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GutterBubbles Top 100 Songs of 2015 (part 2)

The second twenty tracks in the Top 100 Songs of 2015 is just about as varied as it gets. Part two features some great new up and comers (Courtney Barnett, The Garden), modern day hitmakers (Florence + the Machine, Drake) and also sees the return of some legendary artists (Failure, Faith No More). That and a whole lot more, so find some new favorites and rediscover the greats.
More Top 100 Songs of 2015: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Colleen Green – “Deeper Than Love” – I Want to Grow Up

Colleen Green is so frankly honest and truthful about her relationship with relationships and her own psyche with this song it probably disturbs some people. But in putting those words in a song that sounds like a minimalist dance track with just a touch of her guitar work, Green let’s the words and her singing stand naked in the foreground like she’s baring her soul. If being unguarded as an artist speaking the truth is heroic and a hint of genius, this song is a sign of both. -Tom Murphy


Courtney Barnett – “Pedestrian at Best” – Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit

In just one year, Australia’s most unassuming guitar hero catapulted herself from Melbourne scene queen to international festival staple and all-out indie hero. It takes all of one listen to “Pedestrian at Best” to understand exactly why. Feel free to headbang your headphones off to Barnett’s maximum capacity lyricism. “My internal monologue is saturated analog” has never sounded so rock ‘n’ roll. -Elle Coxon


David Bowie – “Blackstar” – Blackstar

Anytime David Bowie announces he’s working on…well…anything, the music community reacts with a collective anticipation specifically reserved for legendary artists. “Blackstar” is the first taste Bowie’s forthcoming album of the same name and it doesn’t disappoint. At nearly ten minutes in length, “Blackstar” touches on elements heard throughout Bowie’s career from the jazz-inflected improvisation of his more recent work to the ambient soundscapes that dominated the second half of 1977’s Low. In spite of all of its familiar flavors, “Blackstar” showcases a unique sound that’s as unsettling as it is pleasing. -Ryan Brun


Deap Vally – “Royal Jelly” – Royal Jelly

Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards – a.k.a. Los Angeles’ hardest rocking girl gang – pulled no punches on their first single for their forthcoming sophomore album. “Royal Jelly” is a straightforward blues-meets-garage explosion, armed with a barbed riff and just a touch of playful whistling. It’s exactly the kind of song you’d expect from two badass women with fringe jumpsuits and neon hair, and that’s a really, really good thing. -EC


Death and Vanilla – “California Owls” – To Where the Wild Things Are

Like Air and Broadcast, Sweden’s Death and Vanilla sound like they are coming from a place beyond normal time. It is the 70s futurist science fiction of music that sounds like what impossible Utopian societies looked like as brought to life by Michael Anderson and John Boorman. This song sounds a little like The Velvet Underground filtered through Françoise Hardy and Joe Meek: ghostly, haunted, filled with melodious, gossamer sounds with an edge. -TM


Death Cab for Cutie – “Little Wanderer” – Kintsugi

Death Cab for Cutie turned in what could easily be the most heart wrenching song of the year with “Little Wanderer.” A meditative reflection of loss and yearning, “Little Wanderer” is presumably a song about singer Ben Gibbard’s divorce, but the slight glimmer of hope throughout the song provides enough contextual strength for numerous meanings. Whatever the reason behind the origins of “Little Wanderer” are don’t really matter, as its contemplative lyrics and Disintigration-esque sound are enough to draw the listener in and share in a moment of haunting songwriting and true lyrical vulnerability. -RB


Doomtree – “Gray Duck” – All Hands

There is a nervy and relentless energy to this song that draws you in. But that’s something Doomtree has pretty much always had but with this record generally and on this song specifically there is an incorporation of unusual sounds and the typically brilliant and thought-provoking wordplay that would make it feel very dense if it weren’t for how fluid the production sounds. The dynamics are on a short arc but employed extremely well so this song feels smooth and not like an onslaught even though it has a powerful momentum in every moment. -TM


Drab Majesty – “Hallow” – Careless

It’s difficult to pick just one song from Careless but “Hallow” encompasses everything that makes Drab Majesty great. From the shimmery, lush, moody guitar hooks that linger and drift in just the right ways to the seamless incorporation of electronics and percussion, “Hallow” sounds like the rightful heir to the aesthetic established by bands like Cocteau Twins, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry and Clan of Xymox. And this song is as great as anything any of those band’s put out. It has the mysterious quality, the emotional and sonic impact, especially live albeit less punk than the Lorries and all the better for it. -TM


Drake – “Hotline Bling” – Hotline Bling

Forget the 6 god’s dad dancing for just a moment. “Hotline Bling” is the stripped down R&B slow burner we didn’t know we needed, and the cherry on top of Drake’s massive year. Who knew a seedy ode from a jealous ex-boyfriend (“Wonder if you’re rolling up a Backwoods for someone else / Doin’ things I taught you, gettin’ nasty for someone else”) held in place by a minimalist thump could be such an exciting victory lap? -EC


Failure – “Counterfeit Sky” – The Heart is a Monster

The early Failure singles since the band got back together in 2014 were promising but the follow-up album even better. “Counterfeit Sky” does sound like Failure picked up where Fantastic Planet left off with a sound that hearkens back to a 90s aesthetic of crunchy, electro-laden, atmospheric rock—the kind that Failure did better than almost everyone else. But it manages to not sound dated proving the members of Failure not only kept with modern musical developments but could modernize their own sound without tarnishing their legacy. -TM


