Year in Music

Images are screen shotted from Spotify’s Year In Music service

It’s the end of the year and what a year 2015 has been for music. With my first festival (Glastonbury 2015) this year, 2015 has been one of my most “musical”.

In this post, I aim to highlight and share the music that made my year, through the use of Spotify’s “Year in Music” feature. Specifically, I take a look at my Top Artists, Top Albums, Top Tracks and some general statistics relating to the music I listened to in 2015.

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2. Bassnectar with 249 streams
3. Rammstein with 197 streams
4. Slipknot with 178 streams
5. The Vaccines with 169 streams

This top 5 clearly demonstrates how varied my music tastes are. Hot Chip are an electro indie band, Bassnectar is an EDM artist, Rammstein and Slipknot are Nu-Metal bands (the fact that Rammstein are a German band emphases this point further) and The Vaccines are an indie rock band.

So why are these artists my most listened to of 2015?

Well, Hot Chip and The Vaccines were, in my opinion, two of the best bands of Glastonbury 2015. Hot Chip were the band I was most looking forward to seeing in the build up for Glastonbury, after first listening to them after the line up announcement. The Vaccines’ set was simply amazing and it later resulted into me buying their complete back catalogue and, subsequently, a lot of streams…

So where do the others come in?

For the last 7 years or so I’ve been a big metal fan after a friend from school introduced me to the genre. Rammstein just so happened to be one of the bands he introduced me to and I later went on to discover bands like Slipknot through my own accord. Moreover, the fact that Rammstein are headlining Download 2016 meant a lot of streams as part of my Download 2016 playlist (a post about this will be up soon!).

What about Bassnectar?

Well, back in June, before Glastonbury Festival, I spent a week in Amsterdam with friends from university. It was a ‘recreational holiday’ (if you get what I mean) and we were thinking about taking truffles (the safer more ‘legal’ version of shrooms). Expecting a trip, I looked for suggestions of what to listening to while tripping and Bassnectar was the most recommended. Unfortunately I didn’t take enough to trip out, but I did discover a good artist. Silver linings and all that.

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2. NSVB Remixes by Bassnectar, with 99 streams
3. Rosenrot by Rammstein, with 88 streams
4. Reise, Reise by Rammstein, with 84 streams
5. In Our Heads by Hot Chip, with 80 streams

It’s probably to be expected that Hot Chip, Bassnectar and Rammstein would feature in my Top Albums, after having just seen my Top Artists of 2015. The Prodigy however, might have been bit of a surprise.

When “The Day is My Enemy” was first released, I quite quickly gave it a listen since I am a long time Prodigy fan. The songs off the album I liked the most were then my anthem for my next week or so, before finding something else to pick up. It was only this week that I actually bought the album physically.

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2. Rage by Sander van Doorn, with 57 streams
3. Five More Hours by Deorro x Chris Brown
4. Creeping in the Dark by Majestic and Jungle 70, with 56 streams
5. Karate by R3hab, with 55 streams

After having just seen my Top Artists and Top Albums of 2015, and noticing that they’re from various genres, it might be a bit surprising to see that all of my Top Tracks of 2015 are EDM songs.

Truth be told, although I don’t dance, I am a big fan of Electronic Dance Music and Festivals like Tomorrowland, Tomorrow World and EDC (Electric Daisy Carnival) are definitely on my Bucket List. I don’t know what it is about the genre, but it just fills me with energy and if I was one to dance, I would.

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Yes you are reading that correctly. I listened to Lonesome Street by Blur 23 times in the same day. What can I say? It’s a great song and my favourite off their 2015 album “The Magic Whip” (although Go Out comes pretty close…). There’s nothing not to love with Lonesome Street! It’s got a great rift, catchy chorus and a rather strange music video. So if you haven’t already heard it, go give it a listen and check out the music video while you’re at it!

