In preparation for 2016, I thought it might be nice to bring you some of my favourites from 2015. I am kicking off with my favourite tracks of the year, in no particular order…
Adam Stafford – ‘Atheist Money’
This is my favourite track of 2015. The first time I heard it, I knew there would be few songs to match it over the course of the year. Savvy arrangements brimming with gospel passages and soaring melodies, ‘Atheist Money’ carries as much integrity and intelligence as it does feeling.
Turtle – ‘The Floor’
My favourite artist of 2015, Turtle has been consistent. This has unadulterated joy pulsing through every beat and has soundtracked some of my most difficult and best life moments of the year. I will never tire of this.
Chinah – ‘Minds’
The Danish trio released this back in November and it dominated my listened for a number of days. With a saturation of sugar synth-pop this year, this was one of the stand out tracks for me. There is a strong sense of underlying sadness and I think that’s what intrigues me most. It cracks my heart.
All Tvvins – ‘Thank You’
I heard the first couple of bars of this track on television and immediately started scouring the interweb. A wry smile crept up on my face when I discovered it was Lars and Conor of Adebisi Shank and The Cast of Cheers. Their pop crossover has been seamless, I tend to use the word euphoric a lot, but this epitamises it.
HQFU – ‘Dust & Dirt’
The brainchild of Sarah J Stanley, this has been one of the strongest and most inspiring musical discoveries of 2015. I said previously, “As pulse-quickening as it is, this in no way feels devoid of human touch. It is an altogether striking debut.” 2016 is going to be very exciting.
Kill The Waves – ‘The Oak Tree’
This track is still as fresh as the first time I heard it. I think there have only been 3 times that I haven’t cried listening to it. Amazing, innovative and accomplished. This is a masterclass in songwriting.
Kathryn Joseph – ‘The Bird’
I feel so blessed to have been let into Joseph’s world this year. This is her heart and soul, a representation of her album and something so emotional at points it’s overwhelming.
Bossy Love – ‘Tell You What’
Introduced to me by Synergy Concerts Gráinne Braithwaite, Bossy Love have gone on to be one of the best live artists of 2015. The unassuming trio have penned a stunning pop hit. With razor-sharp style, this threesome are going to hit dizzy heights in 2016.
Dilly Dally – ‘Desire’
One of the success stories of 2015, I wrote about Dilly Dally for my New Music column for TYCI. This is what I said, “With Monks’ coarse delivery, there is a surprising raw poignancy that makes this as righteous as it is fearlessly dynamic.” They play Glasgow in January.
Small Black – ‘Boys Life’
Hailing from Brooklyn and part of the infamous Jagjaguwar label, Small Black hit with this impressive anthem in 2015. The quartet have concocted one of the most assured and confident debuts.
United Fruit – ‘Nightmare Recovery’
The last single from the Glasgow foursome showcased the band’s undying propulsive rock tour de force. I said previously, “For a band that house more ideas in one album than some do in their whole back catalogue, it is clear there is still enough fresh breath exhaling from their obdurate lungs.”
Sauropod – ‘Winter Song’
Oslo-based Norwegian trio Sauropod delivered a delicious helping of unhinged venemous rock. The riffs alone are worth their weight in gold.
Garden Of Elks – ‘SWAP’
Having released one of my favourite albums of 2015 (more on that later), ‘SWAP’ was, in my opinion, a turning point for the band. It put them back on the map and having seen a lot of the other end of year lists, it wasn’t just me. With ear-bleeding guitar riffs and untamed vocals, this has been one of the most satisfying tracks of the year.
Forever – ‘Loose’
Both ‘Loose’ and previous track ‘Shamed’ both made Song of the Day on Podcart. Forever are a new breed of talent along with the likes of AmatrArt who are emerging from Scotland. I previously said, “The unimpeachable musical flair the band has demonstrated thus far has made their recordings utterly compelling. ‘Loose’ is a quirky electro-labyrinth of intrigue; this level of maturity from a new band is very exciting indeed.”
SEØUEL – ‘Fear Party’
Edinburgh’s Tom Nicol released EP Reykjavik this year and this track was a stand out. I previously said, “Engaged in contrasts, ‘Fear Party’ is rhythm-pounding synthporn.”
