The 20 best dance albums of 2015

Most dance producers might be focusing on turning out club- and radio-ready singles every few weeks to feed the voracious appetite of clubs and the internet, but there’s still a select handful putting together cohesive LPs of the traditional variety. And 2015 has been a truly bumper year for the kind of records you can play end-to-end: here are our 20 favourite albums of the past year.

> > CLICK THROUGH TO COUNT DOWN THE TOP 20 ALBUMS

#20 Disclosure – Caracal

If Disclosure’s debut Settle hadn’t been such a massive, game-changing success, maybe people wouldn’t have been quite as mean about this sophomore effort? Sure, it doesn’t break apart any formulas, but Caracal is still full of the kind of pop music we want to hear on the radio. [Nick Jarvis]

#19 Alison Wonderland – Run

At a time when hard-touring producers are shunning albums in favour of singles pumped out quickly and aimed squarely at the charts, Alison Wonderland proved that there’s merit in bunkering down in the studio and pouring your heart and soul into an album. Onya, AW. [Katie Cunningham]

#18 Oneohtrix Point Never – Garden of Delete

Warp maestro Daniel Lopatin aka Oneohtrix Point Never has released reams of noise and experimental electronica over the years, but Garden of Delete might be his most realised concept album. In a genre of music that often wanders into the unlistenable, Garden of Delete is intriguing, and unsettlingly disassociating: the musical equivalent of a methoxetamine k-hole. [Nick Jarvis]

#17 Samo Sound Boy – Begging Please

If 2014 was the year of DJ Dodger Stadium, we’re giving 2015 to Samo Sound Boy alone. Break-up confessional Begging Please has the Body High founder go solo, with predictably excellent results. [Katie Cunningham]

#16 Madeon – Adventure

Launchpad wizard and over-achieving young gun Madeon delivered an impressive sonic palette of technicolour electronic-pop and nu-disco on his epic 12-track debut, touching on everything from Daft Punk to Electric Light Orchestra to Flume. As he put it himself to inthemix, “I tried to reference classics more than novelty.” It paid off. [Nick Jarvis]

#15 Nero – Between II Worlds

They sure made us wait for it, but Between II Worlds proved that Nero are still every bit as relevant now as they were in the glory days of dubstep. From Satisfy to the little-bit-feelsy Between Two Minds, this is a masterclass in modern bass. [Katie Cunningham]

#14 The Chemical Brothers – Born in the Echoes

It’s unlikely that either of The Chemical Brothers have been out having-it-large in the clubs for a minute now, but they’ve still captured a chunk of the current zeitgeist on their latest; their best album in over a decade delivers hypnotic, swaggering techno with a sprinkling of pop sweets to put a 2015 spin on their hallmark big beat sound. [Nick Jarvis]

#13 Hermitude – Dark Night, Sweet Light

Over the past 12 years, The Blue Mountains’ finest have gone from the low-slung stoner beats of Alleys to Valleys and Tales of the Drift to the turn-up vibes of 2015 – and every single thing they put out is met with rapture from fans and critics alike. Dark Night, Sweet Light might just be their greatest achievement yet, delivering a quartet of ARIA nominations, a number one slot on the national album chart and a sold-out tour of the duo’s biggest shows to date. [Nick Jarvis]

#12 Shlohmo – Dark Red

It’s depressing as all hell, but that’s kind of the point. Shlohmo said that Dark Red was an album made in the aftermath of loss, and that he wanted it to sound “devastating and violent”. He succeeds at that, but there’s also a lot of soul, emotion and skilled production in these notes. [Katie Cunningham]

#11 Julio Bashmore – Knockin’ Boots

Bristol’s jacking house don Julio Bashmore went classic for his debut LP – Knockin’ Boots is filled with original four-four Garage and disco vibes and samples; it could have come direct from a Larry Levan or Frankie Knuckles set circa 1989. [Nick Jarvis]

#10 Scuba – Claustrophobia

Former dubstep pioneer Scuba has moved steadily away from sub-bass steppers towards heady rave techno and four-four over the past four albums, but Claustrophobia finds him midway between headphones and dancefloor. And it does exactly what it says on the tin: the 10-track album is overflowing with oppressive, dark textures and immaculately constructed, paranoid vibes. [Nick Jarvis]

#9 Galantis – Pharmacy

EDM might be on the way out, but there’s still plenty of room on the radio for slick pop-dance music. And no one does it better than Galantis, the Swedes with a damn near supernatural handle on making perfect songs. [Katie Cunningham]

#8 Brodinski – Brava

The world’s coolest Frenchman delivered on his promise to bring together Parisian techno and Atlanta rap on his debut LP, drafting in fast-rising guest MCs and singers like Young Scooter, Bloody Jay and Chill Will, superstars like ILoveMakonnen, legends like Slim Thug and techno bosses like his buddy Louisahhh to make the year’s best album for rolling around the city with the volume up and your windows down. [Nick Jarvis]

#7 Nocturnal Sunshine – Nocturnal Sunshine

Genre-spanning house and techno kween Maya Jane Coles revived her bass/UK dubstep moniker Nocturnal Sunshine in May this year to release the alias’s debut album – a solid five years after landing her first Nocturnal Sunshine hit with Can’t Hide The Way I Feel. In the wake of brostep, though, Coles’ atmospheric, crisply-engineered, drop-free take on dubstep stills sounds fresh and vital as ever. [Nick Jarvis]

#6 Roland Tings – Roland Tings

ITM already named Devotion one of our favourite tracks of the year, so it should come as no surprise that we also rate the rest of the Roland Tings LP. Best local dance album of the year? [Katie Cunningham]

#5 Four Tet – Morning Evening

Technically Morning Evening is only two songs – called, you guessed it, Morning and Evening respectively – but this is Four Tet, so nothing adheres to formula. Each track, or album side if you will, clocks in at 20 minutes apiece and they both rate among Kieran Hebden’s best ever productions. [Katie Cunningham]

#4 Skrillex & Diplo present Jack Ü

The end result of years of work and nail-biting hype, Skrillex and Diplo’s collaborative album was always going to be a major event. Halftime trap brass and bass, rapid-firing Skrillex lasers, those infamous “expensive sounding beats” and the pop-chops of guest vocal spots from Bieber, Kiesza, 2 Chainz, AlunaGeorge and more…it’s lit. [Nick Jarvis]

 

#3 Major Lazer – Peace is the Mission

Diplo, Walshy Fire and Jillionaire’s third LP landed them their biggest international hit yet (and the most streamed song of all time) in Lean On, but there’s much more to the dancehall-meets-big-room-bangers of Peace is the Mission than just that one (huge) track, from vibed-out opener Be Together to ready-made radio hit Powerful and turnt-up posse cut Night Riders. [Nick Jarvis]

#2 Floating Points – Elaenia

If you’ve been looking for the past year’s best back-to-mine, warm-cup-of-tea, soothe my comedown album, then here it is. String section washes, ambient electronica and percussive jams all come together for a relaxing, immersive listening experience. [Nick Jarvis]

#1 Jamie xx – In Colour

The British auteur did not disappoint with his solo debut: In Colour distils the history of UK club music into one glorious gift bag, packed to the brim with the textures of hardcore, UK garage, jungle, 2-step, trip-hop and Calypso – plus a tear-jerker in Loud Places and a feel-good summer anthem (and radio hit) in Good Times. [Nick Jarvis]