Favourite music of 2015

This year was another good one for music — actually, it was exceedingly great, as it marked the return of my favourite band (that’s not The Cure) after a 9-year hiatus.

Here then are my five favourite (new) albums of 2015.

Sleater-Kinney
No Cities to Love

SleaterKinney_NoCitiesToLove_cover

When Sleater-Kinney went on hiatus in August 2006, I was pretty cut-up. I’d seen them three times back in New Zealand (2002 on the back of One Beat, then twice in 2006 on the tour for The Woods), and that wasn’t enough. Excellent albums from Carrie Brownstein’s Wild Flag and The Corin Tucker Band helped fill the nearly decade-long gap, but… that wasn’t enough either.

And then Sleater-Kinney roared back to life, having amazingly kept their reunion a secret for nearly two years. Then I saw them live in Manchester in the first half of 2015, and they blew the roof off the venue.

It’s good to have them back!

Speedy Ortiz
Foil Deer

c00de6da

I have to thank SomaFM, Alex Segura and NPR Music for this one. Speedy Ortiz’s third album Foil Deer has been on heavy repeat for me this year. Best bit about discovering a band a bit late? There were two previous albums I could enjoy immediately.

Raising the Skate is quite possibly my favourite song of the year.

Courtney Barnett
Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit81FuZVqc8OL._SL1500_

Another NPR Music discovery. I’m sensing a theme here.

Veruca Salt
Ghost Notes

veruca-salt-ghost-notes

Okay, so this is a slightly weird one. Although Veruca Salt have existed in one form or another since 1993, Ghost Notes is the first album by the original line-up since 1997’s Eight Arms to Hold You. And Ghost Notes doesn’t disappoint – it sounds just like Veruca Salt circa 1997. This is old-school American indie rock.

On the other hand… it sounds just like Veruca Salt circa 1997. Which, as I’ve just said, it great. But also a little weird. At times it does feel like a nostalgic trip eighteen years back in time, and my hope is that the next album shows a little progression. Sleater-Kinney came back after nine years with an album that felt like a modern continuation, after all.

Wolf Alice
My Love is Cool

myloveiscool

This is a super-late entry, given I only discovered the band on Christmas Eve thanks to Soma FM and someone else’s best-of list. But less than a week of high-rotation listening has put this into my top five albums of the year. I might just have to go see them live in 2016. Their back catalogue is also well worth seeking out, especially the Moaning Lisa Smile EP.