It's June. The time of year where you whip out your shorts, shades and suncream only to return from your first outdoor ventures covered in mud, but with a bucket load of live music memories. It's not just festival season which makes the start of June so important, it's also a landmark of which new acts have excited you over the past few months, and an indication of what's to come from the remaining six months.
Here's a nice little round-up of this year's surprise packages and other er, rather unfulfilling ones.
Six Triumphant Returns
Blur - Albarn and co. returned in April with a new album, 'The Magic Whip'. Further announcements of another, yes another Hyde Park show (that's three in six years boys), whipped up a frenzy, and the band didn't disappoint, headlining British Summer Time just yesterday.
Fleetwood Mac - They were the band every punter was forcing onto Michael Eavis' lips but Fleetwood Mac pledged their allegiance to the Isle Of Wight festival, with a long tour of the UK and down-under to come.
Kendrick Lamar - None have been viewed quite as pretentious as Kendrick but following the early release of his new album 'To Pimp A Butterfly' heads havebegun the turn. He's all over the live circuit and a few have already tipped him as Kanye's successor. Watch that throne Kanye.
Florence and The Machine - Another modernday comeback, none would've predicated how big this four year wait would be. A critically acclaimed third album under her belt, Florence Welch is now headlining Glastonbury after Dave Grohl's broken leg ruled out the Foos.
Sleater-Kinney - You'd be mistaken for thinkingthey've just started up, fresh off the blocks with a sound not dissimilar to Haim. However, their album, 'No Cities To Love', is in fact their seventh studio album after a hiatus in 2006! Boy, we're glad they're back.
Justin Bieber - Hear us out on this one. Pre-2015 Bieber's life has set out to be a beautiful car crash. Come the turn of the year, something unimaginable happened. Diplo and Skrillex got into a studio, okay strange enough, but they invited Bieber with them. The result; the biggest floor-filler of the year. 'Where R U Now' is an instant classic, of sorts...
Six Bright New Things
Rat Boy - Essex boy Jordan Cardy must be pinching himself right now. Just six months ago you could've uttered 'rat boy' and someone might think you're plotting a shit superhero movie. Alas, Cardy is the real saviour, bringing back those raucous Jamie T vibes. Angst, angst everywhere.
Jamie XX - Who's not a fan of what the XX have done? Furthermore, who's not a fan of Jamie XX's solo turn and the release of his debut album 'In Colour'? It's a carefully crafted product of what's turning out to be one of the most important figures in music right now.
Courtney Barnett - There was always the worry Barnett's Aussie twangs could verge towards the Kylie and Jason spectrum of music from down-under. After the disappointment of this not being true had faded we were left with one of the most ballsy albums of the year with whimsical lyrics galore.
Real Lies - Remember 1990? Nah, neither do I, but with the help from this trio I can just about imagine what it was all about. They're a cut between The Petshop Boys and New Order but everything they've produced is dedicated to ordinary folk dancing in Reebok classics. Watch out for an album soon.
LA Priest - Ex-Late of The Pier Sam Dust's opening few e-number induced statements are tracks full of funk and meaningless fun. With 'Oino' and 'Learning To Love', Dust has created two of 2015's most infectious songs and debut album, 'Inji', out at the end of June, is set to be rammed full of goodies.
Palace - If you haven't started your Sunday morning with these smooth talking chaps yet then you're doing it all wrong. The quartet released their 'Chase The Light' EP recently and it's a delicious cleanse for your eardrums, especially after listening to the collective above.
Six Top of the Flops
Foo Fighters - Dave, oh Dave, where did it all go so wrong? After literally flopping off the stage, Foo Fighters had to cancel gigs left, right and centre after Grohl broke his leg. Fair play to the man, it can't have been easy, but fans would've succumbed to a sit down version of 'All My Life'. If Jessie J can do it surely Dave can?
Peace's Return - After the success of 'In Love' and the huge pre-released singles such as 'World Pleasure' and 'Money', the B-Town boys' second album 'Happy People' left us, well, a bit disappointed. The other tracks didn't quite reach the levels of the singles and the extended edition proved far more fruitful.
The 1975 Prank - Judging by frontman Matty's not always positive-attitude it was surprising The 1975 were able to get away with such a 'hilarious' stunt. Nevertheless it worked for them, but not for us. They said they wanted to play 'intimate venues' again before announcing a tour of academies over the country. How modest.
The Wombats - It's hard to know what will happen to The Wombats next. After a disappointing third album, it seems what worked in 2008 won't work anymore. At least they can serve their fans live, but with the Liverpool band really want to be chanting "kill the director" for years to come?
The Prodigy - It's a similar case scenario for the old time ravers too. 'The Day Is My Enemy' had the potential for something colossal but it's a shallow dive from 'Invaders Must Die' with track 'Ibiza' featuring Sleaford Mods proving particularly toxic.
Palma Violets - It's hard to move forward when you just don't give a toss what others have to say. Hats off to Palma Violets they've stuck to what they do best, but mellowed it... Judging by second album 'Danger In The Club', which was deemed "different" from their debut, there seems to be more danger in their song writing than a club right now.
Here's to the next six months where all eyes will be on festivals, flops and an interesting Kanye performance just around the corner...