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Another statistic that might make you think twice, but I assure you it’s true, is the fact that I listened to 39 DAYS worth of music in 2015. Now that’s a lot of music… and that’s not including all the music I listened to through other services like Soundcloud, YouTube and Music Channels!

All in all though I think this is a target to beat next year. I think I could quite easily hit the 100,000 minute milestone if I listened to Spotify exclusively. #lifegoals

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915 different artists might sound like a lot, but in reality it’s nothing when you consider things like Spotify’s Weekly Discovery playlist. (If you don’t know what this is, every week Spotify suggests 30 songs for you based on your listening habits).

As well as the fact that I purposefully seek out new music through recommendations on; YouTube, Music Blogs, Magazines, Radio, TV, Spotify and anywhere you can find music (Racing games, Forza Horizon, can be really good for finding music!), 915 different artists might seem a bit on the low end!

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Again, 2200 different tracks may sound like a lot but it’s not too much if you think about it. Let’s say that an album has 12 tracks, that’s only 184 different albums… Okay thats quite a lot.

Anyway, that was my ‘Year in Music’. My Top Artists, Albums and Tracks have been laid bare for you to scrutinise and judge. I shall be sharing my Top Albums of 2015 (based upon the ones I’ve listened to) over the next couple days, so be sure to look out for that.

Happy New Year!

What music have you been listening to this year? Who are your most played artists? What are your most played songs? Let me know on Twitter @pieces_of_time



This Week

Image Source: Pixabay

For last week’s post, click here.

This week I’ve been mostly listening to…

Top Artists
5. Zebrahead
I mentioned earlier this week, that I had began to listen to more punk-rock. Zebrahead are one of the bands that I have been listening to in the process. Since seeing them live in London in November, Zebrahead are slowly growing on me and have been played 18 times this week.  
4. Brolin
Brolin is the first of 3 artists in this weeks top 5, that I’ve only just started listening to this week (as mentioned in my New Music Discovery post). Brolin’s music makes for a relaxed easy listen that fans of all genres can appreciate. Brolin has been played 21 times this week.
3. Bassnectar
Bassnectar is an artist I started listening to on a “recreational” trip to Amsterdam back in June. Although his latest album has been out for a while now, I have only recently given it a listen. Listening to my favourite songs off the album a couple times, plus a few old favourites meant Bassnectar racked up 23 plays this week.
2. Arre! Arre!
Only just ahead of Bassnectar with 24 plays, and at number 2 this week, is Arre! Arre! A Swedish surf/rock/riot punk band that I only just started listening to this week. The all female band effortlessly manage to create good punk rock music with elements of surf and riot punk, to mix catchy rifts with thought provoking lyrics.
1. High Tyde
High Tyde are the band that I took to most this week and lead the pack with 34 plays. The indie rock band from Brighton have started gathering pace with the release of their latest EP, “Glow”. With a number of interviews with various publications and being picked up by BBC Introducing, 2016 looks to be a good year for High Tyde.

Tops Albums*
5. Glow by High Tyde
My top artist this week comes in at the back of the pack for this weeks Top Albums with 16 plays. As mentioned above, “Glow” is High Tyde’s latest EP and is well worth a listen. A mostly upbeat indie rock ‘album’ that any fan of the genre could appreciate. With only four songs, it makes sense to listen to the whole thing, but if you’re looking for a suggestion it would be Do What You Want.
4. The Delta by Brolin
Also with 16 plays this week is Brolin’s debut album “The Delta”. Filled with relaxing electro indie pop, “The Delta” is a great pick for anyone looking for an easy listen. A mixture of upbeat and slow tempo songs gives the album a bit of variety, songs like NYC and Koln are relatively laid-back which allow for a calm easy listen, where as Swim Deep and Kingston are more upbeat.
3. Walk the Plank by Zebrahead
Zebrahead’s latest album “Walk the Plank” has 17 plays and, unlike the other artists in this list, is the only album of theirs that I have been listening to this week. With songs about fighting, drinking and sailing the high seas, “Walk the Plank” is a good all-round punk rock album.
2. Into the Sun by Bassnectar
A great upbeat electronic album that works wonders for taking you on a ‘trip’, if you get what I mean *hint hint nudge nudge*, is “Into the Sun” by Bassnectar. Played 20 times this week, mostly while lying in bed with my eyes closed, “Into the Sun” is this week’s number 2.
1. A.T.T.A.C.K by Arre! Arre!
As previously mentioned, Arre! Arre! are a surf/riot/rock punk band and this clearly comes across in “A.T.T.A.C.K”. With songs like A.T.T.A.C.K and Soft Ice-Cream On the Beach making you feel as if you’re “riding a wave”, while Fight the System and Society take on more of an “agenda” and questions what society dictates. “A.T.T.A.C.K” racked up 24 plays this week and is this weeks most played album.

Top Songs
5. This Time by Axwell^Ingrosso
The first of 3 dance tracks in this week’s top 5 songs, This Time is the latest single by the electronic duo, and former Swedish House Mafia members, Axwell and Ingrosso. This Time is a hard hitting EDM track that will quickly get you up and jumping.
4. Society by Arre! Arre!
One of the more ‘riot’ focussed songs on Arre! Arre!’s debut album “A.T.T.A.C.K”, Society has a great opening rift and was played 7 times this week. This rift combined with the well written lyrics that question society’s depiction of normal, make for a great song.
3. Do What You Want by High Tyde
Everything you want from an indie track and more, can be found in High Tyde’s Do What You Want. With 8 plays this week, Do What You Want is easily  my favourite off High Tyde’s latest EP “Glow”. A song that is difficult to fault and well worth a listen for any fan of the genre, as well as those who aren’t.
2. Circles by Nero
Coming in a close second with 12 plays, is last weeks number 5. Off Nero’s latest album “Between II Worlds”, Circles is a massive dance track and is my favourite off the album. With no real drop, Circles is a continuous high energy track that makes you just want to get up and move.
1.  The Girl is Mine feat. Destiny’s Child and Brandy by 99 Souls
Having been away from the charts while at university, I hadn’t heard The Girl is Mine until this week. Another great electronic track that brings me instant happiness, I find it impossible not to sing-along and bounce around. This week’s number 1 was played 13 times this week.

As last week was mostly focussed around the Download 2016 line up, this week is mostly focussed around the new bands and artists I’ve discovered this week. This week has seen a strong punk rock and electronic influence with some indie rock thrown into the mix. Hopefully you’ve found something new that you can get your teeth into, but if not there is always next week!

What songs have you been listening to this week? Let me know on Twitter: @pieces_of_time.

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*Any song played from an album counts as an album play i.e an album with 10 plays means songs from the album have been played a total of 10 times.

New Music Discovery

Image Source: Pixabay

That feeling you get when you discover a new band or artist is why I love music so much. You never know what’s going to be coming next, a new twist on an old technique or a completely new sound. Starting today, I’ll be sharing the bands/artists I’ve stumbled upon each week together with a brief intro to them, why I’ve taken to them and a few of my favourite songs to get you started.

As you’ll see below, all of these artists were found through recommendations in one form or another. If you would like to recommend something to me, tweet @pieces_of_time.

High Tyde
I’ve always been a fan of indie music and it was while reading Delirious Antidotes, and their Interview Central post – Addicted to Peach Ice Tea, that I found High Tyde.

High Tyde are a Brighton based indie band who have recently released a new single, Glowwhich was the first song of theirs that I listened to. From that, I then checked YouTube and found Karibu, before going to Spotify and finding what looked to be two EPs; Glow and Fuzz.

The ability to create original, energetic and catchy indie music is one that High Tyde have successfully mastered and can be seen in the likes of Feeling The Vibes and Do What You Want. The band also demonstrates the ability to create a relaxed, laid-back mood with songs like These Days and Me and You.

