Top 15 Artists of the Year

15. Chløë Black

Having been compared to the likes of Lana Del Rey, Chløë Black mixes hollywood glamour with doom and gloom within her songs. 26 year old Chløë was born in Sydney, grew up in LA, Seattle and Paris and now resides in London. Her mother is French and she is fluent and a dual national. I first heard the song ’27 Club’ by Chløë Black when it appeared on the trailer for ITV Drama ‘DCI Banks’, and admittedly I spent a good day and a half trawling the internet to find it and when I did I was certainly not disappointed, I found it on soundcloud and many months later, she has now released it and it’s available on Spotify and iTunes.. The song has an equal mix of pop-meets-retro beats and downright emotion. The lyrics are all circled around the famous ’27 Club’ as mentioned in the song title, Chløë sings “Joplin, heroin, cocaine, Cobain, raise my Hendrix to Jimi” referencing 3 infamous members of the 27 Club. Chløë has often said herself that she is fixated with death and wrote the song as a “tribute” to her “heroes” and her “wondering if greatness and pain and intrinsically linked”. The video is just as heartbreakingly beautiful as the lyrics, the video is black and white to create a dream world, Chløë stated in an interview that her and the director of the video shared a lot of the same interests, such as Film Noir, David Lynch and French New Wave, so the video was very much a joint project. If you like that you’ve heard of Chløë Black so far, you’ll be as ecstatic as I am when you find out that she’s revealed her debut album will be released sometime in 2016.

14. Wolf Alice

It’s safe to say that 2015 has been a whirlwind for alt-rock band Wolf Alice. The arrival of their debut album ‘My Love Is Cool’ sent fans into meltdown because of the vast anticipation for the album. Since 2013, Wolf Alice have been releasing music and gaining fans, and now in 2015 the band have over 59,000 followers on twitter and over a million views on youtube. The band, who originate from North London, consists of members Ellie Rowsell who takes charge of the lead vocals and plays guitar, Joff Oddie who plays guitar and assists in vocals, Theo Ellis who is in charge of bass and finally, Joel Amey who is on drums and also assists with the vocals. Although the band have been officially releasing music since 2013, they have only started to gain the mass credit they deserve in 2015, and that is down to the utterly brilliant debut album. One song that resonates with me is ‘Bros’ as it centres around childhood memories and friendship, something that is always close to people’s hearts. However, my all time favourite song by Wolf Alice has to be ‘Blush’, the title of track of the ‘Blush EP’ as it captures the rawest of emotions and makes you feel incredibly good and rid of problems after listening to it. But these aren’t the only incredible Wolf Alice songs, in fact, ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’ off the ‘Creature Songs EP’ has even been nominated for ‘Best Rock Performance’ in the 2016 Grammy’s, so keep an eye out for that. As for gigs and tours, Wolf Alice have been jetting around the world performing in places like France, Belgium and the US, but it doesn’t stop there, Wolf Alice have dates in Japan, Canada and Germany scheduled for 2016. And having seen them live, if the chance arises for you to go to a live show, I recommend you do so. Wolf Alice are only going to get bigger.

13. Circa Waves

2 words: T-Shirt Weather, by this point you should have the incredibly catchy chorus circling around your head. Of course we all know and love this song, and it goes without saying that it was my summer anthem. As well as creating this masterpiece of a song, Circa Waves also joined the list of bands to release their debut album this year, entitled ‘Young Chasers’. ‘Young Chasers’ was the perfect mix of indie and pop, which equalled the perfect summer album. The album was created by Kieran Shudall who handled the lead vocals as well as playing guitar, Sam Rourke who played bass, Joe Falconer who played the role of lead guitarist and Colin Jones who played drums. As well as releasing their album, Circa Waves played many festivals this year, gaining them hundreds of fans along the way. Although I had already been a fan of the band, seeing them at Jersey Live only increased my love for them. Between you and I, I even shed a couple of tears when they sang my favourite song ‘Fossils’ and my best fan can back me up on that. As well as being very talented, the band is also made up of the 4 nicest people you could meet, I was (very) lucky enough to meet them, and even got a picture with frontman Kieran who had an element of surprise in his eyes when he realised that 2 girls had actually gone to the airport to meet him, yes, we did get up at 7am after going to sleep at 3am. If you’ve listened to the album, you’ll know what I mean when I say that every single song is as catchy as the previous. It’s impossible to listen to any of them without wearing a huge smile. It’s clear to see why the band have so many fans, and my only hope is that they continue to grow in 2016, as I’m sure they will.

