2015 was an incredible year for music in Bristol; stand-out shows, national successes and critically-acclaimed releases across the board, the talent pouring out of the city is undeniable. The notable diversity in genre and execution means that this year, you could pretty much find something you were into any night of the week and let’s be real – that perfectly sums up why it’s so great to live here.
After such a great year, we thought we’d ask those bands and solo artists to sum up their 2015 – a highlight, a challenge or just something special. From losing Bieber cover recordings to playing the Sanctum, to eating salad boxes in supermarket car parks and being compared to Coldplay, 2015 has definitely been a year to remember.
‘Highlights of Whitebelt’s year were that Ben got two new cats (part Burmese, part Bengalese. One matriarch, one curtain climber), Nick started a new job in occupational therapy where he gets to wear a green uniform, and Tina found an awesome new display cabinet in the shape of a house for her trinkets.
Musically, Tina finally discovered the optimum height for her keyboard stand, Ben learned the secret of funk guitar, and Nick is still trying to grasp the true meaning of the effects of alcohol on drum technique. We also played some great shows with bands we love, such as Kogumaza, Cowtown, Barton Carriages, and were really pleased to get asked to do shows by loads of great people to whom we are forever thankful.
Early next year we’ll be putting out some new recordings via the lovely Odd Box Records and are playing with lots of fun bands at the London DIYPOPFEST in May 2016. We’d love to play your town so give us a shout’.
Check out ‘Bruce’ right here
We’re probably never going to have a year like this again so we’ve made sure we’ve enjoyed every minute of it. We started the year by putting our debut album out which was received unimaginably positively and exposed us to a whole new audience which thought we’d never reach, and 2 of them came to our Leeds show. Since then it’s been as erratic as we’d expect, and we’ve had a lot of fun with numerous projects.
Toured Europe a few times, played ace festivals, got in trouble lots, put out loads of records and videos and still managed to just about stay alive. The highlight, though, was having someone shout at me in a pub for an hour about how everyone in Bristol hates us and that we are careerists and the Coldplay of the Bristol music scene amongst a lot of other things that made me think that we just be doing something right.
Check out ‘Mirror’ right here:
Two White Cranes
The main challenge of 2015 for two white cranes was Monday night when I recorded a really good Justin Bieber cover on my laptop and then it crashed. Always back up yr work.
Check out ‘Train’ right here:
This year has been the best. We made an album we’re so proud of, met and played gigs with loads of excellent bands, got a brilliant new drummer, reunited with Lou for Gainesville Fest, and swam in the Gulf of Mexico! Touring with Lemuria was a massive highlight, taking us all around the UK and a few steps into Europe - which we will hopefully return to in 2016. I’ve really appreciated the support of an amazing peer group of musicians this year - Alimony Hustle, Towel, and Doe just to name a few - all of whom are doing really excellent and interesting work. For the first time, I’ve really felt like we’ve got something special, and more than ever, I don’t want it to end.
Check out ‘This Time Next Year’ right here:
Oh, The Guilt
When we started Oh,The Guilt a year ago we didn’t expect to have such a fantastic response from audiences. We’ve had an amazing year, but our heightlight was opening for Chelsea Wolfe in her sold out Fleece show. We are excited to see how our sound will develop in the new year!
Check out ‘White Car’ right here:
It’s been a pretty big year for me. I put out my first release, Alba, and am readying the follow up to be released early next year. Got a lot of exciting things to look forward to in 2016…
Check out ‘Jejune / Selene’ right here:
Highlights were touring with Spekkers, releasing HIVE and experiencing first hand James Hankins’ driving. Challenges were actually trying to get Ky into Coco Rosie. That and the congestion charge. The motherfucker.
Check out ‘Axe’ right here:
The highlights for Candy Darling this year have all fallen in December, Firstly we recruited the supremely talented Andy Sutor as a drummer, playing and writing with Andy has reinforced my passion for this band and I can’t wait to hear how the next batch of songs turn out. We played our first show with him at Bristol’s most exciting new night Thorny.
Thorny is the height of degraded glamour and is certainly the closet Bristol has to our very own Studio 54 or Warhol’s Factory, plus it’s probably much more inclusive and friendly than either of those places ever were. Another highlight for Candy Darling is that 8 months after the company promised to deliver (long story), our single “Going Straight” is finally available on ltd edition white vinyl.
Check out ‘Going Straight’ right here:
She Makes War
Highlights of the year: recording the Disarm:15 EP and my new album Direction Of Travel (out March 2016), playing Beautiful Days festival and getting to sing with The Levellers again, supporting New Model Army at Kentish Town Forum, tUnE-yArDs at Motion in Bristol and Gruff Rhys at Words and Music Festival in Nantwich and taking my music and comedy “Shit Girlfriend” to Edinburgh Fringe. Here’s to 2016!
Check out ‘ghostsandshadows’ right here:
2015 has been about new experiences for Age Decay. Firstly, my debut EP - Pavor Nocturnus - was released on a real life, honest to goodness record label (Breathe Plastic); a first for any project in which I’ve been involved. Secondly, I branched out into commissioned composition - creating a track especially for Chicago based fashion house The Ørder and donating another from the EP to dark clothing and art curators Velvit.
