Top 10 Albums of the Year: Contributing Staff Lists

Folks from all different corners of KJHK participated in our Top 10 Album’s of The Year poll. Here are our individual lists (along with some musings on those lists), each of them eclectic and personal in their own way, reflective of the groove and the soul of the lovely people who help make 90.7 FM the strange, wonderful thing that it is.

Keep an eye out for the Cumulative Top 10 later this week!


Kayci Lineberger – Music Director, co-host of Now Playing, host of The Local Block, and New Music Rotation, Senior studying English and German from Shawnee, OK.

  1. Father John Misty, I Love You, Honeybear8a2cb994
  2. Yonatan Gat, Director
  3. Panda Bear, Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper
  4. Stolen Jars, Kept
  5. Kamasi Washington, The Epic
  6. Ratatat, Magnifique
  7. Thousand, Thousand
  8. Du Blonde, Welcome Back To Milk
  9. Tica Douglas, Joey
  10. Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment, Surf

I knew from the get go that good ol’ J. Tillman would be my number one. “When You’re Smiling and Astride Me” is a song that will be near to my heart forever. Lots of these albums I’ve seen live in the last year, including Father John Misty, Stolen Jars, Panda Bear, and Tica Douglas, which just makes me swoon that much more. Nothing like an on point live follow up to a devastating album. What a year, what a life. I’m so happy my ears got to experience all of this.”


Harrison Hipp – Assistant Music Director, co-host of Now Playing and host of The Local Block, Senior studying Journalism from Olathe, KS.

  1. Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp A Butterflyto pimp a butterfly
  2. Kamasi Washington, The Epic
  3. Panda Bear, Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper
  4. Titus Andronicus, The Most Lamentable Tragedy
  5. Tame Imapala, Currents
  6. Tobias Jesso Jr., Goon
  7. D’Angelo & The Vanguard, Black Messiah
  8. St. Germain, St. Germain
  9. John Scofield, Past Present
  10. Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Multi-Love

“2015 was a phenomenal year of releases with Kendrick’s To Pimp A Butterfly having sent a wave throughout the industry. The album achieved acclaim among listeners with a wide variety of tastes while also addressing ubiquitous social issues. The Most Lamentable Tragedy, the so-called “rock opera” from Titus Andronicus had to make the list and was fantastic live in its entirety. D’Angelo and St. Germain both coincidentally released albums in 2015 following fifteen year hiatuses, with D’Angelo & The Vanguard’s Black Messiah his first studio release since 2000’s Voodoo and St. Germain’s self-titled release coming as his latest since Tourist.”


Rachel Bennett – Program Director, co-host of Femme FM and host of New Music Rotation, Junior studying Film and Media and American Studies from Basehor, KS.

  1. The Mountain Goats, Beat The ChampBeatthechamp
  2. Waxahatchee, Ivy Tripp
  3. Stolen Jars, Kept
  4. Girlpool, Before The World Was Big
  5. Dan Deacon, Gliss Riffer
  6. Lou Barlow, Brace The Wave
  7. Alex G, Beach Music
  8. Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit
  9. Elvis Depressedly, New Alhambra
  10. Viet Cong, Viet Cong

“This was a great year of music and I am happy that I was able to see several of these artists live.”


Mason Kilpatrick (DJ Uncle Jesse) – Content Director, co-host of Live @ KJHK and host of Alternative Flashback, Senior studying Film and Media and Communications from Buhler, KS

  1. Tobias Jesso Jr., Goongoon
  2. Alex G, Beach Music
  3. Toughies, Tough Enough
  4. Ghostface Killah and BADBADNOTGOOD, Sour Soul
  5. Viet Cong, Viet Cong
  6. Paul Doffing, Songs from the (quaking) Heart
  7. Radkey, Dark Black Makeup
  8. Yo La Tengo, Stuff Like That There
  9. Shamir, Ratchet
  10. Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Multi-Love

“Tobias Jesso Jr. taught me one very important lesson. He taught me that it is okay to cry. A lot. If you are experiencing hardship in your love life, whether it be through a break up or bouts with unrequited love, tracks like “Can’t Stop Thinking About You,” “The Wait,” and “Can We Still Be Friends” hit you close to home. When times get low and you just need to vent, Goon will be there for you.

