We’re currently counting down the best tracks of the year, right until the point where 2015 drunkenly slips into 2016’s gruesome hangover. One rule: only one track is featured per artist. Today, we examine numbers 90-81.
90: Zervas & Pepper – Abstract Heart
Screw you winter, it’s warm California sunrises all the way with this pensive, folky americana (think Fleetwood Mac meets early Steely Dan). Slightly amazingly, Z&P are actually Welsh. Sooo so pretty.
89: Skindred – Under Attack
More first-class, ferocious ragga-metal from the most ‘street’ men in South Wales. Sure to be a crowd-winner at festivals – the bigger the better.
88: Grave Pleasures – Crying Wolves
Previously operating as Beastmilk, the Finnish post-punk troupe showed their gothic rock colours on this beautifully cool track.
87: Alberta Cross – Ghost Of Santa Fe
A Springsteen-alike anthem which suggested that mainstream success could yet be around the corner for this well-regarded band. Well, it worked for critical darlings War On Drugs, didn’t it?
86: Robin Trower – Something’s About To Change
Former Procol Harum leader, Catford’s answer to Hendrix for some, Robin Trower channels the latter side of his rock’n’roll persona here – in cool, swaggering fashion.
85: Luna Sol – December
John Garcia guests on this menacing highlight from the desert stoners’ debut (Blood Moon). Rock at its wooziest and its grooviest.
84: The Zombies – I Want You Back Again
The sole remake (of a 1965 track) from their 2015 album Still Got That Hunger, this took the rasping R&B grit of the original and gave it a snazzy, jazzy lustre.
83: Two Gallants – Incidental
Adam Stephens and Tyson Vogel (aka San Francisco’s Two Gallants, named after a story in James Joyce’s Dubliners) started making music as 12-year-olds. Now in their early 30s, they’ve cultivated a beautifully earnest breed of indie rock with gravelly folk undertones, epitomised this year in Incidental.
92:** Paul Weller** – Saturn’s Pattern
The Modfather…or is he? To our ears, this is a fantastic, stylish piece of contemporary rock class, with grown-up indie pop touches built around a pounding keys-based hook.
91. Queensryche – Guardian
There’s a strident hint of Bruce Dickinson about vocalist Todd La Torre in this assured, propulsive piece of melodic metal. Proof that there is, indeed, life after Geoff Tate for the Washington-formed group.