The Soundshark’s Top 20 Songs of 2015

Something somebody said recently struck me as it made an awful lot of sense. Exactly when do you stop saying, ‘Happy New Year,’ to one another? Or at least when does it become acceptable at the least. I honestly don’t know, but for now, I’m still considering it an appropriate time to talk about my favourite songs of last year. Seeming I’ve made a habit of it, and I finally have time to sit down and write about them.

2015 was a challenging year as it more or less marked my transition from degree student to having to fend for myself. Sometimes it sucked, sometimes it didn’t. But something that I didn’t previously have was a companion, somebody that I hold very dear to me and somebody I look forward to what the future holds for the both of us. As such, she has had an impact on deciding this list, just as much as the rollercoaster of emotions I’ve gone through in the past year has. Like I’ve said before, I do these lists for biographical reasons, to show where I’ve been and what’s happened in years gone by. Music and memory are powerful things.

So my rules for the list are as follows: I don’t always pick songs from this year to put on the list, it involves literally anything I’ve listened to in the past year that I’ve enjoyed frequently enough (that said, there are a lot of 2015 entries on this list which makes a change), but I try to avoid putting more than one song by the same artist in. Some of my past lists had more than one or two. You can find them on Spotify if you want to.

I would like to make an honourable mentions list, but there were far too many to include on this year’s list, so I’ll skip that formality this time. Just so many good moments or songs to include the entire list. And if you would like to listen to this list uninterrupted, commentary-free, then head on over to the Spotify playlist instead.

Righty then, on with the show…

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20 Bands With New Music In 2016 You Should Keep An Eye On

Well, 2015 has reached its close, December slowly fading off into the distance as we leave behind a year of fantastic music and a year of fantastic bands, in the public knowledge and waiting to be discovered. What awaits us into the next calendar leap year? Hopefully more of the same and whatever craze next to infect the minds of the impressionable as it cracks the charts. I’m pretty sure 2015 was the year of big room house, or bass house, or whatever. I didn’t care enough to pay attention. But what I did care about, and what I very much care about, is hearing the rumblings or public declarations in some aspects of 20 under-the-radar, underrated, unsigned and underground bands making music in the new year that I’m excited about, and hopefully I can make you excited about too. After all, this is what I want to do for life. If I can’t make you excited about emerging or unearthed music, then I may as well quit here and now.

I’ll give it my best shot. So, in no particular order, 20 bands with new material in 2016, you might want to pay attention to:

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Mechanical Vampires

I’m semi-proud of this post, as I feel like I’m near the very front of the line for a group on the cusp of their emergence into the wider world of underground music. This is about as new and exciting as I have possibly ever gotten to a write-up of a group I have had next to zero interaction with previously, bar a chance encounter on Instagram. Like my namesake suggests, I do my homework and have laid in wait ever since. Seriously, the name isn’t just for show ladies and gents. It’s a lifestyle. If you interact with me over social media, even if you work on a follow-for-follow mentality, I do pay attention. Anyway, I digress. New Jersey’s Mechanical Vampires, after a promising ambient-industrial etched teaser known only as The Lynchpin and what seems like months of masterminding since early this year, finally unveiled their first full length song in Gemini and I sit here only 24 hours or so later, telling you why you should be excited by this enthralling new duo in the doorway of electro-industrial. If the minute of freezing cold keys against harsh distortion and air-tight percussion in The Lynchpin didn’t whet your appetite, then Gemini is by far the entrée you should be sinking your teeth into, literally. Obviously it fleshes out the icy atmosphere to a greater dimension, being nearly three minutes longer than The Lynchpin, but there’s a contagious pop undertone that partners so well with the thundering beats and muted abrasion from the guitar too. Sawtooth synth stabs enter like footsteps through that aforementioned doorway before bursting into life from dense percussion, echoing strong enough to hit straight through you, soft arpeggios to give some frostbite to the ambience and bass that rumbles the pit of your stomach. A male voice of reassurance cuts through the soundscape, but suits this colder, darker electronic manifestation perfectly, truly doing the scale of this track justice as gigantic as it becomes. There’s something about his spoken demeanour that is as soothing as it is inspiring, bringing a mesmerising human warmth to a mostly frozen atmosphere. And when it comes to that chorus, it glows brightly enough to bask in. Adding that vocal hook into the mix also, is just one more reason for Gemini to seep deep into your skin. The effect only becomes greater with each listen until it reaches maximum infatuation point. You could make a lazy comparison and claim that Mechanical Vampires are a more industrial-sounding PVRIS, but whilst PVRIS resemble an electronic-tainted Paramore, Mechanical Vampires already breach atmospheric and emotional depths far greater than they realise on the strength on a single song. Gemini is a stunning composition, a beautifully produced electronic master stroke that delicately reaches beyond the barriers of both industrial and pop music and seduces any onlookers with its alluring gaze. When is more on the way?

Despite being developed over the course of the year, Mechanical Vampires is still a project in its infancy, so they need all the support they can get. Gemini can be bought from CDBaby for a hardly change bothering sum, or they are generously giving it away for free from here at the exchange of sharing the song, which you should definitely be doing anyway.

Go send some love in their direction:

https://www.facebook.com/mechanicalvampires?fref=ts
https://twitter.com/MechVamps

And if you are feeling especially generous, why not consider sending some love in my direction too? You don’t have to, entirely optional:

https://www.facebook.com/IAmTheSoundshark
https://twitter.com/The_Soundshark