The 10 best albums of 2015

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2015 was packed with incredible albums
2015 was packed with incredible albums
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Cult of Mac's Best of 2015 2015 has been a big year for brilliant albums, with everyone from Kendrick Lamar to Adele blasting out savory songs that changed the landscape of music. We saw Jamie XX arise as an incredible solo act, Ben Gibbard got his emo-groove back, and Drake dominated the rap world with brutal rap battles and meme-tastic music videos.

It was tough to narrow down the amazing albums of 2015 to just 10, but here are our favorite albums of the year.

Rdio marches to death playing the high notes

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The Rdio app just got better than ever. Photo: Rdio.
You won't be able to stream from Rdio on Christmas this year.
Photo: Rdio

Rdio made the date of its demise official this morning. The streaming music service as we know it will cease to exist on December 22 — just six days from today — at 5 p.m. Pacific time. Rdio sent around an email to its users to let them know the specifics of the shutdown.

“Rdio is being acquired, and the service is shutting down worldwide on December 22,” the company wrote on its Goodbye page. “We’re excited to bring great music experiences to even more listeners in the future as part of the Pandora team.”

Is this the first ‘official band app’ for Apple TV?

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Just as good as real medicine.
Just as good as real medicine.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Androgynous English rockers Placebo just claimed the honor of landing the first “artist” app on the new Apple TV. The free Placebo app is designed to deliver an “immersive” experience for fans while they remain ensconced on their couches.

Ultimately the app, which was released Monday, lets you watch music videos, live video of the band and “exclusive content” from the Placebo archives, all in your very own home.

Gorgeous headphone amp isn’t just ear candy

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Lust List Oppo Amp
The Oppo headphone amplifier is almost as beautiful as the iPhone you're going to connect it to.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Lust List: Oppo HA-2 portable headphone amplifier and DAC

What kind of audiophile nerd do you have to be to shell out 300 clams to “improve” your iPhone audio? Well, that’s what it is going to cost you to convert your digital audio into analog goodness with style.

You can find cheaper options than the Oppo HA-2 portable headphone amplifier, but few as elegant and sleek.

Want USB on your iPhone? There’s an adapter for that

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You can now use this to connect USB peripherals to your iPhone.
You can now use this to connect USB peripherals to your iPhone.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s Lightning to USB connector has ostensibly been about connecting your iPad to a camera to import images directly to your tablet.

Now, with iOS 9.2, it looks like the same adapter can be used on your iPhone to get photos onto your smaller-screened device.

There’s even some evidence that the Lightning to USB adapter works to connect other USB peripherals, like MIDI keyboards or USB-powered microphones. If you’re a musician on the road without access to your iPad, this might be your new best solution.