Local Lawrence act, Toughies, released my favorite EP of the year. This Lawrence rock act effectively made me sit and cry, only to later get up and dance, while in the shower. All in ten minutes! The second track, “What Are Hands For?,” makes me imagine the high school prom dance that I never attended. The track is playful and sensual, yet insecure (the prime definition of DJ Uncle Jesse). Overall, this album appeals to a large part of the emotional spectrum that we experience on a daily basis. The soft rock vibes, beautiful vocal delivery and memorable lyrics will stay with you forever.

Viet Cong’s self-titled release is a fast-paced and dark album that actually fueled my quest to better myself as a human being. Despite the offensive and culturally appropriated band name, which the band has announced will change, this album offers plenty of thought and self-reflection through dark and violent depictions of human nature. The entire album offers brooding lyrics and gritty instrumental images that motivate me to push myself in personal areas that I feel I need to seek improvement in.

Paul Doffing’s tour this year was a bicycle tour. I had the privilege of meeting him and watching him perform tracks from this album at Folk Fest 2015 in Kansas City. Doffing plays with a carbon fiber guitar and he will put your heart to sleep with a cold and slow reasoning of life’s meaning.

Radkey’s new album is easily the most aggressive album on my list (next to Viet Cong). And that is honestly all the aggression I need in 2015. This album is fun, loud, angry and only the beginning for this young group.

Shamir’s “Ratchet is probably the most fun on the list. Every time the album starts, I can’t help but imagine a montage of fast clips covering the seedy, hip world of Las Vegas. It’s a real doozy and invigorates energy that won’t expire until the beats and Shamir’s amazing vocal delivery end.”


Austin Ellington – Live Music Director, host of Breakfast 4 Beatlovers, super Senior studying Strategic Communications from Wichita, KS.

  1. Father John Misty,  I Love You, Honeybear8a2cb994
  2. Jamie xx, In Colour
  3. Oneohtrix Point Never, Garden of Delete
  4. Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly 
  5. Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Multi-Love
  6. Dan Deacon, Gliss Riffer
  7. Tame Impala, Currents
  8. Hot Sugar, God’s Hand
  9. Vince Staples, Summertime ’06
  10. Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit

There were a lot of really good electronic-influenced albums released this year. It was real tough to narrow down what I wanted on this list and put it in context with all other genres. In terms of label released hip-hop, it was somewhat of a down year excluding To Pimp a Butterfly, Summertime ’06 and AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP (#11, not shown here). The underground ’twas poppin’ though. Can’t deny that Father John Misty stole my heart this year. Jamie XX makes orgasms in the form of sounds. Oneohtrix Point Never is my new favorite artist, changing music in the best way.”


Cody Boston – Multimedia Director, co-host of Live @ KJHK, Senior studying Film and Media from Shawnee, KS.

  1. Tame Impala, CurrentsCurrents
  2. Ghostface Killah and BADBADNOTGOD, Sour Soul
  3. Mac DeMarco, Some Other Ones
  4. Radkey, Dark Black Makeup
  5. Father John Misty, I Love You, Honeybear
  6. Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp A Butterfly
  7. My Morning Jacket, The Waterfall
  8. Earl Sweatshirt, I Don’t Like Shit I Don’t Go Outside
  9. Toughies, Tough Enough
  10. The Dead Weather, Dodge and Burn


Nolan Donovan  Communications Director, formerly known as DJ Roomba, Senior studying Marketing from Overland Park, KS.

  1. Shamir, Ratchetshamir-artwork-750-1-300x3001
  2. Viet Cong, Viet Cong
  3. Girlpool, Before The World Was Big
  4. Mitski, Bury Me at Makeout Creek
  5. Michna, Thousand Thursday
  6. Twerps, Range Anxiety
  7. Dan Deacon, Gliss Riffer
  8. Telekinesis, Ad Infinitum
  9. Son Lux, Bones
  10. Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit

“Shamir’s was by far the best album of the year. very progressive and fascinating. There was a great balance of songs to dance to and songs to listen to more seriously and they all had differing and complex arrangements. <3”


John McCain – Technology Director, host of The Weird World, Junior studying Computer Science from Lawrence, KS.

