Not cool, Sleater-Kinney and D’Angelo. Both acts hadn’t been seen here in concert for a decade — never mind the D-man’s cobwebs-shaking 2013 duo gig — and then, when they finally did return in 2015, they seemed to rub it in, reminding us what we had been missing.

The Stones proved to be worth the wait, too, although for grand spectacle and starry showman/womanship Ms. Swift’s show topped Mr. Jagger’s. And there’s a welcome trend reflected in this list, too: more outdoor concerts (ones that don’t involve bro-country singers, anyway).

As for albums, a lot of 2015’s best were bold sonic achievements, but the ones that ultimately made my list were less about rewriting the book and more about great songwriting — although Kendrick Lamar’s and Joanna Newsom’s LPs fit both those bills.


Concerts of the year

1. Sleater-Kinney, Feb. 14, First Avenue

2. D’Angelo, Sept. 6, First Avenue

3. Alabama Shakes and Father John Misty, May 30, Hall’s Island

4. Taylor Swift, Sept. 12, Xcel Energy Center

5. Wilco, Jason Isbell and Jenny Lewis, July 11, Basilica Block Party

6. Rolling Stones, June 3, TCF Bank Stadium

7. Laura Marling, Sept. 19, Festival Palomino

8. Kraftwerk, Oct. 7, Northrop

9. Low, Nov. 11, First Avenue

10. La Santa Cecilia, March 12, Ordway Center



Albums of the year

1. Courtney Barnett, “Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit”

2. Jason Isbell, “Something More Than Free”

3. Iron Maiden, “Book of Souls”

4. Sleater-Kinney, “No Cities to Love”

5. Kendrick Lamar, “To Pimp a Butterfly”

6. Waxahatchee, “Ivy Tripp”

7. Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, self-titled

8. Joanna Newsom, “Divers”

9. Vince Staples, “Summertime ’06”

10. Metz, “Metz II”



Look for the Twin Cities Critics Tally, our assessment of the year’s best Minnesota albums.