End of Year Review: Glen Bushell

We've asked some of our editors to take us through their year in music. Kicking off the pieces is Glen Bushell.

End of Year Review: Glen Bushell

By Glen Bushell

Dec 28, 2015 17:01

It’s hard to know where to start when looking back on music in 2015. In my opinion, it has been one of the best years for new, exciting, and interesting music. I could spend forever talking about each new release I have heard this year that has blown my mind, or every great live performance I have seen over the last 12 months. If I went into such great detail, I could potentially break a record for the longest opinion piece in history. It’s probably best that I stick to the short version.

In terms of releases, I don’t think I ever invested so much time – and money – into new music within a single year. My LP collection has grown to the point where I am running out of space for records, and you can imagine the nightmare it was trying to whittle down my “Albums of the Year”. Still, 2015 saw the return of LA trio Failure, and their comeback album ‘The Heart Is a Monster’ remained untouchable. It was also a year of progression for a lot of bands, which helped keep alternative music interesting. Deafheaven unleashed a monster with ‘New Bermuda’, Ceremony decided to tread a darker path on ‘The L-Shaped Man’, and Turnover grew up on the more mature ‘Peripheral Vision’. It was certainly a highlight of 2015, seeing bands dare to be different, and pushing their music into other territories.

There were also some stunning albums released that may have been missed in the bigger picture. A personal favourite was ‘Salome’ by Marriages. Part of the ever impressive Sargent House roster, and fronted by Emma Ruth Rundle; they produced one of the most intoxicating albums this year. Not to mention excellent releases from Creepoid, Chelsea Wolfe, Adventures, Teenage Wrist, Title Fight and more. It would be criminal to overlook some of the bands that released albums in 2015, which perhaps we don’t always cover here at Punktastic. A firm favourite of mine – and several members of the PT team it would seem, was ‘Every Open Eye’ by Chvrches, who also gave one of the most stunning live performances I have seen this year. Also, let’s not forget Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’ – which was not only the best hip-hop album of the year, but probably the best of the last 10 years. Honourable mentions need going to Best Coast, Tamaryn, and Purity Ring for some of the of the best indie/pop albums of 2015.

When it came to live shows, this year was certainly one my busiest. I think I lost count of the amount of shows I have been to per month, but I certainly wouldn’t change that for anything. If I had to pick my live highlights of the year, I may be able to narrow it down to a few; J Mascis giving a moving solo performance at The Haunt in Brighton. Watching Ceremony play the sweaty opening night of Moth Club in Hackney in August. Venturing across the Atlantic for the first time to New Mexico, where I attended a small $5 show in Albuquerque to see Failure play at the Launchpad – complete with guitar legend Troy Van Leeuwen. Finally, experiencing my first show in Denver, CO by watching Deafheaven play ‘New Bermuda’ in its full, hypnotic glory.

Then there are the festivals. Temples Festival in Bristol proved itself to be one of the most important UK events on the festival calendar. Converge, Pig Destroyer, Earth, Nails, Tribulation and more. All of whom played unforgettable sets. Not to mention witnessing the sheer aural assault of SUNNO)) in person for the first time. Across the channel, Belgium came up with the goods again. With both Groezrock and Ieperfest providing great weekends. At Groezrock, As Friends Rust, and Knapsack both came out for rare appearances on the mainland, and we said an emotional farewell to The Swellers. It was my first time attending the festival, and it was a great experience to be a part of. The considerably smaller Ieperfest a few months later was also a fantastic weekend. Pentagram, Touche Amore, and Sweet Jesus gave some excellent performances, and seeing Less Than Jake win over a predominantly hardcore audience is something I’ll never forget.

I said this would be the short version, and even though this is longer than I intended, trust me when I say this is short. It has been a crazy 12 months. I have interviewed artists that I have respected, and looked up to for the longest time, and worked with the best up and coming bands, both home and abroad, premiering some excellent new music that people might not have heard otherwise. What 2016 will hold remains to be seen, and even though it has a lot to live up to, I am quietly confident that it will be even better than the last.