In some areas of life I generally only like to look forward. However considering every musical release is a small piece of recorded history, sometimes it’s nice to look back. On that note here are my stand-out releases of 2015:
Hindsights – Cold Walls/Cloudy Eyes
Hindsights will be sorely missed after they call it a day in 2016, this album now looks to be the culmination of their excellent work. Incredible from start to finish, faster hooky songs like Cold Walls and Out of My Skull give way to brilliant contemplative melodies in the slower songs that all blend together to form an incredible debut, and sadly only full length that Hindsights will produce.
Palm Reader – Beside The Ones We Love
I always say the best hardcore is the kind that could soundtrack the apocalypse, and I can definitely see BTOWL playing as the four horseman charge through burning skies. This record grabs you by the throat from the opening of I Watched The Fire Chase My Tongue and doesn’t let go until the last lines of Unabridged crash out. Go and listen.
Milk Teeth – Sad Sack
Back in February when this was released I said it delivered in every aspect, my only problem was I wanted more. With debut album ‘Vile Child’ set to be released next January my wish will be fulfilled, Milk Teeth absolutely stormed this year on tours with Frank Iero, Pianos Become The Teeth, Title Fight and a few headline runs as well. 2016 will be huge for them as they kick off with a new album and a support run with Tonight Alive.
Citizen – Everybody Is Going To Heaven
Citizen followed up Youth by going darker, heavier and more contemplative on Everybody Is Going To Heaven. Produced by Will Yip and focusing more on creating an atmosphere in the vein of Brand New’s Daisy, I can’t wait to see how it plays out live when they tour with Turnover in early 2016
Creeper – The Callous Heart
Following on from their incredible self-titled debut five track last year, Creeper released five more tracks to burrow into my brain, only to be chanted out at later dates with great frequency. The combination of incredible songwriting with brilliant hooks from frontman Will Gould make the Southampton band a force to be reckoned with, and their awesome energetic stage shows do not disappoint. Lie Awake will go down as one of the best songs of 2015, and with new EP ‘The Stranger’ to be released in February, I can’t wait to hear what’s next.
Woahnows – Understanding and Everything Else
Despite being released on Big Scary Monsters this album didn’t seem to get the recognition it deserved this year. Released in April before their tour with Beach Slang, this fantastic album rips through songs with great haste, you barely have time to admire one amazing tune before the next is sweeping you off your feet. Haven’t seen it on too many best of year lists but there’s a reason it’s in my top played tracks on Spotify and will probably stay there for some time.
Brand New – Mene
It’s not an album but if you play it 10 times on repeat it’s still better than most albums ever released. Brand New’s first new song for six long years did not disappoint. With this and Sealed To Me being the only glimpses of a new album, I’ll just have to sit and listen to this while kissing my poster of Jesse Lacey goodnight. Every night.
Beach Slang – The Things We Do To Find People Like Us
What can I say that hasn’t been said by every major music outlet on the planet? Rave reviews from Pitchfork, Spin, Rolling Stone, the New York Times and many others give this band the acclaim they deserve. I was very lucky to interview them when I did, and despite their success they seem as grounded and enthusiastic as ever. Could not happen to nicer people, and I can’t wait to see them on tour again in January.
Turnover – Peripheral Vision
Peripheral Vision is an album that would have won The War On Drugs a grammy. In a genre filled with misery and distortion (see: Citizen) Turnover managed to bring some sun drenched Summer vibes to gloomy skies. Considering Turnover and Citizen’s completely opposite directions that tour is going to be a rollercoaster of emotions.
Drenge – Undertow
If I was ordering this list, it would be hard to knock this album from top spot. The album art conjuring images of a Yorkshire-set Drive remake, my interest was immediately grabbed and I dove in headfirst. Song after song this album delivers in a way I wished Royal Blood’s debut last year would. This is a mainstream rock album with thoughtful lyrics, intricately crafted instrumentation and a consistent sound that carries you through from start to finish. An absolute triumph.
Church Party – Thrillhouse
Church Party sound like nothing else on this list. They are a strange mix of influences they only describe as heavy pop. The Manchester four-piece slide from beautifully clean dual guitars on Isosceles to gently floating on basslines in Swallow Me Whole, before throwing you off the magic carpet and storming down to earth in a barrage of power chords and screamed vocals on Blood and Blue Mandy. Fan favourite Rainbow Mist is a must listen.
Title Fight – Hyperview
2015 was the year Title Fight ditched their pop-punk label. With a new label and a new sound, they embraced clean guitars and clean vocals. It was a divisive move for some but it brought them mainstream attention and if you can’t get down to the bassline intro of Hypernight then your argument is invalid.
Brawlers – Romantic Errors of Our Youth
When I met Brawlers earlier this year they told me that the entirety of this album was recorded when pissed. If that is true I’d love to see what they can do sober. Punk tinged pop at it’s finest, songs like Two Minutes and (I’m Having A) Nervous Breakdown still rattle around my head months after listening to it. Hooks on hooks on hooks.
The Exhausts – Leave The Suburbs!
Featured in the very first episode of Start A Riot, The Exhausts’ no frills punk is enshrined in the follow up to last year’s Eric Cantona EP. Ditching the polished production of single Andalucia, the three piece return to capturing the pure energy and chaos of their engrossing live shows, The Exhausts are everything punk should be.