Best of NYS Music 2015: Staff Picks for Albums, Overall

The past year has been a great year for music. In addition to the great albums released by New York artists, there have been some excellent albums released around the world. The NYS Music team picked their favorite albums of 2015. This is just a sampling of those albums.


Courtney Barnett released her critically acclaimed debut Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit back in March. The 27 year old Australian singer/songwriter has received nothing but praise. Will Hermes, reviewing it for NPR, says:

Barnett’s facility for wordplay and compressed narrative has more in common with great rappers than pop songwriters, and her debut is the best rock record I’ve heard this year. She’s a poet of panic attacks and short attention spans and the kind of heartbreak that always seems to be following right in your blind spot.

In his five-star review for The Guardian, Everett True writes “listening to most – if not all – of Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit is a richly rewarding experience, one that increases with each listen.” Rolling Stone’s Jon Dolan gave the album 4.5 stars and said “wherever Barnett ends up, we’re going to want to go with her.”


Holly Bowling has been getting the attention of Phish fans around the nation with her solo piano covers of their repertoire, the most well-know of which being the “Tahoe Tweezer.” The release of her crowd-funded album, Distillation of a Dream, was much anticipated. Bringing a fresh look at the music of Phish, it’s no wonder everyone who gave it a listen fell instantly in love. The first disc of the double album offers her interpretation of studio tracks, while the second disc covers live jams as performed by Phish. Bowling “does justice to the variety of songs she chose for the album.” Reviewing the album, I wrote:

Overall, Distillation of a Dream is a solid, creative tribute to Phish. The album reflects the difference between studio Phish as heard on disc one, and live Phish as heard on disc two. Bowling’s musicality, experience and talent are in full display on this album. The creativity and effort put into the re-creation of these Phish songs and jams make for a fun and interesting listen.

Many great albums were released in 2015, and while we can’t review all of them, some other picks by our staff include Todd Rundgren’s Global, Trey Anastasio’s Paper Wheels, Fear Factory’s Genexus, Circles Around the Sun Interludes for the Dead and Faith No More’s Sol Invictus. From debut albums to comeback albums, 2015 had some great releases that are not to be missed!


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