2015 saw the end of many a band – all of whom will be greatly missed, no doubt, but by very distinct groups of fans. Here we remember them and their greatest moments.
1. Dry The River
‘Rough economic times’ spelled the end of Dry The River, a London four-piece that dealt in heartfelt, gutsy folk, notable for its plaintive choral harmonies. They had two albums – 2012’s ‘Shallow Bed’, released via Sony, and 2014’s ‘Alarms In The Heart’, released after they had moved over to Transgressive. EP ‘Hooves Of Doubt’ marked their split in November.
“We’ve had an incredible seven years,” they wrote on Facebook, “but we’ve decided it’s time to move on to new endeavours. This message is a thank you, really – your figurative and literal support has single-handedly kept us going. Although the music industry is changing, the underlying transaction is always the same – when you buy records, tickets and T-shirts you keep the bands you love afloat, and we’re grateful beyond words that you’ve carried us through more than 500 shows in 50 countries.” Key words.
WHY IT’S NOT ALL BAD NEWS: Guitarist Matt Taylor has started a new, grungy band called Waylor. Have a listen here.
BEST SONG: ‘Coast’ – after standing out on their 2010 ‘Bible Belt’ EP, it received a nostalgic rework on their final EP ‘Hooves Of Doubt’.
2. Funeral For A Friend
This Welsh metal five-piece announced their intention to split alongside their ‘Last Chance To Dance’ tour, which takes place in April 2016. Playing things a little differently, they’ll perform a full album each night – alternating between second album ‘Hours’ and their gold-certified 2003 debut, ‘Casually Dressed & Deep In Conversation’. Frontman Matthew Davies-Kreye said, “It’s the natural end. We’ve done everything we set out to do and way more than I could ever have hoped so I’m not upset that it’s run its course. We all felt that [2015 album] ‘Chapter And Verse’ was a pretty decent full stop on an incredible 14 and half years of making music together.”
WHY IT’S NOT ALL BAD NEWS: There’s still four good months of FFAF – plus a last chance to catch them live.
BEST SONG: ‘Streetcar’ – the phonecall-filled thrummer from ‘Hours’.
3. The Amazing Snakeheads
This Glasgow trio – previously a stonemason, a plumber and a caterer – released a storming debut album, ‘Amphetamine Ballads’, in 2014, and were all set to play the NME Awards Tour in February 2015. Sadly, drummer Scott Duff quit the band the night before it began, and five days later frontman Dale Barclay took to Twitter to say the band were “over. Never, ever to return”. The band also had a change of personnel in June 2014, leaving frontman Dale Barclay the sole founding member – Duff had been the replacement for original drummer Jordan Hutchinson.
WHY IT’S NOT ALL BAD NEWS: Barclay is still making music, as the live replacement for Fat White Family’s Saul.
BEST SONG: The roaring single from ‘Amphetamine Ballads’, ‘Here It Comes Again’.
4. Twisted Sister
The veteran American metal act with a long roster of past members announced their intentions to split back in April 2015, after their drummer AJ Pero died aged 55 in March. Frontman Dee Snider said, “We need to look at this and say to ourselves, as a live entity, on which our reputation rests, How do we honour that history?” The band will celebrate their 40th anniversary in 2016 with a ‘Fourty And Fuck It’ tour – but are not expected to continue past that.
WHY IT’S NOT ALL BAD NEWS: They let Donald Trump use their track ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ because “it’s about rebellion, speaking your mind and fighting the system,” says Snider and “if anybody’s doing that, he sure is.” Yeah. Sure.
BEST SONG: Sadly, it’s probably the one Trump likes – ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’
5. Noah And The Whale
Part of the same West London folk scene from which big-hitters Laura Marling and Mumford & Sons came, Noah And The Whale peaked early in 2007’s bittersweet romance, ‘5 Years Time’, and followed their debut with a gut-wrenching breakup album, ‘The First Days Of Spring’. After that they went Springsteen on 2011’s broad-horizoned highway album ‘Last Night On Earth’, expanded scope on 2013’s ‘Heart Of Nowhere’, then went on a hiatus that ended this April with a split.
WHY IT’S NOT ALL BAD NEWS: Frontman Charlie Fink then released this beauty.
BEST SONG: 2009’s ‘The First Days Of Spring’ – their bleakest heartbreak ballad is an absolute triumph. Whole album is, tbh.
6. One Direction
This isn’t really a split – not totally. Five solo artists were grouped together in 2010’s X Factor and their Syco overseers have been mining their considerable financial potential for all it’s worth ever since. Frustrated at the “generic as fuck” music he was being told to record by the band’s management, Zayn Malik quit in March 2015 to go solo. The other four stayed together to release another album, November’s ‘Made In The A.M.’, but also announced their intentions to go on hiatus ‘at some point next year’.
WHY IT’S NOT ALL BAD NEWS: There’s not a shred of bad news here. Unless you consider the potential that they’ll be making four times the amount of “generic as fuck” music. Oh god.
BEST SONG: This one? Let’s say it’s this one.
