Every year, as soon as December hits, the internet is awash with lists.
We’ve hosted a fair few ourselves, so we figured it was about time we asked a few of our favourite artists to contribute charts of their own. This isn’t just music – a fair few were more interested in giving a run-down of their hopes and dreams (shout out Spencer Clark, especially) in lieu of working out whether Kendrick Lamar should be at number one or two. Those are often the best ones.
Happy holidays, everyone.
The 50 best albums of 2015
The 20 best Bandcamp releases of 2015
The 20 best music videos of 2015
The 30 best album covers of 2015
The 25 best reissues of 2015
The 10 best record labels of 2015
The 20 best free mixes of 2015
The 15 best videogame soundtracks of 2015
The 20 best rap and R&B tracks of 2015
The 20 best house & techno tracks of 2015
The 20 best rap albums of 2015
Luke Younger (aka Helm)
Akitsa – Grands Tyrans
Oneohtrix Point Never – Garden Of Delete
Jlin – Dark Energy
Mgla – Exercises In Futility
Flesh World – The Wild Animals In My Life
Ke/Hil – Zone 0
Royal Headache – High
Anthony Naples – Body Pill
Olymphia – Music For A Dance Performance
Dawn Of Humans – Slurping At The Cosmos Spine
Diat – Positive Energy
Levon Vincent – Levon Vincent
Fis – The Blue Quicksand Is Going Now
Drew McDowall – Collapse
EPs / Singles:
Rezzett – ‘Goodness’
Blazing Eye – Blazing Eye
Beatrice Dillon – Face A/B
Lust For Youth – ‘Better Looking Brother’
Stormzy – ‘Shut Up’
Sheer Mag – II
Rixe – Coups Et Blessures
Nick Klein – Failed Devotee
Malicious – Black Fumes
Gramrcy – ‘Ruffian’
Saw a shitload of good gigs too. The best was Nyogthaeblisz at Beserktown along with Volahn and Akitsa. Rashad Becker and Eli Keszler tearing Cafe Oto a new arsehole. Blazing Eye, Una Bestia Incontrollable and Anasazi at Static Shock festival. Pentagram in Islington. Also played the most satisfying gig of my life at Unsound festival and played in three continents in three days – some real Iron Maiden shit.
1. LSDXOXO – ‘Cold Wintour’ (ft Cakes da Killa)
This song is MOOD.
2. BBHMM – ‘Rihanna’
Love this song it always makes me feel so badass.
3. Travis Scott – Rodeo
A Great Body of Work
4. Dougie F – Block Party
A dope mixtape from the homie and NJ Native. He’s def on the rise.
5. Rae Sremmurd – SremmLife
A dope party album. You can let this shit rock no skips.
6. Satisfaction – ‘Anna Lunoe’ (UNIIQU3 Remix)
I def wasn’t for making music after my SoundCloud deleted to be honest, but this is the new direction I’m going in when it comes to remixes and its my first ULTRA release.
7. Bryson Tiller – TrapSoul
I love R&B again. Haven’t listened to slow jams like this in a min.
8. ‘Best Friend Anthem’ – Tokyo Vaniety x Dj Sliink x Dj Taj x Dj Big O
This song was just too epic.
9. B.O.B (Big Ol Booty) – ‘Fiinesse’
Def gets the party started. Without a doubt.
10. Fetty Wap – ‘RGF Island’
Top 10 Moments of 2015
10. Appelsap Festival in Amsterdam
Appelsap Festival in Amsterdam was probably my first overseas booking. I’ve done festivals before but this one was quite interesting though – had a chance to perform grime to a crowd who weren’t primarily fans of the genre, so to see the reaction we got was quite sick.
9. Boiler Room with Logan Sama
I think Boiler Room was the first major thing that the mandem had done since first hitting up radio. I think for the majority of us this was the day we realised people were paying attention, and also the first day that we realised this music stuff could become a bit more serious than we had intended. I think what was important about this set was the fact that we were the first set of MCs from the “radio resurgence” to do anything like this so it was important to a lot more people than just us.
8. NTS w/ Mez Izzie Gibbs & Spooky
Not much to say here apart form that this was one of the sickest sets I’ve done this year. You’ve got the black Slimzee himself Spooky, with myself and two of the sickest rising MC’s in the country. What’s even better is that we’ve all gone on to do bigger things six months after this set was done.
7. Jammz + Mic Ty with Moleskin On Radar
This is a very important set. I think this is the first time myself and Ty had linked up with Moleskin, and the first time we’d spat over more “leftfield” grime instrumentals, so to speak. This was in Radar’s early days. Out of all the sets we’ve done this ones been listened to the most. ‘Final Warning’ actually happened as a result of this set, but thats another story.
6. Jammz + Fallow for Local Action
Not much to say here – just press play and you’ll see why. Easily in the top 10 sets I’ve ever done.
