2015: Looking Back (But Not for Long)

Reading back over what I wrote this time last year, my goals and hopes for 2015, it would be so easy to focus on the failures, the low points, the regrets and mistakes. In some ways, the past twelve months have represented some of the absolute worst times of my life, and certainly some of the biggest regrets.

But in so many ways, 2015 has been one of the best years I have had to date. I’ve met and got to know some truly amazing people, visited new places; I’ve learned so much – about myself, about the world, about art and music – and I’ve been to some spectacular events. And it’s these times I intend to focus on, the good times I intend to store in my memory. Holding on to too much of the past can only prevent you from appreciating the present, and the potential for the future. I’ve held on far too long to the past, it’s time it slept.

Significantly to me, this has also been the year I got back into music, in a huge way, after several years of near apathy. I was listening to the same bands, not really making much effort to hear anything new, and generally didn’t have it in me to care too much. I’ve since realised what a huge mistake that was, because music feeds my moods, it inspires my art and my writing, and it has the power to flip me from a bad day to a wonderful day. Music has truly underlined my life over the past months, in a way I don’t think it did even during my teenage years.

I’ve seen so many amazing bands live over the past year, with many more planned for the coming months, that I can’t quite understand how only twelve months ago this barely mattered to me. Not only have they inspired a large body of art work (work which has, in turn, led to several exhibitions), but I’ve also started dabbling (precariously, badly, slightly incoherently) in writing music of my own.

2015 has seen some utterly outstanding sounds being released by a huge variety of artists, and whilst jotting down notes for this article, it occurred to me that whilst last year I probably couldn’t have named one band who released an album in 2014, this year I can not only name plenty, but I’ve actually had trouble whittling down my choices to a mere ten. I’ve more than likely forgotten some, too, but in closing, here’s the ten tracks (in no particular order) which have really stood out for me this year.

aaaaa

(Track videos embedded where possible, otherwise there’s track links in the headings – directly to band sites, or to Spotify as a last resort.)

(more…)