High Tyde have proven themselves in the indie genre and are definitely a band for anyone interested in indie music.

Suggested Songs:
Do What You Want
– Karibu
Feel It 

Arre! Arre!
While looking through music blogs on wordpress I came across Spotinews and their post about Arre! Arre!’s latest album A.T.T.A.C.K. Although I’ve never been a massive fan of punk music, I have recently started to listen to it more, especially punk-rock, after seeing Patent Pending and Zebrahead live in London a few weeks ago. So I thought why not and gave A.T.T.A.C.K a listen to.

Arre! Arre! are an all female swedish surf/rock/riot punk band and this clearly comes across in their music. The band successfully captures the mood of each sub-genre (surf, rock and riot) throughout their album A.T.T.A.C.K, with songs like A.T.T.A.C.K and Soft Ice-Cream On the Beach making you feel as if you’re “riding a wave”, while Fight the System and Society take on more of an “agenda” and questions what society dictates.

Although Arre! Arre! might be different to your mainstream punk-rock, they are definitely worth a listen to, even if that’s just so you can daydream about surfing in Orange County…

Suggested Songs:
Fight the System

Dear Rogue
This next band was also recommend by another music blogger, HitNexus. HitNexus have a tagline of “introducing your new favourite songs” and I think it fits their blog well. They regularly share their favourite songs and after coming across their share of Dear Rogue’s Best Look Lately, the song quickly became one of my favourites this week.

Dear Rogue are a Canadian alternative/dance/synth rock duo that mix powerful vocals with electronic elements and traditional rock, to create good mainstream music. Songs like Back To Gold and Kids Wanna Know emphasise the bands abilities to create upbeat, catchy dance-rock, whereas songs like Tongues focus on more traditional alternative-rock.

Dear Rogue are a band that is easy to listen to and suits to fans of pop and mainstream rock music.

Suggested Songs:
Best Look Lately
Thinking About You

Unlike the other bands, I didn’t find Firstborn through someone else’s blog. I’ve recently started using Twitter properly (@pieces_of_time) and I was followed by someone (@joaragnarsson) who I believe to be in or close to the band. They were sharing Firstborn’s latest music video (The Last Fix) so I gave it a watch and I’m glad I did.

Firstborn are a Swedish metal band self-proclaimed to sound like “if A7X (Avenged Sevenfold) & BFMV (Bullet for my Valentine) had a baby”. Although I may not necessarily agree with that classification, they do produce good music. Currently a DIY (do it yourself) band, Firstborn are promoting and producing their own music and recently toured the UK during the summer.

With a varying degree of “heaviness” in terms of both vocalisation and sound, Firstborn can efficiently flit between softer songs like Last Fix, to heavier songs like Bullshit Mentality and Seminar.

Although Firstborn appear to be relatively unknown, they are deserving of much more appreciation in the metal scene.

Suggested Songs:
Last Fix
For Our Souls 
Where Is Your Home?

The last artist in this week’s New Music Discovery highlights the power of advertising. I started listening to Brolin after hearing snippets of their work in a Spotify ad they were running and immediately started listening to them.

Brolin is an electro-pop artist who creates easy listening, laid-back and relaxing music that can be enjoyed in a number of environments from contemporary bars to driving to just chilling out at home. Songs like NYC and Koln are relatively slow tempo which allow for a calm easy listen, where as Swim Deep and Kingston are more upbeat.

If you’re looking for an easy, relaxing listen, then Brolin is definitely someone to check out.

Suggested Songs:
Swim Deep
Need You

This week really highlights the diversity of my music tastes. I’ve been listening to a mixture of indie, alternative/dance/synth rock, electro pop, metal and surf/rock/riot punk, so there should be something for everyone in this week’s New Music Discovery. If you didn’t find anything you liked though, there is always next week!