Jack Ü with Justin Bieber – ‘Where Are Ü Now (Rustie Remix)’
This is one of my most played tracks of the year and there will no doubt be a few raised eyebrows. Rustie elevated this to the next level and continued his campaign of highlighting exquisite elements of tracks and bringing them to the forefront. The original is incredible, but this is untouchable. A metallic fusion of dance music and a modern evolution for a questionable pop star.
Man Of Moon – ‘The Road’
I selected this as one of my essential tracks of the year for fellow blogger Netsounds. I think I said it best there how I feel about this track: “‘The Road’ makes me feel invincible, the soundscape they create as a duo is unreal. It’s basically my idea of immersive space exploration, but one for the ears.”
Miaoux Miaoux – ‘It’s The Quick’
Taken from my favourite album of 2015, Miaoux Miaoux cemented himself as an astonishing producer. BBC 6 Music were quick to pick up on Julian Corrie and he continues to blow my mind. He is at a level now that I find hard to comprehend and his understanding of dance music, production, performance and his art form are things that everyone should pay attention to.
Lazy Day – ‘Portrait’
Taken from a split with Glasgow’s Tuff Love, this was released especially for Record Store Day this year. I said previously, “it glimmers with ambient freewheeling beauty and is simply magic.”
Mylets – ‘Arizona’
Having supported And So I Watch You From Afar this year, the 19-year-old has made quite the impression in 2015. Under the Sargent House banner, I previously said, “‘Arizona’ is immediately gratifying and beautifully articulate. With a progressive sonic assault, this is heavy on ferocious noise beats and laden with righteousness.”
Young Fathers – ‘Rain Or Shine’
White Men Are Black Men Too is another of my favouite albums of 2015 and Young Fathers Art School show is firmly in my top 5 live shows of 2015. When ‘Rain Or Shine’ first played it was clear that it was complexly arranged and socially fitting, it foreground the band’s vivid lyricism.
Eliza Shaddad – ‘Wars’
Having followed Shaddad for some time now, this was a bold return for the artist. I previously said, “Her own virtues of moral fibre are punctuated throughout and her voice is rich with conviction and power. There is a vigor and fight in Shaddad this time that highlights a fresh diginity and rhythm in her music.”
Anna Meredith – ‘R-Type’
This is the first single from Anna Meredith’s debut album ‘Varmints’ out on 4th March 2016 via Moshi Moshi. It impresses with its diversity and scope and texturally is one of the most fascinating tracks of the year.
Wuh Oh – ‘Spine Deep’
The most recent track release of 2015, Wuh Oh’s mixtape production is something I both admire and respect. His signature sound is utterly compelling.
Samuel – ‘Boom Boom Boom’
Wolf Alice – ‘Giant Peach’
With its scalding riffs, this kicks the shit out of mediocre wannabe bands such as Royal Blood. Tight, cohesive and barbarian in force.
Percussions – ‘Digital Arpeggios’
A secondary alias of Kieran Hebden, aka Four Tet, his theoretically contrasting influences compliment each other perfectly. On a compositional level this is sheer brilliance.
The Dirty Blonde – ‘Bottom Feeder’
This song really hit me on an emotional level. I think it reminded me of a time when I was simply a music fan and not as a blogger. It tapped into my nostalgia and I am always grateful for that. I previously said, “In one cerebral jamming session, The Dirty Blonde have penned a track that throws me back to bands like The Wrens. Guitar-saturated bombast that is complete and utter joy.”
ULTRAS – ‘Stepping Out’
The brainchild of Gav Prentice is an admirable one. I previously said, “‘Stepping Out’, produced by Jonnie Common is a spontaneous anthem; it is humanised warmth with a magnificently organic electronic production behind it. It’s majesty certainly reigns supreme.”
Tongues – ‘You Never Knew Me’
A second appearance in this list for Tim Kwant. The Kill The Waves frontman is an exceptional talent. I previously said, “‘You Never Knew Me’ is the most wide-ranging track to be released thus far, a beguiling anthem that certainly makes this his breakthrough moment. Kwant provides an honest personality that is often lost in electronic pop making this a triumphant hit, but by no means his coup de grâce. This is undoubtedly one of the best track releases of the year so far.”
Full playlist below: