25. Action Bronson
Mr Wonderful

Building on three previous mixtapes (Dr. Lecter, Blue Chips, Blue Chips II) and another EP’s worth of released ( “Bird on a Wire”! “Strictly 4 My Jeeps”!), Action Bronson’s major label debut, Mr Wonderful, has cemented the heavy set rapper from Queens’s stature as the undisputed king of comedy stoner-rap. Born from his sheer lyrical prowess and continued strive for experimentation, Bronson finds himself in full-blown eccentric mode, as the former chef spits lines about everything from eating chicken nuggets off a Rambo knife to receiving sponge baths while high.

24. Hudson Mohawke

One of Scotland’s true success stories, Hudson Mohawke’s career trajectory from bedroom sets and Subcity radio to worldwide superstar producer and Kanye West cohort is the stuff of veritable fairy tale. Having worked alongside the likes of Anton Hegarty and Yannis Philippakis on respective projects, not to mention the small matter of West’s recent album Mohawke’s displayed his penchant for old school R&B and soul by sampling the likes of Wanda Robinson and O.C. Smith in recent years. On this album, he dips into his esoteric back catalogue, often paying homage to sample based hip hop and the likes of Just Blaze and Dipset via the atman of 70’s songwriter D.J. Rogers’ ‘Watch Out for the Riders’. A true trailblazing release means Lantern is firmly placed on our top list.

23. PINS
Wild Nights

A heady mix of dreamy, 60s girlpop, garage rock and 90’s indie-pop, Manchester quartet Pins follow up to 2013 debut ‘Girls like us’ eschews cool. The female rock group put themselves at arms length from any lazy girl group schmaltzy stereotype with a barrage of dirty riffs, moody hooks and fuzz soaked rebellion.

It’s an addictive concoction that offers more texture to their previous release, with layered guitars and keyboards added for good measure, indicating a walk in a more mature, poppier, yet welcome, approach, which still the band’s raw, edgy, no fucks manifesto.

22. Sufjan Stevens
Carrie & Lowell

Carrie & Lowell is the latest record in the Detroit-born multi-instrumentalist’s catalogue; having previously delved into everything from traditional folk and electronic music to ballet scores and festive albums. Comprised of 11 tracks, the album saw Stevens return to a simple and solemn folk-based sound, driven by his emotive voice and delicate guitar. The LP’s title is a nod to his late mother and stepfather, with its contents billed as an account of Stevens’ ongoing struggle to come to terms with her untimely death in the latter stages of 2012.

21. Father John Misty
I Love You Honeybear

Former member of the Fleet Foxes skulk, Joshua Tillman’s follow up to 2012’s, Fear Fun, I Love you Honeybear is a breathtaking concept album about love and marriage that perfectly combines the sanctity of the latter with the sarcastic. A thoroughly deep, personal work that lurches between the dark depression and beautiful honesty, it showcases Tillman’s talents as one of today’s true folk troubadours. Saloon pianos and strings aplenty backed by a poignant vocal delivery hooks you in from the word go and gets better with every listen, while expertly having a pop at modern self involvement and contemporary culture.


There are genres and aspects of the musical spectrum which will always be clung to and adored despite new fads or trends that come along. Two of these areas which expertise will always reap the rewards are most certainly songwriting as an art form in itself and acoustic music in its purest form, peering above the crowded marketplace as a true testament to an artist’s ability. Given these perceptions, it’s all the more remarkable that Ayr-based duo Bella And The Bear have managed to achieve so much in such a short period of time; entrancing those who’ve been exposed to them and astutely finding their footing in Scotland’s vibrant music scene over little more than a year. Prolifically releasing not one but two engaging EP’s over the course of 2015, the successor to their debut release Once Upon A Time stands out as the superior of the two. With its atmosphere frequently shifting between sombre and utterly uplifting throughout the course of the EP, track such as ‘Skeletons’, ‘Paper Planes’ and ‘Passenger’ are indicative of the wealth of talent which this duo possesses and epitomises why they’re jostling their way to the forefront of Scotland’s new breed of songwriters.