Which new bands/artists have you come across this week? Let me know on Twitter @pieces_of_time

50 Shades of Pop

Wish you could just listen to the 50 biggest pop songs of 2015 in one mix? Well now you can.

DJ Earworm is back again for another United State of Pop. Every year DJ Earworm creates a mashup of the 50 biggest songs of the year based on the US charts.

This year’s mix is aptly titled “50 Shades of Pop” after the popular book and 2015 film “50 Shades of Grey”.

10 Alternative Christmas Songs

So it’s Christmas and by now you’re probably sick of the same old Christmas songs being played over and over and over. You can only listen to Michael Bublé Christmas so many times after all… So I decided to compile a short list of songs to add some variety to your festive celebrations. Enjoy!

1. Korn – Jingle Balls
Probably a slightly different cover of “Jingle Bells” to what you’re normally used to hearing, Jingle Balls is perhaps one of the heaviest songs Korn have ever recorded, but what better way to celebrate Christmas than with heavy metal?

2. Kate Nash – I Hate You This Christmas (Warning Explicit)
Not the jolliest of Christmas songs, Kate Nash’s punk rock I Hate You This Christmas tells the story of her finding out her boyfriend has been sleeping with her friend. May sound a bit depressing, but it makes for a good Christmas song.

3. Loose Tapestries – Can’t Wait For Christmas 
Perhaps my favourite Christmas song to date, Can’t Wait for Christmas mixes Noel Fielding’s outlandish lyrics with a catchy beat and a memorable chorus that just makes you want to sing along. To top it off, it even features a brief rap by actor Idris Elba. What more can you want?!

4. The Killers – Don’t Shoot Me Santa 
One of the more well known songs on this list, Don’t Shoot Me Santa is one of ten Christmas songs that The Killers have released. The Killers have been releasing annual Christmas singles since 2006 in aid of the charity Product Red which helps support the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. So listen to Don’t Shoot Me Santa and help raise money for charity in the process.

5. Set it Off – This Christmas (I’ll Burn It To The Ground)
A song about hating Christmas (I’m not the Grinch, honest!) is This Christmas (I’ll Burn It To The Ground). Although it may seem to start off like a typical Christmas song, it soon turns into something that sounds like it should belong in Tim Burton’s A Nightmare Before Christmas. 

6. The Darkness – Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End) 
Another song that you’re likely to have heard of, is Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End). With Justin Hawkins’ unique vocals, guitar solos and a children’s choir, Christmas Time is easy pickings for any festive playlist.

7. Fountains of Wayne – I Want An Alien For Christmas
Most people want a puppy for Christmas, but not Fountains of Wayne. They’d rather have “a little green guy about 3 feet high” for Christmas and they have it all thought out. He would live in the bathtub, he would be walked in the Spring and they’d hang around the house all day watching The Twilight Zone. Sounds like a plan.

8. Blink-182 – Won’t Be Home For Christmas
I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks Christmas carollers are irritating but I don’t react as badly as Won’t Be Home For Christmas describes. Apparently answering the door with a baseball bat leads to spending Christmas Eve in a jail cell. So take note for when the carollers come knocking.

9. Amon Amarth – Viking Christmas
Whoever thought that Vikings had a soft spot for Christmas? Amon Amarth’s Viking Christmas details all the things Vikings enjoy about Christmas, from the food to the presents to even reenacting the nativity scene…

10. Los Campesinos! – Kindle a Flame in Her Heart
It was a close call between recommending Kindle a Flame in Her Heart or A Doe to a Deer both by indie-pop band Los Campesinos! Both great songs and both worth a listen. Kindle a Flame in Her Heart however, won the toss due to the contrasting vocals in the duet making it different to your average Christmas song.

So there you have it. 10 alternative Christmas songs to add a bit of variety to your festive playlist. Loose Tapestries Can’t Wait for Christmas for Christmas number 1 anyone?

What are your favourite alternative Christmas songs? Let me know on Twitter: @pieces_of_time.