Mental Jukebox Best of 2015 Countdown: #5-1

Monday (#5): The Struts “Could Have Been Me”/”Kiss This”

Definitely one of my Favorite Musical Discoveries this year! The Struts are an English rock band originally formed in 2010. The band has been garnering rave reviews for their live performances, in large part thanks to their charismatic lead singer Luke Spiller, who evokes the best of the classic rock frontmen i.e. Steven Tyler, Mick Jagger and Freddie Mercury. The debut album “Everybody Wants” was a 2014 release over in the UK. The single “Could Have Been Me” (which hit the UK charts in 2013 – reminding me that I really need to keep a closer eye on the British charts throughout the year!) peaked at #5 on the U.S. Alternative charts in October 2015. The album’s second U.S. single “Kiss This” is currently doing a rapid climb up the U.S charts as well.



Tuesday (#4): Saint Motel “My Type”/”Cold Cold Man”

Another twofer from the fabulous LA indie pop band Saint Motel whose music has been described as everything from “dream pop” to “indie prog”. I just call it “fun and catchy!” The single “My Type”, with its exuberant brass hook, climbed the charts in many European countries prior to doing the same here in the U.S. The band was a headliner at the 2015 U.S. Coachella Festival and was named a “band to watch” for 2015. “Cold Cold Man”, the second single from the “My Type” EP, is currently poised to enter the Alternative Top 20.




Wednesday (#3): Night Riots “Contagious”

Night Riots is an American alternative rock band from San Luis Obispo, CA. Originally formed in 2010 under the name “PK” (based on a literary character), MTV called them one of the most overlooked artists of 2012. The band later changed their name to Night Riots to project a sense of darkness inherent in their music, combined with the energy of a live show. Influences range from numerous 80s-era goth and new wave bands (Cure, U2, INXS) to more current bands including the Killers and Arctic Monkeys. The single “Contagious” debuted in late 2014, and reviews described it as “brooding, restless and totally infectious.” It was one of the first songs to catch my ear in early 2015, and has remained a huge favorite all year long.



Thursday (#2): Joywave “Somebody New” / “Now”

Along with most folks, I discovered Joywave in 2014 via their “featured” spot on the hit “Dangerous” by the band Big Data (which was co-founded by Joywave frontman Daniel Armbruster) but this Rochester NY band has been at it in their own right for a while now. Check out the excellent “Live at the Planetarium” footage on YouTube from 2013 here: I’m putting the entire “How Do You Feel” album in the #2 slot because it’s just that good. “Somebody New” and “Now” both charted in 2015 (the first single “Tongues” was a hit in 2014) but the whole album is a smorgasbord of very tasty electro-pop and probably spent more time in my CD player/iPod rotation than any other this year.




Friday: (#1): Elle King “Ex’s and Oh’s”

Happy New Year!! Here’s the last of ‪#‎MentalJukebox 2015 – probably no surprise that my #1 song of 2015 is Elle King’s “Ex’s and Oh’s”. The song topped the alternative charts in 2015 *and* even earned Elle a Grammy Nomination (yay!) I have my tickets to see her open for Vance Joy (another fave) in March – can’t wait! I leave you with my original post on this talented new artist: “A definite standout in the numerous tunes I’ve been digging through lately, “Ex’s and Oh’s” grabs you out of the box with a rollicking bass riff and drum beat. Born Tanner Elle Schneider, daughter to SNL cast member Rob Schneider, Elle decided on her future career at age 9 when she was given a record by all-girl pop-punk band The Donnas. The Runaways, Blondie, Otis Redding and AC/DC also fall in her long list of influences. Her interest in bluegrass and Earl Scruggs inspired her to learn the banjo. Sporting a wicked wit and vintage-sounding bluesy croon, Elle King is definitely an artist to watch. Her style intrigued me to the point of spending quite a bit of time with her You Tube catalog, something I highly recommend.”



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