5. Rinse FM with Plastician
This ones pretty recent but was sick nonetheless – Rinse invited me to go down to Plasticians show to promote their event on Boxing Day. Set was kinda mad for me cos I used to listen to Plastician a lot when I was younger, now look…
4. Eskimo Dance w/ Spooky
As an MC Eskimo Dance is probably the one thing that every MC wants to be able to say that they’ve done. This year was the first year that there was a whole set just for the “New Wave” (I hate that term) to squeeze off, and to be fair, we all went ham. Fair to say it was a big achievement for all of us.
3. Boiler Room w/ Elijah + Skilliam
Out of all the shows I’ve done – I’m not even gonna lie – Boiler Room 5th Birthday had the liveliest crowd.. Rare for me to have as much fun as I did on set here. Shout out Elijah, Skilliam, Flowdan, Spyro and Jamakabi. Just watch…
2. Hit Then Run Radio Tour
Probably one of my favourite things I’ve done this year – six days, seven stations and three cities across England, We covered London, Nottingham and Birmingham. Was a tiring six days but was sick to spread the sound and promote the EP at the same time. If i remember correctly we hit Rinse, Mode, Flex, Silk City, Kemet FM and NTS all in the same week. Not a small task at all. Check the clip w/ Skinny Macho:
1. Outlook Festival w/ Logan Sama
Out of everything I’ve done this is probably the top highlight of the year. Outlook was somewhere I’d wanted to go for years but just didn’t get round to doing, so for me to go and perform on my first trip was mental. Got to perform on the Butterz stage on the first night, and then done the KeepinitGrimy Boat party the next day. Won’t forget that trip, real spit. Shouts to Logan.
Favorite mixes of 2015:
Venus X – ‘i-DJ mix’
Lara Sarkissian (foozool) – ‘Experimedia Mix’
DJ Ripley – ‘Rise and Shine’
DJ Haram – ‘Functions Of The Now XVIII’
MA NGUZU b2b Manara – ‘Fade FM Mix’
Stud1nt – ‘Detention’
8ULENTINA – ‘Club Etiquette Vol.3’
DJ USHKA – ‘en Problemas En La Selva con Sonido Martines Entrevista y Mixtape’
Sha Sha Kimbo – ‘CyberSonicLA 002’
Juliana Huxtable – ‘Discwoman One-Year Anniversary Mix’
1. Future – DS2
2. Helen – The Original Faces
3. Juan, my assistant.
4. Regal Degal – Not Now
5. Disregarding all journalism completely.
6. Purchasing my Saab 900 Turbo Convertible from 1994 .
7. Check out this.
8. James Ferraro – Skid Row
9. Mild High Club – Timeline
10. Seeing Neil Young live at the Forum in LA
Ten club tracks – some new some not – that I played a lot in 2015:
Why Be – ‘Late (Laser Ha)’
Zutzut – ‘Otra Vez Llegue’ (Scheele Bootleg)
Jlin – ‘Guantanamo’
DJ Richard – ‘Vampire Dub’
Physical Therapy – ‘Hit the Breaks’
Tomás Urquieta – ‘Manuscript’
Toxe – ‘Offence’
Dakkar & Grinser – ‘I Wanna be your Dog’
Fiedel – ‘Doors to Manual’ (Fraxinus remix)
Blaxican – ‘Getting Lifted’
Top 10 events:
1. My debut performance overseas in Krakow Poland at Unsound 2015.
2. Receiving so many end of the year accolades and listings.
3. Being featured in Rolling Stone for the first time.
4. Starting my sophomore album Black Origami: The MotherBoard for 2016.
5. Meeting so many people who have supported me from the beginning face to face.
6. Making a major decision to take on music full-time.
7. Debuting my first performance in New York at MoMA PS1 Warm-Up.
8. Having my track ‘Black Diamond’ featured in the CHANEL Seoul Cruise Collection 2015-2016.
9. Having my track ‘Black Ballet’ featured in the Adidas Originals Tublar at Paris Fashion Week SS16.
10. The release of my debut album Dark Energy with Planet Mu Records.
Kevin Martin (aka The Bug)
Best grime of 2015:
1. JME/Giggs – ‘Man Dont Care’
2. Novelist – ‘Ignorant & Wot’
3. Stormzy – ‘Shut Up’
4. Skepta – ‘Shutdown’
5. Wiley/Zomby – ‘Step 2001’
6. Lady Leshurr – ‘Brush yr teeth’
7. Terror Danjah Ft. Jamakabi – ‘Juicy Patty’
8. Teddy Bruckshot, Lady Chann & Killa P – ‘Sir Spyro’
9. Stormzy – ‘Know Me From’
10. Maxsta – ‘No Retreat’
11. JME – Integrity
12. Mez – ‘Old Skool’
13. Last Japan ft D Double E – ‘Til da Morning’
14. Wiley – ‘Send Me the Riddim’
15. Chase & Status/Frisco – ‘Funny’
16. Novelist/Mumdance – ‘1 Sec’
17. Manga – ‘The Screaming Continues’
18. Trim – ‘Man Like Me’
19. Footsie – ‘On This Ting’
20. Royal-T ft P-Money – ‘Shotta’
Marfa Myths Festival – Marfa, TX
Yoshi Wada – Earth Horns with Electronic Drone – Issue Project Room
Loren Conners – Whitney Museum
Áine O’Dwyer – Music For Church Cleaners Vol. I & II
Mariah – Utakata No Hibi
Mamman Sani – Unreleased Tapes 1981-1984
Helm – Olympic Mess
The Velvet Underground – The Complete Matrix Tapes
Helen – The Original Faces
Graham Lambkin & Michael Pisaro – Schwarze Riesenfalter
Sean McCann – A Castle Popping
Kevin Drumm – Bandcamp releases
Mdou Moctar – Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai OST
Favorite Shit of the year:
Top shit. Number album of 2015 for FACT.
