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Best of 2015

by Cherie

When it comes time to compile my favorite albums at the end of this year I always have a hard time. Even though I try my best there’s usually at least one or two albums that get missed – whether because I didn’t have time to listen to them during the course of the year or because I simply forget about them. I try my best to listen to new artists but I also tend to stick to a lot of the same ones, so there’s a lot of familiar names on my list: Frank Turner, Laura Marling, and Mumford and Sons just to name a few. There’s also some new names, though, like Willy Varley, George Ezra, and Halsey. Don’t be too surprised to see a lot of Xtra Mile bands on the list either. One side effect of repping the label is that you tend to listen to a lot of amazing music. And so, without further ado, here are my favorite albums from 2015.

Top Ten Albums


#1 Catfish and the Bottlemen – The Balcony

Okay so technically The Balcony was released in 2014 but it wasn’t released in the United States until early 2015 when it was put out by one of my favorite record labels – Communion. If you haven’t heard of this band by now it’s time you stopped to give them a listen. The Balcony is only their debut album but it’s a surprisingly solid album for a freshmen release. The Welsh rock band have won the admiration of critics and fans alike, including Ewan McGreggor who became friends with the band after helping them shoot a video for their song “Hourglass”. The entire album is amazing and every time I listen to it I end up putting the whole thing on repeat.

Favorite Tracks: Hourglass, Tyrants, Cocoon, Kathleen


#2 Frank Turner – Positive Songs for Negative People

As the title suggests, Frank Turner’s sixth studio album, Positive Songs for Negative People contains a mix of optimism and pessimism. “Mittens” is typical Turner song where he laments about a past relationship that “I once wrote you love songs, you never fell in love.” The entire album is a classic example of Turner’s unflinching honesty. Each song rings true even when Turner is being critical of himself and his past relationships. If I had to pick one song that best represents the entire album it would have to be the first single from the album, “Get Better” which proudly proclaims “I’m trying to get better because I haven’t been my best….we can get better because we’re not dead yet.”

Favorite Tracks: Mittens, Josephine, Silent Key, Get Better


#3 Short Movie – Laura Marling

Some things only get better with age. That seems to be the case with young Laura Marling, who released her fifth studio album this year. Short Movie is the first album to feature Marling on an electric guitar, and the album features a completely new sound and a sense of confidence that is striking in someone so young. The album was released after Marling took a year off from music and traveled around the United States by herself. The experience seems to have left a mark on her for she returned with a fifth album that is more mature, more confident, and louder then any of her previous albums. The album is about a woman learning who she is and accepting herself for that person. “Little boy, I know you want something from me / yes I may be blind but I am free / don’t you try and take that away from me,” she warns on the last track, “Worship Me.” Watch out world. Laura Marling is back and this time she’s taking no prisoners.

Favorite Tracks: False Hope, Short Movie, Walk Alone, Gurdjieff’s Daughter


Wilder Mind – Mumford and Sons

I think the world as a whole was probably taken aback when the London based quartet announced a new album in 2015 but warned fans ahead of time that would not feature a banjo. Many people only associate the band with their distinctive banjo backed brand of folk that they’ve become famous for. The truth is, however, that the band was ready for a change for their next album and so this time they opted for a sound more grounded in rock than the folk they were previously known for. They may have swapped the banjo for the fiddle (played live by Noah and the Whale’s own Tom Hobden) but the heart and soul of the band remains the same. The faster tracks are probably the band’s strong point but each song on the album is a reminder that the band is back and stronger than ever.

Favorite Tracks: Ditmas, Tompkins Square Park, Just Smoke, Hot Gates


#4 Blurryface – Twenty One Pilots

Tyler Joseph and Joshua Dun have no concept of genre limiting boundaries. With every song they put out they push the boundary a little further, refusing to be pingeonholed into a traditional genre like pop, rock, or rap. Each song on the album is a different journey with it’s own flavor and sound of it’s own. Blurryface could be considered an anthem for today’s youths – for those who don’t quite fit in or for those who struggle with mental health. It’s an album for the misfits and for people who feel like they are growing up too fast. A lot of people can relate to the songs in some way or another and it’s refreshing to see a young band being open and honest and still be embraced full heartedly by their fans. Despite consisting of only two members the duo put on a fantastic live performance as well, and watching them live you can see their passion first hand.