Paying homage to the alt-rock trailblazers that came before them without ever sounding overly derivative, American outfit Bully made an emphatic statement on their debut LP Feels Like. Led by the wild, feral and emotion filled vocals of frontwoman Alicia Bognanno, the Nashville group proved their ability to capture the conflicting nature of the human spirit throughout the course of the records’ 10 track duration.

Culling influence from artists ranging from Japandroids, Pissed Jeans, Grandaddy, Screaming Trees, Babes In Toyland and others, joyfully unruly tracks such as ‘I Remember’, ‘Reason’,  ‘Milkman’ and the momentous ‘Trying’  established the band as a group that’s likely to be a staple of lists such as these for years to come.


With the level of popularity they’ve attained and the cataclysmic manner in which they arrived on the scene, The View’s career is a journey that has been beset by peaks and valleys. Finding their footing in the once thriving indie rock scene that spawned the closest thing rock ‘n’ roll has had to a cultural movement since the 80’s, it once seemed as though the Dundonian lads could unfortunately be casualties of this era in the way that many bands who refused to evolve were. Luckily for us, this is certainly not the case, with the hard hitting four piece surpassing what they accomplished on their last few albums and delivering the inventive Ropewalk.

‘Under The Rug’ is an utterly electrifying opening volley that is spurred on by sensational vocals from Kyle Falconer while tracks such as ‘Marriage’ hark back to The Strokes circa First Impressions Of Earth and Angles. ‘Psychotic’ is an ode to someone who’s lost their way, seemingly set on their downward trajectory by neglecting their wellbeing in favour of misguided excess while Penny’ almost comically lures in the listener  with its saccharine piano and upbeat vocal melody before an onslaught in discordant and pleasingly destructive guitars make their way into the fray.

What becomes all too clear by the conclusion of Ropewalk is that we’re looking at first tentative steps that usher in the next evolution of Dryburgh’s favourite sons.


Rip it up and start again’; equal parts a phrase ingrained into the pop culture landscape by Orange Juice and a concept that leaves a band’s fanbase proceeding with caution and more than a hint of wariness. When Scottish folk five piece Admiral Fallow proclaimed that they’d renounced the ways of old in a favour of a fresh perspective, they created an air  both of trepidation and intrigue around their third record Tiny Rewards. However such fears can be dispelled by the fact that not only have Admiral Fallow produced another excellent record, but it is in fact their most accomplished and awe inspiring to date.

Towing the line between gentile and altogether more foreboding, ‘Evangeline’ outlines the band’s masterfully crafted and well oiled sound, whereas tracks such as ‘Happened In The Fall’, ‘Sunday’ and  ‘Seeds’ leave room for further experimentation and push their sound into bold new frontiers.

Simply put, Tiny Rewards documents Admiral Fallow re-entering the fray as a band revitalised; and one which has only began to scratch the surface of the depths of creativity that their new writing process has afforded them.


2015 is a year that’ll go down in history as the time in which Australia’s Courtney Barnett transcended the underground and became an integral part of our musical zeitgeist, owing almost entirely to the strengths of her phenomenal debut full length Sometimes I Sit And Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit. Filled with an abundance of witty, nihilistic and cynical lyrics that are rendered in a unique stream of consciousness style delivery that has more in common with Horses era Patti Smith than it does any of her contemporaries, Her debut album has been lauded as a future class in many circles and has all the attributes which would suggest that it has the staying power to do so.

While Barnett maintains an admirable level of excellence throughout, some of the album’s standout tracks include the rollicking ‘Pedestrian At Best’, the whimsically doomed love story of ‘Aqua Profunda’ and the unforgiving riffage of ‘Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go To The Party’


Ever since the inception of rock ‘n’ roll in its truest form, contemporary music has had a tumultous relationship with the piano. Whilst it has never been the instrument du jour in a guitar led environment,  the past 30 years has seen several artists transcend the negative connotations and inherent stuffiness that’s associated with those who tickle the ivories. One modern artist who looks capable of becoming this generation’s defining pianist is Tobias Jesso Jr, a Canadian born musician who only turned his hand to the instrument on account of his guitars being in storage. Wholeheartedly admitting that he’s far from a virtuouso, the rudimentary manner in which Jesso Jr both composes and performs his compositions possesses an unmistakable charm which entices the listener and proves that going back to basics can be beneficial in a world of overblown concepts and lavish production. 

