Exclaim!'s Top 27 Albums of 2015 So Far

17. Tobias Jesso Jr.
(Arts & Crafts)

It's refreshing to see so much positive attention paid to an album as earnest, honest and wistful as Tobias Jesso Jr.'s Goon. Originally a bass player by trade, the North Vancouver native later found his true musical voice, releasing this gorgeously stark debut album just a few years after learning to play the piano. The resulting 12 tracks find Jesso Jr. using his new instrument to help craft heartbreaking tales of love and loss that come off as cerebral but never syrupy, retro but never novel.

With a dream production team behind the boards, made up of the Black Keys' Patrick Carney, the New Pornographers' John Collins and former Girls bassist JR White, Goon is remarkable in the way it manages to capture Jesso Jr.'s charming vulnerability, often leaving in musical mistakes and miscues. It's a rare debut album that finds a musician so bravely revelling in his insecurities.
Daniel Sylvester