  1. Deafheaven, New BermudaDeafheaven
  2. Colin Stetson & Sara Neufeld, Never Were the Way She Was
  3. Viet Cong, Viet Cong
  4. Ought, Sun Coming Down
  5. Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp A Butterfly
  6. Mourn, Mourn
  7. Hop Along, Painted Shut
  8. Deradoorian, The Expanding Flower Planet
  9. Soichi Terada, Sounds From the Far East
  10. Jenny Hval, Apocalypse, Girl


Erick Oduniyi – Applied Sciences Coordinator, host of Radio Afrika, Sophomore studying Electrical Engineering from Wichita, KS.

  1. Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp A Butterflyto pimp a butterfly
  2. Travis Scott, Rodeo
  3. Joey Bada$$, B4 Da $$
  4. Sufjan Stevens, Carrie & Lowell
  5. Tame Impala, Currents
  6. Mura Masa, Someday Somewhere
  7. Vince Staples, Summertime ’06
  8. Sam Gellaitry, Short Stories
  9. Rome Fortune & OG Maco, YEP
  10. Bryson Tiller, Trapsoul

“Judged by: 1) Vibes….What it feels like! 2) Artistic Vision / Concept Execution 3) Sonic Quality 4) Popularity.”


Caroline Roe – Music staff, host of New Music Rotation, Sophomore studying English and WGSS (Women Gender and Sexuality Studies), from Prairie Village, KS.

  1. Wand, GolemWAND-Golem-LP_1428173344
  2. Fuzz, II
  3. Arc Flash, Black Market Time Tech
  4. Sleater-Kinney, No Cities To Love
  5. Sunflower Bean, Show Me Your 7 Secrets
  6. Viet Cong, Viet Cong
  7. Wand, 1000 Days
  8. Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit
  9. Walter, Get Well Soon
  10. Drake, Hotline Bling

2015 was a pretty productive year for my preferred niche of fuzz garage psych. Wand released two great albums this year, both with completely different sounds. Golem is much spookier and takes cues from classic metal, while 1000 Days leans towards a softer side of psych. Fuzz are little rock wizards and it’s impossible for them to put out anything that isn’t fantastic and face-melting. I had the pleasure of seeing Fuzz and another band on my list, Walter, in November and it was easily the best show I’ve seen in a long time.  

It was a toss up between Tame Impala’s Currents and Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit by Courtney Barnett. Both are great albums and I’ve listened to them consistently, but what ultimately led me to pick Courtney Barnett was Tame Impala’s lack of originality. While I love Currents and think it’s a great pop record, I feel like it’s somewhat of a Lonerism 2.0 with fancier synths.

Hotline Bling is, in my opinion, the most genius song of the year. The video and the memes that it spawned are probably the most effective publicity tactic to date (although it’s not like Drake needs the publicity). I know it isn’t an album, but it deserves all the recognition it can get.”


Alexis Peterson – Street team, host of New Music Rotation, Senior studying Strategic Communications from Topeka, KS.

  1. Father John Misty, I Love You, Honeybear8a2cb994
  2. Drake, If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late
  3. Baio, The Names
  4. Albert Hammond Jr., Momentary Masters
  5. Mac DeMarco, Another One
  6. Jamie xx, In Colour
  7. Shamir, Ratchet
  8. Tobias Jesso Jr., Goon
  9. Toro Y Moi, What For?
  10. Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit

“2015 WAS A GR8 YEAR 4 MUSIC. It was too tough to narrow down my list to 10. What a time to be alive.”


Paul Kline – former DJ, self proclaimed (and actual) “Tech helper guy”, Graduate student of Computer Science from Lewiston, IL.

  1. Ezra Furman, Perpetual Motion Peopleezra-furman-perpetual-motion-people-300x300
  2. Bully, Feels Like
  3. Wavves, V
  4. Jaill, Brain Cream
  5. The Districts, A Flourish and a Spoil
  6. Poor Remy, Bitters
  7. Girlpool, Before The World Was Big
  8. Only Real, One For the Road
  9. twenty one pilots, Blurryface
  10. Best Coast, California Nights

Just found this Poor Remy fellow. Good stuff. Reminds me a bit of Girlpool. Guypool.”


Shane Blair – Music staff, host of Input/Output, Junior studying Psychology/Applied Behavioral Sciences and Statistics from Wichita, KS.