12. The Neighbourhood

If you like all things black and white then you’ll love this next band. The Neighbourhood are a 5 piece alt-rock American band consisting of members Jesse Rutherford, Zach Abels, Jeremy Freedman, Mikey Margott and Brandon Fried. Formed in 2011, The Neighbourhood are the first band on this list to be on their second album, entitled ‘Wiped Out!’ which was released October of this year. The second album was so highly anticipated because of the 2014 release of the mixtape ‘#000000 & #FFFFFF’ that teased fans with new material. The Neighbourhood released their debut album, ‘I Love You.’ in April 2013 after signing to Columbia Records, the album came as a release after 3 previous EP’s entitled ‘I’m Sorry…’, ‘The Love Collection’ and ‘Thank You’. In my own personal opinion, ‘I Love You.’ is one of the best debut albums I have ever heard. Being described as “moody” and “atmospheric” by the band, “I Love You.’ had an element of mystery as well as gloominess, which somehow created the perfect combination within the songs. Their most infamous song ‘Sweater Weather’, which featured as a top song on the album, has been covered about as many times as ‘Wonderwall’, by many other artists. But back to 2015, and the release of ‘Wiped Out!’ which sent the band viral across all social media platforms. The lead single from the album, ‘R.I.P 2 My Youth’ is one of my all-time favourite songs due to the intense lyrics and outstanding instrumental. Although The Neighbourhood are american, they have toured in places such as Paris, Moscow and the UK, and with the release of the second album, a new tour is very likely, so keep an eye out for any tour dates that might be around you!

11. Sundara Karma

Having already been predicted to be 2016’s biggest breakthrough band, I now introduce the wonderful Sundara Karma to you. The 4 piece indie band from Reading have blown up in 2015 and are set to become even bigger next year, due to their musical talent and charm. Oscar Pollock, Haydn Evans, Ally Baty and Dom Cordell are only 18 but they’re already taking the UK by storm with their catchy songs that have even being played on the likes of BBC Radio 1. After performing at Reading festival this year, the band have gained a large fanbase, with many fans posting pictures with the members themselves. I only really heard about the band when they started to blow up on twitter due to the fact people with similar music tastes to me were tweeting about how good they were, so I decided to give them a go. The first song that I listened to was called ‘Hustle’ on the ‘Indigo Puff EP’ and within the first 20 seconds I already liked them/ The rawness and indie vibe that glimmered over the song sent me into a dream-like world and I was just fascinated with the band and each song they released. I spent much of that night watching live performances on YouTube and listening to the rest of their music, discovering that each song was just as good (if not better) than the last. On top of the musical talent, Sundara Karma have proved just how nice they are with the amount of time they dedicate to meeting fans and having photographs with them, a quality I always find amazing within a band. As we all know, I’m a sucker for a good music video, and Sundara Karma are the perfect example of how you make a good quality music video. The video for ‘Vivienne’ is utterly incredible, the song itself is amazing but the cinematography within the music video is outstandingly beautiful, and I definitely recommend that you watch it, you can find it just below.

10. Swim Deep

Wow, Swim Deep have been one of my favourite bands for 3 years, so writing about them is an absolute honour. I first discovered them by chance by in 2012 when they released the ‘Honey’ single and from the first listen I was totally transfixed with their style, they’re actually the band that transformed my music taste, so for that I have to thank them dearly, as I have also discovered so many amazing bands through them. My love for the Birmingham based band (made up of members Austin Williams, Zach Robinson, Cavan McCarthy, Tom “Higgy Pop” Higgins and James Balmont) has only increased since then, with the release of their debut album ‘Where the Heaven Are We’ which can only be described as a genius mix of indie and psychedelic-pop, whereas the bands second album, ‘Mothers’ that was released early October of this year was described as being a mix of “acid house, psychedelia and krautrock”. For me, ‘Mothers’ was a credit to the band, the sound was slightly different from what fans were used to, but it was just as amazing, if not even sightly better. Swim Deep had already released many of the songs that feature on the album, the first of which was ‘To My Brother’ that was the initial song the band used to communicate with fans that their sound and style had changed, the graphics used in the video also communicated this particular message. However, ‘Namaste’ is by far my favourite song off the album for the sheer reason that it’s so unique and different from anything I have ever heard. It was the one song on the album that jumped out at me instantly, and I was beyond ecstatic once I watched the video that went alongside, the whole idea was just utterly genius. It was announced in the summer that Swim Deep would be touring the US alongside The 1975 in December, and since that time there has been considerable mention of Swim Deep across social media. Swim Deep are notoriously known to do many festivals each year, including Reading & Leeds, so if you find yourself at a festival and they’re performing, I urge you to go, their live performances have been described as “psychedelic” and others have said it has a “very chilled atmosphere”.

9. Blossoms

Being described as a perfect milkshake of “Arctic Monkeys, the Happy Mondays and Kraftwork”, Manchester-based band Blossoms first came to my attention late in 2014 when someone tweeted about their song ‘You Pulled a Gun on Me’ and from then on I’ve been totally mesmerised by every single song they’ve released (so thanks stranger for tweeting about them). However, it’s highly likely that I would’ve heard of them by now due to the mass popularity they have suddenly acquired over the last few months. Blossoms have even become a contender for the MTV 2016 Brand New, which is in itself an astounding achievement. The 5-piece band consists of members Tom Ogden who is lead vocalist and is also on guitar, Charlie Salt who plays bass and assist with backing vocals, Josh Dewhurst who is the lead guitarist,  Joe Donovan who is on drums and Myles Kellock who handles keyboards and also contributes to the backing vocals. Now nearly entering 2016, Blossoms have played many more shows, gained a lot of recognition and released my favourite song of theirs,’Charlemagne’. Featuring on BBC Music Introducing, ‘Charlemagne’ now has over 45 thousand views on YouTube and is the bands biggest release to date. The band recently revealed that they are working on their debut album and that it will be released sometime during 2016. The band stated themselves “We want to be one of those bands like the Arctic Monkeys – the Arctic Monkeys don’t sound like anybody, they just sound like the Arctic Monkeys.”, so you can expect a concoction of rock’n’roll mixed with total originality. Blossoms are touring around the UK in February/March of next year so be sure to catch them at a venue near you!

8. Palma Violets

Now, if you know me you’ll know how in love I am with this next band – London born Palma Violets, consisting of members Chilli Jesson (vocals and bass), Sam Fryer (vocals and guitar), Jeffery Mayhew (keyboards) and William Doyle (drums). Palma Violets were formed based on the musical partnership of frontmen Sam Fryer and Chilli Jesson back in 2011. The genre of the band is mainly indie rock with hints of garage and psychedelia. In my opinion, the bands first single ‘Best of Friends’ is and always will be one of the best debut singles released by a band of this genre, I still listen to it about 5 times a day, and that’s 3 years on from it’s release. However, it wasn’t this single that gained the band their first fans, Palma Violets had already created a heavy online following much before the release of the anticipated first single, this was primarily down to fans uploading pictures and videos of their gigs on sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Shortly before they released their debut album, ‘180’, Palma Violets appeared on the 2013 NME tour alongside artists like Peace and Miles Kane. Whilst the debut album was genius, nothing prepared me for how outstandingly amazing Palma Violets’ second album, ‘Danger in the Club’, obviously I can’t write about how good every single song is or this review would never end so I chose my overall favourite (which took me a very long time) and I decided to recommend a song called ‘English Tongue’ which is the ultimate feel good song from this album. The charismatic lyrics, well-directed video and immense instrumental make it the best song on this album for multiple reasons. And Palma Violets aren’t  shy for award nominations, they’ve been nominated for awards such as the BBC Sound of 2013 and even won the NME Best Band of 2012 award.

7. The Vaccines

The Vaccines are my by far one of the best live bands I have ever been lucky enough to see. Admittedly, before September I hardly listened to their music, but how wrong I was not to. The London-Based band, formed back in 2011 consists of members Justin Hayward-Young, Freddie Cowan, Árni Árnason, Pete Robertson and Michael Legg. I was lucky enough to see them at this years Jersey Live festival, which saw an incredible light show, live performance and an excessive amount of confetti, but nevertheless it was entirely amazing. They performed the classic songs such as ‘I Always Knew’ and ‘If You Wanna’ along with some new songs of their 2015 released album ‘English Graffiti’ a personal favourite of mine being ‘Handsome’, due to the instrumental and lyrics within the song. After seeing them live, it is impossible to deny that the band are one of the best live bands around, everything is just as it sounds on the studio versions, which is something that I consider incredibly important. And can we just talk about how cool Justin Hayward-Young is? The confidence just oozes out of that man, I was just watching him in total mesmerisation! It’s clear to see why the band have so many dedicated fans (of all ages) due to the amount of time and effort they put into all of their music, it’s really admirable how hard you can see them working when they perform onstage. They are one band that you can see care just as much about their live performance as they do about the lyrical/instrumental talent of the studio versions. Seeing The Vaccines perform live was definitely way up the list on my favourite moment of 2015, and if you haven’t had the chance to see them live yet, or are unsure about whether you would enjoy it or not, I strongly recommend going if you get the chance. It was one performance where you could see the complete admiration off of every singe fan who was watching them.

