2015 was a year. This is some of the music that got me through it.
Svalbard – One Day All This Will End
Svalbard produced the album I’d been hoping they would – richly layered and addictive, it holds moments of post-rock beauty, hardcore strength and pure melodies. A positive, uplifting record and the clear winner this year for me.
Twisted – Utopia
This album is so good, a close second on the list. It was released in January but I came to it later on. Again this one has great melodies, something I’m a total sucker for, it’s catchy and fun with strong female vocals and punchy punk attitude oozing through on every track.
Nervosas – Nervosas
A more frantic and aggressive sounding release from the Ohio Punks but still with the dark edge and melodies I loved from their last record, the vocals are as goth as always with fantastic female backing, and their sound is as immediate and addictive as ever.
Brother/Ghost – Buried
Cinematic, multi layered, genre challenging record, cleverly redefining the sound of this band. Hints of psych, blues, indie and post-rock, make for an anthemic, rousing listen – it all hangs together so well too, never feeling disjointed or overly complex. There is so much here to discover and keep you coming back, it’s a real gem.
Taman Shud – Viper Smoke
Viper Smoke creates its own space; an all encompassing spacey zone: the production, epic yet almost claustrophobic at the same time, the distorted vocals, twin bass and gothic atmosphere, create a place you don’t want to step out of, a space away from the banal and mundane, something all the best records manage.
Envy – Athiest’s Cornea
Envy are one of my all time favourite bands, so its always a huge treat to get my hands on a new album from them. This record is, dare I say it, more accessible than I’ve heard from them in the past – shorter tracks, very melodic, some actual singing rather than all screams or spoken word, however, none of these are negative observations, this is as huge and dreamy as they’ve ever been.
Pariso – Pariso
Pariso’s final record unfortunately – it’s unashamedly shouty male hc, they batter you with noise, but have some great moments of technical finesse, which, along with the heady nastiness is what drew me to them in the first place. The tracks are dark and meaty but with an underlying core of something more dreamy; some of the riffs really soar. Really solid, a fitting end.
Hag Face – R.I.P.
New Hag Face is never a bad hing, The Candadian all girl punk band don’t mess about. Attitude and a clear message combine with memorable vocals and some great tuneful touches, good stuff.
Drug Church – Hit Your Head
The first of two appearances on this list for Drug Church. The EP below made my list early on and this full length was released in October; so the band managed to bookend my year nicely. Drug Church are so easy to listen to – melodic, gruff and full of class riffs, but thematically and lyrically they stay pleasingly off centre, giving them nicely rough edges. Love them.
Flesh World – All The Wild Animals In My Life
I consider this a grower compared to their 2013 record, but after a few play-throughs I’m now fully on board. Abrasive yet melodic post-punk gems, dark and scuzzy yet also quite accessible in its own way
Fist City – Everything Is A Mess
This is a very accessible and immediately memorable sophomore album from the Canadian indie-punk four piece. Melodic songs, with excellent off-kilter clipped vocals, are backed by sometimes jangly, sometimes fast and spiky guitars and hypnotic rhythms; the combination is just perfect for rocking out to.
Steve Von Till – A Life Unto Itself
Steve Von Till‘s fourth solo outing is a beautiful journey into Americana with his distinctively gruff vocal delivery leading the way along with sparse acoustic guitar sounds. It is a powerful record, a warm and comforting set of songs.
Make – The Golden Veil
Its great to hear an album that plays out as a whole experience, something I seem to come across less and less – this is old school post-rock, taking me back to the days of early Godspeed, Envy, Pelican – a no nonsense, moody record full of all encompassing tunes; huge, heady and powerful, it’s easy to get lost in.
The Good Life – Everybody’s Coming Down
I’m a total sucker for anything by Tim Kasher, no secret there, this is a great album though despite my predisposition. Pretty minimal but sporting plenty of fuzzy off-kilter guitars; it doesn’t go as far as dischordant but certainly skirts around it and the guitars ride over some nice melodic touches.
Hell Money – Discography
Hell Money are a local Punk/Hardcore band, this was their final offering as a band and It’s a great collection. The band featured Livi, front woman of Twisted and Leigh from Goodtime Boys, so as you can imagine, it’s scuzzy punk of the highest order.
Employed To Serve – Greyer Than You Remember
Greyer Than You Remember is a dark ride; quirky, technical, hardcore with metallic riffage which thunders and squeals under Justine’s powerful screams. The sound is meaty and often verging on dischordant, not an easy listen then, but this isn’t pop music so you get what you signed up for, on balance it’s nasty and powerful but also full of surprises (in a good way).
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress
Not their most spectacular album but still very beautiful and worthy of a place on this list. Godspeed have been constant companions of mine for so long I can’t imagine not getting excited about new material from them. I’ve played this album many times since its release and wouldn’t be without it.
A cracking split, released early in the year. Caravels have now gone their separate ways but they certainly went out on a high and this is the best I’ve heard from Octaves in a while.
Drug Church – Swell
This EP continues on where the last album finished and seagues comfortably into the new one – husky vocals, playful lyrics, great melodies, heavy hit drums and rich well-rounded guitars; the whole record is a great package of memorable and addictive tunes with no duds.
Maths – The Fires Courting The Sea
It’s been 4 years since we’ve heard from Maths and this return sees them in great form with a solid release; new EP The Fires Courting The Sea is 6 tracks in just 11 minutes, a fast trip through their brand of screamo/hardcore. It may pass quickly but the journey is a satisfying one – tuneful tracks with great vocal interplay, stop/start rhythms and off kilter riffage.
Alright – S/T
Poppy, female-fronted indie punks, Alright, hail from Charlotte, NC and feature members of Late Bloomer and It Looks Sad. Truthfully it was the Late Bloomer connection that drew me in, in the first place but this self-titled EP is a really sweet release with light fuzz on the guitars, simple yet catchy melodies and a breezy feel.
Towanda – Black Sheep
The super crunchy guitar sound on this EP is brilliant, along with the bratty female vocals, I’m into this. I thought I’d heard enough of this kind of thing recently but the Montreal trio have really got to me.
Fleabite – TTYL
Jagged yet melodic girl fronted punky pop tunes from Fleabite who are one of my new favourite bands. They have top tunes and this new record is, if anything, even more melodic than their last. Fleabite always have a layer of harsh blown-out fuzz over everything but on this new EP their sound is richer, a little easier on the ears and has a lovely surf-rock quality. Love this.
Telepathic – Powers Of Ten
The new 6 track EP from the Bleeding Rainbow folks. This is not a million miles from their old rockin’ shoegaze sound, if you were a fan of the old band you’ll likely be in to this too. The EP has great melodies and is nicely heavy on the guitars.