Both of these events were definite highlights of 2015 and through them I learned that I’m capable of a lot more than I give myself credit for. I just need to shut off the doubtful part of my annoying brain and dig in. I’m sad that I didn’t get to bring the Age Decay full band show to life this year, but I have a feeling that’s not too far off…
Check out ‘A World In Two’ right here:
We released our eponymous debut album on Lava Thief at the start of the year and threw a launch party with some of our favourite bands (HUM, Repo Man) to celebrate! We also played a few festivals and discovered that Cardiff is ace. There’s been a lot of involvement with our other projects this year too (Twin, Landslide Purist, SJ Esau) but during the latter half of the year we kind of hid away, hunkered down and rediscovered what Vena Cava are currently about; in the Autumn time recorded a new EP at Joe’s Garage – we’re looking forward to getting another release out.
Other than that, new stuff has been pouring forth and we’ve probably gone a bit more into our own weird little world. Our first show of 2016 is on the 22nd Jan with a bunch of great bands at The Cube, should be a good ‘un! Oh and none of us have run away to get married in Vegas or joined a cult. Yet.
Check out ‘Throne Brain Believers’ right here:
A highlight would definitely be going on tour in Europe, learning from musicians who have done it all before and gaining experience by playing to audiences I wouldn’t normally play to. The main challenge has been to sustain the momentum gained from that tour and the release of my debut EP and trying to push forward and keep the excitement levels up.
Check out ‘Slow’ right here:
2015 was good. I played a lot more shows than last year, and was lucky enough to support Pharmakon in London, as well as play at Bunker III at The Island, which was the best. I met a lot of new people this year who have opened some doors for my music in 2016, which I’m excited about and grateful for. I made a jungle record. Joe Hatt is now my booking agent, as well as label boss. I think he’s trying to take over.
Check out ‘IV’ right here:
We started the year, our big push year, with a sweet six month break. We spent that time doing basically nothing whilst everyone else involved worked really hard getting our record No Wives out, reviewed and played. Well done all of them. It made us look busy, when in fact we had more band lunches than practices.
Second half we booked a bundle of gigs, played them, and remembered how much we enjoyed all that, especially when they were with bands we are fans of like Hey Colossus, Meat Wave & Idles, and when people came and said nice things and bought records and stuff. Felt like a proper band. Was cool.
Check out ‘No Stops’ right here:
I escaped the Isle of Wight. I Recorded my 1st E.P. I attended my first glastonbury festival. I learned how to use a screw driver. I consumed enough gin to fill the tanks of Bristol’s Aquarium. I have drenched a dozen shoulders in salty tears. I have been immensely sad. I have been immensely happy. I have received zero haircuts. I have fallen in love.
Check out ‘Furniture’ right here:
The St Pierre Snake Invasion
The joint highlight of year was definitely the album launch and Freakshow festival in France. Both nights were examples of how youimagine shows to be when you were a kid. The most challenging thing of the year was my nan joining facebook and having to hold back on the ‘effing and jeffing’ it’s been hard. I sneak a few bullshits in every now and then though. Never a C mind you.
Check out ‘A Hundred Years a Day’ right here:
Body Clocks started back in January and it’s been an incredible year for us so far. We both recently moved to Bristol together to really focus on the music and joining the Chiverin collective has been great! A highlight for us so far was definitely being invited to play at Glastonbury’s Rabbit Hole. It was there that we met Rhain as well and have since started collaborating on some tracks.
We had hoped to release our debut EP earlier in the summer but have definitely learnt that these things take a lot longer than you originally plan. We are currently mixing our EP at Dean Street Studios in Soho and aiming to release it Spring 2016 (if all goes to plan)
Check out ‘Still Life’ right here:
New Palace Talkies
2015 the year of the yo yo. Been challenging living in different places but we still managed to be a part of some amazing stuff - thanks for some wonderful Bristol gigs. We’re back, back for good, and kicking a hole in the side of 2016 at the Louisiana for IVW on 30th Jan. Get your dankest garms on and don’t forget to bring your instagrams cos there’ll be free selfies at the bar.
Check out ‘We Live Together’ right here:
I didn’t manage to write songs in logical tunings, or stop biting my nails, or finish most of the things I started. I haven’t recorded an EP, I haven’t learned any more instruments and I haven’t grown my hair out, so my New Years resolutions will be rolling over to 2016. But I did finish my A Levels, and I did move away from The Shire, and I did support two of my absolute all-time musical heroes. I’ve met and collaborated with some amazing musicians and friends, toured with a badass New Zealander and gigged in the cold cold North.
I’ve forgotten a lot of lyrics but remembered why I wrote a few of them. I’ve made some people laugh and some people cry, got asked on public transport if I was “that girl off the stage” and managed to keep a houseplant alive for more than a month. I feel immensely lucky to know the people I do and to have been offered the opportunities I have, and if next year is anything like the last, I’ll be well chuffed.
