How long have you been with Live in Limbo and what do you do for the site?
I started in June 2014. I write reviews and try to grab all the stand up comedy gigs I can.
What were your three favourite albums of 2015?
1. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear
Misanthropic and jaded lyrics dripping with wit, I can’t tell how many times I’ve replayed The Night Josh Tillerman Came To Our Apartment. It’s a hilarious retelling of an awful one night stand with an insufferable narcissist. I’ve fallen in love with so many of his lines, whether it’s describing his partner’s writing prowess as “she blackens pages like a Russian romantic” or “Mascara blood, ash and cum, on the Rorschach sheets where we make love”. I’ve probably listened to the album 2-3 times a week since I heard it. For me that’s unthinkable.
2. Sufjan Stevens – Carrie and Lowell
An impeccable album from a gifted songwriter. It’s an immensely personal, heart-wrenching listen from a matured Sufjan. The specificity entailed in the lyrics makes it impossible to walk away unscathed. “The man who taught me to swim, he couldn’t quite say my first name” he says of the father figure who raised him. The contrasting glut and dearth of love in his life from such a young age is compelling and relatable. I’ve yet to get through the album without crying at least once and I’ve listened often. Potentially his best album yet.
3. Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
She seemingly came from out of nowhere and delivered an impossible to ignore album of lyrical brilliance. It’s observational comedy distilled into a slice of life shell. Whether she’s relating the tale of a young bloke disillusioned with his needlessly complex quotidian existence or adapting to the seemingly quaint landmines of domesticity, she’s weaving layered stories with simplistic language. The album has such an adaptive flow which makes it an irresistibly fun listen.
What was the most underrated album of 2015?
Battles – La Di Da Di
Even without vocals, the level of talent in this band is unbelievable. Wielding instruments like paint brushes they evoke a myriad of aural landscapes both challenging and enrapturing. If you crossbred Picasso with Bob Ross and recorded the sonogram in an analogue studio the result would be La Di Da Di. Critical reception thought it was just ok. I liked it more than that.
What were your three favourite songs of 2015?
1. Grimes – Scream
It’s brutal and punchy, powerful and sleek. Aristophanes’ delivery impeccable and the translation is visceral, hyper-sexual, dark and violent. I could list any number of songs on this album and even I’m surprised it didn’t make my top 3.
2. Father John Misty – The Night Josh Tillerman Came To Our Apartment
The lyrics speak for themselves.
“She says, like literally, music is the air she breathes/And the malaprops make me want to fucking scream/I wonder if she even knows what that word means/Well, it’s literally not that.”
“And now every insufferable convo/Features her patiently explaining the cosmos/Of which she’s in the middle.”
“She blames her excess on my influence but gladly Hoovers all my drugs.”
“I obliged later on when you begged me to choke ya.”
3. Sufjan Stevens – Fourth of July
Cheap date idea: Get in the shower with a bargain bin bottle of wine and listen to this on repeat until you cry yourself to sleep. Wake up the next day and call your mum. She carried you for nine months in her stomach, and you can’t even pick up the phone?
How many concerts and/or festivals did you go to in 2015?
What were your three favourite concerts of the year?
1. Dan Deacon – Phoenix Concert Theatre, May 20th
My enduring favourite live artist didn’t disappoint. Endless crowd interaction, bizarre interpretive dance and irresistibly enjoyable banter. Given the choice I’ll never miss a set of his.
2. The Dodos – Horseshoe Tavern, March 3rd
This was a bucket list band for me from a formative musical period in my life. They played a ton of tracks from their back catalogue and left the stage sweaty. An incredible 2 piece who put on a profusely enjoyable show.
3. Spoon – Phoenix Concert Theatre, June 24th
Every aspect of this gig was perfect. They sounded incredible, the lights were mind-blowing and their set was tight the whole time. Big hits and a number of choice deep cuts. Off the back of an amazing 2014 album, the band proved why they’ve been an enduring favourite for so long.
What was your favourite festival of the year?
Not music related, but JFL42 was incredible this year. The check-in pass system, while complicated at first, is nothing short of brilliant. It’s amazing value for an expansive festival with endless talent.
Who was your favourite festival headliner?
Hannibal Buress. A 90 minute set with a crippling heckler take-down and effective use of an onstage DJ. This guy is wit incarnate and deserves every success that’s coming his way right now.
Which artist or band won 2015?
Nobody is gonna pretend that Adele didn’t happen this year. I think we can move on.
What/who was the biggest musical disappointment for you?
The anticipated albums that never eventuated. We could’ve had a new Radiohead album. No Kanye, James Blake, Frank Ocean. Don’t get me wrong, 2015 was fantastic. It could’ve been transcendent.
In your opinion, what was the biggest music story?
Unfortunately Eagles of Death Metal’s Paris concert.
What was your favourite new musical discovery of 2015?
I feel repetitive, but Courtney Barnett was such a gem. A unique voice I didn’t know I was missing.
Who should we be looking out for in 2016?
Everyone I mentioned in the “disappointment” section.
Who do you hope goes on tour next year?
Animal Collective. If FloriDada was anything to go by, Painting With could be the second coming of Merriweather Post Pavillion.
Who’s going to be headlining (or at least playing) all the 2016 festivals?
Grimes. Art Angels was massive and there’s no way she’s not gonna be everywhere.
Is there anything else you want to say about 2015 or predict about 2016?
To be honest, I didn’t even dig deep this year and there was still an overwhelming amount of albums with an enduring quality to them. Artists I failed to mention that killed this year include Bjork, FKA Twigs, Kelela, Jamie xx, Titus Andronicus and Panda Bear. I’m gonna be rotating these for years to come. I feel like I barely touched the surface of what 2015 had to offer and these End of Year lists will be my saving grace.