We caught up with a few musicians to hear their favorite albums and concerts of 2015. You can see Sound Scene Express’s top local picks February 6 at James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy in the ballroom for a concert and awards ceremony. Check out the event page at the link https://www.facebook.com/events/1677950592481925/ A few shows to keep on your radar include Arlo Aldo’s album release February 27 at Commonwealth Press, Paddy the Wanderer with Chrome Moses and Turnpike Gardens at Spirit on February 6 and The Me Toos at Cattivo for Mad Mike vs. The Mad 80’s January 30.
David Manchester-Arlo Aldo
Favorite 2015 Album: We are always fans of Low in Arlo Aldo, and we definitely liked “Ones and Sixes.” It’s great to hear the progression of the band over 9 albums and we love the beautiful harmonies. “Currents” by Tame Impala is probably our favorite overall, though a sneaker pick would be the delicious “Kill the One You Love” by electro-R&B duo GEMS.
Favorite 2015 Local Album: So many great local records this year, but our favorites were from Run, Forever, Brooke Annibale, and Mariage Blanc (who we will be playing our record release show with in February!). Local single of the year is a tie between the infectious anthem “All Rode Off Together” from Meeting of Important People and the dynamite surf rock of Dream Phone’s “Mind Reader.”
Favorite 2015 concert: An outdoor show in June at Bayardstown Social Club where we opened with Durham NC’s Treemen, and then soaked up the all female dream power of Dream Phone. They are amazing, and Bayardstown is always fantastic to perform and watch live music.
Favorite Arlo Aldo memory of 2015: We played a living room concert at The Acorn Alliance to an intimate group, including two sets of our parents. We also had the opportunity to travel to Ferndale, MI to perform a Small House Concert for an intimate group of people who braved the first blizzard of the year in Michigan. We met a lot of new and fantastic people and that show.
Jesse Baldoni-The Me Toos
Favorite 2015 Album: Courtney Barnett – “Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit.” I probably listened to Pedestrian at Best on repeat the most of any song this year.
Favorite 2015 Local Album: It’s a toss up between Chrome Moses “Tamaraine” & Roulette Waves “Blown Out”
Favorite 2015 concert: Favorite local concert was hands down Deutschtown Music Festival
National show would be Father John Misty at the Carnegie Library Music Hall
Favorite memory of 2015 of The Me Toos It was a really fun year for The Me Toos but my favorite memories would have to include being apart of some of the local festivals like the Deutschtown music festival, Bloomfest, & RANT. There was a real sense of community that was truly inspiring.
Caleb Pogyor- Talkers
Favorite 2015 Album: Sufjan Stevens “Carrie and Lowell”
Favorite 2015 Local Album: The Lampshades “Gotta Do” Single
Favorite 2015 concert: Father John Misty at Carnegie Music Hall in Homestead
Favorite 2015 local concert: Anytime the Mantiques play.
Favorite Talkers memory of 2015: Our album release show at Spirit. All the bands on the show played incredible sets and the crowd brought a lot of good vibes. I woke up the day after and thought the whole night was a pleasant dream.
Mike Zickefoose –Willful Souls
Favorite 2015 Album: Robert DeLong “In The Cards”
After seeing and meeting Robert DeLong at Mr. Smalls for a first time, in addition to purchasing more than a fair share of merch, I fully enjoyed his live performance as well as going back and getting acquainted to his albums including his 2015 “In The Cards.” The young one man band armed with loop stations, synths, and a drum set tastefully explores a fun, energetic variety electronic styles. The album flows with dance beats, melodies, and stimulating lyrics that do not tire.
Favorite 2015 Local Album: Balloon Ride Fantasy
Balloon Ride Fantasy’s 2015 self titled album is pure fun. It’s great to hear them continuously push and refine their sonic endeavors. Great dance energy and musicianship that go hand in hand with people they are.