Jesso Jr’s awe-inspiring grasp of how to write compelling and deeply moving compositions truly shines through on songs such as the wistful ‘Can’t Stop Thinking About You’, ‘Can We Still Be Friends?’, ‘Hollywood’ and the soul-baring ‘Just A Dream’. An artist with a concise vision and an impeccable ability to coerce the listener into a variety of emotional states, expect this young man to have a long and storied career within the music industry and for people of all creeds and cultures to discover this album and revel in its ingenuity.


Due to the many lofty comparisons that have been leveled at Glasgow-based duo Pinact over the course of recent months, it would’ve been easy to be disappointed by their debut full length Stand Still And Rot, an album which many have been waiting for the emergence of with baited breath. For those of you that such a description applied to, rest assured that the band have more than delivered, producing a record which contains all the traits that had been accredited to to their material and harnesses them as a fuel to concoct an innovative sound.

Encapsulating various different states of the human psyche over a delectable foundation of 90’s indebted alt-rock on tracks such as ‘Anxiety’, ‘Limbs’ ‘Scars’ and ‘Up Or Down’, their debut album captures a band with an almost unprecedented ability to align amazing songwriting in the traditional sense of the term with a plethora of more strident influences.


Similar to its predecessor Dead, listening to Young Fathers’ White Men Are Black Men Too is an incredibly immersive experience; simultaneously assaulting the senses but capable of moments of genuine tranquility and awe inspiring beauty. Moreover, it sees them build upon the brazen experimentation and adds in an equally impressive myriad of genres and styles to their overwhelming repertoire. If there was ever any doubt that this album is of the same calibre as DEAD, such concerns can be easily dispelled by the first four tracks alone.

Compositions such as the frenetic ‘Still Running’ and ‘Feasting’ are bombastic yet incredibly accomplished pieces of songwriting while ‘Shame’ and ’27’ see the trio eke out vital doses of the off kilter and expansive pop that made their debut full length such a revelation in the first place. ‘Rain Or Shine’ has one of the most contagious hooks that has been produced all year and its hard to imagine that anyone wouldn’t be uplifted by the sweet gospel of ‘Nest’, a track which is wholly moving and authentic in a way that too few pop songs are these days.

Then there’s ‘Old Rock & Roll’, one of the most honest and eruptive numbers that has greeted our ears in quite some time. Delivering a meaningful sermon on the complexities of racial issues and imploring the world to not let these antiquated notions to be put aside in favour of true equality, it sees Young Fathers ingrain themselves as not only a force in music but a genuine cultural voice that wishes to produce timeless art that forces the populace to engage.


Whilst it might not be gracing the top of our list, no album has sent shockwaves through our world to the extent that Kendrick Lamar’s magnum opus To Pimp A Butterfly has over the last 12 tumultuous months.

An album which heeds the long lineage of great artists and innovators which paved the way for ‘K-Dot’ due to its dalliances with blues, jazz, soul, funk and more, To Pimp A Butterfly is an explosive record which sees Kendrick exercise his own demons and pontificate on the many evils of American society and the injustices which it allows to continue.

Not since the halcyon days of Public Enemy’s creative peak has a hip-hop artist provided such a daring insight into the hardships which many American citizens face on a day to day basis all the while over a bedrock of mesmeric instrumentation.

An album that never falls into a malaise from the opening note to its revelatory final moments, key tracks include the defiant ‘King Kunta’, the self-loathing ‘U’ and the absolutely impeccable ‘Blacker The Berry’.


As consistent and magnetic as any rock ‘n’ roll outfit that have graced us with their material in the past few years, 2015 has saw Tijuana Bibles ramp up the intensity in every conceivable way as they continue to carve out their place in this staggeringly competitive industry. Venturing out to decimate stages across Europe as well as back at home, this year has saw them take all of the enviable quality and have amplified their tenacity to turn in the showstopping ‘Ghost/Dance/Movement.

Coated in the sludgy, blues-influenced desert rock that has been elemental in their career thus far, their 2015 EP is lathered with colossal riffs, skull-crushing percussion and jaw dropping choruses which have laid waste to much of the competition that looks to topple them from their perch.


