Music and Mutterings of 2015

Well, here we are at the last day of 2015. And it’s been an interesting year, as in “may you live in interesting times.” There’s nothing that can be said quickly about what’s going on around us, except that you have to hope that more people are taking a personal role in speaking out against bigotry, ignorance, and hatred, wherever it shows up. Positivity and compassion, may those ideas fill us all and shape our so-called reality.

Musically, there’s been the constant flow of new material, although to look at the charts, you’d find it hard to believe that besides a small handful of people in the eye of the media, anyone else is actually doing anything. Step away from the mainstream though, and there’s a lot of people out there, fighting the good fight and struggling to get heard in the flood of what’s available.

Someone said to me that artists who have achieved success should stand aside, and let the new come through. I really don’t agree with that, for many reasons, not the least being that to say to someone they no longer have a reason to create is to kill them, early. Let’s be grateful for the people out there who want to keep going, and do, right to the end.  

We just lost a fine example of living life on your own terms, not to a mediatized schedule. Lemmy (RIP) said “If you’re going to be a fucking rock star, go be one. People don’t want to see the guy next door on stage; they want to see a being from another planet.”

May you find your planet in 2016.

2015 Video Playlist

Top Ten Albums of 2015

Drenge – Undertow

Dave Gahan and Soulsavers – Angels and Ghosts

Duran Duran – Paper Gods

Jamie xx – In Colour

Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly

Spector – Moth Boys

Wolf Alice – My Love is Cool

American Wrestlers – American Wrestlers

Dilly Dally – Sore

Mew – + –

Top Ten Songs of 2015

Dave Gahan and Soulsavers – All of This and Nothing

Duran Duran – Paper Gods

Drenge – Standing in the Cold

Kendrick Lamar – How Much a Dollar Cost

Spector – All The Sad Young Men

American Wrestlers – Wild Yonder

Mew – Water Slides

Jamie xx – Hold Tight

Dilly Dally – Desire

Bang Gang feat. Keren Ann – A Lonely Bird

Special Mentions

DTCV – Uptime!

Lull – Bubble Tea EP

Mercury Prize Nominees – my interviews with Wolf Alice and Jamie xx

Congratulations to Mercury Prize Nominees – Wolf Alice and Jamie xx. I did interviews with both over the summer. See what they each had to say about their music and why they do what they do.

 

Jamie xx

Jamie xx

Jamie xx

Jamie Smith, better known as Jamie xx, has had a meteoric rise in the music world. He’s accomplished so much already – first with The xx, whose debut album, xx, won them a Mercury Prize, and grabbed top position in a host of end of year lists. Their second album, Coexist, was released to major acclaim, and The xx were in demand. Shows like the limited run series in New York City at the Park Avenue Armory attracted a range of high-profile fans from the art and film world. And Jamie xx has created remixes of artists as diverse as Adele and Radiohead, and worked as a producer with Drake and Alicia Keys. After releasing a number of singles, his first highly anticipated solo album, In Colour, is finally going to be released in June. As he said, “I’ve gone from being a fan of electronic music, admiring great artists and producers, to feeling like I’m a part of their world.” There’s no question that this release will only confirm his status. Northern Transmissions was able to connect with him as he arrived here to prepare big summer of festivals, both here and in Europe and the UK. Alice Severin talked with Jamie xx about the brilliant new album. Soft spoken, he gave the impression of an individual with an encyclopedic knowledge of musical artists and a deep connection to what he does.

I guess when I first play them, I really don’t know how well…basically if they will make people dance or not. I never expected things like “Girl” to work so well live, because it’s not like, it’s not even the same tempo as anything else I’ve played. But it does work. It’s nice, it probably takes people by surprise in a way, it’s a bit different, yeah.

Jamie xx keeps talking – click link

Wolf Alice

Wolf Alice

Wolf Alice

London-based Wolf Alice fears no genre. As the repressive need for boundaries evaporates, the four piece has jumped into the fray with an array of songs that casually parades their mastery of the free range. From pop to garage, grunge to folk, the band stamps every song with their inventive energy, like on their first official EP, Blush. Songs like “White Leather” scored them comparisons with The xx. No surprise that right from the start, the band has been one to watch. Now Wolf Alice is due to release their first album, titled My Love Is Cool, on June 23 through Dirty Hit/RCA, and the latest single, “Giant Peach,” was one of Zane Lowe’s hottest records in the world. They’ve been on tour in the US and UK, and are now gearing up for festival season, which gave Northern Transmissions a chance to hear from the hard-working band. Ellie Rowsell, the front woman of Wolf Alice, talked about creativity, challenges, and cute pets with Alice Severin.

We just have a lot of influences and we all have a hand in writing, so it makes sense that our sound is quite varied. It’s important to us as we don’t want to be pigeonholed, and we like the freedom of being able to take our music to different realms.

More right this way…

 

 

 

Wolf Alice Giant Peach cover

Ellie Rowsell of Wolf Alice Talks About the New Album, My Love is Cool

London-based Wolf Alice fears no genre. As the repressive need for boundaries evaporates, the four piece has jumped into the fray with an array of songs that casually parades their mastery of the free range. From pop to garage, grunge to folk, the band stamps every song with their inventive energy, like on their first official EP, Blush. Songs like “White Leather” scored them comparisons with The xx. No surprise that right from the start, the band has been one to watch. Now Wolf Alice is due to release their first album, titled My Love Is Cool, on June 23 through Dirty Hit/RCA, and the latest single, “Giant Peach,” was one of Zane Lowe’s hottest records in the world. They’ve been on tour in the US and UK, and are now gearing up for festival season, which gave Northern Transmissions a chance to hear from the hard-working band. Ellie Rowsell, the front woman of Wolf Alice, talked about creativity, challenges, and cute pets with Alice Severin.

We just have a lot of influences and we all have a hand in writing, so it makes sense that our sound is quite varied. It’s important to us as we don’t want to be pigeonholed, and we like the freedom of being able to take our music to different realms.

More right this way…