Favorite 2015 concert: Circa Survive at Mr. Smalls
Circa Survive is a band that I’ve been listening to for years and have seen many times, in multiple capacities. But for their 2015 tour with Balance and Composure, and opener, Chon, Circa Survive really rocked the night with selections from all their albums. The whole range of their sound and their fan base are passion-filled. Anthony Green continues to lead Circa Survive, not just as one of today’s most inspiring, unique singers, but raw and unceasingly engaging front man with his vocal range and body all over the stage never letting a song nor the crowd lose it’s intensity.
I let go and found myself behind the bar of Mr. Smalls, dancing and grooving along with every song while slinging drinks and looking up at the stage when I could. In Addition to becoming fond of the show opener, Chon, it was by far my favorite time seeing Circa Survive as well as Concert of 2015.
Favorite Willful Souls memory of 2015: Having limited performances in 2015, the favorite 2015 memory of Willful Souls would definitely be performing at the second “All-Scene” Entertainment Festival at Mr. Smalls. Playing along side and in front of new and old performers and friends alike, it was a great, fun-filled day met with an exhilarating performance with Willful Souls singer and keyboardist, Niki O’Brien.
Joey Troupe –Paddy the Wanderer
Favorite 2015 Album: Tame Impala “Currents” was the album I looked forward to and listened to most in 2015, and their live show here was fantastic. D’Angelo “Black Messiah” was one of my favorites too, but it technically came out in December or 2014. Fuzz “II” and Thee Oh Sees “Mutilator Defeated At Last” were great albums by two of my long-time favorites.
Favorite 2015 Local Album: The Roulette Waves album hit me like a hammer, the Dream Phone album was great, and Metacara’s album stood out to me as being so fresh for the Pittsburgh music scene.
Favorite 2015 concert: There wasn’t a band I enjoyed seeing live in 2015 more than Mansion. I can’t remember being more impressed seeing a local band live for the first time after seeing them at Howler’s. Their performance at Spirit for the Carousel release was also phenomenal. The Screaming Females show at Brillobox early in 2015 was memorable for me because I wasn’t very familiar with them and left the show completely blown away. I had a blast at the Foxygen show at Mr. Smalls, and I was lucky enough to see the Stones at Heinz Field.
Favorite Paddy The Wanderer memory of 2015:We had almost 10 different people play with Paddy the Wanderer on stage in 2015, which was new and exciting for us. Our best set was probably at the Layer Cake Festival at James Street, and The Halloween show at Brillobox was sweaty and loud and so fun. We were lucky to share the stage with a bunch of our favorite bands this year.
Jude Benedict and Dave Traugh –Jude Benedict and the Last Drop
Favorite 2015 Album: Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, Vulf Peck’s Thrill of the Arts, and Alabama Shakes’ Sound and Color. And that is just to name a few. Dave and I have agreed that 2015 was a good year in music.
Favorite 2015 Local Album: I personally have been under a rock this past year as 2015 proved itself to be quite difficult. I have noticed that a lot of great artists that we have the pleasure of knowing are dropping or have already dropped albums/EPs. Pittsburgh’s got some great musicians creating and collaborating, I just try and keep my eyes and ears open. That is a great way to learn.
Favorite 2015 concert: I personally saw Beats Antique at Mr. Smalls as a birthday gift from my wife and it was quite a great experience, they are tight as every and they’ve grown both in band size and in their performance approach. I love the theatrics of it all, and I imagine that JBLD will have more visual aspects in the future. Also, Dave got to see Stevie Wonder last year and who the hell can top that? That had to be incredible…
Favorite Jude Benedict and the Last Drop memory of 2015: I would have to say recording our EP at Red Caiman Studio, it will be released in early 2016! I am happy to say that 2016 is looking pretty good for us, we have more originals on the way, I have a new stability in my voice (since my vocal change in 2013 due to hormone therapy), and we are currently booking for summer festivals. Here’s to making 2016 great!