A Best of 2015 part 1 on the Moon

A Windows Phone Tile Collage.

As we are now a bit over half way through the year, it is time for the second Moon A Best of part 1. We are still living through a period of lots of great music being released and not bothering the singles chart and so below there are tracks from 51 artists that I was aware of who have released decent new stuff in the last 6 months, or new artists I have come across who have released music in the last year or so. It is as diverse as ever, but with the consistency of great song, though there is a preponderance of very talented ladies from the north or north west of The North.

As usual thanks must go the God Is In The TV, the VPME, The Finest Kiss, the AV Club and BBC 6 Music on the iPlayer. Below the playlist is a bit of detail and some other musings on each artist. Check it out via Spotify below or bar one track on Deezer You can also use Soundiz to convert it to Xbox music or "Groove" as it soon to be rebranded.

Moon Advert - Check out the full 87 track A Best of 2015 on the Moon!

1. Bentcousin -Bentpaperboy

Taken from a great 5 track EP released last year. The other tracks are more rock n' roll with boy/girl shared vocals. They have released two singles since and hopefully an album will follow soon.

2. Sara Lowes - I Find You

Based to the north west of The North but from north of the The North. This track was released as part of an EP last year, but it is also on the album released this year which appeared on the Moon eventually...

3. Primetime - Tied Down

This was also released as part of an EP last year but was only made available on Spotify etc recently. They are a bunch of ladies from London and this is a classic and stand out from the EP. I  do hope that they can match it a couple of times for an album.

4. The Unthanks - Magpie (Spotify only)

A band from and very much based north of The North, who featured on my best of 2009 but who's last album proper called Last rather past me by. This new release is a worthy progression from their 2009 LP Here's the Tender Coming. I generally like their own compositions best, but I do love this version of an 18th century nursery rhyme. For some reason, the new album is not on Deezer, or Xbox Music (Groove) or even fully downloadable from Google Play.

5, Ha Ha Tonka - Arabella

Now we are going back to 2013, but to a band who only came to my attention through the release of a video for the album title track last December. This is another great track that is far superior to the Arctic Monkey tune of the same name, released about the same time, although itis one of the few Arctic tunes I don't think is up to much. Check out the album on the Moon.

6. Natalie Prass - Why Don't You Believe in Me

On to 2015 at last and a great track from a fine album from a member of the band of the exceedingly talented Jenny Lewis. Check it out on the Moon

7. Father John Misty - The Ideal Husband

Another great record and a second appearance on a Moon Best of for Mr Tillman. Check it out on the Moon

8. Unlikely Friends - Stupid Game

A joyous two minutes from a great LP - Check it out on the Moon

9. Avers - Mercy

Back to 2014 and from one of the albums of that year that was sadly not on A Best of 14. This is one of many great and diverse tracks from a band made up of members from various other Richmond, Virginia bands and they have proved the old adage that a whole can be greater than the sum of its parts. Another album is due this year and so they should also feature on part 2. In the meantime check out them out the Moon

10. Twerps -Shoulders

Another great Aussie band and this is one of many standouts from a great album - check it out on the Moon

11. The Wave Pictures -  We Fell Asleep in the Blue Tent

Another year and another great Wave Pictures LP and their third appearance on a Moon Best Of. It was quite hard to pick one track as most are this great - check it out on the Moon

12. The Paranoid Style - Master Jack

Taken from a great EP and a couple of other great tracks that can be found on the interweb are also brilliant - so I am very much looking forward to an LP.

13. Belle and Sebastian - The Everlasting Muse

One of many great tracks from one of their best LPs with just the bad Pet Shop Boys like Enter Sylvia Plath not quite working. Sadly not available to Deezer Orange/EE mobile subscribers.

14. The Staves - Make it Holy

The Staves are now repeat offenders on the Moon Best Ofs. Although nothing gon the new LP could quite match the brilliance of Wisley & Slow from their debut it is a solid second with some great tracks like this one. However, they could do with a bit more diversity and letting their hair down a bit.

15. Ghostpoet - Yes I helped You Pack

One of many great tracks from a brilliant album with many great guest appearances such as this one from Etta Bond and two brilliant vocal contributions from....

16. Nadine Shah - The Gin One

Another great album from Ms Shah and another great female artist from the North of The North. It all sounds rather serious but can, like on this track, be pretty amusing.

17. Sufjan Stevens - No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross

A gorgeous track from a fine LP. It is the kind of album many of his fans will have been willing him to make, but I hope he continues to confound expectations.

18. Laura Marling - Short Movie

A brilliant and ambitious track from an album that reignited my appreciation after a period of repeating herself a bit.

19. Zebra Hunt - Half Right

A great slice of indie jangle from a band unsurprisingly championed by A Finest Kiss. It is a fine album with a number of other highlights.

