So you just read our feature on the worst songs of 2015 so far, and I know that you heard some things you can never un-hear. You might be wishing that you’d googled the crimes of a serial killer instead – it might have been less disturbing. You might have even preferred to read about this creepy thing going on in Sweden right now. But, just like that time you drank a bottle of Passion Pop and vomited all over your best friends favourite shoes, some things just can’t be undone. Turn off that Ed Sheeran track you have been listening to on repeat to heal your pain. You’re better than that. We can get through this together.
Our “worst of” list gave you six tracks, and I am a strong believer that there must be at least twice as much good in the world, so let’s look on the bright side with the 12 best songs of 2015 so far.
12. Holy Holy: You Cannot Fall For Love Like a Dog (Album: When the Storms Would Come)
Holy Holy are already making massive waves and their debut album isn’t due out until the 17th of July. If this track is anything to go by, it is going to be expansive and powerful – a crowning achievement for the Brisbane/Melbourne duo. The pair, who we interviewed last year, produce a sound that is sophisticated and effortless, with sublime melodies, amplified by driving guitars.
11. The Chemical Brothers: Go ft. Q-Tip (Album: Born in the Echoes)
Daft Punk did it with their album Random Access Memories and The Chemical Brothers do it again with Go. Listeners are transported to a sleazy jaw-clenching nightclub in the best possible way -The kind of place where open chested shirts and questionable facial hair choices are not only accepted, but encouraged. And it sure as hell is better than the goddamn Salmon Dance
If it was a club from Saturday Night Live character Stefon, it would be the one called: “Thank You! Located inside a crashing blimp, this Eurotrash utopia is the creation of beatnik doctor Soul Patch Adams. This place has everything: Zip lines, fish food, that fat Hawaiian guy that no one invited, an old Pakistani woman that looks like a California Raisin…”
10. Gang of Youths: Vital Signs (Album: The Positions)
Australian indie rock outfit Gang of Youths are just killing it with their vibrant chorale sound. They have all the weight and depth of bands like The National or Arcade Fire, but with far fewer collective years – so just imagine where they’ll end up! Vital Signs is an epic track spanning seven and a half minutes with a pulsing drumbeat and an anthemic build that reminds me of everything good about indie music. As wonderful, if not more so live than on record, make sure you get to a GoY gig as soon as you can.
9. A$AP Rocky: L$D (Album: At.Long.Last.A$AP)
To be honest, I wasn’t sure about A$AP Rocky’s latest release until I heard this track (but read our album review here to judge for yourself.) My best advice: turn it up loud. Real loud. You don’t just want to hear those sweet opening bass notes, you want to feel them right down in your toes. Overlaid with some saucy vocals from A$AP it’s enough to make a nun hot under the collar. It’s slick, smooth and surprisingly lovely. Considering it’s the only non-rap track on a sprawling rap album, we’re thinking A$AP could even consider a career move to making indie-psych music in the future. Oh, and for a stunning live rendition of this track, check this video out from A$AP’s recent performance on Jimmy Fallon’s late night talk show.
8. Torres: Sprinter (Album: Sprinter)
Torres weaves a story with her voice in a way that evokes PJ Harvey or Fiona Apple, but has a sadness that is all her own. Considering that Torres, aka Mackenzia Scott worked with PJ Harvey producer Robert Ellis and Portishead’s Adrian Utley, it’s not surprise that this is one hell of a gorgeous sound. Sprinter is a complex, emotional and enthralling track that makes you feel everything. I may be a glutton for punishment but I can’t stop listening.
7. Alpine: Foolish (Album: Yuck)
The first taste of sophomore album Yuck, Foolish (which was appropriately released on April Fool’s Day) is very much the opposite. Sweet, syrupy and delicious, it’s a track that will no doubt leave you on a sugar high. Foolish sails you down a little river of good vibes and leaves you feeling toe tappingly blissful. The follow-up to their chart topping debut album A is for Alpine, Yuck officially dropped last week – purchase it here.
6. Editors: No Harm (Album TBC)
Some songs just can’t be summed up in words. I could try and say it’s like the genetic recombination of Nick Cave and James Blake but it still wouldn’t sum up the cold, dark, haunted beauty in a way that does justice. Having been around for a lot longer than other artists on this list, it’s pure bliss to see bands who can consistently release songs of this calibre, four albums and more than a decade into their musical career. Deep, rich and seriously powerful, you need to listen to this track.
5. Tyler, The Creator: The Brown Stains of Darkeese Latifah Part 6-12 (Remix) (Album: Cherry Bomb)
Sometimes he can be hard to love, but when Tyler the Creator is on, he can also be hard to hate. The Odd Future ringleader, (who will be visiting our fair country later this year) just dropped his new album Cherry Bomb, and this is easily our favourite song from the release. On The Brown Stains… he is all the way on. It’s not ground breaking, sure, but it doesn’t need to be. Loud and obnoxious and raw in a way that’s really quite unique to the gravel-voiced rapper, there’s so much to love about this track.
Kevin Parker and co. keep on dishing out their own brand of chill psychedelic licks that melt faces like ice cream on hot pavement. If I had to sum this track up with a picture it would look like this:
Their HIGHLY anticipated new album, Currents, is due out July 17th (the same day as the Holy Holy record, so it’s going to be a great day for Aus music!) If you need me, don’t, because I will be very much unavailable. Let’s hope that they actually see money from the sales this time. The internationally renowned psych-rockers will also be headlining July’s Splendour in the Grass, meaning that we’ll be among the first in the world to hear the new material performed live!
3. Courtney Barnett: Pedestrian at Best (Album: Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit)
I love our homegrown rock poet Courtney Barnett with a big heart and a healthy dose of jealousy. Who doesn’t? We love her so much that we’ve not just taken photos of the Melbourne artist rocking out, but we’ve reviewed her live show twice.
I often find myself wondering why I can’t be witty and profound while making catchy ballads about smoking weed and tending to my garden. Why can’t I be a modern female Bob Dylan with a great haircut? The answer is because she already does it so well, and deep down I think I am ok with that. Pedestrian At Best was one of our first tastes of her brilliant album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, which has gone on to become one of our absolute favourite albums of the year so far.
For now I will just make do with singing the lyrics really loud. Do it with me: I’m a Scorpiooooo!
Feels good right?
2. Alabama Shakes: Don’t Wanna Fight (Album: Sound & Color)
Brittany Howard can do no wrong. When the first single off Sound and Color, burst onto the airwaves in February I was a little nervous. I loved the band’s debut Boys & Girls so much I wasn’t sure they could live up to the hype. But all my expectations were turned on their head with that husky squeal, that soft growl, that old soul bursting from her 25 year old body. It’s pure ecstasy. If you loved their first album, you’ll love their second offering even more. Brilliantly complex and overwhelmingly diverse, it’s another one of our absolute highlights of the year so far.
1. Kendrick Lamar: King Kunta (Album: To Pimp a Butterfly)
Was there ever any question that this would be at the top of the list? Kendrick Lamar is the golden goose with the Midas touch in 2015. Yes, that’s a lot of references to gold, but probably not enough to summarise how amazing this song is. It is smart, soulful, catchy and everything you want from a “song of the year.” Plus, if that isn’t enough it also incites some amazing dance moves, even from a rhythmically impaired white girl like me. As politically and culturally powerful as it is musically brilliant, this was a shoe-in for our top choice.
2015, I’d dare you to release a better song, but I am not sure my heart could take it.