There’s not an air of pretension or any contrived caveats that come attached to Slaves’ output, as it’s good old fashioned punk rock that is likely to gain your adoration for its organic feel and unrepentant ferocity. Interestingly titled Are You Satisfied? The record sees the the duo posing a query not only to their fanbase but to the citizens of Britain as a whole.

Bursting into life with a double header of singles in the form of the scathing discontentment of ‘The Hunter’ and the mockingly satirical ‘Cheer Up London’, these two tracks act as a mission statement that are as good a demonstration of what they intend to do as any. They contain both the unbridled energy of their key genre’s formative stages in 1977 paired with flashes of post punk artists ranging from Public Image Limited to Killing Joke and Bauhaus. The menacing cackle at the beginning of the latter gives way to immediately gripping chords and a fanatical chorus of “you’re dead already’; whilst its verses see vocalist/drummer Isaac Holmann wholeheartedly rejecting the rat race and financially driven life style that is the lifeblood of the UK’s capital.

A message of discontent and a blatant disdain for capitalistic complacency permeates throughout the album’s duration and aids Slaves in turning in a solid record of confrontational punk which both chastises and enlightens its listeners in equal measure.


The plaudits continue to fly in thick and fast for Neon Waltz, the Caithness based outfit that have seized hold of our imaginations and led us to place every faith in their ability to transcend the nation and become players on the world stage. With endorsements from Noel Gallagher and many more reputable figures, First Light; their first release since signing to the world famous Atlantic Records, has swept through the music world and left them with new converts strewn thoughout the world. An introductory release for those that had yet to be reeled in by the band’s charms during their formative years, tracks such as the bombastic ‘Perfect Frame’ and the immersive, shoegaze tinged sound exhibited on ‘Between Them All’ and ‘Sundial’ have stood them in good stead going forward and have turned them from hot prospects into a fully fledged phenomenon.


Currently in the midst of conquering not only the US but sizable chunks of the rest of the world, Glasgow’s CHVRCHES are the latest homegrown act to fly the proverbial nest and attain superstardom. However they’re certainly not travelling light on their journey, with the release of this year’s fantastic Every Open Eye ensuring that they’ve got a brimming arsenal of incredible music to help them along the way.

As fraught with deep seated emotion as they ever were and with their affinity for 80’s influenced synth-pop still intact, Every Eye Open has renewed the love that their fans first expressed after the release of 2013’s The Bones Of What You Believe thanks to tracks such as ‘Clearest Blue’, ‘Leave A Trace’ and ‘Empty Threat’.


Despite their career being peppered with proclamations as a ‘hotly tipped’ band and becoming no strangers to ‘ones to watch’ lists, there was an underlying feeling that whilst they were on the cusp of capturing something truly special on tracks such as ‘Rose’ and ‘Sovereign’, something that would propel them into the upper echelons of the UK’s musical spectrum was waiting in the wings. Then came this year’s Submission EP, a release which has saw them defy convention and climb atop the heap at a frightening rate.

A prelude to their forthcoming new album At Hope’s Ravine, Submission saw the band audaciously stake their claim as one of Scotland’s most forward thinking groups, with the EP bounding into the world as a record which will take hold with a vice-like grip and leads the listener on an intense and compelling journey from track one all the way to track four.


‘All You Need Is Love’ is an adage that has been a part of the world’s collective vernacular ever since The Beatles first embedded it into our brains with a great deal of persistence. An enduring ideology that has been clung to for decades since it was first aired, it is one that Canadian musician Mac Demarco has clearly became infatuated with during the making of new record Another One.

Sticking stringently to one topic like never before, Demarco doesn’t deliver anything in the way of a concept album regarding the emotion but he does provide us with a solid collection of songs about love that veer between sweet to bitter but are nonetheless beautifully constructed in his own signature style.

Stacked with wonky guitar riffs, celestial keys and his archetypal delivery which displays all the confidence and gravitas of a modern day cult hero, Another One reaffirms Mac’s position as one of slacker rock’s leading lights.


