2014 proved to be an exceptional year for music. Judging by January’s selections, 2015 is going to be no exception. With January Blues thankfully out of the way, Summer Festivals are just around the corner. Well maybe not just around the corner, but all this talk of Festival Headliners is certainly getting me excited for the summer. Avicii, David Guetta and Drake are set to headline New Look Wireless Festival, while festival favourites Disclosure and Rudimental have teamed together to curate their own Wild Life Festival at Brighton City Airport. Radio 1’s Big Weekend announced Taylor Swift as their first headliner, with T In the Park welcoming The Libertines. Isle Of Wight announced Groove Armada and Fleetwood Mac, while Field Day have lined up FKA Twigs, Caribou and Hudson Mohawke amongst others.
As you know, good weather is never a guarantee here in the UK, so if you prefer a sunnier climate (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?) then you might want to check out some of the following: Legendary US Coachella Festival announced ACDC, Drake and Jack White as their headliners, while Sónar Festival in Spain announced Duran Duran, Skrillex and FKA Twigs. Elsewhere in Spain, Benicassim have secured The Prodigy, Florence + the Machine, Bastille and Portishead, while unfortunately for some, Sonisphere and Rockness Festivals were cancelled. However, there’s still so much choice so start planning your summer musical adventures.
With January being the longest month of the year, it paved the way for plenty of new music. The Prodigy debuted their massive new single ‘The Day Is My Enemy‘, while Jimmy Napes, the creative genius behind much loved tracks from Disclosure, Sam Smith and Clean Bandit, unveiled his solo EP and single ‘Give It Up‘. Another Disclosure affiliate, Lxury, debuted his new single ‘Square 1‘ ft Deptford Goth, while Martin Solveig made his long awaited return and collaborated with GTA on ‘Intoxicated‘. Speaking of collaborations, Kanye unveiled his new single ‘Only One‘ with Paul McCartney and a further single with McCartney and Rihanna titled ‘FourFiveSeconds‘, leading to some interesting tweets congratulating Kanye on ‘Shining a light on new artists’… ‘This Paul McCartney guy gonna be huge‘! Lana del Ray confirmed she has nine songs ready for her forthcoming album ‘Honeymoon’, while The Prodigy announced their sixth studio album ‘The Day Is My Enemy’ is set for release March 30th.
The BBC Unveiled their coveted ‘Sound Of 2015’ poll with dance-pop trio Years and Years topping the list. James Bay and Stormzy came in 2nd and 3rd place respectively, with Raury and George the Poet completing the top 5 shortlist. The Brits Nominations were announced, which saw Sam Smith take the lead with 5 nominations, shortly followed by Ed Sheeran and George Ezra with 4 nominations each. Noticeably absent from the nominees include artists such as Jungle, Ben Howard, Kasabian, Jessie J, Katy B, Jamie T and Bombaby Bicycle Club, with Clean Bandit highlighting the lack of black or female nominees this year. This year’s awards ceremony will take place at London’s O2 on February 25, hosted by Ant&Dec. Here’s hoping for a trip down memory lane with PJ and Duncan’s ‘Let’s Get Ready To Rumble‘. Don’t forget you can vote for the ‘Best British Breakthrough‘ and ‘Best British Video‘. Pharrell Williams unveiled his plans for Live Earth 2015; a Global event, featuring 100 artists performing across all seven continents to raise awareness about climate change. Live Earth 2015 will take place on June 18th. Last but not least, the worlds highest paid DJ Calvin Harris, has signed a three-year Las Vegas residency with Hakkasan Group, which will see him perform at Hakkasan Nightclub, MGM Grand Hotel & Casino’s Wet Republic and Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace. *Books trip to Vegas.* Ok, on with the music, check out my selections below:
1) Axwell Λ Ingrosso – Something New (Robin Schulz Remix)
With newly formed duo Axwell Λ Ingrosso recently unveiling their melodic big room single ‘Something New‘, German Producer Robin Schulz makes his mark on the official remix. Schulz’s edit premiered with Pete Tong on Radio1 and delivers a smooth and mellow remix with hypnotic beats. Schulz has a long list of popular remixes to his name such as Lilly Wood & The Prick’s ‘Prayer in C’ and Mr Probz’s ‘Waves’, the latter of which Schulz was nominated for a Grammy. Upcoming dates from Robin Schulz include Future Music Festival in Australia and Coronet Theatre in London. The ‘Something New‘ remix is available now in the US, with a UK release via Virgin EMI TBC.
2) Joey Bada$$ – Teach Me ft Kiesza
Joey Bada$$ has teamed up with Canadian pop artist Kiesza for his new single ‘Teach Me‘, produced by Chuck Strangers and ASTR. The duo recently collaborated on ‘Bad Thing‘ from Kiesza’s album ‘Sound of a Woman’, so it’s only natural she return the favour. The most prominent feature on the single sees Joey step up the pace and go double time with the beats; not your typical pace to rap over but nonetheless works in his favour, once again showing his versatility as an artist. With Joey continually asking ‘Won’t you teach me how to dance’, who better then Canadian popstar come dancer Kiesza, who brings a fresh vocal hook to the single. ‘Teach Me’ is a bonus track taken from Joeys debut album B4.DA.$$ which is availab5 now.
3) Wilkinson & TC – Hit The Floor
Ready for an absolute beast of a dnb banger? Then look no further than London based Wilkinson (Afterglow) and Bristols TC (Get Down Low). The two drum n bass producers have collaborated on their new single ‘Hit The Floor‘ and serves up a high energy track packed with throttling basslines, grungy vibes and snarling sirens. ‘Hit the Floor’ is available now via Andy C’s Ram Records. Upcoming dates for Wilkinson include Elextric Brixton in April, followed by Reading & Leeds.
4) Purity Ring – Push Pull
Time for a change of pass with Canadian synth-pop duo Purity Ring and their new single ‘Push Pull’. Megan James and Corin Roddick once again deliver pure synth serenity with this utterly amospheric track. Roddick’s bubbling deep synths and multilayered textures give weight to the track, while Megans dreamy vocals soar effortlessly above, much like their transcendent and hypnotic video. The single is taken from their forthcoming album ‘Another Eternity’ and follow up to 2012’s ‘Shrines’. ‘Another Eternity’ is set for release March 3rd via 4AD while ‘Push Pull’ is available now. Upcoming dates for the duo include Concorde 2 in Brighton and O2 Shepherds Bush Empire in London.
5) Years and Years – King
Having kicked off the year winning the BBC’s coveted Sound Of 2015 award, synth-pop trio Years and Years continue with their trademark futuristic synths and hard-hitting pop hooks with their new single ‘King‘. Made up of bassist Mikey Goldsworthy, Emre Turkmen on keys and vocalist Olly Alexander, Years and Years continue to push the boundaries of dance music and deliver another infectious single as a follow up to ‘Desire’. Upcoming dates include Concorde 2 and Wild Life in Brighton, with London dates at Heaven and O2 Shepherds Bush. ‘King’ is set for release March 1st via Polydor Records. Pre-order your copy here. In the meantime check out Manchesters TCTS remix.
6) Sigma ft Labrinth – Higher
Drum n bass duo Sigma (Cameron Edwards and Joe Lenzie ) continue their stream of hits with their latest single ‘Higher‘. The singles serves as the follow up to the powerhouse record ‘Changing’ ft Paloma Faith and one of the top tracks of 2014 ‘Nobody To love’. For ‘Higher’, Sigma have enlisted the creative vocal talents of Labrinth to deliver yet another euphoric record thats just waiting to storm the charts. Having recently been nominated for two Brit Awards, be sure to catch the duo at Concorde 2, Electric Brixton and Electric Daisy Carnival. ‘Higher’ is set for release March 22nd via 3Beat and is taken from their forthcoming debut album ‘Life’.
