Best Albums of 2015
selected by Raivis Spalvēns

Cockroach Prophets <BR>“Cockroach Prophets”

Cockroach Prophets
“Cockroach Prophets”

Cockroach Prophets is a promising new band that mixes folk, rock, country and other styles.

Their songs are quite interesting, even if they sometimes remind you of Tom Waits’ poetic compositions. And on their self-titled record, they create a feeling of a sing-along around the camp fire.

♪♫ Listen: “God rest ye merry, gentlemen” + album stream

Cockroach Prophets on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook.

Tur un tur <BR>“Pagriezieni”

Tur un tur

Imagine a small Latvian town and two guys playing guitar and drums in their spare time. This is not the music you haven’t heard or which surprises you. They just play.

Tur un tur’s new record “Pagriezieni” is naïve, positive and eclectic, yet very honest and powerful.

♪♫ Listen: “Mazuts” + album stream

Tur un tur on Soundcloud, Bandcamp.

Dons <BR>“Sibīrija”


Dons has one of the greatest voices in Latvian pop music. During his years on the scene, Dons has grown from a soft-pop-boy to a self-confident and original songwriter.

His music is easy and simple, but ironical and fun lyrics make it more special and give his art an additional dimension.

♪♫ Listen: “Medus pods” + album stream

Dons on YouTube.

Kasetes <BR>“Jaunā kārtība”

“Jaunā kārtība”

One of the greatest Latvian synthpop bands has created atmospheric record with tender beats and harmonic melodies.

As retro-sounding as it is, the record makes you remember days when music was created for fun, and you could spend all the day at the beach.

♪♫ Listen: “Sweden” + album stream

Kasetes on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, YouTube.

Ksenia Kamikaza <BR>“Japanese Georgians”

Ksenia Kamikaza
“Japanese Georgians”

Ksenia Kamikaza has created and performed club music for years, and only recently she released her debut album, “Japanese Georgians”.

Through beats, harmonies and soft vocals she has created a hybrid world where well-organized paths lead you through rural town to mountains.

♪♫ Listen: “Wonderful World” + album stream

Ksenia Kamikaza on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, www.

Rihards Lībietis <BR>“Scream, Breathe, Cry”

Rihards Lībietis
“Scream, Breathe, Cry”

Rihards Lībietis is a guitar virtuoso. To fully appreciate his technical abilities you have to see him performing live.

But as for an album – put on your headphones, press play and go for a bicycle ride through the city or countryside so you could see the scenery clearer.

♪♫ Listen: “The Mist” + album stream

Rihards Lībietis on Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube,

Sus Dungo <BR>“Down The River”

Sus Dungo
“Down The River”

A few years ago, the girl band Sus Dungo was recognized as the best new band in Latvia, and they haven’t been a disappointment yet.

On their new album, “Down The River”, they masterfully create a landscape painting, where you can see yourself smoothly dancing or sleeping in the grass and drinking chamomile tea.

♪♫ Listen: “The River Lullaby” + album stream

Sus Dungo on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, www.

Deniss Pashkevich <BR>“Hard Bop Legacy Vol.2”

Deniss Pashkevich
“Hard Bop Legacy Vol.2”

During his long career Deniss has tried almost every genre of jazz, and last year he paid tribute to hard bop in a concert program.

There is an assumption – if you can’t do better, don’t do it at all. In this case, he does not exceed the original performance, but grabs the hard bop feeling perfectly.

♪♫ Listen: “Work Song” + album stream

Deniss Pashkevich on Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, www.

Shipsea <BR>“Shipsea”


Shipsi is a member of one of the most notable Latvian bands, Instrumenti. However, in this solo project his musical language is more silent and contemplating.

A four-track EP, “Shipsea” is about wide and calm inner sea where ships are floating in slow motion.

♪♫ Listen: “Mežaparks” + album stream

Shipsea on Soundcloud, Facebook, www.

Gaujarts <BR>“Priekšnojautas”


Even after third album it is hard to put Gaujarts in a particular musical genre. It is pop, but not in a modern sense.

On “Priekšnojautas”, Gaujarts invite you to the careless and gentle world of 1960s, and you feel like sitting in friend’s apartment and discussing latest poetry.

♪♫ Listen: “Svītriņas” + album stream

Gaujarts on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, www.