6. Baby Strange

Baby Strange may just be THE coolest band ever. From the name, to the image, to the sound. It was just by chance that I discovered the band back in August after they came up as a suggested artist on Spotify, I’d seen them mentioned on Twitter several times and thought I’d give their music a go, and I was utterly amazed by what I heard. The Glaswegian band have even earned the attention of British television show ‘Made in Chelsea’ with their single ‘Friend’ making it on to one of the shows Spotify playlists. Whilst ‘Friend’ is an incredible song, it was their latest single ‘Pleasure City’ that really caught my attention. It combines indie rock with punk rock to create the perfect combination. Frontman Johnny Madden (who may just be one of the coolest people I have ever seen) described the meaning behind the song as being about “someone’s attempt to escape the banality of daily life” also adding that the record is “selfish, self-indulgent and self-destructive. It comes from a conflicted place in the mind that I’m sure others can relate to”. Since releasing the utterly brilliant ‘Pure Evil’ back in 2013, the band have toured with similar artists such as Palma Violets and Slaves, which is an indie listeners dream, well certainly mine anyway. Featuring on Gigwise’s  ’61 exciting albums to look forward to in 2016′, it is strongly rumoured that the Scottish trio will be releasing their debut album in 2016, which I am beyond ecstatic about, as this band have a talent, especially within their live performances, that make them unique, and as soon as I possibly can, I will be going to one of their gigs, so I can see the rumoured 60’s garage-influenced live performances myself. Check to the video for ‘Pleasure City’ below, and keep your eye out for Baby Strange as in my opinion they are the dark horse for being one of the most exciting and upcoming bands in 2016.

5. Peace

And here we have yet another Birmingham-based band. Peace, the indie-rock band made up of members Harry Koisser, Sam Koisser, Douglas Castle and Dom Boyce have been creating incredible music since 2012 and believe me, they’ve only got better with each new single they release. Peace released their second album, ‘Happy People’, back in early February. My favourite song by far from the album is ‘Imaginary’ purely because of the overall dreamy sound that makes you feel so relaxed and at peace (excuse the pun). Due to the success of the bands first album, ‘In Love’, the guys have quite rightfully earned themselves a huge fan base that only continues to grow each day due to the level of musical talent they possess but also the characters of each member and how fan orientated they are. Peace have taken a short break from touring but it heavily rumoured that they will be back in 2016 (fingers crossed that it means new music) and I for one am hoping and praying that it’s true.

4. High Tyde

I am so beyond excited to write about this next band. Cody Matthews, Spencer Tobias-Williams, Connor Cheetham and Louis Semlekan-Faith, better known as High Tyde are a band from Brighton who are set to be huge in 2016. With a mass of fan support and an incredible single entitled ‘Do What You Want’, the boys are already working their way up the indie charts. I first came across High Tyde when I did a random search into google for bands that originated in Brighton, and up they came. Since that day I have been totally infatuated with all their music, especially the song ‘Glow’. This song in particular is so important to me because of the sheer fact it is so relatable and just beautiful, however, the band have managed to keep the pace fast, instead of slowing it down like most other bands do with songs that centre about love and romance. The band have been releasing music since 2012 and have supported some huge acts such as Bad Suns and Peace. Whilst I am annoyed that I didn’t discover the boys sooner, they have certainly impacted my year and music interests and for that, I can only thank google for that initial search. High Tyde already have a growing fanbase, which can be seen on twitter and in their video for ‘Do What You Want’ which features entireties of fans holding up signs/miming/dancing along to the song. I’m hoping to see High Tyde at one of their gigs next year when I finally move to Brighton, and hopefully I may see one or two of you there. But seriously, go and listen to High Tyde, I promise you won’t regret it, I certainly didn’t.

