It’s best not to discuss it, but I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time this year watching a ghost take requests. I get misty every time she plays “Clair de lune” because I am exactly that kind of sap.