This list presents a broad cross section of songs we’ve been borderline obsessed with, along with those we just couldn’t shake this year. Some took the floor from under us one time in a pounding club, others existed purely on our laptops, to be replayed, replayed, replayed. Some we’d heard every morning before we left for work, others we’ve garbled at the top of our lungs on the late journey home. We started with a huge longlist of great tracks – here are the 50 which made the final cut.


Tame Impala

Eventually Interscope Records

Eventually was the synth-pop breakup banger to rule them all this year. The sound of Kevin Parker’s freshly bruised heart is chantable, danceable, and thanks to the all- encompassing indie influence of the Aussie frontman, credible. As the last single before the feverishly awaited Currents dropped, this solidified our suspicions that the LP was going to be another Tame Impala classic to add to the canon. We were right.

Sammy Jones


Gesloten Cirkel

Acid Stakan Viewlexx

Coldwave may be the coolest genre name ever made up but let’s face it, not half of us have the time / emotional intelligence to actually get into it. Shady acid weirdo Gesloten Cirkel took time out this year to let us all know what we’re missing. A remixed version of last year’s Stakan (which featured on his excellent debut album) Acid Stakan was bleak, gorgeous and totally frozen.

Xavier Boucherat



Sylvester Stallone XL Recordings

Powell and his Diagonal label have had a huge year, from run ins with Steve Albini exploited as PR stunts to asserting himself as a leader in contemporary power electronics. Sylvester Stallone emerged as the first of Powell’s XL releases, and its mangled surge of hi octane weirdness and hurtling, mutant rhythms demonstrated his knack for making people loose their shit better than anything he’d done before. Car crash techno for mangled dancefloors.

Xavier Boucherat



Moodswung Mixpak

Murlo’s sound conjures an evocative world. A strikingly vivid style, his vibrant blend of genres detaches him from the sprawling pool of whimsical, instrumental don’t-call- it-grime released in recent years. Illustrating the effervescent energy at the core of his work, Moodswung was positively glowing: all Disney-bright colour, bursts of sharpness, stardust strings and chirruping minimalism, painting a HD picture of a fully realised vision.

Anna Tehabsim


Mbongwana Star

Malukayi ft. Konono No.1 World Circuit

In Western media, the Democratic Republic of the Congo usually appears due to conflict, poverty, corruption and – increasingly – music. Some of this can lapse into ‘African music is just so vibrant’ stereotyping, but bands like Mbongwana Star eschew patronising Paul Simon-style exoticism for authentic Congolese forms: Malukayi features Konono No1’s signature electric likembés and other DIY instruments, perhaps in riposte to the expensive gear fetishism of Western club music.

Robert Bates



A Message Warp Records

We love the ghostly side of RnB and this simmering, downtempo track was a first rate example. Dragged and droned chants waver in and out of focus, forming the Arca’s backdrop to Kelela’s lush and masterful vocal arrangements. Lamenting the end of a difficult relationship, she lays her cards on the table before delivering her final kiss- off – “I’m gonna let your body go for sure”. Oh, and the video was a game-changer too.

Steve Mallon



Red X Blackest Ever Black

Young Echo member Ossia married the label’s dubwise swagger with Blackest Ever Black’s gothically dark aesthetic on his first solo outing, Red X. It was quite the entrance from the Bristol newcomer – portentous, industrialised dub that lurks in the corner, simmering in its own soft menace. With elements of dub, noise and techno, its technoir prowl never quite reaches boiling point, instead remaining submerged and skulking throughout, until it slowly envelops you.

Anna Tehabsim



Trying StarTime

Nobody saw it coming. Twenty years (possibly to the day) since Renée Zellweger stepped onto the roof in Empire Records and sang Sugar High alongside Coyote Shivers, and young American bands are still emulating her caterwauling, power pop vocal style. So what if Bully’s Trying sounds almost exactly like a grunge-lite song from a 90s teen comedy? It’s still one of the best tracks we’ve heard this year.

Billy Black



Bitch Better Have My Money Roc Nation

The quest to assert whether the BBHMM video was feminist or not was misguided. Rihanna’s violent revenge fantasy was deliberately provocative – whether people were decrying her feminism or applauding her shocking realness, BBHMM was a fiercely bold assertion of influence.

Reportedly inspired by a real life case of Rih’s accountant stealing money from her, it was a potent reminder of her influence, while simultaneously claiming the prize for the most satisfying phrase to drunkenly holler in 2015.

Anna Tehabsim



Know Me From Self-released

Thank god for Big Mike, an integral part of a wave that came through when grime 2.0’s sad boys were threatening to kill the vibe for good. “I don’t even know what to say,” is how his 2015 single started, which is a bit modest – Shirley Carter shout-outs? That’s fine mate. That works. Carry on.
Xavier Boucherat