Despite only being a month and 20 days into the year of 2015 a lot has happened musically, with plenty more still in store for the rest of the year! With some of the world’s biggest acts announcing album plans (the likes of Muse, The Libertines and Florence and the Machine) and many more rumoured to be announcing something soon (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Two Door Cinema Club, Metallica and Biffy Clyro are currently being shrouded in new album speculation), proving that 2015 is going to be mega. But thats assuming it hasn’t been exciting already! It was only yesterday that Blur out of nowhere announced their first album for 12 years and a huge show at Hyde Park as a part of the British Summer Time concerts. Here are some of my highlights of the year so far…
In the two short months of 2015 we’ve already been treated to whats sure to be some of the year’s best albums! Peace’s Happy People being the best example of this, more than living up to their first effort In Love, the album is full of quality tunes in Peace’s flamboyant trademark style. Relative newcomers The Districts landed their second album A Flourish and A Spoil with great success too, an album that contains my favourite track of the year so far, Suburban Smell (recommend you check it out). The year has also already seen its first blockbuster single in the form of Mark Ronson No.1 Uptown Funk, featuring vocals from Bruno Mars, the track and the album in general borrow heavily from 70s disco and 80s hip hop to create a genuine chart hit that also has a bit of musicianship and class attached to it. The year also poses the question as to whether or not previous big prospects will live up to the hype with the likes of Spector, Everything Everything, Alabama Shakes, Drenge, Palma Violets and Swim Deep all releasing their first singles of their respective albums sure to surface at various points in the year. All sounding pretty promising in my opinion (not entirely sure on Swim Deep so far though, maybe its a grower…)!
The year has also seen some of the bigger acts put out new material! Alternative Dance legends The Prodigy have released a couple of tracks off of their latest album, with lead single Nasty sure to be an immediate fans favourite that wouldn’t look out of place on their previous album Invaders Must Die. The Vaccines also have emerged in 2015 with a new, more experimental single in the form of Handsome, still utilising their style of uplifting chorus’ merged with Justin Young’s cynical lyrics, I look forward to hearing more from the band as the year progresses. Long awaited glimpses into the new albums of The Cribs, The Wombats and Death Cab for Cutie have also been aired in the opening weeks of 2015. Whilst The Wombat’s Greek Tragedy is more or less classic Wombats, The Cribs have opted for a more poppy hook laden sound and Death Cab a more experimental indie vibe, utilising more electronic sounds and a guitar solo. The return of Florence and the Machine is a sure talking point of the year so far, with many touting Florence Welch and her band to possibly even headline the hallowed grounds of Glastonbury Festival, her latest single What Kind of Man doesn’t disappoint. Noel Gallagher, one of the biggest acts in British Music history has also released a few tracks off of his latest album Chasing Yesterday with his band The High Flying Birds which sounds just as strong and anthemic as we’ve all come to expect from the principle songwriter of Oasis. The standout track so far in my opinion is his track with ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, The Ballad of the Mighty I. And of course theres Blur, who’s new single Go Out and album announcement seemed to appear out of nowhere and comes 12 years after Blur’s last album. With a whacky video accompanying it, Blur’s first single is slightly more experimental than the classic Blur anthems, yet will surely gain huge popularity from within Blur’s legions of devoted fans. A Blur festival appearance this year wouldn’t be a surpise too after they also announced a huge outdoor concert in London’s Hyde Park.
There’s also been a huge amount of drama in 2015 even without Blur’s huge announcement. We’ve already had Noel Gallagher slagging off what feels like the entirety of the music industry, with individuals ranging from the likes of Ed Sheeran and James Blunt to Alex Turner (yeah Alex Turner?!?!). As much fun as it is reading about how Noel seems to have a deep dislike for anyone who joined the music scene since the turn of the century, you can’t help but sigh slightly at his blatant attempts to sell his new record. Come on Noel… Kasabian’s snub by the Brits is a far greater talking point of early 2015 in my eyes. How could the Glastonbury headliners of 2014, who also turned out one of the year’s greatest albums not at least earn an nomination in a ‘Best British Group’ category which includes the likes of One Direction and Clean Bandit? To be honest, this goes on to prove how much of a sham the Brit Awards really are, with most talented musicians losing out to chart pop shite. Kasabian however made up for this by earning 3 NME awards last Wednesday, finally an award ceremony honouring those far more deserving, with the likes of Jamie T, Royal Blood and Foo Fighters all picking up awards. The later of which announced a huge headlining spot at Glastonbury Festival, sure to make one of the year’s finest moments.
Festival season is shaping up to be very strong indeed in 2015 with T in the Park, Bestival and Coachella all announcing some of the strongest lineups they’ve had in years! Mumford and Sons will be making their long awaited return to Reading and Leeds, alongside the already announced, monolithic Metallica! There are also a number of brand new festivals set to be unleashed in 2015, with London’s Citadel Festival already boasting Ben Howard and Bombay Bicycle Club as headliners and Rob Da Bank (the man behind the Isle of Wight’s hugely popular Bestival), launching a small festival in Southampton entitled Common People, with an eclectic lineup including; Fatboy Slim, Band of Skulls and Slaves.
It would be unfair for me to discuss the year so far in music, without also giving the deserved acknowledgement to the array of new acts that have emerged, with many set to grab the limelight in the way the likes of Royal Blood have before them. As well as the aforementioned The Districts, whose brand of US garage rock sounds well suited to be a success at the UK festival circuit. One of the year’s finest prospects would be Kent Punk duo Slaves, strongly supported by the likes of NME and already confirmed at many of the UK’s biggest festivals, Slaves are one of the hottest new acts in Britain at the moment and with a chaotic live show to boot, are destined for big things (tracks including Feed the Mantaray and The Hunter are well worth a listen). Similarly Indie Pop act Mini Mansions look set for big things, with a large amount of hype surrounding them, largely due to Alex Turner’s brief appearance on a track off their new album. There are also a number of solo acts that deserve special mentions in terms of their contribution to 2015 as of yet. First of all Aussie slacker Courtney Barnett has brought the huge levels of buzz that surrounded her last year into 2015 with the release of barn storming new single Pedestrian at Best, one of the besets lyricists the music scene has to offer in 2015! Another solo artist who deserves a shout out is Tobias Jesso Jr., a man who’s being compared to (dare I say it) ‘John Lennon’!!! His haunting, piano led, tales of heartbreak have won him critical acclaim and a number of fans in 2015 and appears to be set for big things with the backing of acts including Vampire Weekend. His two songs, Hollywood and How Could You Babe are not to be missed! One of the most exciting new acts of 2015 is Essex act The Bohicas, their fast paced indie rock tunes are sure to go on to pick up fans this year, the fact that 2015 single To Die For has made XFM’s main playlist will only help them in this endeavour!
2015 has already proved to have been one of the most exiting in recent memory, and if it manages to sustain the high quality of new releases will sure to be a great year for music. Whether its the oldies making a comeback, the new stars emerging or the established bands proving their worth there looks sure to be a plethora of quality music on offer this year! Below I’ve put a couple of my favourite tracks of 2015 so far, give them a listen and enjoy!
Top 15 Songs of the Year so far…
- Peace – World Pleasure
- The Vaccines – Handsome
- Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – The Ballad of the Mighty I
- Laura Marling – False Hope
- The Districts – Suburban Smell
- The Bohicas – To Die For
- The Prodigy – Nasty
- Death Cab for Cutie – Black Sun
- Courtney Barnett – Pedestrian at Best
- Drenge – We can Do What We Want
- The Womabts – Greek Tragedy
- Mini Mansions – Freakout!
- Palma Violets – Danger in the Club
- Slaves – Feed the Mantaray
- Tobias Jesso Jr. – How Could You Babe