3. JAWS

JawsJawsJawsss am I right? Effortlessly cool JAWS are another Birmingham based band (seems like all the talent resonates from there). Formed in 2012 after a member posted a demo online that proved to be highly popular, Connor Schofield, Alex Hudson and Eddy Geach have since then been releasing incredible music. The band released their debut album in 2014, entitled ‘Be Slowly’ which gained them mass attention from the media and their own fans. Fast forward to 2015 and their fanbase has now tripled in size, with some of their shows even selling out in the late months of this year. And listening to the music it is clear to see why JAWS have become such a popular band. The instrumental combined with Connor Schofield’s beautiful vocals make for incredible songs. They have been described as an indie-pop band, however one of their releases this year ‘Be Slowly’ got reviewed as a more ‘grunge and rock’ approach to music, whether or not this is the new direction the band are going with their music is unclear but it will be as good as all of their previous material much the same. The bands latest song ‘What We Haven’t Got Yet’ totally blew up on Twitter the second it was released, with fans tweeting back that it was the “best song made by them” and that it was about time the band “got more attention from the music world”. I fully agree with this statement, and it seems that people are finally starting to pay more attention to the band, with them having played some major festivals this year such as ‘London Rocks’ and ‘Y Not’. It’s my hope and dream that the band will release even more material in 2016, as they are genuinely one of the best bands to come out of the UK, and if you haven’t heard their music (especially one of my all time favourite songs – Gold) then you are thoroughly missing out.

2. The 1975

This particular placing may cause some controversy due to the split opinion everyone has on this next band. Whilst some may dislike The 1975, it is impossible to deny that The 1975 have impacted the music scene this year. I’m sure you can all remember the 1st June when, at 00:00, The 1975 disappeared off the face of the earth – and we had been given no reason as to why. Or then, when they finally came back to us (with no explanation as to why they gave near heart attacks to their fans) they started posting off pictures with words that made no sense on – that we now know to be the song titles on the extremely long winded named album ‘I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It’, better known as ILIWYSFYASBYSUOI, that is set for release on February 26nd 2016. The long awaited album come after the band revealed they would be changing their sound and image, which they certainly did. On October 8th of this year, Annie Mac premiered the first play of the first single off the album called ‘Love Me’ as the ‘Hottest Record in the World’, the song sent shockwaves across their fanbase, with many split opinions on whether they liked / disliked the new sound that was described as ’80’s pop with a hint of electro’. I personally love the new era and I think that they made the right decision in switching up how they make their music and present themselves. Since ‘Love Me’ was premiered, the band – made up of members Matt Healy, Adam Hann, George Daniel and Ross MacDonald, have been touring around the UK and America, and have released the second song off the album, called ‘UGH!’ which tackles some personal issues of frontman Matt Healy. Whilst on tour, the band have played several new songs off the new album, such as ‘She’s American’ and ‘Somebody Else’, and listening to the live versions of these songs have only made me more excited to hear the studio versions. That album is set to be one of the most talked about of 2016, and with the way they are talked about on social media, it is clear to see why. The band are also back touring again in March across several different places. Unfortunately, I have not been to the shows, but from what I’ve seen on the internet, the staging, lighting and of course live music sounds utterly incredible and I would urge you to go if the chance presents itself to you.

1. Rat Boy

How do you even start a review on Rat Boy? Welcome Jordan Cardy, Liam Haygarth, Harry and Noah Booth, aka Rat Boy. Now if you haven’t heard of essex-based band Rat Boy I’m going to presume you either don’t have twitter or don’t read anything that NME post. 19-year-old Jordan Cardy created the band as a solo artist, but soon enlisted his friends to create the band with him. Although there are officially 4 members, Rat Boy is often referred to as meaning Jordan alone. For example, Rat Boy has been nominated for MTV Brand New (if you haven’t see the hundreds of hashtags everywhere) and has been added to the ‘BBC Sound OF 2016’ longlist. The first I heard of Rat Boy was the single ‘Sign On’ when The 1975 frontman tweeted about the young artist. This is probably a bad thing to admit but at the time, I hadn’t listened to Jamie T before so I was completely unaware of the great similarities between the 2 artists, with Jordan often being referred to as “Jamie T’s little brother”. If it’s not the music you know Rat Boy for, it’ll be the gigs that have seen fans left with broken legs and all other types of injuries. Rat Boy gigs are notoriously known for being – messy – to say the least, nevertheless there are always tens of fans there ready to see the utterly brilliant music performed in person. A personal favourite of mine is ‘Wasteman’ which ties up lyrics from many of his previous demo’s to make a fun-sounding, mood brightening song. Ever since I heard it I knew it would be my favourite as it just lifted my mood up automatically. As mentioned, Rat Boy always have a great turn out for gigs, and it’s no different when it comes to festivals, 2015 saw the band performing at various different festivals, and in 2016 it has already been confirmed that Rat Boy will be at Reading (and I am very excited), so, for my number 1 on my top 15 artists, I present to you Rat Boy, one of the most controversial live artists but it’s more than likely the band will be one of the biggest upcoming artists of 2016, and well deserved at that.

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