Faith No More – “Separation Anxiety” – Sol Invictus

In the year of stunning comebacks, Faith No More certainly reign supreme. “Separation Anxiety” embodies everything that the legendary alt-metal pioneers have embodied for decades. The dark chugging sound of the track’s first minutes combine with Mike Patton’s singularly creepy rasp to build tension for the Angel Dust-era explosion that unleashes all that underlying psychotic energy into satisfying, head-banging mania. We as fans knew we had no right to expect brilliance from a bunch of old guys who hadn’t created anything together in almost 20 years; that they somehow delivered it may add to what makes this song (and the entire album) such a fantastic piece of work. -Nick Abbadon


Falloch – “Tòrradh” – This Island, Our Funeral

It takes just one spin through This Island, Our Funeral to understand just how unique Falloch is. The band deftly blends disparate styles, from metal to celtic-tinged folk to create a unique sound all their own. The album opens with “Tòrradh” which showcases the sonic prowess of the band with its wall of textural instrumentation and singer Tony Dunn’s soaring vocals. The result of which is a mournful, nine minute long dirge that is as beautiful as it is brutal and unlike anything else you’ve heard in recent memory. -RB


Fear Factory – “Dielectric” – Genexus

Surviving as a band for a quarter of a century is a big enough accomplishment, but when a band is releasing the best music of their career at such an advanced age, it’s nothing short of astonishing. Such is the case with Fear Factory, who has been pummeling audiences with their specialized brand of industrial metal for over 25 years. “Dielectric” has all the trappings of a classic Fear Factory song. Massive vocal melodies and lightning fast guitar work anchor the proceedings, with longtime collaborator Rhys Fulber providing Numan-esque electronic flourishes that further blur the line between man and machine. -RB


Florence + the Machine – “What Kind of Man” – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful

Pop’s high priestess has returned, and this time with a vengeance. The first single from How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful swears off the symphonic sensibilities that defined her previous albums in favor of a white-hot blues guitar and ferocious drums. Each element is as ragged and immediate as her impassioned pleas to an indecisive lover. In short, there are no survivors. -EC


Four Tet – “Morning” – Morning/Evening

A bravura display of combining minimalist elements into a hypnotic yet invigorating compositional whole, this side of the two-track record is one of Four Tet’s finest recorded pieces. With the dropping of the sample from Lata Mangeshkar’s 1983 “Main Teri Chhoti Behana Hoon” from the Indian film Souten into the slow-building track there is a combined momentum that is as refreshing as it is soothing. In the live setting it felt like being filled with positive magical energy, an all too rare musical experience any year. -TM


Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes – “Juggernaut” – Blossom

When Frank Carter left Gallows in 2011 and started the decidedly poppier group Pure Love, it seemed unlikely that he would ever fully return to his hardcore roots, yet that’s exactly what he did on Blossom, his first album with his new band Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes. Granted, Blossom does have quite a bit of sonic variety from end to end, but the piss and vinegar that became Carter’s calling card takes front and center on the album. Take “Juggernaut” for example. It’s an absolute monster of a song, a steamroller of hatred that won’t stop until it levels everything in its path. Carter hasn’t sounded this energized (read: really fucking angry) in years and we’re all the better for it. -RB


Future Death – “Blest” – Cryptids

Austin’s Future Death has been making music with a complete disregard for a discreet genre for years. Is it a punk band? A psychedelic rock band? An industrial band? A glitchy noise rock group? This song and the entire Cryptids EP answers the question about what might have happened had the relentlessly energetic and imaginative Ponytail continued. The way some old hardcore bands hit hard with the music in brief is what Future Death did for weird music here. -TM


The Garden – “Egg” – haha

Call it post-punk, call it noise pop, or call it what it is: the future. Wyatt and Fletcher Shears set a new standard for bizarre bangers with debut album haha, which comes loaded with choice cuts like “Egg”. The twins infect seriously seventies piano bombast with a nasty case of heavy bassline for a gloriously indulgent cacophony. Unappealing in theory, and nothing short of brilliant in practice. Hit play already. -EC


G.L.O.S.S. – “G.L.O.S.S. (We’re from the Future)” – DEMO

An acronym for “Girls Living Outside Society’s Shit,” this is intense and animated punk that is to hardcore what riot grrrl was to punk and “alternative rock.” The whole EP is invigorating and inspiring for its outrage against outmoded ideas about masculinity, femininity and binary gender classifications embedded into our culture. It does challenging and it is challenging but with punk rock so being mired in the usual tropes, this song, and the whole EP, was incredibly refreshing. -TM


Ghost – “Cirice” – Meliora

The melodic, almost sweet choruses and majestic sweep of Ghost’s previous efforts meet here with a harder, much more metallic edge than we normally hear from everyone’s favorite Swedish occult-rock band. The effect is a visceral one as verses rage and grind the listener towards lovely, passionate choruses and back again. Beauty and aggression are mated with skill; one needs to have one hand free to wave the lighter and the other available to throw up the ol’ devil horns. This is one of those rare tracks that simultaneously sums up a band’s known strengths and points their clear way forward. -NA


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