If we could rewind back to this time 12 months ago I think there’s pretty much zero chance we’d have preempted the tracks, artists and musical shifts in the industry t hat 2015 has given us. 2015 saw the return of two of the biggest artists in the work, Adele and Coldplay to our ears, plus the year Florence & The Machine were invited to headline Glastonbury following Dave Grohl’s tumble+ broken leg fiasco. But it’s not all been about the big bucks in the scene, 2015 has seen a fantastic spread of new acts from Lewis Del Mar to Wyldest, Edward R.to ESTRONS -artists from each of the far corners of the world – enrich our playlists and deliver alternative hits of the year.
If you want to read up on how The Musical Landscape of 2015 has weaved and changed our listening habits, delivered new artists and generally been a vibrant year I prepared an in depth article on Unrecorded for you exploratory pleasure.
However, as is tradition, every year Alive and Amplified will attempt to wrestle the amazing tracks that have graced our ears into a definitive top 10. 2015 has been a tough selection, but I think I’ve picked a true spread of great music from across the genres for you to delve into.
With the hype building around this track in the summer, the alt. pop starlet in the making, Alessia Cara got a remix fix from New York producer Lucian. Taking an a building cult classic track using a classic sample and making it a little darker and putting a fantastic drop in that demands a rewind.
I’m always hesitant about referencing other artists when trying to describe another, but there is an unmistakable and truly celebratory hint of Elliott Smith in this young Canadian’s music. The Bearer Of Bad News has to be one of my chill albums of the year, and not one to be overlooked.
This is the perfect track to watch colours to. The perfect track to wind down to. Imaginations are on full-throttle in this 3min 14 audio magical trip. Copenhagen/London meets in a beautiful way and this is, for me, the first track you have to check out from their Fault Lines EP that was released earlier this month. A real headphone moment in this years Top 10 list.
A guy in Boston who has the name of a superhero (Brett Boucher) and makes music for adverts for a living isn’t the standard profile for a great alt. songwriter, but once you’ve sampled the opening twangs of his project, The derevolutions, you’ll be hooked.
What happens when you put Skrillex, Diplo and Justin Bieber into a room together? Not the start of a bad joke (and they probably weren’t all in the same room to complete this track), but a signature moment in a brilliant musical moment in 2015. Bringing together two superpowers in the world of DJing and the biggest popstar on the planet. It’s credible, it helped change the tone of mainstream dance and it’s a tune!
Chicago sounds wonderful. Punk, shoegaze, rock and a pinch of math all packed into one raucous band who smashed it on their recent UK tour of which I was part of a proud crowd. “Delusion Moon” shouldered it’s way onto my most played this summer for it’s demanding 1min56 chaos that cut through the splurge of emerging rock music that the festival season enticed out of the world.
Just like Boards of Canada, Empress Of ignited a world of love and chat when she popped up with her “Kitty Kat” track earlier this year. Releasing her first album back in 2013, this was a strong return ahead of her second release “Me” with a seductive bass synth that really helps this track stand out in the mix.
UK indie-prince returned this autumn to a wave of applause with this beastie. The ultimate pop-indie attention grabber with a cute DIY-but-not video that makes him look like the coolest guitarist in the world. With a bubbling bass that walks you through the track it’s a grower, and certainly one that should be highlighted for 2015 reflection.
Despite being uploaded 7 months ago I was only made aware of this absolute stonker of a tune this month. Nevertheless, the debut efforts of Steve Hartlett aka Stove has established itself as one of the best garage/punk/scuzz to have emerged this year. Clocking in in under two minutes, that break down at 49 seconds is one that gets the adrenaline running wild.
Once every now and then a newer artist writes a track that defines a generation and gives them a huge cult status stamp of approval. When “City” was first shared with the world back in Feb-March time I shared this with everyone who would listen to me, went running around telling my team at BBC Introducing how awesome it was going to be that we were putting them on at SXSW just a few weeks later and a band who I had been following for nearly a year prior to that solidified their place in my favourite bands list. Their fellows include Incubus, QOTSA, Dinosaur Pile-Up and The Hives. This track still makes me physically smile when I hear it and I get this incessant need to get up and start a restrained moshpit. A timeless classic in the making, a great introduction to a future headliner: “City” is head and shoulder above the rest and sits as our number 1 track of the year!