Brace yourself. This is probably going to be quite long. In 2015, we put on a ton of shows across a few different cities, released our first compilation and published over 250 posts.
Here, we’re going to go through our favourite releases by month and also our favourite articles we posted from each month. And all of the shows we did. Why not?
Thanks to everybody who has been involved this year. If you would like to get involved to write for us or contact us for any reason check out this page.
In January we put on Petrol Girls, Laughing in the Face of and Holy Pinto at JT Soar, Nottingham.
Featured article: They said Don’t Ask, we did anyway: A look into Don’t Ask Records by Chris Fishlock.
GLOSS – Demo
GLOSS (Girls Living Outside Society’s Shit) released this absolutely ferocious demo in January and almost a year later it’s still one of the best things ever. Hearing trans/feminist/queer experiences vocalized in this way through such brutally heavy music is really amazing and an important milestone for punks and independent music in general. This is in part because any wider celebration of queer voices is a victory, but more specifically it is important because up to now many people have been craving more progressive/inclusive politics with their music and found the heavier side of things seriously wanting (some exceptions are bands like Punch and fellow WA punks Agatha). The way in which GLOSS match the queer positive DIY politics, often found in the more poppy side of things (e.g. The Spook School, RVIVR and Colour Me Wednesday), with the bluntly aggressive aesthetic of d-beat is a perfect response for anyone feeling angry and underrepresented in ear meltingly heavy punk. – Liam Pritchett
In February we put on River Jumpers, Perkie and Alex Hel at JT Soar.
Featured article: A Weekender With: Like Home, Nevermind Me, Water Canvas and Pushing Daisies by Olivia Dytor.
Trust Fund – No One’s Coming For Us
A friend of mine stayed at my house for a few weeks while moving between houses, and as a thank you, he got me Trust Fund’s No One’s Coming For Us.. I had wanted it for a while, having had watched the “Cut Me Out” music video repeatedly and seen Trust Fund play an energetic set at Art is Hard Records’ 5th birthday party. When I got it, I put it on the record player, and listened to it four times straight through in a row. Open lyrics and a raw, DIY style create a tentative atmosphere that is almost inescapable, bolstered with anthemic lines throughout (“say whatever you want about her, she never cut me out” / “all my friends songs are so boring…”) I feel dumb because I haven’t yet listened to Trust Fund’s latest album, Seems Unfair, but am still impressed with the fact that they have hammered out two albums in a year. – Tom Stevens
In March we put on Revenge of the Psychotronic Man, T-Shirt Weather, War Games and Mixtape Saints at JT Soar.
Featured article: Seeing Your Scene vs Pay to Play #2: TNSrecords / Revenge of the Psychotronic Man by Andy Davies.
Carson Wells – Tread a Northern Path
Coming out in March on Barely Regal Records, this record’s had so much play it feels like it’s been with me years – not months. Taking the sound they crafted on Wonderkid in 2012 and really running with it, this sophomore release from the Aberdeen trio is as angry and socio-political as ever. Poignantly relevent lyrics being spoken, sung and screamed in a tri-vocal arrangement of angst and wonder at what it is to live in todays ridiculous world. From start to finish the songs swirl, crash and at times meander, though always with purpose. Every listen finds me finding a new bass lick, drum roll and guitar line. Skilled, creative and knowledgeable, this is an album to get inside again, again and again. – Jacob Rumsey
Bayoné – Honeycomb (EP)
Probably the shortest release on this list at less than 12 minutes long, this is a potent EP from the Sheffield two-piece. This is an amazingly realised release featuring heartfelt songs challenging death, embracing broken families and questioning religion – but understanding the good in people. The addition of a bass on this recording adds a dynamic that befits their sound. Five songs in total all packing so much punch and working together it’s hard to pick a favourite moment. Fred Jung’s spoke word from the film Blow on opener “Flush”, Josh Leary from Healing Powers’ guest screams on the hard hitting ballad “Drive”, “Selentino”‘s mosh-along or the noodling at the end of “Bust”? Find out yourself because, to paraphrase them, this is Bayoné being their own selves, at their very best, all the time. – Jacob Rumsey
In April we put on Jake and the Jellyfish, Petrol Girls, Jenn Hart and Subversive Fire at The Chelsea Inn, Bristol, and Wank for Peace, The Rutherfords, Tea Leaf and George Gadd at JT Soar.
Featured article: Band Interview: Anti-Flag by Max Qayyum.
Jake & The Jellyfish – Dead Weight
Dead Weight is certainly one of the finest albums to come out of the UK DIY scene this year, it is also very relatable with the songs of woes of being aged 23 but also with a good amount of reference to the DIY punk scene – which obviously makes everything better. The album brings together a good scope of instrumentation mixed in with very strong song-writing – a perfect album for anyone 23 years old with a despondency to society but a love for DIY punk. – Chris Fishlock
In May we put on Will Tun & the Wasters, Ash Victim & Revello, Viva Zapata and Rail-27 at Risc & Global Cafe, Reading, and The Kimberly Steaks, Austeros and Alex Hel at JT Soar with Thurg Manor.
