top 20 tracks of 2015 // part 2

Finishing off our top ten, these are the songs we felt best encapsulated 2015.

It was a year of spectacular highs with our involvement with Spectrum Festival and VC Records, the discovery of many fantastic young artists and some of the most memorable gigs we've experienced to date.

A massive thank you to everyone who has supported the website and what we do.

Here's to 2016!

Taylor Johnson
Encore NI

10. In An Instant ~ 'Come The Night'
For fans of ~ U2, Bruce Springsteen, Coldplay

Before Gary Lightbody picked up a guitar and took out his angst on songs like 'Starfighter Pilot', U2 showed the world what could be achieved with singalong melodies and a head full of dreams. On 'Come The Night' Bangor's stalwart indie-pop connoisseur's prove they can handle the same formula, packing hook after hook into this 3 minute belter of a tune.

9. The Remedy ~ 'Live For Today'
For fans of ~ The Rolling Stones, Rodriguez, The Beatles

2015 has proved to be a transitional year for Belfast lads The Remedy; with life-long friend Euan McBride's addition on the bass the band's sound has continued to evolve. Their newest incarnation see's them embracing the dancier elements of bands like The Happy Mondays and Primal Scream, though not on future single 'Live For Today'.  Here we see the band's older influences come to the fore, (particularly that of Sixto Rodriguez) as frontman Joel McCracken's passionate vocal howls under a trumpet led opening. This is 'Different Class' up a gear, and more importantly, another huge anthem for the band. This is undoubtedly a huge year for them.

8. Aaron Shanley ~ Frightening
For fans of ~ Ben Kweller, Bright Eyes

In truth, we could have picked any song from songwriter Aaron Shanley's most recent low-fi record 'Metal Alligator'. Here we see Shanley's poetry stretched over a shimmering soundscape, seemingly without boundaries. Easily the most inventive album of the year, 'Metal Alligator's total faith lives in constant doubt. There is light in the dark, and hope in oblivion. "This is fucking frightening, not in a bad way, honest..."

7. Tour Alaska ~ 'Old Grass Tennis Court'
For fans of ~ Iain Archer, Sufjan Stevens, The Reindeer Collective
Facebook ~ n/a

A poetic tale recounting his time living in Edinburgh, 'Old Grass Tennis Court' is the delicate jewel in Tour Alaska's acoustic crown. The solo project of A Plastic Rose frontman Gerry Norman, Tour Alaska is a chance for fans to delve back into the emotional tides of songs like 'Sun's A Shadow', 'Garavogue' and 'Indian Sheets' and we can't wait for more next year.

6. Junk Drawer ~ 'Buying Pictures (For The Frame)'
For fans of ~ Pixies, Weezer

Slow dancing between the boundaries of grunge and slacker rock, Belfast's Junk Drawer are one of the most complete young band's in recent memory. Debut release 'Buying Pictures (For The Frame)'s Pixies-esque bass bends, walls of feedback and dead-pan choir outro immediately marked them out as a band with something to say, and with each listen we heard more and more. Effortlessly brilliant, sad-tinged pop; their self loathing debut was worth the wait (mostly).

5. The Couth ~ 'Pretty Lady'
For fans of ~ The Strokes, FIDLAR, The Beach Boys

In taking the 60's swing of classic groups such as The Beach Boys and throwing it into the 21st century, The Couth have crafted a sound quite unlike any other today in Northern Ireland. Built around fast paced, Ramones influenced guitar, this anthemic track was the high point of their excellent 'Friday Night Fever' Ep. 

4. Robocobra Quartet ~ '80-88'
For fans of ~ Self Defense Family, Sun Kil Moon

The most original band to emerge from the UK in years, Robocobra Quartet's own brand of thunder-jazz-punk is as explosive as it sounds. This penultimate tale from their 'Bomber' EP is another piece of genius.

3. Little Arcadia ~ 'Anywhere Else'
For fans of ~ General Fiasco, More Than Conquerors

Undoubtedly the North Coast's most exciting prospects, 'Anywhere Else' is the triumphant high point of an excellent Ep from the lads. Complete with one of the most pulsating chorus' of the year, 'Anywhere Else' is a song which demands your attention, and will hopefully get all it deserves next year.

2. Hot Cops ~ 'Decay'
For fans of ~ Nirvana

The stand out band of 2015, Hot Cops are also probably the best young band in Britain today. This track, 50% of a double-a side release 8 months ago, is their best so far. They will have better songs out next year and will continue to get better and better, and then better again.

1. R51 ~ 'Pillow Talk'
For fans of ~ Smashing Pumpkins, Kate Bush

Coming in at number 1 we have R51, who managed to take us all with them to their woozy, underwater-dream world last March via Pillow Talk. In a year which saw them take to the stage at Reading and Leeds Festival, the Mandela Hall and pretty much every other cool gig in 2015, the band already have plans of a follow up release. They'll do well to top this instantly nostalgic track, which see's Melyssa Shannon's shimmering vocals rise above her bands triumphant noise.

"Do you dream of me ever?"

Taylor Johnson

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