Again, not really a split, but a noteworthy break. Tom DeLonge, the American rock trio’s guitarist and co-frontman, was kicked out of the band after he allegedly refused to enter the studio to record a new album with them. It followed a previous hiatus from 2005-2008, when DeLonge decided he needed a break and his bandmates started a newband, +44. The only founding member left in Blink is now Mark Hoppus, while Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba has replaced DeLonge in the band. Back in September Tom revealed that he hadn’t spoken to his former bandmates since the split in January.
WHY IT’S NOT ALL BAD NEWS: DeLonge is making music with Ilan Rubin as part of Angels & Airwaves and the altered Blink lineup is “knocking out a song a day”, according to drummer Travis Barker.
BEST SONG: SHE LEFT ME ROSES BY THE STAIRS (aka ‘All The Small Things’)
8. The Black Crowes
These American rockers had many different lineups and ended things as a six-piece. Three of its founding members were in it until the end, including brothers Rich and Chris Robinson, but it was their falling out that caused the rift. Guitarist Rich said of the band’s singer, “I love my brother and respect his talent, but his present demand that I must give up my equal share of the band and that our drummer for 28 years and original partner, Steve Gorman, relinquish 100 percent of his share, reducing him to a salaried employee, is not something I could agree to.”
WHY IT’S NOT ALL BAD NEWS: There’s not really any good news for fans. The band were even planning a tour. No longer.
BEST SONG: ‘She Talks To Angels’, a low-key ballad about a heroin user.
9. Team Me
This Norwegian indie-pop six-piece are Bjarne, Elida, Simen, Marius, Simen and Uno – real, proper Scandis. They called it a day after five years and two albums of joyful, grandiose, choral melodies. “The reasons are many,” they wrote, “but not important right now. As they say, all things come to an end at some point.”
WHY IT’S NOT ALL BAD NEWS: They’re continuing to make music “in different directions” and Marius will continue to write as Team Me.
BEST SONG: ‘Blind As Night’ – a swaggering second-album departure.
Cursed with a ‘nu’ label virtually from birth – more specifically, ‘nu-rave’ – London trio Klaxons managed to bag a Mercury Prize with their banging, octave-singing debut album ‘Myths Of The Near Future’. They went brilliantly weird on album number two, ‘Surfing The Void’ – think space-faring cats – but their third, 2014’s ‘Love Frequency’ seems to be their last. They announced the news alongside their last headline tour, which ended in January, and which was also ‘the world’s first 3D-printed tour’. Earlier this year it was reported they’d earned just £5,000 each since splitting and were £51,000 in debt to their label.
WHY IT’S NOT ALL BAD NEWS: One of them married Keira Knightley in 2013, so he’s probably ok at least.
BEST SONG: ‘Atlantis To Interzone’ all the way.
11. The Replacements
Only two of this alt-rock four-piece’s founding members were part of its final outing. Frontman Paul Westerburg and bassist Tommy Stinson reunited in 2012 after a 20-year break. They had their final show at NOS Primavera Sound in June 2015. Their seventh and last album was 1990’s ‘All Shook Down’.
WHY IT’S NOT ALL BAD NEWS: “Seven or eight songs” have been recorded since the reunion – we may hear them one day.
BEST SONG: ‘I’ll Be You’ – their most accessible and immediate anthem.
12. Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All?
It’s still not been confirmed what’s happening with the Ladera Heights hip-hop crew led by Tyler, The Creator and Left Brain. The group shot to fame in 2010, and in 2011 they played Fallon’s Late Night show ahead of releasing their only album to date, ‘The Odd Future Tape’. The same year brought Tyler, The Creator’s second album ‘Goblin’.
Soon members including Frank Ocean and Earl Sweatshirt were releasing solo albums. This year breakup rumours circulated after Tyler tweeted “although its no more, those 7 letters are forever”. The group’s Matt Martians, from Odd Future subgroup The Internet later said, “It’s a badge. It’s a great thing. Everything has to move on. Everything has to have closure.”
Some of Odd Future played together at Tyler’s Camp Flog Gnaw festival this year, but Hodgy Beats laid into Tyler during his set, later writing on Instagram, “Call me jealous. Just don’t call my phone. Tyler is a fraud. He turned his back on n****s that never crossed him and I’m not just speaking for myself only… Where Earl go? I know he had no part in the carnival.”
WHY IT’S NOT ALL BAD NEWS: They’re still all doing smaller group projects and solo things – most excitingly, Frank Ocean’s followup to 2012’s ‘Channel Orange’ seems to be on the way.
BEST SONG: 10-minute epic ‘Oldie’, featuring the whole crew. Earl Sweatshirt shines, but it’s Tyler’s closing line that really embodies the video – “just admit not only are we talented, we’re rad as fuck”
13. Cobra Starship: After 9 years the NYC crew behind this perplexingly popular collaboration with Gossip Girl‘s Leighton Meester called it a day.
14. Kingsland Road:The loss of these X Factor ninth-placers is a real shame. Hopefully Shia Labeouf has seen this absurdist cover of ‘Uptown Funk’ and will work with them soon.
15. Neon Jungle: This girl group put together by manager David Cooper lasted for three years and produced some decent pop. They’ve all gone onto solo projects.
16. Stereo Kicks :’( Another X Factor lot here – and this bunch lasted less than a year. The 8-piece formed on the show hoping to be the new 1D and finished fifth – after the July split they blamed Louis Walsh for failing them, even though their one and only single was a load of cack.