Gas of Latvia <BR>“Swan Song”

Gas of Latvia
“Swan Song”

Gas of Latvia is an electronic music project lead by music producer and composer Andris Indāns. One thing is clear – Gas of Latvia’s music is very visual, deep and saturated, and it is best to enjoy it live.

Listening to his new album, “Swan song”, you get lot of good Latvian poetry dressed up in matching music.

♪♫ Listen: “Labdien mans nezināmais draugs” + album stream

Gas of Latvia on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter.

Ingus Bausķenieks <BR>“Sentiment et Melancholie”

Ingus Bausķenieks
“Sentiment et Melancholie”

This man is a legend, who perfectly feels the structure and meaning of sound. Ingus has been creating music since 1980s and he is considered a pioneer of Latvian experimental music.

Ingus’s style and sense of music is so distinct that you can almost always tell when he had mastered a record – his own or for someone else.

On his latest release, “Sentiment et Melancholie”, is beautifully lyrical and as the title suggests – sentimental and slightly melancholic.

♪♫ Listen: “Vai Lao Dzi dzēra?” + album stream

Ingus Bausķenieks on Bandcamp.

Marta migla <BR>“MM”

Marta migla

Latvian instrumental rock band Marta migla’s debut album is a very refreshing and heartfelt record, which brings lots of light and positive emotions.

“MM” is the kind of music that makes you dance when you are home alone and afterwards leaves a smile upon your face.

♪♫ Listen: “Koris” + album stream

Marta migla on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook.

Grupa Sigma <BR>“Sazaroto taku dārzs”

Grupa Sigma
“Sazaroto taku dārzs”

Although Grupa Sigma has been existing for about ten years already, the band released its first album only in 2015.

Mixing poetic and meaningful texts with simple and honest music, the Riga-based trio has created the best intellectual pop record the Latvian scene gave us in the recent years.

♪♫ Listen: “Sazaroto taku dārzs” + album stream

Sigma on Bandcamp, Soundcloud, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter.

Alise Joste <BR>“Hardships are Ships”

Alise Joste
“Hardships are Ships”

Alise describes herself as a very shy person, and music is the medium that helps her to communicate with rest of the world. In her second album, listener is warmly welcomed to spend some time in a meditative and calm world where everything seems to be in perfect order.

This album is also the winner of the first “Austras balva”, an award for the best Latvian record in 2015, similar to Mercury Prize and Polaris Music Prize.

♪♫ Listen: “Moving Shadows” + album stream

Alise Joste on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter.

Ozols <BR>“Atpakaļ nākotnē”

“Atpakaļ nākotnē”

Ozols is a well-known Latvian rapper who, after a pause, returned last year with this surprisingly conceptual album.

The Riga-based musician uses signs, sounds and images from 1980s popculture, creating his own original masterpiece which holds together perfectly.

♪♫ Listen: “Atpakaļ nākotnē” + album stream

Ozols on Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter.

Zāle <BR>“Viņa”


With beautifully harmonized voices and smooth music, Zāle is sketching forgotten or unnoticed landscape that has existed here forever.

Outstanding contemporary folk record.

♪♫ Listen: “Smilšu laiva” + album stream

Zāle on Bandcamp, YouTube, Facebook.

Kashuks <BR>“Fiction”


It`s not the first time Kashuks proves that electronic music can be poetic and melodic.

With this album musician goes a little bit further: “Fiction” is like a book which may drive you to tears, because the plot is dense and the language is beautiful.

♪♫ Listen: “Slowly” + album stream

Kashuks on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, www.

The Pink Elephant <BR>“Mellowing”

The Pink Elephant

Young folks make young music for every age. Last year’s debutants The Pink Elephant’s music opens the magical world of late 1960`s psychedelic rock combined with jazz and other styles.

The Riga-based group’s music will make you believe that you are and will be forever young.

♪♫ Listen: “Ed`s Groove” + album stream

The Pink Elephant on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter.

Mona de Bo <BR>“Īstenībā”

Mona de Bo

This experimental rock duo has returned after three year break with pure, simple, yet expressive record.

Every track title consists of one word and together they make a sentence: “Nothing will happen if you turn this off”.

On the contrary, after listening to the record, you feel completely sane and even enlightened.

♪♫ Listen: “Slēgsi” + album stream

Mona de Bo on Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter.