Favourite Finds of 2015

Monday 28th December 2015

With 2015 being another great year for music discovery, I look back at some of my favourite finds from this year.

Favourite Spotify Recommendation:
– Summer City

Spotify are great at giving song and artist recommendations based on what you’ve previously been listening to. After all, they pride themselves on being a discovery platform. When listening via the mobile app, although you can only listen to playlists on shuffle, Spotify often adds in songs by other artists based on what you’re listening to that it thinks you might like. That’s exactly how I discovered Summer City, an unsigned 3-piece from York. I’ve been following the band for a while now, and after hearing ‘We Were on a Break’ I decided to interview the guys to find out more about where they’re heading. Although the interview was back in 2012, the guys have gone through line-up changes and have recently started releasing free music to download, and are still worth checking out; after all they did get the seal of approval from Mark Hoppus.

Favourite YouTube Find:
– 10 Years

We’ve all done it – gone on YouTube to look up that song that’s been playing in our heads all day and then a couple of hours later we’re neck deep in to something completely unrelated. With that said, when watching music videos the related videos section is well worth checking out. Chances are that you’ve heard most of the suggestions before, but there are those occasions when you spot something that intrigues you enough to click it. Through this I discovered a band called 10 Years from Knoxville. I came across a track called ‘Shoot It Out’ and after almost 30 minutes on their Vevo channel I was on iTunes purchasing their ‘Feeding The Wolves’ album. They have a handful of other EPs too, but this one I’ve enjoyed the most. They have a strong Twitter following (over 51k), but unfortunately they don’t respond to comments, but here’s hoping they’ve read mine asking for a UK tour.

Favourite Twitter Follow:
– Rival Tides

I’m fortunate that I’ve been able to connect with a lot of bands and artists through Twitter, and I do check out everyone that follows me. Often when I hear something I like I’ll contact them to see if they’re interested in an interview or a review, because I’m keen to connect and find out more. Music discovery isn’t always just about the music you hear, but the story behind the band and how they got to where they are now. One of my favourites this year has been a band called Rival Tides who I discovered through another band that I interviewed. They’re in the process of putting their next EP together, and they’re well worth following for updates. They have that strong positive attitude, and are very keen to push through.

Favourite New Release:
– James Bay

Before The Brit Awards this year I had never heard of James Bay, but it’s been one of the nicest discoveries I’ve made. He was awarded the Critics Choice Award in 2015, and has since become one of the most played albums in my house. He is a very talented musician with a great voice, who is very down to earth. Of course I would love for him to continue releasing music and I look forward to the next album, but if this were to be the only album he released I honestly wouldn’t mind. To sum it up in one word would be – perfect.

Favourite Recommendation by a Friend:
– Lonely The Brave

I often have long conversations with a close friend of mine, and they mostly consist of discussing films and music. Every time we talk there are those bands that we always come back to, and Lonely The Brave were one of those. My friend kept asking me why I haven’t listened to them yet, and then after checking them out on Spotify I kept asking myself the same question. Why haven’t I listened to these guys before?! Lonely The Brave are on the cusp of something brilliant; they certainly have what it takes and after seeing them perform at a local music venue it was clear that the festivals and arenas are beckoning. Biffy Clyro, Deftones, and possibly even Pearl Jam your sort of thing? Then you’ll be well up for Lonely The Brave.

Favourite Recommendation by Press Release:
– I The Mighty

As someone who enjoys discovering new music, press releases are one of the things that I most look forward to receiving. Sometimes you get the usual spiel, other times you get a free track to download, and then there are those times that you know to jump in quick because what you’re hearing will become big (Twin Atlantic, All American Rejects, Yellowcard, Alter Bridge to name a few). I always enjoy hearing a band that have a great sound, clear influences, and a good direction of where they want to go. However, there’s nothing more refreshing than listening to a band talk about how they make songs that are true to them, and they simply love what they do so they’re going to continue doing it. After speaking with Brent it was clear this is exactly what I The Mighty are all about. There have been some great discoveries over the other side of the pond this year, and I The Mighty is most certainly one of them.

Favourite Support Act:
– While She Sleeps

Supporting Bullet For My Valentine on their UK tour this year, While She Sleeps were a force to be reckoned with. Support acts are there to do exactly that – support the headline act in warming up the crowd. If you’ve ever seen these guys live before then you know their sets are complete chaos – they just tear the stage up from start to finish. I was pleased to hear that following the Bullet tour; While She Sleeps announced their own headlining tour. It’s always an amazing atmosphere when the support act is pined for as much as the headliners, and for that, While She Sleeps get my vote.

Favourite Radio Find:
– Mallory Knox

Now, I’m going to start off by saying that I still don’t know much about Mallory Knox other than that I really like them. Having to commute over 100 miles day for work, it wasn’t long before I was hearing ‘Shout at the Moon’ at least twice a day on BBC R1. It was only about after a week I thought to myself “who is this, I should check them out”. They’re now a staple in my music collection and I’m keeping my eyes peeled for tour dates.

Favourite Old Discovery:
– Skindred

A hard one to categorise, but we’ve all heard songs and thought “who is this, I’ve never heard these before”, and then the laughter is cued because you sound like a right twonk who has been hiding under a rock for the past decade. Skindred are that band for me. I’ve heard the name many times but never actually heard their music, and it wasn’t until a playlist was shared with me that I discovered them. All I can remember thinking was “metal and reggae?!”. I now have over 17 years worth of catching up to do.

Favourite Album to be Gifted:
– Royal Blood

These guys have been all over Planet Rock this year, and have been talked about for a number of years previously. They were also support for the Foo Fighters on their UK tour, and although I had tickets still didn’t really know what these guys were about. I was gifted this album at the start of 2015, and during a house move it quickly became one of the only albums I listened to. It was constantly on repeat whilst I drummed against boxes, and has quickly become the album to listen to when stuff needs to get done!