End of Year Review: Tamsyn Wilce

Our next end of year review comes from Reviews Editor Tamsyn, who didn't think 2015 was all that great. She did really like State Champs though!

End of Year Review: Tamsyn Wilce

By Tamsyn Wilce

Dec 31, 2015 9:35

I feel that with many end of year reflection pieces it’s often expected for us all to gush over how this year was SO much better than the last and how many wonderful and incredible things happened that made 2015 one to remember. However, this time around I personally can’t help but feel that quite frankly, 2015 was a little disappointing in terms of music.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been some amazing things within music this year. I’ve attended mind-blowing shows, spent my summer in various fields at various Festivals and welcomed some outstanding records into my life. Yet something about 2015 just doesn’t feel quite as special as 2014 did. For starters, my Top 10 Album list became a real struggle to put together, and not because I had too many choices to whittle down, more that I had too little and genuinely couldn’t think of ten records which blew me away enough this year to make the Top 10. Perhaps, though, this is partly my own fault. This year personally has been my busiest yet. Having started my own business within the music industry itself, as well as maintaining and producing content for Punktastic and other online sites, my brain has switched from listening to and writing about records, to getting other people to do the work. Therefore, I feel I’ve missed many records I really should be paying attention to, so I am making it my mission in 2016 to listen to a hell of a lot more music and discover plenty of new favourite bands. That said, some of the records that were released this year I have fallen completely and utterly in love with.

Something I have noticed is how much more ‘pop’ music has dominated both the alternative scene and my personal choices. When you look at this years releases from Don Broco and Bring Me The Horizon, there’s been a definite shift in their sound, with 80s influences and heavy synth lines, whilst acts such as Halsey and PVRIS continue to blur the lines between what is pop and what is rock. Mostly in 2015 my heart belonged to pop-punk and indie-pop acts that would have me dancing and singing as soon as a beat kicked in. State Champs taught me about drop-kicking breakdowns and how important handclaps are to a song, while newcomers such as Boston Manor, Weatherstate and ROAM proved that the UK has some incredible talent amongst its shores. 2015 was also the year that saw angsty emo-punk made further breakthroughs, with The Xcerts continuously soundtracking long journeys, Moose Blood slaying it in the US and my personal favourite, A Will Away, who released an EP that I’m seriously struggling to take off repeat. Alongside all this mosh and bangers, the past twelve months has also seen me turn into a bit of a belieber, a mixer and a swifty, whilst bands such as Prides have brought such joy to my ears I honestly can’t contain it all.

In terms of live music, I’ve witnessed a massively mixed bag of acts perform both amazing and utterly dull shows. I kicked off the year watching Fall Out Boy at Islington Assembly Halls and I pretty much ended the year seeing them at Wembley, and I never thought I’d say the words, “Seeing Fall Out Boy at Wembley sucked a bit”, but it did. I cried when Alexisonfire returned to the main stage at Reading Festival, I watched 5 Seconds of Summer by myself at Wembley and had a really great time (even if Michael’s hair caught fire). I watched intimate, acoustic performances, I watched UK bands sell out huge venues in the capital and I saw my friends in bands achieve their dreams. I interviewed my teenage heroes (‘sup New Found Glory), sung in the rain to my favourite bands at Festivals and lost my voice on more than one occasion. I haven’t attended as many shows as I did last year, but those I did attend were pretty damn special.

Unfortunately, 2015 saw some losses, particularly within the alternative scene. Many bands have had to face reality and call it a day, giving up their dream of a career in music. Venues are closing left right and centre all over the country, fans were put at their most vulnerable in places they should feel safe and it feels like a week hasn’t gone by where there hasn’t been a gut-wrenching news story involving band members, the latest being the horrific bus crash that involved The Ghost Inside. Here’s to hoping the next year is a little more positive.

While I have absolutely no idea what 2016 is going to hold, (other than a Saosin and Underoath return, sweet LORD), I have to say I am awfully excited for the surprises that lie ahead. Hopefully this is the year I’ll get to venture abroad for Festivals and shows, I’ll discover artists that I’ll spend months talking about and make a whole load of new memories with the worlds best personal soundtrack. Bring IT.