  1. Caravan Palace, <I°_°I> (Robot Face)meta-image
  2. St. Germain, St. Germain
  3. Disclosure, Caracal
  4. Squarepusher, Damogen Furies
  5. Tame Impala, Currents
  6. The Jack Moves, The Jack Moves
  7. AFX, Orphaned Deejay Solek 2006-2008
  8. Jose Gonzalez, Vestiges & Claws
  9. MG, MG
  10. Origin, Vanilla


Vince Meserko – Music staff, host of Hickory Wind and The Jookhouse, Graduate student of Communications from Overland Park, KS.

  1. Ezra Furman, Perpetual Motion Peopleezra-furman-perpetual-motion-people-300x300
  2. Drive-By Truckers, It’s Great to be Alive!
  3. Leon Bridges, Coming Home
  4. Josh Ritter, Sermon on the Rocks
  5. Mikal Cronin, MCIII
  6. Heartless Bastards, Restless Ones
  7. Fred Thomas, All Are Saved
  8. Hop Along, Painted Shut
  9. Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color
  10. Paul Doffing, Songs from the (quaking) Heart


Pat McQuillan – Live Music committee, host of New Music Rotation, Senior studying Strategic Communications from Saint Paul, MN.

  1. Purity Ring, Another EternityPurity_Ring_-_Another_Eternity
  2. Jamie xx, In Colour
  3. Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit
  4. Alessia Cara, Know It All
  5. Drake, If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late
  6. Beach House, Depression Cherry
  7. Hippo Campus, Bashful Creatures / South
  8. Bully, Feels Like
  9. CHVRCHES, Every Open Eye
  10. Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp A Butterfly

2015 was an amazing year for music. It’s tough to limit the list to ten, but these are definitely what I listened to the most this year. I’m sure these records will follow me into 2016 and beyond!”


Connor Janzen – Co-host of Malicious Intent, Senior studying Architecture from Hutchinson, KS.

  1. Archivist, Archivistarchivist
  2. Mgla, Exercises In Futility
  3. Ad Nauseam, Nihil Quam Vacuitas Ordinatum Est
  4. Swallow The Sun, Songs From the North: Gloom, Beauty, Despair
  5. Coffincraft, In Eerie Slumber
  6. Underling, Bloodworship
  7. Jamie xx, In Colour
  8. Akhlys, The Dreaming
  9. Kardashev, Peripety
  10. Kamasi Washington, The Epic

These selections were tough to make. I usually create year-end lists in January after I’ve had time to ruminate on all of the selections. In this case, my selections are more spontaneous and impulsive while still capturing the diversity of 2015. Black metal dominates much of the scene with brilliantly composed albums from a variety of bands, but I would be remiss to exclude a jazz masterpiece such as ‘The Epic’ by Kamasi Washington or one of my more surprising experiences with ‘In Colour’ by Jamie xx. Sprinkled in there are also contributions from avant garde death metal, funeral doom and atmospheric sludge metal. Truly, I have no reasons to complain. What an incredible year in music!”


Dylan Fox – Music staff, host of New Music Rotation, freshman studying Political Science from Sarasota, FL.

  1. Father John Misty, I Love You, Honeybear8a2cb994
  2. Viet Cong, Viet Cong
  3. D’Angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah
  4. Balthazar, Thin Walls
  5. Beach House, Depression Cherry
  6. Tame Impala, Currents
  7. Kurt Vile, b’lieve i’m goin’ down
  8. Youth Lagoon, Savage Hills Ballroom
  9. CHVRCHES, Every Open Eye
  10. Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp A Butterfly

This list is painful because there are loads of albums this year that I know as I submit this list I will kick myself for not writing down. Father John Misty is unapologetically, boldly romantic. Despite namesake controversy, Viet Cong offers a plethora of die hard post-punk tracks that roll over fresh in the genre that has seen a revival lately. The only gripe with this album was that there wasn’t more content on it. D’Angelo reappears from the abyss and delivers a masterpiece. Severely underrated. Incredibly well put together, Thin Walls demonstrates that Balthazar has made a name for themselves and a solid foothold for future work. Depression Cherry is dreamy and satisfying for anybody who even remotely liked Bloom. I played this album on repeat so often the track listing is burned into my memory. Tame Impala delivered with an album that offshoots into a separate direction than that of Lonerism, devising complex, introspective electronic ballads. Kurt Vile remains the powerhouse of the indie rock scene. Guiltily Americana. Savage Hills Ballroom was a very different direction for Trevor Powers and also a divisive ones for fans of his previous work. That being said, I feel that it was mopey goodness. Chvrches shows both growth and establishment in the dream pop genre. Though little variation from the formula of the past album, it was catchy enough that I saw a 200-and-something-pound lifter at the gym singing along to Leave a Trace. Much like Kurt Vile, this would not be a 2015 top ten list without Kendrick Lamar being on it somewhere. Though it was not Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City, I still maintain that it was worth the hype.”