7) Tor Miller – Midnight
Brooklyn based Tor Miller has unveiled ‘Midnight‘ from his debut EP ‘Headlights‘. The talented twenty-year-old delivers a powerful piano ballad that gradually builds in momentum with percussion, strings and guitar, while Miller’s distinct and powerful vocals hold its own out in front, bringing artists like Billy Joel to mind. ‘Headlights’ is available now via Glassnote Records. Upcoming performances for Miller include his headline show at London’s Servant Jazz Quarters on Thursday 5th March.
8) Benga – Shut It Down
Benga is back and this is one single that deserves a major oooof! After taking some time out last year to start a family and stepping down from his co-hosting with Skream on Radio1, the Dubstep pioneering producer/dj is back stronger than ever. His new single ‘Shut It Down’ ft Artwork and Sam Frank premiered as Zane Lowes ‘Future Exclusive’ and serves up a darker techno vibe with vocals from Sam Frank keeping it fresh. Having been working on his album for the past ten years, expect an album to drop sometime this year as we thankfully welcome Benga back from early retirement.
9) The Wombats – Greek Tragedy (Bastille Remix)
Indie rock back The Wombats unveiled their long awaited new single ‘Greek Tragedy’, which premiered as Zane Lowe’s Hottest Record. The single is taken from their forthcoming third studio album ‘Glitterbug’ due April 6th, and follows 2013’s ‘Your Body Is A Weapon’. While the original delivers the catchy pop hooks you’d expect from the trio, Bastille’s remix gives the track new depth and focuses on the raw emotive vocals with majestic brass and strings. Bastille’s slick production gives the track an edge that the original lacked. Having recently remixes Imagine Dragon’s ‘I’d Bet My Life’ Bastille are currently working on their new album due later this year.
10) Jess Glynn – Hold My Hand
Looking for a song guaranteed to put you in a good mood? Check out the latest single from Jess Glynn with its immediate feel-good summer vibes and smooth house piano. ‘Hold My Hand’ serves as the follow up to arguably one of the biggest tracks last year, Clean Bandit’s ‘Rather Be’, followed by Route 94’s ‘My Love’ and her first solo single ‘Right Here’. Glynn has proved she can hold her own and continues with her electro-pop stylings and infectious soulful vocals. ‘Hold My Hand’ is set for release via Atlantic on March 23rd. Upcoming dates for Jess include Alexandra Palace, Wild Life and Isle of Wight Festival.
11) Pep and Rash – Rumors
DJs from Tiesto to Martin Garrix and The Magician have been playing this mystery house track for a while now, without realising where it actually came from. With an aptly titled single called ‘Rumor’, the rumour mill was in full speed with many associating it with Oliver Heldens style, who had to set the record straight on Twitter. Dutch label Spinnin’ Records finally unveiled the Dutch duo Pep & Rash as the producers responsible for this infectious house smash. ‘Rumors’ features a distorted vocal line that’s highly hypnotic before the throttling bass kicks in with its percussive stylings. 2015 is going to be a big year for the dutch duo.
12) LA Priest – Oino
Sam Dust, formerly of Late Of The Pier, has unveiled his new single ‘Oino’ under the Moniker LA Priest (Lah Pree-st). ‘Oino’ is a funky alt-pop gem filled with melodic and playful psychedelic synth stabs, warped guitar riffs and falsetto vocals. ‘Oino’ delivers a unique piece of experimental funk and a refreshing and compelling view into this new project from LA Priest. Currently working on his debut album, ‘Oino’ is available March 30th via Domino Records.
13) EXGF – We Are The Hearts
Indie pop act EXGF made quite the impact last year with their debut single ‘Idle Hands’. Their second single, ‘We Are The Hearts’ delivers a rousing and anthemic number that strikes a balance between sounding dreamy yet industrial with its hard hitting beats. Though very little is known about the French and US collective EXGF, we can only go by their edgy and artistic instagram pics to paint some sort of picture. Other than that, the music clearly speaks for itself and delivers a defiant track and shines a light on inner strength. Here’s to a promising 2015 for EXGF.
Check out the full playlist below with over an hour for your listening pleasure.