Exclaim!'s Top 27 Albums of 2015 So Far

9. Viet Cong
Viet Cong
(Flemish Eye)

Between the critical and public backlash over their controversial moniker and the band's half-hearted apology, it would seem the bulk of the conversation about Viet Cong during the first half of 2015 has largely ignored their music. That's a shame, because the Calgary group's self-titled debut is a Molotov cocktail of ambient noise, labyrinthine post-punk and psychedelic guitar squalls that provide welcome respite from the stasis of modern rock music.

Anchored by drummer Mike Wallace — a commanding physical force even when playing with a broken arm, as was the case during one of the band's recent tours — songs like "Continental Shelf" and the sprawling, 11-minute closer "Death" translate even better in a live setting. While it's not the only record on the heavier side of rock to receive a Polaris Music Prize nomination this year (see: White Lung's Deep Fantasy, METZ's II), it's certainly the boldest.
Max Mertens