2015 has been a huge year for musical releases. Leaving all the old-school shoegaze reunions aside, the underground scene has been so vibrant this year that its been very hard to keep a track on everything. Its made it so bloody difficult to choose a top 5 list. I whittled it down to a final total of 16 & spent the last 3 weeks mulling over my choices, trying to get it down to 5. Apologies to those who didn’t make the list. Its been a really, really tough decision. I’ve chosen my favourites & finalised the list only to be blown away all over again by releases from earlier on in the year. So the final 5 have changed a lot over the last 3 weeks! Anyway, before we get into it I’d just like to thank a few people:
The Primal brand is barely a year in existence & already I’ve been overwhelmed by the support that the underground music community has given to it. I started this blog off as an accompaniment to a little weekly radio show that I had over on Radio Aktiv (RAUG) called ‘The Primal Radio Show’ & if it wasnt for a handful of people who pushed me into making it a bit bigger I’d still be over on RAUG annoying the station chief. So, major props to Mr.Tom Byrne for planting the initial seed in my head, On Air Tunes CEO Mark Damhain for allowing me to come on board and ruin his collective, Shauna McLarnon for the continued help & support. To the Dj’s over on Primal Radio – Joe (The Sanctuary), Matt (The Reverb), Elizabeth (The Kitchen Sink), Skip (Radio Hootenanny), Tom (The Sentient), Matthew & John (Indie 500 Radio), Ola (Ola’s Kool Kitchen) & Miss Sofia Vondell (Distorted Waves) for believing that running your epic shows with us is a good thing! To the now settled team of contributing writers over on The Primal Music Blog who are not only giving their time whilst writing for bigger publications but some of them are playing in my favourite bands also, so their insider music knowledge & their ability to write passionately about a scene that they love is precious to the Primal brand as a whole – Sarah, Joe, Elizabeth & Rob Mulhern.
To the listeners , readers of the blog, Indie labels & folks in general who sent me in music suggestions throughout the last year, thank you all so much. Without you guys spreading the word about us it would have failed miserably! So thank you.
We all know that the underground scene is vibrant & thriving. No amount of reunions will ever tell us different. We also know that its full of creative musicians who are struggling to get their music out to a wider audience & who are releasing their music, mostly for free, time after time without any recognition whatsoever. At Primal we try where possible to highlight these artists & we intend on continuing that trend into 2016 & beyond.
Support the little guys & gals. They deserve it more.
Thanks for reading,
Del Chaney – Chief Editor & Contributing Writer (The Primal Music Blog), Station Owner & Broadcaster (Primal Radio) – Dublin, Ireland, December 2015.
BELOW ARE MY TOP 5 RELEASES OF 2015:
Out of all of the releases of 2015 that I had the pleasure of listening to, I was struck at just how ‘Creation Records’ sounding Portland based ‘Tender Age’ actually are! Their epic release ‘Get High’ b/w ‘Always’ (October 2015) instantly catapulted itself into my top 5 from its very first spin. They have a sound that completely envelopes itself around your senses & caresses your inner soul with its reverberating waves. Truly a masterpiece with its layers of sonic delight & full on dreamy soundscapes. A release to suit everyones tastes, from dream-pop to shoegaze & on into experimental psychedelia. Simply wonderful & deserved of place in my final top 5 releases of 2015. Check it out:
Ohio based ‘Everyone But Me’ released their self titled debut EP onto the masses back in May of this year & it instantly floored me. Full of 90’s sounding shoegaze interspersed at times with dream-pop flair & a hint of alternative rock ‘Everyone But Me’ have the ability to go on and release something special in 2016 & I for one will be watching intently for their next move. Standout track on this epic release is ‘Say Farewell’. Check it out:
Back at the beginning of the year I stumbled upon something rather special within Philadelphia’s burgeoning underground music scene. Without any hesitation whatsoever I fell deeply, head over heels into the dreamy, late 80’s post-punk & dream pop infused shoegazing soundscapes created by ‘The Morelings’. Their 3 track EP entitled ‘No Sign’ has been a firm favourite of mine all year & they stand out for me as a band who have the ability to tell a sonic tale with every single note that they play! Every track encompasses stunning vocal arrangements sitting on top epic walls of effected guitars, throbbing bass-lines & addictive drum progressions. 2016 will be a big year for ‘The Morelings’ & I’m waiting intently on what comes next. The stand out track for me on this epic release is the EP’s closing track – ‘No Sign’. Check it out:
I’ve been waxing lyrical about this band ever since their enigmatic guitarist & lead vocalist got in touch with me back in March. What ‘Tuath’ are creating within the underground psychgazing scene over here in Ireland is nothing short of brilliant. This debut EP grabbed me by the ears & dragged me through a plethora of immense soundscapes. Every single track brought something different to the sonic table & the introduction of Saxophone to the Irish shoegazing scene was a delight to hear. This band are never afraid of pushing boundaries or crossing musical genres. ‘Tuath’ are ones to watch out for in 2016 & my expectations are very, very high for what they will come out with next. Check out my favourite track on this massive release – ‘D.M.T’ & marvel in its brilliance!
Now, before you all get up on your high horses! I know that Edinburgh based noise merchants ‘Wozniak’ claimed my top spot in 2014’s ‘Primal Radio Show’ end of year tallies with their immense debut EP ‘Pikes Peak’. But for this years musical selections I based my choices on releases that I believed had raised the bar within the underground scene ‘this year’ as a whole. Putting it bluntly bands needed to show that they were bringing something different to the musical table! So, with that in mind I’ve chosen ‘Auster’ by Wozniak as my top release of 2015 purely on this basis – If creating & self releasing music can be classed as a continuous progression, with each step a betterment of yourself as a musician or a collective of musicians then ‘Wozniak’ have made a serious leap up the musical ladder with ‘Auster’. What this EP shows is that this band are one with their music & that they have the ability to create serious waves in todays underground musical landscape & that they are not afraid to experiment with their sound to achieve it. I firmly believe that they have (as a musical collective) raised the bar for others to see clearly. I also believe that ‘Auster’ is a bold statement of intent from a band that I know have more to give us paltry music fans going forward. ‘Wozniak’ are developing into a potent musical force, both in the studio & on the live circuit. ‘Auster’ is a must have for any serious music fan reading this (who like me) loves their music on the shadier side of noisy, melodic post-rock but with that full on atmospheric shoegaze wall of sound. Its my belief that the sounds ‘Wozniak’ are creating today will be influencing new bands for years to come.
Now go & Check this EP out for yourselves & tell me that I’m wrong?
OTHER RELEASES OF NOTE THIS YEAR:
The Virgance – Hiko Shrine, Clanns – Korova, Forevr – Yucatan, Wildhoney – Ceiling Fan, DAAG HUR – Scorpian Tail, Future – Horizons, La Casa Al Mare – Sunflowers, Star Horse – Slower Now, Galants – This Is Heaven, Lowtide – Julia, 93 Million Miles From The Sun – Fall Inside / Summer Daze, Ummagma – Orion(Frequency EP), Weird – Infinite Decay, Stella Diana – Alhena, Ultraviolet – Ultraviolet EP.