For obvious reasons, there’s a good chance that Josh Homme and Jesse Hughes would be hasty to put this year behind them and rebuild for the future, undeterred by the tragedy which the band found themselves embroiled in. However it’d be nothing short of a travesty for their year to be defined purely by the dismay and heartbreak as opposed to the exhilarating thrill-ride that was Zipper Down, their first album since 2008 and inarguably their most consistent and essential to date.

Wearing their influences on their sleeve yet never falling on the wrong side of pastiche,  Zipper Down sees EODM cavort all over the rock ‘n’ roll landscape and turn in a record that displays an irrepressible sense of carefree fun and hedonistic joy.


From math rock visionaries to stadium filling behemoths of modern day rock, Foals’ career trajectory has been one that’s never failed to excite. With seemingly insurmountable steps forward taken with every passing album, their transition from plucky young upstarts to stars was cemented by this year’s ambitious and atmospheric What Went Down.

With each single that emerged from the album, it seemed like something of a foregone conclusion that this record would be nestled neatly near the top of most publication’s year-end lists, as it’s hard to remember the last time that a fairly youthful band’s record managed to incite such a frenzied response from the world’s music lovers.

While ‘Mountain At My Gates’, ‘What Went Down’ and ‘Knife In The Ocean’ remain undiminished from many repeat listens, some of the album’s subtler moments such as ‘Give It All’ and ‘London Thunder’ are so accomplished that they’d have elicited an equally emphatic reaction if they’d graced our ears first.


As hard-working as any band that’s operating in today’s vast and diverse landscape, Glasgow’s very own Hector Bizerk have worked ceaselessly  to establish themselves and ensure that their  wonderful adaptation of hip-hop’s four elements have been exposed to the masses that perpetually search for the newest and most innovative music.

Releasing a grand total of 3 momentous projects over the course of the year, our personal favourite was their final outing, The Tree That Never Grew.

Distilling righteous rage, self-doubt, a disdain for the music business and its corruptibility, the dangers of the internet, unrepentant disillusionment with society and much more into a masterfully weaved musical tapestry consisting of five separate yet equally compelling tracks, Hector Bizerk’s decision to release this as a limited, physical only release was bold and commendable considering it may well the finest thing they’ve ever committed to tape. While many would see such a decision as unwise or befuddling, to do so is to misconstrue the central ethos’s behind the band’s every move. A reluctance to conform, a duty to enlighten and above all else, a need to express themselves in the most experimental  and undeterred sense possible, witnessing Hector Bizerk’s growth is nothing short of inspiring and never more emphatic than on The Tree That Never Grew.


After the release of 2012’s seminal Lonerism, there was something of a preconceived notion as to what could be expected from any future Tame Impala release.  Hazy psychedelia, Lennonesque vocals and a propensity for turning in some of the most vividly wondrous music of the 21st Century, it was a blueprint that would incite many bands into a jealous rage. Then Kevin Parker; the borderline genius that he is, decided to completely re-invent the band and somehow ended revitalising a group  that had in no way began to decline.

Eschewing all that had made the band great in favour of a new set of starting points which took cues from disco, funk, electronic a and much more, to listen to Currents is to be left perplexed in the best way possible.

Never allowing the penchant for renovation to impede upon his songwriting chops, the nearly eight minutes long odyssey  that is ‘Let It Happen’, introspective fare  ‘Cause I’m A Man’ and the rousing ‘The Less I Know The Better’ are among the greatest things he’s ever released into the world.

Shedding his previous skin in favour of this adventurous but ultimately rewarding endeavour, the Australian native and his band have accosted their fans and requested that they undertake this journey with them and if you’re wise, you’ll embark with little trepidation at all.


In many cases, a substantial degree of ‘hype’ surrounding a band can act as a double-edged sword. The initially unwavering support of musos and critics can often be a source of woe for a group that are yet to find their feet despite showing early signs of promise; leading to the praise that was lavished on them so willingly being to their detriment in the long run.

In the case of Wolf Alice; who’ve been incredibly coy and nonplussed in the face of a groundswell of anticipation, the amount of proclamations of love that been lobbied at them would undoubtedly have naysayers claiming hyperbole.

Yes, while it may seem farfetched and pre-emptive to have an act who’ve just released their debut full length to be already touted as a band that have the required attributes to become a future festival headliner; the proof is in the pudding.

