Music in 2015

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SCAN’s very own Music Editor takes us through music in 2015!

Who would have thought that Paul McCartney would ever team up with Kanye West (Kanye West!) and Rihanna (Rihanna!) to release a single (I MEAN, OH MY GOD, PAUL FREAKING MCCARTNEY!)? I mean seriously guys: that was in February. 2015 hadn’t even properly started yet.

But yeah: 2015. What have we learned?

Well, for one thing we’ve learned that you should never wear a cape during a staged performance televised live worldwide (L-O-L, Madonna). We’ve also learned that forcefully kissing someone almost three decades your junior is probably not a good idea – especially when all of social media is alert and watching (L-M-A-O, Madonna). Another thing we’ve learned is that Adele takes serious song inspiration from Lionel Richie. Like, for real, dear readers: who didn’t hear the first lyric in Hello and not expect “is it me you’re looking for” to immediately follow? We should really do some sort of poll on this. This matters. Okay, fine, it doesn’t.

As the new Music Editor for SCAN (and I’m not relishing that gorgeous title at all), I have to think carefully about what’s worth mentioning in this general round-up. So! I’ve gone around and asked some of our lovely writers to do my thinking for me. I’ve checked out some of their articles, taken their suggestions, and now I’m going to talk about the lesser known acts that they’ve sought out for your reading pleasure that you yourselves should really be checking out.

First up we’ve got Shura – or, as her mother knows her, Aleksandra Denton – who champions Electronic and Synthpop sounds within her songwriting arsenal. She’s signed to Polydor and has a fairly large following on social media, with songs such as ‘Touch’ and ‘Indecision’ piquing my personal interest far more than CHVRCHES ever could (WHY IS THERE A ‘V’ WHERE THERE SHOULD BE A ‘U’ IT MAKES NO SENSE RAHRAHRAH)… but let’s not get into that right now.

She has a new album coming out and featured in the BBC’s Sound of 2015 showcase where she was duly robbed by Years & Years (I’m kidding, they’re pretty good too). If you’re ever on YouTube listening to your favourite ASMR conduits, be sure to head over to the weareshura channel to experience their musical equivalent in her two aforementioned tracks.

Paige Wood and Steven Dies are American singer-songwriters who form the superlative Indie Rock duo The Peach Kings, the second on this well good list (okay, fine, I can’t do “gangsta”, hush now). They featured in one of Eden Jinks’ Check ‘em Out articles this year and, if you haven’t heard their track ‘Thieves and Kings’, you’re in for a treat: Wood’s vocals are like dark chocolate mixed with the best sex you’ve ever had, and Dies’ guitar style schools Jack White on how grunge riffs should be articulated. The music video is also wonderfully shot, with some spectacular shifted-focus transitions to appease the visual appetite. All in all it’s great stuff; go and find them on YouTube and Facebook ASAP.

Coming up third is Orphan Boy, a band described as “the great outsiders of British Rock”. They are reminiscent of The Libertines – but not in any way that they should be worried about. They released a song within the last few months called ‘Thirtysomething Lovesick Ballad’ and the music video is gorgeous; it’s a kind of palimpsest of modern working class life (yeah, I own a dictionary, what of it?). The song itself is a partly spoken word performance, capturing the everyday mundanity of a smoggy, austerity-ridden Britain, injected with life by the melody of their guitars and gentle synthesiser. It only has around 800 views on YouTube, though, which is an absolute travesty. Another good song of theirs (a bit more upbeat, this one) is ‘Some Frontier’, which kind of has a grimy Duran Duran-esque quality. Search for them on Google and enjoy!  They’re very easy to find.

Fourth on the list is Evie Plumb; an unsigned local artist with a penchant for the piano and a wonderful, soulful voice. She’s plays around campus and Lancaster town on a regular basis and has recently been collaborating with other acts on the circuit. She’s been uploading to her YouTube channel Evie Plumb since 2010 and has a SoundCloud page you can check out under the username evieplumb.

Highlights on her feeds include ‘Oyster Man’, an enchantingly original composition that echoes the better qualities of Birdy, and a glorious cover of ‘Put Your Records On’ that you will only find on her YouTube page. Like her on Facebook to keep up to date with her gigs in the local area (https://www.facebook.com/evieplumbmusic) because she’s surely a talent to keep an eye on!

Samm Henshaw is fifth and last in this year’s round-up; a London-based soul singer who recently got signed by Columbia Records and toured as a support act for James Bay. He’s rather different to everything else we’ve got in this article, though his silky smooth vocals are interestingly comparable to that of Evie Plumb, whereas his overall tone is kind of like a funky Shura… To be a bit more succinct about it: he’s a mixed bag of goodies. Huh. That probably read weirder than it did when I said it in my head, but hey ho, I’ve got a deadline to meet too! Search for Samm on Google to check out his SoundCloud page, and have a listen to ‘Redemption’ for your daily dose of funky bluesy goodness.

Well then, I hope that’s been a refreshing introduction to some good new music for you all. There really is a whole world of talent out there, on the interwebs, all of them just waiting for you to click on that genius demo or that criminally overlooked album. While you enjoy your Christmas festivities, why not check out the talented folk in this article and then journey onwards into the wasteland, poking your nose around, just to see what else is going on? Because – and thank whatever deity you pertain to for this – none of them are going anywhere.

See you in 2016!

Chris Irvine

Scottish.

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