Various Artists

Rough Trade Shops: Counter Culture 15

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Rough Trade continues to be one of the top year-end playlist makers operating outside of the mega mainstream with their Rough Trade Shops: Counter Culture series. The 2015 edition offers single-song tastes of many critically celebrated albums from a diverse sampling of styles across independent releases. Experimental electronic artist Nils Frahm, singer/songwriters from Sufjan Stevens to Courtney Barnett and Tobias Jesso, Jr., Norwegian dream pop chanteuse Jenny Hval, indie rockers Sleaford Mods, blues' Frankie Lee, off-kilter indie pop architects Björk and Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and classical crossover composer Max Richter are just a sampling of the 37 artists represented here. Compiled from recommendations by both staff and customers, and sequenced by tone, the two-disc set closes with a Rough Trade exclusive track from Richter's affecting opus Sleep.

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