I doubt that 2015 will be remembered for being dominated by one particular musical genre. It seems the culture of digital downloads has made it more difficult for a movement to coalesce in a marketplace brimming with choice.
I'd argue though that the last twelve months has seen the strongest showing from female artists across the board for many years. Many acts would easily have made my year-end list on a different day, and many of them cantered on a strong female voice. Solo artists like Joanna Newsom, Laura Marling, and Lana Del Rey all presented strong albums. Even Florence Welch's third album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, which didn't quite live up to her previous efforts in my opinion, featured some glorious moments. I debated for a long time whether to include Courtney Barnett's Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit in my ten best records list. Ultimately it sits just outside for me, although her unique delivery and kitchen sink drama approach is wonderfully endearing. That Adele's 25 closed the year on a strong note, just underlined the trend that had been building all year. It's not just solo artists though; the likes of: Best Coast, Girlpool, Bully, and Wolf Alice, all demonstrated that women were back in the spotlight.
Other bands made welcome returns, Blur in particular were my live highlight of the year, thanks to Graham Coxon's master class on stage. Their album The Magic Whip didn't quite make the cut for my list in the end, compared to most other years it would have. Interestingly it was also a year where side projects came to fruition for well-known artists. Dan Auerbach's The Arcs produced their first studio material, as did Matt Berninger's El Vy. Both albums had their moments, but didn't quite feel fully realised in their own right. Elsewhere the likes of Lucero, Jason Isbell, and Ben Folds produced albums that matched their finest work. My love of bands from Philadelphia also continued thanks to Beach Slang's debut The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us and Hop Along's third album Painted Shut. If there were disappointment's I had, it was those records that were simply good and not as great as you'd hoped. The Decemberists, Frank Turner, Wilco, and Death Cab For Cutie's albums all fell into that category for me. By no means bad, the material on those albums struggled to compete with their high watermarks of previous years. I was especially curious about Ryan Adams' ambitious reinterpretation of the entirety of Taylor Swift's 1989, the result didn't quite live up to the promise it had on the drawing board though. It may have introduced a different audience to some excellent songs, but Adams managed to strip some of the fun out of the arrangements in the process. By the time there were Father John Misty covers of Adams' recordings on the Internet, it felt like the Swift fan club didn't need any more famous members.
Then there were the records you felt you should love, but for whatever reason they just didn't connect on a personal level. Drake and Father John Misty aka Josh Tillman produced records that despite the hype I just didn't manage to fall in love with. Tilman's 'Bored In The USA' was astute social commentary with it's tongue firmly in its cheek, but it didn't hook me into the album as a whole. Perhaps the biggest record in this category for me is Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly. It's technically brilliant, ambitious, has great rhymes, and straddles so many genres that it shouldn't be as cohesive as it is. The problem was, it left me cold. It almost felt as if Lamar wanted to prove he could produce something that ticked all the boxes he thought he should, rather than writing the record he wanted to. Perhaps with time I'll grow to love these albums, hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Continue reading: Jim Pusey's Top 10 Albums Of 2015
The singer is joined by Ben Howard and George Clinton on the line-up.
Bjork has become the latest headline announcement for Wilderness Festival 2015, set to hit Cornbury Park in Oxfordshire, UK from August 6th to 9th following the release of her acclaimed ninth album 'Vulnicura' early this year. She'll appear as the main act on the Friday.
Bjork to headline Wilderness 2015
Having released the follow-up to her 2011 record 'Biophilia' in January, the popular avant-garde Icelandic singer is taking to the road in support of it in the coming months. Among the handful of dates so far announced this year, she'll be topping Friday's bill at Wilderness in the Summer, alongside previously announced headliners for Saturday and Sunday, Ben Howard and George Clinton, the latter of whom will be rocking both his bands Parliament and Funkadelic.
In reverse order, here's Jordan's top albums of 2013.
Jordan Dowling presents his top ten album favourites from the past year.
Nils Frahm 'Spaces' - 'Spaces' is a presentation of Nils' spellbinding live show and it is as good a presentation of his genius as you could hope for; a breath-taking journey launched from the most tender of foundations. Tapped pianos lead to reverb-washed synth chords and occasional dance motifs in an utterly organic manner.
Continue reading: Jordan Dowling's Top 10 Albums Of 2013
Somehow Erased Tapes continues to go from strength to strength. April's release of Worlds End Girlfriend's 'Seven Idiots', a frenetic clusterfu*k of oblique musical experimentations that combined the headrush prog of early Mars Volta with the beats and left-turns of Aphex Twin at his most schizophrenic, was an early highpoint, but one which was matched if not beaten by A Winged Victory For The Sullen's recent majestic self-titled debÃºt.
Continue reading: Nils Frahm, Nils Frahm Album Review