Kicking off the 2015 Bacon Top 31

Welcome to the 2015 Bacon Top 31! Now in its seventh year, this annual countdown of my favorite new albums from the year is getting long in the tooth. If you’re new to the Top 31, this post will give you all the necessary background.

I seek out a lot of new music. That’s not to say I don’t listen to older stuff — I do that as well. But more often than not, what’s piping through my headphones came out fairly recently. And I’m a firm believer of listening to full albums, straight not shuffled (most likely an outcome of having grown up in the heyday of LPs). The Top 31 is a reflection of what’s managed to keep my attention for the past year.

The Method to the Madness

Each day for the next 31 days I’ll post a short review of a new album, each one progressively (and arguably) better than the previous day’s album. I think of the list in three distinct groups: The Top 10, 11-20, and 21-31. Albums tend to move around within each group as the month progresses, but rarely do they shift from one group to the next once the countdown has been started. Only full-length albums are considered; EPs don’t make the cut (this is a new rule — four EPs have been featured in previous Top 31s). But there have been some excellent EPs this year, and I’ll have a separate post for them somewhere within the month.

Technically, the year featured here covers any albums released between November 1, 2014 through October 31, 2015. If the album came out in November or later, it’ll be in contention for next year’s countdown.

Please keep in mind these are the tastes of a single person, and I can’t possibly listen to everything new that comes out. So don’t be surprised if that brand new, really popular album you loved doesn’t show up on the list. People are always asking where I find new music. The albums come to me through a variety of ways: listening to KEXP (an avid member since 2001); recommendations through IRL and social media–based friends; and (less so recently, but still a good source) music blogs, such as Largehearted Boy and Brooklyn Vegan.

There’s Always Errata

Every once in a while something gets missed or unaccounted for. Last year, Damien Jurado’s fantastic Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son failed to make it onto that year‘s Top 31 due to an incorrect date in the meta-data of my iTunes library. In 2010, when I started the countdown I hadn’t yet heard Sufjan Steven’s The Age of Adz, but by the end of the countdown it had climbed it’s way up to #3. I try to be thorough, but sometimes that’s not good enough. This year, I’ve already had to change things around based on some new recommendations to me just last week that I hadn’t yet heard. Such is the life of a avid listener and tabulator.

Whew! That’s enough background. Let’s get on to the music! #31 on the 2015 Bacon Top 31 can be found right here.


Past years’ Top 31s