Featured article: Fishlock Fridays #7: Tory Government (siiiiiiiiiigh) by Chris Fishlock.
Turnover – Peripheral Vision
Here’s one which will probably be on most end of year lists. With the recent trend in alt music for bands to go what can only be described as “all shoegazey and minimal,” the thought of a new Turnover record produced by Will Yip wasn’t the most exciting prospect. However, they’ve both managed to prove everyone wrong and release one of the best albums of this genre of the year. The album is simple, melodic, and most importantly, unpretentious. Each song manages to grab the listener with a hook, whether it’s the ending of “Cutting My Fingers Off”, the chorus of “Take My Head” or the verses in “New Scream”. – Max Qayyum
Hop Along – Painted Shut
Hop Along specialise in making amazing, confusing and emotional music, with singer-songwriter Frances Quinlan’s extremely unique style neatly underpinning their broad and punky sound. Painted Shut features arguably their most structurally coherent music so far, with far more pop influenced hooks than both the angular and unpredictable Get Disowned and the wonderful anti-folk quirkiness of Freshman Year. The infectiously catchy sound on this new record accentuates the abstract nature of Quinlan’s dark, poetic lyrics and is made all the more compelling by her incredibly powerful and often commended singing style. She has a singing voice with edge, one that can be both rough and smooth, snarling and sweet all at the same time and continually challenges any attempt at description or confining within a genre. Hop Along are an amazing, emotive force to be reckoned with and this latest release only compounds their image as a totally unique musical experience that needs to be embraced by anyone and everyone. – Liam Pritchett
In June we put on The Overjoyed, Triple Sundae, Pembleton and Viva Zapata at Roll for the Soul, Bristol.
Featured article: In Appreciation Of… The Replacements (Live @ Roundhouse – 2/6/15) by Sam Moloney.
Block Fort – Fine City Fuck Ups [EP]
Block Fort are certainly a band to always keep you waiting, only four tracks over a year after their first three tracks, but the quality of songs from this lovely DIY four-piece is so great that it makes up for its short length. You can keep the same 10 minutes on repeat for hours and not get bored with their insatiable melodies and personal lyrics. This is quite possibly the most underrated release this year; everyone needs this in their ears right now and constantly. – Chris Fishlock
In July we put on Ghost on Tape, Austeros and Holy Pinto at JT Soar.
Featured article: In Appreciation Of: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater by Sam Moloney.
IJI – Whatever Will Happen
IJI, also known as Zach Burba, released his 8th full-length record this year, called Whatever Will Happen. The record is the culmination of years of bedroom-pop indie experience (Zach’s first full album was 2008!). However this release heads off in a new 80’s soft rock, and occasionally disco-like, direction. With spring-reverb guitars, groovy bass lines and an abundance of horns, strings, pianos and percussion, Whatever Will Happen has the best ~feels~ of anything released this year, and always has me dancing away in my car. Stand out tracks for include the minimalist “All the Light”, which falls into the bounciest beat of 2015, “Eastern Beach”, which drags you into its swirling, swaying and psychedelic chords / stings, and finally “Hard To Wait”, coming straight out of a night in Club 54. Whatever Will Happen might be the kind of record your Dad would like, but then again, your Dad might have great taste in music. – Nick Stewart
Mallcops – The Funniest Joke You’ve Ever Told
Here’s one from a brand new band. Mallcops, from Boston, released a four-track EP and each song is pretty huge. It’s minimal with emo sensibilities, and pretty fun to listen to. It’s not often a band’s first release firmly sets itself in your album of the year list, but hey, it’s great, and the band have managed to put a unique twist on the poppy emo sound coming out of the US. “80 Reasons Why” is also a great closer, building throughout up until it’s big conclusion. Check out this band. – Max Qayyum
In August Fishlock did a huge all dayer at the Chelsea Inn in Bristol with Revenge of the Psychotronic Man, 2 Sick Monkeys, Shithouse, Foxpunch, Rail-27, Efa Supertramp, Maxi Rai, Stimmt So, Dan Kemp and the Garden Party.
We also released our first compilation this month which we’re still really proud of. Check it out here.
Featured article: Band Interview: A Wilhelm Scream by Max Qayyum.
Muskets – Spin [EP]
2015 saw the release of Muskets’ second EP, Spin. The Brighton quartet have constructed a pristine emo grunge gem that doesn’t falter throughout. The EP contains six songs which cover a broad range of topics from boredom to lost love. From the first song “Tate Modern”, which includes an opening riff that will be imprinted on your memory for hours, it is clear that Muskets have created something special. Each song is a clever construction of pristine riffs which are woven together into a vigorous sound that Muskets have made their own. It’s heavy and soft in all the right places with melodious dual vocals layered over the top. The songs also have a unique dynamic that causes them to drift into places that are unpredictable and intriguing. – Eleanor Parkison
In September we put on BHF, Ill Gotten Gains, Deadlines, Rail Means Rail and A Werewolf at the Red Lion, Bristol.