Favorite Tracks: The Judge, Ride, Tear in My Heart, We Don’t Believe What’s On TV

Honorable mentions


Glitterbug – The Wombats

Favorite Tracks: This is Not a Party, Your Body is a Weapon, Give Me a Try, Greek Tragedy


Anthems for Doomed Youth – The Libertines

Favorite Tracks: Gunga Din, Fame and Fortune, The Heart of the Matter, You’re My Waterloo


Marks to Prove It – The Maccabees

Favorite Tracks: Spit it Out, Something Like Happiness, Marks to Prove It


Down on Deptford Broadway – Skinny Lister

Favorite Tracks: What Can I Say, Cathy, Trouble on Oxford Street, This is War


Wanted on Voyage – George Ezra

Favorite Tracks: Budapest, Casey O’, Can You Hear the Rain, Listen to the Rain


Postcards From Ursa Minor – Will Varley

Favorite Tracks: Talking Cat Blues, Seize the Night, Outside Over There


Badlands – Halsey

Favorite Tracks: New Americana, Colours, Castle, Ghost


Woman to Woman – Esme Patterson

Favorite Tracks: Never Chase a Man, Bluebird, The Glow


Froot – Marina and the Diamonds

Favorite Tracks: Blue, Happy, Savages, Better Than That


All Your Favorite Bands – Dawes

Favorite Tracks: All Your Favorite Bands, Things Happen, I Can’t Think About It Now


Whispers II – Passenger

Favorite Tracks: David, Fear of Fear, Nothing’s Changed


Rolling Up the Hill – Beans on Toast

Favorite Tracks: The Great American Novel, God is a Cartoonist, I’m Home When You Hold Me


Back on Top – The Front Bottoms

Favorite Tracks: Cough it Out, West Virginia, Help


To Us, The Beautiful – Franz Nicolay

Favorite Tracks: To Us, The Beautiful, Marfla Lights, Imperfect Rhyme


Graceland – San Cisco

Favorite Tracks: Run, Snow, Bitter Winter

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Filed under album review, Cherie, editorial, musical roundup, retrospective

New Music // Beans on Toast – “The Great American Novel”

The first time Jay tried to write a song about his time in America it ended up being “too sappy” so he scrapped it and wrote “Fuck You Nashville” instead. His second attempt, “The Great American Novel” manages to find some ground in between those two extremes. “It’s my love letter to America,” Jay explains.

Check out his video for the single, taken off his upcoming album “Rolling Up the Hill” which is out December 1st on Xtra Mile Recordings.

And if you live in America be sure to catch Jay as he tours the US with Skinny Lister and Frank Turner.


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2014 Musical Superlatives

Every January the staff at Lyrically Addicted sits down and tries to hash out the top albums from the previous year. We spend house analyzing and dissecting our favorite albums trying to put them in some kind of order that we can be happy with. But what often gets overlooked in such a process is the individual songs themselves. Maybe we fall in love with a b-side that doesn’t make it onto the album proper, or we stumble upon a live version that’s better than the original. The point is these individual tracks often get overlooked in favor of the albums themselves and we don’t think that’s fair. This year we decided to shine a light on some of these lesser known tracks.

                                 Best B-Side:
Vas’s pick: Fireworks – “Oh, Common Life”

Cherie’s pick: Frank Turner – “Sweet Albion Blues”

                                 Best Cover:
Vas’s pick: Allison Weiss – “Call Your Girlfriend” (Robyn cover)

Cherie’s pick: Gabrielle Aplin – “A Case of You” (Joni Mitchell cover)

                                 Best Acoustic Version:
Vas’s pick: Manchester Orchestra – “Girl Harbor”

Cherie’s pick: Passenger – “Scare Away the Dark”

                                 Best Music Video:
Vas’s pick: The Front Bottoms – “Backflip”

Cherie’s pick: Bombay Bicycle Club – “Luna”

                                 Best Collaboration:
Vas’s pick: Say Anything featuring Los Campesinos – “Judas Decapitation”

Cherie’s pick: Billy the Kid – “This Sure As Hell Ain’t My Life

                                 Best Single:
Vas’s pick: The Menzingers – “In Remission”

Cherie’s pick: Laura Marling – “Short Movie”

                                 Best Live Version:
Vas’s pick: Koji – “Matches”

Cherie’s pick: Beans on Toast – “I Can’t Get a Gig at Glastonbury”

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New Music // Beans on Toast – “A Whole Lot of Loving”

by Cherie

Our favorite drunk folk singer is back with new songs from his upcoming album The Grand Scheme of Things that’s due out on December 1st (of course) on XtraMile Recordings. Listen to his new single “A Whole Lot of Loving” and be sure to keep an ear out for some (rumored) upcoming North American tour dates.