Enigmatic and reverb soaked chords herald the arrival of My Love Is Cool as ‘Turn To Dust’ bursts into life. Harbouring a sense of ethereality and otherworldliness, it contains flashes of the solemn brilliance that Portishead displayed on their much loved debut Dummy.

The mesmeric rhythmic heart that is integral to ‘Bros’ is a clear indication of why it’s becoming such an enduring favourite among fans. Teamed with a soaring chorus and wonderfully dreamy guitar, the aesthetic that they manage to cultivate with this poignant statement of a track is accented by an air of familiarity; an overarching sense that every note has already been clung to by droves of fans for years.

Entrenched in all of the finest aspects of alt-rock, the swelling riff of ‘Your Love’s Whore’ is equal parts indebted to My Bloody Valentine as it is Pearl Jam. Propelled by an absolutely invigorating groove that lurches onward throughout, it stands defiantly as one of the record’s finest jams. Introspective and analytical in its lyricism, ‘Your Love’s Whore’ is thoroughly uplifting as frontwoman Ellie Roswell powerfully declares that: “we’ll still be lovers, and we won’t fear the end.”

The sheer ferocity of ‘You’re A Germ’ that manifests within its central guitar part, howl-along chorus and overall sense of passive aggression stands at odds with the sultry vocals that are present in the verses.

Combine the tense and emotive sound of The National with the equally affected yet anthemic style of Arcade Fire circa The Suburbs and you’ve began to come close to the understated energy that underpins ‘Lisbon’. Coming alive within the chorus, a seering explosion of punk based discontent bubbles righteously to the surface.

Punctuated by atmospheric synth that is fraught with not only menace but seemingly genuine danger, the backmasked and hushed statements that soon veer into focus on ‘Silk’ demonstrate their desire to constantly prod at the boundaries of their sound to see what rewards can be reaped. While ‘Silk’ continues to stick out like a sore thumb upon repeat listens, it does so with absolute glee due to the fact that its subversive nature only adds to the many merits of the record.

As touched on previously, the rhythmic backbone of the band most certainly stands as one of their strongest attributes, and is particularly prevalent on ‘Freazy.’  The entirely transfixing percussion and deep bassline enable Roswell to unleash swathes of lyrics in a laidback fashion and yet still remain entirely engaging.

Recalling a lighter take on the intense, sludgy riffs of Kyuss infused with the songwriting tropes of any number of great UK based guitar bands, ‘Giant Peach’ is the kind of track that completely validates why many people are so incredibly enamoured with this outfit. With Roswell adopting a lilt that emits the kind of gravitas that turned Courtney Love and Justine Frischman into iconic figureheads of their respective groups, its colossal climax is one of the most uncompromisingly heavy yet simultaneously catchy codas this side of Led Zeppelin IV.

The clear dichotomy that is created by the final strains of ‘Giant Peach’ and the finespun ‘Swallowtail’ vindicates their status as a band who’ve got the wherewithal to reach stratospheric heights. These tracks could’ve been produced by two completely different groups and no one would’ve batted an eyelid. Led by Joe Amey’s lead vocals as opposed to Roswell, ‘Swallowtail’ feels not only like an appropriate follow up to the bombast of the former, but cohesive.

The muggy and brooding electro of ‘Soapy Water’ features slight tinges of industrial and ambient music, before the unrepentant rock ‘n’ roll rears its glorious head once again on ‘Fluffy’; a track which sees them put themselves forward as one of the hard hitting groups to have flirted with the mainstream in years.

Serene in its instrumentation and inundated with wondrous vocal melodies, final track ‘Wonderwhy’ acts as a relatively gentile way to round off the album. Grinding to a halt and initiating a lengthy period of relative silence, this incredibly varied and outwardly ambitious LP is officially brought to its logical conclusion by tearing away the many layers and leaving nothing more than Roswell’s breathtaking voice and acoustic guitar that is every bit as effective as its electric counterpart.

Unbridled joy, palpable tension, moving sentimentality; these are a few of the redeeming qualities and deep seated emotions that Wolf Alice have so adeptly communicated to the masses on My Love Is Cool.

Prepare to be bowled over and perhaps even consumed by this triumph of a record.