Featured article: A Guide to Putting on Gigs in The Midlands: Birmingham Venues by Sarah Carey.
Ill Gotten Gains – Ill Gotten Gains
Heavy ska-core from Basingstoke, having been killing it on the live scene for a while, the band released their long awaited full length this year. Ten fast hitting gritty punk rock songs with a bit of ska and reggae mixed in with some very tight musicianship going on, it’s messy and raw like it should be but at the same time perfectly put together. – Chris Fishlock
Selfish Son – Selfish Son [EP]
Selfish Son are no strangers to writing and playing shows. From roles within UK DIY favourites as Muncie Girls, The Fairweather Band and Shit Present, they don’t let their exclusive reputation in the scene define Exeter rockers Selfish Son. Opener “Shade” is one of those songs where you know within seconds that it creates something quiet special onstage. Selfish Son are a conduit of youthful expression and that will be evident the more shows they play, the music they release, the more people flock their shows. – Josh Jones
In October we put on Mammoth Penguins, Zach Roddis and Lost Pets at JT Soar with Anorak Nottingham, and River Jumpers, Blowouts and Pembleton at Roll for the Soul.
Featured article: Label Spotlight: Sub Pop Records by Richard Neil.
Alex G – Beach Music
Alex G’s newest record, Beach Music, is quite possible the end game of lo-fi. It is certainly Alexander Giannascoli’s most complex, developed, and complete record to date. Philadelphia’s Alex G has been one of the scenes key players since circa 2012 / 13, and his audience and reach is only continuing to grow. The overwhelming feedback and synth sounds, straightforward drums, knotty guitars lines, and Alex’s trademark toaster vocals sound the best here they have in all of his 7 album long discography; a truly perfected craft. Beach Music continues to surprise on every listen, where new harmonies and sounds are uncovered with each play. Unlike most lo-fi records, Beach Music is not a “one trick pony”, and each song adds new emotions and styles into the mix. For example, the slow and ethereal “Salt”, is juxtaposed with the bouncy, plinky, yet tear-jerking “Brite Boy”. Beach Music is a not just a collection of the best parts of lo-fi, it is the record that defines the genre. – Nick Stewart
Birdskulls – Trickle (EP)
Finally, Birdskulls have a new EP out. These guys were one of the first bands I saw when I moved to Brighton, and I still think of them as good representatives of the scene there, as well as a broader punk movement. Trickle, released October 2015, has really ramped up the sound, moving from fuzz to grit; older songs such as “Ghost World” sound revitalised, while new bangers are laid down for the future to come, such as “Good Enough”, with bitier vocals and heavier riffs throughout. – Tom Stevens
Laura Stevenson – Cocksure
This record by Laura Stevenson is huge. From the starting quietness of “Out With a Whimper” into song of the year; the amazingly catchy “Torch Song”, into the punk rock rager “Jellyfish”, the album just goes through at some ridiculous pace, and manages to keep you hooked and paying attention the whole time. Then it culminates with “Tom Sawyer / You Know Where You Can Find Me” which is the best closer in recent years. This album is so good. – Max Qayyum
Shit Present – Shit Present [EP]
Exeter quartet Shit Present, which features members of Great Cynics and Gnarwolves, have created a perplexing indie-punk sound for their debut EP. The EP includes songs about loneliness and anxiety; themes that are conveyed by captivating lyrics. It bounces from upbeat songs like “Kick Me” to more heartfelt anthems like “Bury It”, each with an infectious vocal melody that is complimented by a punchy riff. Vocalist Iona Cairns has a compelling voice which becomes a beautiful rasp when she reaches the highest notes in her range. Her voice has the ability to communicate the sentiment behind each of the five songs in a unique way especially during “Evaporate” and “Bury It”. – Eleanor Parkinson
In November we put on Terrafraid, Edgarville and Viva Zapata at Roll for the Soul.
Featured article: Band Interview: The Homeless Gospel Choir on punk, politics and playing shows by Max Qayyum.
Leftover Crack – Constructs of the State
The most unexpected release this year was the new Leftover Crack album – and who knew they would bring something out quite this good? It’s littered with a load of great guest vocalists including Jesse Michaels from Operation Ivy and Stu Daly from Chewing On Tinfoil, who really help make this album special. Constructs of the State like all Leftover Crack albums doesn’t shy away from overtly anarchist lyrics while mixing up their trademark crack-rocksteady style with a multitude of influences ranging from pop-punk to thrash metal all mixed up into this unstoppable album. – Chris Fishlock
In December we put on Slack Bird, Tim Holehouse, Efa Supertramp and Dan Kemp at Hydra Bookshop, Bristol, and Laughing in the Face Of, Isaac, A Werewolf and Robot Company at Scruffy Murphy’s, Birmingham.
Featured article: Label Spotlight: Big Scary Monsters by Jacob Rumsey.
And, apparently, no good music came out in December. Just kidding, we probably just missed it.
Thanks for reading. And thanks for being involved this year. Especially all the bands who played our shows/let us bug them for interviews, the venues we used, the people who contributed articles and everyone else! Onto 2016.