Check out ‘Farewell’ right here:
Samuel: At this point I can only assume that my continued presence in and around the band is the result of superstition. This makes me feel ashamed, which is only ever a good thing.
Aled: In May we sat in a Morrisons car park in Brighton eating salad from the salad bar. I will never forget that moment for as long as I live.
Nat: We all attended Colin’s secret 30th birthday party (Colinfest) in June, which was terrifyingly well organised by his long-term lover Natalie. Not only did some of our favourite bands play but we got to dance all night to some real bangers. Nightbeats!
Check out ‘library to library’ right here:
Our highlight was easily the ‘meat’ ep launch at the Louisiana; It was the best feeling in the world playing a home gig and selling out. There was so much love in the room. Fuck everything else, that was it for sure. The main thing that blew us away was the support we received after our mindfuck holiday.
Check out ‘The Idles Chant’ right here:
I’d say that 2015 has been a year of pretty massive contrasts for me personally, which I think reflects in the new songs I’ve been weaving together this year; there’s some heartbreak/stormy moments in there and also waves of pure unbridled bliss and wonder. I played some cool shows, the highlight being an ‘Aphelion Editions’ gig with Chicaloyoh who I’m a big fan of. I’ve also had fun recording amongst the windswept castles, woodlands and industrial units of Wiltshire.
At the last session, we had a food break and I ate a crazy-hot chilli by accident which made me hallucinate, scared myself silly by walking through a haunted forest in the pitch darkness, oh and I also got near smooched by a massive Japanese koi fish. I’d like to think these three distinct yet perhaps cosmically intertwined events have added to the songs somehow. I’m super grateful to Deej Dhariwal for all his hard work recording me. Next year there’ll be a ZamZam tape and hopefully an album plus I’ve had some new ideas for my live show to mix things up a bit in 2016.
Check out ‘Mirrors’ right here:
2015 was a year. It was a year that was rounded off nicely by a story about Damien breaking into his work, pissed at 4am to go to sleep under his desk because he knew he’d fail to get up in time for work if he went home. Nothing to do with The Plainviews, but a good story, none the less.
Check out ‘Charlie Delta’ right here:
Playing my first festival, getting my first heckle, setting up a tiny DIY cassette label, Simula Records, with my friend BURL, and getting excited about our first releases, and having my debut album released by Howling Owl… There’s been a lot going on. My favourite thing I participated in was the Rummaging Orchestra at IBT festival on Feb 14th, a ‘junk-fuelled rummage noise ascension’ that was total body euphoria. If I get another chance to flex my rummaging muscles in 2016 I’m there.
My favourite Wenonoah gig of 2015 was definitely at Thorny, a night Joe Bligh put on at the Exchange. I don’t think I’ve ever played for such a friendly, kind bunch of people. At one point while dancing sober later someone told me they appreciated my ‘entire being’ and surrounded by the mad love and energy on the dancefloor I just couldn’t keep a grin off my face. I hope good things like this keep happening. And I’ll leave you with my top foodmusic moment for 2015. Wenonoah at Wookey Hole caves, in a secret tunnel surrounded by rows upon rows of special cave cheese, outnumbered, intoxicated by the vapours, singing my heart out.
Check out ‘the easter tree’ right here:
Having self-released our debut album in March, getting a 10/10 review from Louder Than War, selling a few t shirts, properly recording our second album, demoing our third album and taking a brimming 1997 Micra to Normandy and back for one show, we’ve had a pretty boomba year! Next year will see the release of our second album and, with any luck, our first tour. We’re super pumped to kick off the year with a headline show on Saturday Jan 9th at Start The Bus, which we’ll be celebrating with free CD’s – hope to see you there!
Check out ‘Lost Talent’ right here:
The Dead Astronaut
Recording and releasing The Dead Astronaut project and then getting the chance to play it live at a peak slot on a Friday night at Sanctum was pretty cool! The first performance was at 8pm on Friday night - peak time - there was a 15 minute limitation on people attending at one point to allow enough people to pass through the space! The audience were captivated, enthusiastic and responsive to such an intimate performance (talk about tempo shift, we followed a samba band) when we moved to the electric part of the set, it really felt like the audience cam with us. A very special, setting and memory and I’m really glad to have been a small part of it.
Check out ‘Severn’ right here:
We recorded the album and sat on it like a bunch of mad chickens. It’s not about 2015 for us, it’s all about 2016, when it hatches and you all help us eat the screaming baby…
Check out ‘Severin The Mind’ right here:
2015 has been a lovely year for us. We spent the very start of it recording our album with the legend Mark Jasper, and during that period Owen claims to have tried on pyjama bottoms for the first time. We spent most of the year being really surprised and happy that people liked our album and liked watching us live even though we never practice and don’t really remember our songs. And it ended with a small tour of the UK with super lovely King of Cats, during which time we met loads of lovely people and had a nice time at the Museum of Science and Industry together. It truly has been the year of the Grubs.
Check out ‘Dec 15th’ right here: