Going Solo…

2015 has seen a number of artists from some of the world’s biggest bands going solo and branching out in an attempt to showcase their own artistic merits, some of which are more widely publicised than others. Solo projects are great excuse to put music out in a period where maybe the rest of the band are having a rest after a huge touring schedule or even an attempt to keep creating music after a big breakup, nevertheless they they have been a common practice for a number of years. Here are some of my favourites from the year so far…

Brandon Flowers…

The Killers frontman, is behind one of the year’s most hotly anticipated solo records of 2015. With legions of adoring fans due to his affiliation with one of the most successful bands of the 21st Century, Flowers looks set to follow up his debut solo album in exuberant style if lead single Can’t Deny My Love is anything to go by. With a strong Killers-esque element still present in the sound, the album looks sure to appeal to the hardcore fan base, Flowers already posses. However, it seems clear from the latest material he has released, Still Want You and Lonely Town, that there is a definite 80s pop influence on the record with glistening synths and high pitched backing vocals, showing how such solo projects allow artists to expand and deviate from their usual sounds or even genres to create musical that is more personal to them and couldn’t happen in the usual band setup.

Will Butler…

One of my personal favourite solo projects of the year has been that of Arcade Fire’s multi-instrumentalist Will Butler (brother of frontman Win). A fast-paced yet experimental blitz of an album, clocking in at around 27 minutes, the album showcases the sheer talent of Arcade Fire’s unsung hero! Butler’s hyperactive persona shines through in rollicking lead single Take My Side and one of my favourites What I Want. Bouncing through varying genres moving from punk rock to electro-pop to piano ballads, this record really gives Butler an artistic license to do as he pleases and make the songs that he wants to!

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds…

Possibly the biggest name on the list, Noel Gallagher, has been fairly prolific since the split of the might Oasis back in 2009, with 2015 seeing him release his second album, Chasing Yesterday, with his band The High Flying Birds. It seems safe to say his solo project is faring better than that of brother Liam’s band Beady Eye that disbanded last year. Noel has managed to channel the spirit that made Oasis so sacred into his last two albums, with many tracks including the likes of Riverman off his current album and If I Had a Gun… and The Death of You and Me off his debut, sounding as if they easily could have come off an early Oasis album. It’s through this solo project that Noel can still give his millions of adoring fans what they want in a world without Oasis, that being huge choruses and Beatles inspired guitars. Noel Galagher and his High Flying Birds are a true advert of the success of going solo, and how you can still go on to create good music, even in the wake of the collapse of one of the UK’s biggest bands.

Carl Barat and the Jackals…

In the year that we’re also eagerly awaiting the latest studio offering of The Libertines from their studio in Thailand, earlier in the year we were also treated by the release of lead-singer Carl Barat’s new solo album Let it Reign. Accompanied by his band The Jackals, Carl has stormed back onto the music scene with his chaotic brand of anthemic, yet gritty indie rock in the form of lead singles Glory Days and A Storm is Coming. A straight talking indie record with punk tendencies, this solo project sees Barat at his rebellious best with sharp lyrics and riffs with bite, what more could you want from a Libertine?

Lieutenant U.S….

Possibly one of the least publicised solo projects of the year would be that of Foo Fighters bassist Nate Mendel, releasing one of the most under-rated albums of the year in If I Kill This Thing We’ll All Going to Eat for a Week, which sees him return to his indie/ alternative roots of his Sunny Day Real Estate Days (the band he was a member of prior to the creation of Foo Fighters in 1995). The album sees Nate enter musical territory he wouldn’t usually with the Foos, and gives him greater freedom artistically as can be seen in the Baroque pop esque lead single Belle Epoque. The fuzzy rock guitar and heart-felt melodic vocals of the college rock inspired tracks explores the mind of a man who often takes more of a backseat in the musical process of his other band. The great success of the album, makes you wonder why he hadn’t attempted something similar before in the way other Foo Fighters members Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins and Chris Shifflett have before, but I guess it goes to show how such solo projects allow you to truly gain insight into the musical talents of some of the lesser known members of the world’s biggest bands.

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