Ryan LaCroix's Top Oklahoma Albums of 2015
Ryan LaCroix, host of KOSU's All Things Considered and co-host of The Oklahoma Rock Show, shares his 10 favorite Oklahoma albums of 2015:
10. Grooms - Comb the Feelings Through Your Hair
After the departure of Emily Ambruso, I was a bit worried about the future of Grooms. But, Travis Johnson and company delivered a solid album with some of the best songs they've ever put out.
LISTEN: Doctor M, Comb the Feelings Through Your Hair, Cross Off
9. Tallows - Waist Deep
Not as strong as their 2013 debut Memory Marrow, but Waist Deep wasn't necessarily a downgrade either. There's still plenty of exciting rapid-fire stop-and-start moments here - and still the same dance-inducing vibes flowing out of it.
LISTEN: Shrink, The Dead Sea, Generalism
8. John Moreland - High on Tulsa Heat
2015 was a big year for John Moreland and this album is the driver for that. I don't see it as quite as good front-to-back as In the Throes, but that's nothing to be ashamed of. John is finally getting recognized for his songwriting and his incredible live performances and that makes me tremendously happy.
LISTEN: Cherokee, Heart's Too Heavy, American Flags in Black & White
7. Samantha Crain - Under Branch & Thorn & Tree
Samantha Crain has an incredible ability to pull more emotion with her voice and her phrasing out of an already emotional song. The most striking example of this comes with "Elk City," where the listener almost gets roped into believing that the singer and the song's protagonist are one and the same. A powerful tune from a powerful record.
LISTEN: Elk City, Outside the Pale, Kathleen
6. Other Lives - Rituals
There are always concerns when a band goes through a lineup change, but Rituals contains the same multi-instrumental epicness that we've come to expect from Other Lives.
LISTEN: Easy Way Out, For the Last, 2 Pyramids
5. Sex Snobs - Pop Songs and Other Ways to Die
I was bummed when CHUD fell apart and it took me a bit to warm up to Sex Snobs, but this record made it easy. The songs here are raw and loud, but carry catchy hooks. Then, toward the end of the album, "Horrible Youth" comes on for a pleasant surprise of 90s indie rock.
LISTEN: Horrible Youth, Black Friday, Farewell to the Sun
4. Sports - Naked All the Time
One of the best debut records I've heard from any Oklahoma band. They came out of nowhere and are blazing ground with their own fresh sound. I'm excited to see where Sports goes, but I'm perfectly happy enjoying what they've given us so far.
LISTEN: You Are the Right One, Panama, Feels Like Magic
3. JD McPherson - Let the Good Times Roll
Signs & Signifiers was fantastic, but Let the Good Times Roll is a big step up for JD McPherson. There's enough classic roots rocker sound, while pushing the envelope forward and bringing in other influences. Almost every song on the record makes me want to get up and dance.
LISTEN: Head Over Heels, Let the Good Times Roll, Bridgebuilder
2. Red City Radio - Red City Radio
Red City Radio spends a lot of time touring and only play Oklahoma a couple times a year, so I think they sometimes get overlooked locally. But, their self-titled album is their most impressive release to date, with catchy hooks appearing on almost every song.
LISTEN: Electricity, Rest Easy, Whatcha Got?
1. John Calvin Abney - Better Luck
John Calvin Abney released a full album and an EP this year. He also toured non-stop: solo, with buddies, and for others. Chock full of good songs, Better Luck is my favorite album by an Oklahoman this year.
LISTEN: Dark Horse Army, Sirens, I Can't Choose