20. Happyness - Pumpkin Noir

From a very impressive debut from a London band who seem to be mostly influenced by a Ghost is Born era Wilco - which is, of course, great.

21. Lonelady - Groove it Out

The highlight from a fine album from a Lady from the north west of the North, who has combined the best electronic heritage from her hometown with the best bits of Prince.

22. Morton Valence - Old Love Letters

A band who featured on the Moon last year and who have released another fine album of Cockney Country Noir.

23. Asaf Avidan - The Jail that Sets You Free

A pretty unique artists who featured on the Moon in 2014 and this year. This track is Mr Avidan at his most poptastic - the rest of the album, like his previous, is more Amy Winehouse sounding like a serious Dame Shirley Bassey.

24. Stealing Sheep - Greed

Some more top pop from some Ladies from the Republic of Liverpool. One of a few highlights from a fine album.

25. The Leisure Society  - I am a Setting Sun

From their 4th and most understated album, inspired by a death of a friend. It does come alive half way through - which means they have secured another entry on a Moon Best Of, but they are still to make the stunning album they should be capable of.

26. Courtney Barnett - Small Poppies

An epic from a great new album and a double offender on the Moon already.

27. Blur - Ong Ong

The greatest unexpected pleasure of the year. It is not one of their greatest albums but it is a very interesting return and this track is one of Mr Albarn's finest and most poptastic moments. Find lots more Blur on the Moon

28. Django Django - Break the Glass

A great track from the near the end and best part of the 2nd LP. From the band who made the album the Beta Band never managed, but I did wonder how they could follow it up and  they have made their sound a bit different  by replacing guitar with synth sound, but it could do with a bit more variation -  rather like the last album from the Beta Bands's Steve Mason....

29. The Lovely Eggs - Magic Onion

The single of the year so far from a great DIY group from Lancaster in Northern England. It is their 3rd LP and they have produced videos with John Shuttleworth and so how I had not heard of them till this year is a bit mysterious. This track and the album is a bit of a step up though and I was all set to do a Moon post on the week of the release - just post the election result with a link to their excellent website, but though the album is their on Spotify and Deezer in Blighty at least, only the Magic Onion single is steamable, which is a shame. The Magic Onion is the best track but it is a fine album. You can also sign sign up to their excellent newsletter and "Let the Hot Goss Roll".

30. The Yung'uns feat Bob Fox - Brewster & Wagner

More great new folk from the north of the North and rather like The Unthanks they are at their best when doing their own songs - such as this track, with a fantastic last line delivered brilliantly by Bob Fox - it is a candidate for song of the year. That said the the album does have a fantastic cover of Billy Bragg's wonderful Between the Wars.

31. Lorrelle Meets The Obsolete  - What's Holding You?

An album that has been withheld from Deezer but not from Spotify for some reason, but you can check it out and more on their Bandcamp page and their previous 2 albums are on Deezer along with this track that opens the latest album as it was also a single back in 2013. It is the highlight from the album, but the rest is very good and it the most too cool for school album of the year so far. I just would like the vocals to be a bit clearer as all the songs sound great, they are just a bit hard to decipher.

32. TORRES - Ferris Wheel

From a great and diverse album that kicks of like PJ Harvey at her most rocktastic, then diverges into more electronic strangeness with Cowboy Guilt and then has this epic that could be a highlight from Lana Del Rey's Ultraviolence. Check it out on the Moon

33. Misty Miller - Happy

Ms Miller featured on a Best of 2013 on the Moon with the very impressive Little Drummer from one of the two excellent EPs she released that year. Since then we have had no album and just two singles and  she has lost a band and had to find a new one. One of the singles was part of an EP with three other self penned demos which sound promising and one is Happy - which has since been recorded with her new band and released as the first single from the soon to be released debut album. Happily the band version of Happy is fantastic and even better is the new version of Next to You, which is now on Ubend Those two early EPs are no longer streamable, though most of the tracks, including Little Drummer are on the recently released Chronicles EP. Hopefully the other tracks will be on the album...

34. Admiral Fallow  - Happened in the Fall

I band I think did feature on my A Best of 2009 on Spoitfy from before the Moon and are also on A Best of 12, but their debut album does keep coming off and then back on Spotify and Deezer for some reason. It is a classic which there two subsequent LPs have failed to match.

I described their debut as like Malcolm Middleton fronting The Delgados but their second LP was more polished, a bit too polished - to be a bit like Snow Patrol. The new LP is similar but is a bit more later Delgado like than Snow Patrol . I would like them to go further in this direction and just be a be looser, more folky, more diverse and stranger. That said, like the second LP, it is another fine album that reveals itself after a few listens.