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We love Xtra Mile Recordings

It should come as no surprise to anyone who follows this blog that we here at Lyrically Addicted are big fans of independent British record label, Xtra Mile Recordings. Check out this weeks playlist featuring music from some of our favorite Xtra Mile artists including Against Me!, Beans on Toast, Ben Marwood, To Kill a King, Frank Turner, and more.


You can also check out our interview with Xtra Mile artist Ben Marwood where he talks about his most recent album, Back Down, and what it was like to tour the US with Frank Turner last summer. Also up on the blog is Cherie’s concert recap from Beans on Toast’s Boston show last month at O’Briens Pub.

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Beans plays Boston: Beans on Toast at O’Briens Pub 3-4-14

By Cherie

I learned two things last week.

The first lesson I learned was to never take public transportation to an interview. Your bus will have a broken alternator belt and be delayed more than a half an hour. Then your red line train will, of course, be delayed another half an hour or so because it gets stuck behind a disabled train. And to top it off when you transfer to the green line you will, naturally, be so stressed and frazzled that you’ll end up getting on the wrong train and have to back track (I have no excuse for this one, I mean the trains are clearly labeled, yet somehow I hopped onto the D train instead of the B).

The second thing I learned was that Beans on Toast, aka Jay, is one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. Playing gigs is what Jay was meant to do. He’s a people person, equally at ease meeting new people and hanging out with old friends. He’ll buy you a drink without even thinking twice about it, that’s just the kind of guy he is. Tipping baffles him, at least when it comes to tipping in America that is. His confusion can be explained by the fact that he’s a long way from home; Jay is the man behind Beans on Toast, a British musician who somewhat jokingly calls himself a drunken folk singer. He’s put out five albums to date, the most recent of which, Giving Everything, was released just last December. This is first proper US tour as a headliner, and I got the chance to meet him when he kicked off the tour in Boston last week.


When I finally got to the pub and introduced myself to Jay, a full two and a half hours after I was originally supposed to meet him, the first thing he said to me was “you’re late!” He then followed up with “if the girl who emailed me because she wanted to interview me was late I was worried no one was going to show up!” The show was at O’Briens, a small pub located in Alston, and was an ideal location for the show. The crowd was small but loyal, singing along to old and new songs alike. Jay’s set was informal and felt more like a living room show than anything. Ditching his shoes and socks, Jay instantly made himself at home on stage. There was no planned set list, and Jay asked the crowd several times if they had any requests, prompting him to play M.D.M.Amazing and an older song that he forgot the words to and gave up on halfway through. His set was interspersed with hilarious anecdotes and made up words, keeping the crowd in stitches for most of the show.


Afterwards I got a chance to chat with Jay for a bit. At one point I asked him to tell me a little bit about his first album, Standing on a Chair, which is a fifty song record and has guest vocals from Emmy the Great, Frank Turner, the Holloways, and Mumford and Songs, among others. Jay revealed that doing a record in the first place had never really been his intention. “I was touring at the time and my label approached me about doing an album. I said I wanted to do a double CD, that was the only thing I wanted and they came back and said it wasn’t going to make any money.” Jay pauses for a second, before laughing, “and they were right; it loses money every day.” Jay didn’t seem to be too upset by the idea though. Playing shows is what he loves to do most, and as long as a couple of people show up each night he’s happy to play for them.


Seeing Jay perform and seeing how much he loves what he does was truly an inspiring experience. What matters most in life is that you love what you do and I can’t think of anyone who embodies this spirit better than Jay.

You can check Jay while he tours the US for the remainder of March before heading home to England.


Also be sure to check out his latest record, Giving Everything, available now on iTunes or through XtraMile Recordings.


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“Things” – Beans on Toast

Today’s song choice was inspired by the article on Beans on Toast that I should already have written by now but will probably end up finishing in the early hours Wednesday morning right before I post it. “Things” is off of Jay’s fifth and latest album, Giving Everything, and if you’ve ever heard me mention Beans on Toast before and wondered who the heck it was that I was listening to, well, here you go. This is Jay at his finest.

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March 10, 2014 · 11:36 pm