After teasing their return in late 2014 with new single ‘push pull’, Purity Ring released their second record another eternity on 3rd March 2015. The Canadian duo - Megan James and Corin Roddick - followed their acclaimed debut Shrines with “an intelligent, confident sound that is distinctly their own” (The Observer ****); celebrated as both “slick, atmospheric pop” (The Times ****) and “an excellent second album” (New York Times). They toured extensively through 2015, playing triumphant shows at Terminal 5 and London’s Roundhouse, whilst also bringing their incredible light show to television with performances for Conan, Kimmel and Seth Meyers.
Holly Herndon, a leading light in contemporary alternative music, released Platform in May; “the most thought-provoking experimental electronic music release of the year” (Pitchfork). Already an established and respected voice, this “fiercely inventive” (The Guardian) record saw Herndon further established as a critical voice and contemporary of forward-thinking music and philosophy. Performing at festivals around the world, and speaking about the creative process behind her utterly unique electronic recordings, from the New York Times to Resident Advisor, NPR to SPIN, Platform has been celebrated as a remarkable and revolutionary step into the unknown.
Pixx is the alias of Hannah Rodgers, a 20 year-old songwriter from Chipstead, on the outer fringes of London. Her debut EP was released on 4AD in late August 2015, accompanied by her first headline show. Announcing her arrival with the title track from the record, Pixx has already won plaudits from The Sunday Times (“one of the most arresting debuts of the year”), Q (“deeply captivating”), and The Guardian (“Pixx possesses the same celestial qualities as fellow label-mates Cocteau Twins or Blonde Redhead with a little astral, new-age aesthetic of Grimes, and the gothic melancholy of Bauhaus”). She toured with East India Youth and LA Priest, whilst continuing to work on her first full length record.
2015 saw the return of Søren Juul, who previously released Somewhere Else in 2013 under the moniker of Indians. His self-titled EP found Søren honing his craft as a writer of “lush, dreamy pop” (Brooklyn Vegan). With shows supporting Julia Holter and EL VY under his belt, next year will see Søren continue to flourish.
After releasing Gulag Orkestar and The Flying Club Cup with 4AD previously, Beirut returned to the label for his fourth record No No No in the summer of 2015. Launching the campaign with the sprightly title track, and accompanying video directed by Brother Willis, the announcement found a feverishly excited audience, ready for the next instalment in Zach Condon and his band’s catalogue. With the group’s first network television appearance, on Conan, and an NPR First Listen Live event, the album was released on 9th September, prior to triumphant shows in Europe and North America, including Brixton Academy in London, and Radio City Music Hall in New York.
Meg Remy, recording as U.S. Girls, released her first album with 4AD on 25th September 2015, preceded by ‘Damn That Valley’ and ‘Window Shades’. In conversation with The Guardian Meg discussed potentially being “on the cusp of the next phase of my career”; an ambition noted by The Quietus who remarked that “Remy has made a brilliant, accessible, edgy pop record without compromising her ideals one iota - and hopefully has surreptitiously brought herself into a wider light.” Critical acclaim has followed, along with a formidable live reputation, as Remy continues her ascendancy as a fascinating, captivating musical force.
On Friday 14th August, a mysterious countdown appeared on Deerhunter’s new website, driving the internet into a frenzy of speculation and discovery. The clock reached its conclusion as Bradford Cox took to local airwaves to host a radio show, and detail the new Deerhunter record Fading Frontier, which was immediately followed by the premiere of the new track/video ‘Snakeskin’ in the early hours. ‘Breaker’ and ‘Living My Life’, all directed by Cox, followed before the album’s official release, which was met by rave reviews from Pitchfork (Best New Music - 8.4), NME (“the most direct, unflinching album Deerhunter have ever made” *****), The Guardian (Album of the Week ****), Uncut (“thrilling” 9/10), amongst others. An important record by a vital band, it finds Deerhunter continuing to impress at the top of their game.
EL VY is the collaborative project of Matt Berninger, vocalist and lyricist of The National and Brent Knopf, of Ramona Falls and Menomena. Return To The Moon is their first record together, and has already been celebrated as “a winner” (NPR Heavy Rotation) and “an enthralling music space” by NME. Along with playing their debut shows across North America and Europe, they have worked closely with Tom Berninger (Mistaken For Strangers) to deliver six arresting videos for the project, starting with the title track. During a busy release week, the pair live-streamed their full album release day on social media, as they took in sessions at KCRW and a trip to Amoeba Records.
Following months of intense speculation, Grimes released her highly-anticipated new record Art Angels digitally on 6th November, with the LP, CD and Cassette following a month later. Announced under a fortnight prior to release, and led by the self-directed video for ‘Flesh without Blood / Life in the Vivid Dream’, the entirely self-produced album has won universal praise and countless Album of the Year accolades (NME, Stereogum, Gorilla vs Bear). ‘Flesh Without Blood’ was also named Track of the Year by TIME. Earlier in the year saw shows with Lana Del Rey before Grimes’ own headline, sold-out North American tour, along with numerous magazine cover features, including NME, The Fader, The Happy Reader and Nylon. A huge year for Grimes, which saw her more than deliver on the expectation of her huge, and ever-increasing, fanbase.
After the overwhelming success of 2013’s If You Leave, Daughter’s debut record, the trio of Elena Tonra, Igor Haefeli and Remi Aguilela will return in early 2016 with the new album Not To Disappear. Detailed this Autumn, the record has already yielded two beautiful videos directed by the BAFTA-nominated team of Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, which were based on specially commissioned short stories by Stuart Evers. Scheduled for release on 15th January, the next year will see the band cementing their claims on the title of one of the most exciting young bands in the world, as they tour Not To Disappear internationally.