35. Kid Wave - Honey

From a fine debut album which you can improve a bit with a couple of tracks from the pre album releases. Sounding effortlessly cool but with good tunes, it was not such a surprise to hear that the lead singer had not heard of some of the too cool for school/style over substance her band has been to compared to and instead said she loved Abba and Wilco.

36. Novella - Blue Swallows

A  band who have released a fine album but one that did not quite live up to the promise of the EPs and singles that preceded it, but if you add all their tracks together then you do get a very impressive whole. This epic track features on the excellent Murmers EP from last year and on the album.

37. Mikal Cronin - Gold

From a very ambitious new album and a second entry in a Moon best of for this Ty Segall collaborator and he is at least matching his more celebrated colleague with some great tunes.

38. Christopher Owens - Music of My Heart

Another album that was an unexpected surprise and a return to what he does best after a rather OTT country soul LP from last year. It is an album with many lovely tracks like this one. Check it out on the Moon

39. Skinny Lister - Trouble on Oxford Street

No Mumford and Sons on this A Best of despite featuring twice previously as sadly they have metamorphosised into Coldplay gone wrong. This band are a great replacement with with Billy Bragg style politics thrown in. Check it out on the Moon

40. Sharon Van Etten - I Don't Want to Let You Down

The lead track form an excellent 5 track EP that was a very unexpected pleasure from an artist who produced one of the albums of 2014.

41. Black Honey - Spinning Wheel

A promising new band who emerged late last year and currently have six tracks streamable and hopefully the album will live up to expectations.

42. Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat - Street Pastor Colloquy, 3AM

Like his excellent 2009 solo LP this is from another very fine, more song based LP from Mr Moffat ably assisted by Mr Wells. This is one of many highlights. Check it out on the Moon

43. Bhi Bhiman - Moving to Brussels

The irresistible opening track from one if the albums of the year. Check it out on the Moon

44. Sarah Cracknell featuring Nicky Wire

A cracking country tinged lead single from the kind of album that those of us who really liked the more folky moments of the first Saint Etienne albums would have hoped they would go on to make. It does not quite work on one overtly pop moment and on a track where she rocks very politely. Folkish country/60's pop like Nancy and Lee/ Isobel and Mark best suit her wonderful voice.

45. Ezra Furman - Lousy Connection

One of the singles of the year from his third straight great album. Check it out on the Moon and also find the brilliant A Best of Ezra Furman and the Harpoons on the Moon

46. Vienna Ditto - A Wheel Within a Wheel

The best new track from another debut LP that did not quite match the promise of the EPs and singles previously released. Added altogether they make a quite brilliant whole  - check it out on the Moon This track showcases their more psychedelic-electro pop side but they also do great voodoo electro blues.

47. Wolf Alice - Freazy

Another LP that did not quite match pre release expectations but again, with all the pre releases, you can make a brilliant playlist. Sadly the record company has been messing about a bit, taking off the original (superior version) of the Bros single and B side off streaming services plus the Fluffy single and B side from Spotify, but not the hidden track on the album which you can't stream on Deezer. Thankfully you can stream them all here The album was an ambitious attempt at grunge pop but it does not all quite work on Your Loves Whore which does sound like what Taylor Swift might sound like if she tried to do rawk. This track works well just as great pop as they had already show with tracks such as Heavenly Creatures. Overall they do remind me of the great Rilo Kiley at their most pop on their last album and at their most rock on their finest LP - The Execution of All Things. Their first album did not match expectations formed by excellent EP releases either, but they went on to great things and then lead singer Jenny Lewis went on to greater things. Check out a A Best of Rilo Kiley via the Moon

48. Crocodiles - Hard

Another fine album with a great opening track though it is not as great as I Like it in the Dark - the opener from their last album featured on A Best of 2013, but the album is more interesting as a whole, with more highlights such as this one and it is just as too cool for school...

49. Mirel Wagner - What Love Looks Like

One of a few great tracks from a lovely sounding but a bit disturbing acoustic folk album from a Ethiopian born Finnish citizen.

50. Evans the Death - Enabler

From a fine second LP of  indie rock n' roll with depth from this London based band.

51. Du Blonde - After the Show

This is from the best album that I have come across that has not had Moon post. Du Blonde it the new incarnation of Beth Jeans-Houghton another very talented lady from the north of The North. With her Hooves of Destiny she produced a fine LP back in 2012 and the brilliant Lilliput featured on A Best of 2012. With the Hooves she had a great folk indie sound but with Du Blonde she has relocated to LA and to a new sound that is rather like a stranger, disturbed version of TORRES. So more PJ Harvey influence on the likes of Black Flag and then tracks like this one that are rather Lana Del Rey gone bonkers and so would be right at home on A Best of the Rest of Lana Del Rey Part 3


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