Emily Davidson– Host of New Music Rotation, Graduate student of Architecture.

  1. Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp A Butterflyto pimp a butterfly
  2. St. Germain, St. Germain
  3. Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Multi-Love
  4. Drake, If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late
  5. Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color
  6. Tame Impala, Currents
  7. Apollo Brown, Grandeur
  8. Oddisee, The Good Fight
  9. Neon Indian, Vega Intl. Night School
  10. D’Angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah

Kendrick wins for me. No question. To Pimp A Butterfly was groovy, jazzy, soulful, iconic, honest, clever, outspoken, revolutionary; I could go on. St. Germain was an extremely close second for me, it being the French artist’s first album in 15 years and yet, incredibly relevant. I am feeling like this album may be extremely under appreciated and perhaps unfortunately underplayed, so do yourself some good, revel in the eclectic beauty and positive vibes and listen to this album in its entirety.”


PJ Moon – Music staff, host of Breakfast 4 Beatlovers, Sophomore studying English from Leavenworth, KS.

  1. Laurel Halo, In Situlaurel halo
  2. Oneohtrix Point Never, Garden of Delete
  3. Jessy Lanza, You Never Show Your Love
  4. Ariel Pink/Dev Hynes, Heaven Knows What
  5. Dam-Funk, Invite The Light
  6. Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit
  7. Grimes, Art Angels
  8. The Weeknd, Beauty Behind The Madness
  9. Tame Impala,  Currents
  10. Snoop Dog, Bush

These are my favorite, there were probably better releases? Nah.”


Josh Gaston – Arts & Culture staff, co-host of Malicious Intent, Graduate student of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from Lawrence, KS.

  1. New Bermuda, DeafheavenDeafheaven
  2. Akhlys, The Dreaming I
  3. Horrendous, Anareta
  4. Tribulation, Children of the Night
  5. Unrest, Grindcore
  6. Outre, Ghost Chants
  7. The Armed, Untitled
  8. Cult Leader, Lightless Walk
  9. Abyssal, Antikatastaseis
  10. Elder, Lore


Hannah Nelson – Music staff, host of New Music Rotation, Graduate student of Sociology from St. Louis, MO.

  1. Coheed and Cambria, The Color Before The SunCoheed_And_Cambria_The_Color_Before_The_Sun
  2. Brandon Flowers, The Desired Effect
  3. Motion City Soundtrack, Panic Stations
  4. Fall Out Boy, American Beauty/American Psycho
  5. Marina & The Diamonds, FROOT
  6. Halsey, Badlands
  7. twenty one pilots, Blurryface
  8. Modest Mouse, Strangers to Ourselves
  9. Florence + The Machine, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
  10. Death Cab For Cutie, Kintsugi


Mike Van Esler – Host of The Rinse Out, Phd Student of Film and Media from St. Louis, MO.

  1. James Ferraro, Skid Rowjames-ferraro-announces-new-album-skid-row-1443106422
  2. Oneohtrix Point Never, Garden of Delete
  3. King Triton, JT The Goon
  4. 新しい日の誕生, 2 8 1 4
  5. Sicko Mobb, Super Saiyan Vol. 2
  6. Occult Orientated Crime, The Occult Orientated Crime Album
  7. Gora Sou, Ramifications
  8. John Carpenter, Lost Themes
  9. Dawn Richard, Blackheart
  10. Future, Beast Mode


Alex McWhirt – DJ, Senior studying English from Shawnee, KS

  1. Calexico, Edge Of The SunEdge-Of-The-Sun-by-Calexico
  2. Ratatat, Magnifique
  3. San Cisco, Gracetown
  4. The Mountain Goats, Beat The Champ
  5. Lianne La Havas, Blood
  6. The Delta Saints, Bones
  7. Michna, Thousand Thursday
  8. Danny Baranowsky, Crypt of the NecroDancer OST
  9. Caravan Palace, <I°_°I> (Robot Face)
  10. Neon Indian, Vega Intl. Night School