Titans/ James Dean video was a treat creating. To be able to play with Mo Cap and create innovative design with limited resources was major.
Collaborating with Adult Swim Singles Comp in 2015.
Creating nine visuals in a year from one album as an independent artist.
D’Angelo. FYIF fest Live was a fucking experience.. He was a movie.
Bjork’s Vulnicura album was needed for 2015
Arca’s album was a dream and I secretly wish I’d sung over over all its peculiar perfection.
Working with Fade to Mind at ART Basel and PAMM for an amazing performance art piece was cool as hell.
OutKast at Coachella Festival was a gift from the gods and I enjoyed every fucking minute.
Working with Machinedrum and Jimmy Egdar this year has been so ill. What we are creating for next year is so stimulating and vibrant.
THE BEST OF THE BEST:
1. BEST RECORD OF THE YEAR: FRANCESCO CAVALIERE – GANCIO CIELO on HUNDEBISS
To say this artist’s music is fresh and exciting and not techno is not doing it justice. Francesco’s music is a beautiful dialogue with himself and his alien characters, extremely original, reminds me of Samuel Becketts “The Unnamable”.
2. BEST LIVE PERFORMANCE: KRAUSS IN AUCKLAND
The living legend that is Krauss finally decided to perform. In Auckland, it sounded like Musique Concrete Royal Trux beats with smooth Medieval Wizard guitar playing over the top. Then he took my wife and I to the coldest beach ever, and we dug holes in the sand as natural warm stinky spring water came out. Almost became very ill! Instead drank box wine in a funky little shack.
3.BEST RECORD NOT MADE THIS YEAR: FULLTIME WINTER 2 MARCO TRANI
The Best LP Cover of all time, the funkiest Italo. Stole my copy from the DJ at Shaft’s 70th Birthday party. Damn Right.
4 BEST FUNNY DANGEROUS MOMENT: GERMANY
On tour in Germany, I handed a fork and knife to an annoying German dude and told him to eat his friend (MACHT ESSEN SNELLER!) but don’t get too excited and overcook him. Kassel 2001 NEVER FORGET.
5. BEST MOMENT OF THE YEAR: THE BIRTH OF PELE FLORES
6. BEST BOOK: HILL OF DREAMS BY ARTHUR MACHEN
Make no mistake, this book is straight up Symbolist Romantic in the most Inner Pagan way imaginable.
7. BEST MOVIE : RELICS: EINSTEIN’S BRAIN
There is no place more melted than this zone, shown to tourists before they visit Japan. Get a pack of Huggies, get butt-naked, and just Skittle.
8. BEST INSPIRATIONAL MOMENT: AUSTRALIA
Wandering around Hanging Rock in Australia wearing a DEMON MASK, looking at the world from inside a mask allowed to feel full moments of transformation.
9. BEST BAR: TON TON ROGER AFRIKA MOTO, BRUSSELS
An Actual 70s African Highlife band plays from midnight ’til seven every Friday and Saturday. The day after the Paris attacks we were there, they played STRAIGHT UP AND DOWN PLAYED WE ARE THE WORLD.
10. BEST THING FOR PEOPLE TO STOP MAKING NEXT YEAR: Starts with a “T” and ends with ECHNO.
Future – DS2
Kelela – ‘Rewind’
Fuego – ‘Cuando Suena El Bling’
JME – Integrity
Swing Ting (label)
DJ Khaled’s snapchat
Young Thug – ‘Best Friend’
Every song by Alkaline
The Black Madonna
Pearson Sound – Pearson Sound
Video for wiki and Nasty Nigel – ‘Living With My Moms’
Rihanna having a party for cover art for an album that might not even exist
Chris Watson’s Okeanos at LCMF
M. Zalla – Problemi D’Oggi
Pekka Airaksinen – Buddhas of Golden Light
Tessela – ‘Bottom Out’
Beatriz Ferreyra – GRM Works
Golden Teacher meets Dennis Bovell At The Green Door 12″
Lifted – Lifted 1
Untold – ‘Doff’
Minor Science – ‘Glamour’
Mika Taanila – Stimulus Progression
Tommy McCook & Glen Brown – The Sannic Sounds of Tommy McCook
Laurel Halo – ‘Situation’
Huerco S – Railroad Blues