2015. It has flown by. Personally, I think it was my best. On a world scale, debatable. In the music world, I reckon it was pretty decent. We’re now in the month that is practically dedicated to lists; songs/albums of the year, tips for 2016, best/worst moments of the year blah blah blah, the internet as a whole has turned into a dedication to Buzzfeed and I’m going to join them! I’ve decided to look back on my year in music and seek out the 10 tracks that have been there through it all.
10. Landshapes – Red Kite: Landshapes were a lovely surprise discovery for me half-way through the year. My friend Jac put their song Insomniacs Club on a Spotify playlist for me back in February but for some reason I didn’t tune into it properly until 3 months later when I was compiling my interview files for Wychwood Festival. I went through a phase of listening exclusively to their second album ‘Heyoon’ in May and it was hard to choose just one song I love because it’s the type of album that has a song for every mood and every track becomes special to you in it’s own way. I did eventually manage to pick one in the end – the track that reminds me of something I let go years ago but still holds me in some way. One of those songs that feels like it was written for you, though obviously it wasn’t. Lyrically it’s perfect and musically it manages to completely capture my feelings in sounds with those occasional discords.
9. Courtney Barnett – Pedestrian At Best: Courtney Barnett is exceptional and more than welcome to exploit me and take all my money at this point. ‘The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas’ made up a large chunk of my soundtrack for last year and ‘Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit’ has been just as integral for 2015’s soundtrack. Undoubtedly the queen of modern storytelling, CB has absolutely killed it this year and Pedestrian At Best is the prime example. It’s a song that just makes you feel like it’s okay to fuck up (because it totally is) and lets you shout it all out. Screaming those lyrics at the top of your lungs is really liberating and I highly recommend it.
8. Warpaint – No Way Out: The big Warpaint fans around will be thinking “What? That’s cheating!” because really, this was 2014 all over but release dates mean I can include it here! This could’ve been on ‘Warpaint’ and sometimes I think it should’ve been but maybe then it wouldn’t have had the credit or recognition it deserves. It’s epic. It’s 7 minutes and 21 seconds of raw, emotional and honest songwriting. It strikes a really deep connection and, to be honest, it kind of haunts me but I really quite like that. Seeing this performed live in March was just electrifying and one of my highlights of the year (I got to interview Stella too so that added to the whole occasion a little bit…).
7. Tame Impala – The Less I Know The Better: If you weren’t on the Tame Impala hype train before the release of ‘Currents’, then I’d be pretty stumped if you’re still not on board. It’s an album packed full of brilliantly formed indie pop gems. It was SO hard to choose just one song for this list because Eventually, Disciples and ‘Cause I’m A Man are such strong tracks too! The Less I Know The Better won out in the end thanks to that killer, kick-ass riff that gets you right in the disco feels. Lyrically, I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been there! Empathetic cheer all round, Kevin Parker is king.
6. Foals – Give It All: I’ve never been able to completely commit to a Foals album. I don’t know why but I’ve always just been on a ‘pix & mix’ thing with them. ‘What Went Down’ changed the game for me, though. From the release of the title track I was into it and as Mountain At My Gates and A Knife In The Ocean surfaced I knew I’d love it. Give It All is by far the standout for me and I’m still not really able to write out why. It makes me reminisce in the weirdest way and it has those lyrics that kinda hit your memory without ever really making you think of anything specific at all. Just feelings.
5. Marika Hackman – Animal Fear: ‘We Slept At Last’ has to be the most under-rated album of the year. Somehow, Marika Hackman seems to have landed slightly under the radar? And I really don’t know how. It’s an absolutely stunning piece of work that I haven’t tired of listening to at all since February. Animal Fear is the song that really grabbed me and I don’t think it’ll ever let me go. It’s the most upbeat track on the album, featuring wild west cartoon-style gun shot noises, beautiful melodies and some great fizzing underlying synth – it’s truly a masterpiece.
4. The Maccabees – Something Like Happiness: It’s no secret The Maccabees had a hard time writing their fourth album ‘Marks To Prove It’, it was pretty much two years in the making but it was well worth the wait. Every track comes into it’s own but I think Something Like Happiness stands tall above everything else. It’s a special song that you make memories to, the kind of song I imagine being played over my ‘best bits’ in my head. There’s some good life lessons in there, too. From the way it begins with those drums into the trumpet, it takes you on a journey. It’s just special.
3. The Japanese House – Clean: I had a really hard time picking this. I knew The Japanese House would be in here but I couldn’t decide what song so I rolled a dice. They only have 8 songs. Who thought it would be THAT difficult? At 20 years old, Amber Bain has a lot to offer and she’s only released 2 EPs and they’re both incredible. Layered vocals, stunning melodies and honest lyrics – it’s the real deal. Clean has recently gained a really personal value and aside from that there’s nothing better than a song that uplifts you and makes you feel good.
2. Jamie xx feat. Romy – Loud Places: This song is just…it transcends anything I even knew I wanted in a song. The way it builds just draws you in, it’s absolutely captivating. The use of samples is flawless – from the chatter at the very beginning to the Idris Muhammad choral backing, it all feels so beautiful. It has rhythm, it has soul and it has those lyrics that say so much without saying anything at all. What cemented it in this list (and in my life forever) was the feeling I got when I watched it being performed for the first time on Le Grand Journal. It made me cry and it was simply magic.
1. Wolf Alice – Lisbon: If I had done lists for my favourite songs of 2014 and 2013 there is no doubt in my mind that Wolf Alice would have been on them, absolutely no doubt at all. Before the release of their debut album ‘My Love Is Cool’ they were one of my favourite bands and after? Well I think they’ll be up there forever. It’s an album that is packed with distorted highs and really soft, gentle lows. Ellie Rowsell outdoes anything she’s ever written on Soapy Water but it’s Lisbon that really got me. It’s just that feeling it gives. It makes me feel young, fearless and euphoric. One day I’ll go out and smash windows when I actually feel like it but until then the feeling this song gives me is more than enough.