2015 in music

2015 musically was a year of branching out as I gradually grow from the metal of my younger years.  There’s been alot of noodling about with Jazz, dabbling in chill out music and experimental electronic music.

A big discovery for me this year has been Phish a lovely intelligent melodic psychedelic band, who are huge in America filling out arenas, but strangely absent from European touring schedules (the lead singer apparently has a drugs conviction that prevents touring over here). My entry point was via the awesome Fuego which is their last album, after a hiatus and reformation. Then I consumed Billy Breathes which has the fantastically uplifting anthem Free. My final trip to Phishland was the appropriately titled Joy, a heartfelt epic of a long player.

Also rediscovered Ozric Tentacles via their latest album Technicians of the Sacred, which is their latest after reforming, and has all the joyous swirling dancey uplifting instrumentals that I remember them for from the early 90s, where I discovered them from my pals in Leeds University’s Psychedelic and Trash Society.

Clutch put out Psychic Warfare, which is a lovely blend of their ‘pure rock fury’ sound which has developed over the last couple of albums and the weirder sci-fi influenced lyrics of their early albums, bliss.

Faith No More came back strong with Sol Invitus, which is a wonderful continuation and evolution of their musical mission, not a plundering and invalidation of their musical backcatalog like some reformations are.

I was initially very excited about Killing Joke’s new LP Pylon. It hits all the buttons that a good Killing Joke release should. Perhaps that’s the problem, that after thirty odd years of them pushing my buttons I no longer need the cathartic release they used to provide. Going to see them live back in October certainly felt like I concluded business I started with them in the 90s. I dunno maybe after a break I’ll come back to them with fire and passion. Perhaps they will find a new and exciting direction.

Bandcamp has been a big find this year and I’ve taken the time to explore it. I really like the model of free streaming and then them nudging you buy (usually at a pay what you want price). Its become my main place to find new music. A lot of nice electronica, like the abrasive Igorrr and the relaxing Gnomes of Kush (check out their latest LP Honey) have come this way, as well as new geetar music – such as the swaggering garage punk of Gentlemen and Assassins and the math metal of Innerty (both groups have unfortunately seemed to have faded in real life, but their albums are still available in the virtual record store that is Bandcamp). Slovenian one man band Neurotech has combined the best of both worlds, with uplifting lyrics, sweeping symphonic metal and ethereal synths. Best of all it has the OST to River of Heaven by my mate Keef Baker in his Slipdrive guise :)

You can check all this out via my Bandcamp home page, which neatly catalogs both what I’ve bought (my Collection) and what’s on my Wishlish (stuff I’ll probably get when I feel less tight).

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