What makes a great festival anthem? An irrepressible beat that’s impossible to ignore? A giant singalong chorus that unites an entire field? A lighters aloft blub-fest that makes you fling your arms around the nearest stranger? Whatever it is, every year there’s always a handful of songs that come truly into their own come summer. Last year it was Jungle’s ‘Busy Earnin’. The year before that, ‘Get Lucky’, duh! Here are the 15 tracks that could take the crown in 2015.
Disclosure - 'Bang That': A live staple in the Lawrence brothers’ sets for a while now, the single release of ‘Bang That’ (“we wanted to give [fans] something for the summer,” say the band) is sure to tip the reaction to this one into the next level come festival season. Even with LP2 still a while off, Disclosure can do no wrong.
Everything Everything - 'Distant Past': Taken from forthcoming third LP ‘Get To Heaven’, ‘Distant Past’ is the Manchester art-rock trio’s biggest banger yet. Full of almost dubby beats, ‘Fitter Happier’-style computerized vocal samples and a gargantuan chorus that’s unashamedly set in the club, it’s Everything Everything doing a crowd-pleaser in their own wonky way.
Hudson Mohawke - 'Very First Breath': Not one to shy away from a 2am, festival-uniting anthem, HudMo’s whole musical catalogue is basically designed to bring people together in rampant, after hours hedonism. ‘Very First Breath’ has enough massive drops in it to ensure that the dream will stay alive come festival season.
The Maccabees - 'Marks To Prove It': Crashing back onto the scene after nearly three years away with a literal scream (courtesy of some backing vocals from guitarist Felix White), ‘Marks To Prove It’ only escalates in energy from there. All relentless forward motion and gargantuan guitars, it’s bound to be a big one when the Maccs hit main stages this summer.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra - 'Can't Keep Checking My Phone': Adding a 70s funk strut to their perma-baked psychedelic jams, UMO mk III is made for sun-drenched afternoons (hey, we can hope) as the party’s just kicking off. Glitchy samples add an underlying dance element that means this’ll also sound as good at 3am as it does at 3pm.
Skepta - 'Shutdown': Grime MC Skepta’s recent appearance on stage with Kanye might have made him a more recogniseable household name, but the Londoner won’t need A-list nods for much longer with tracks like this. Taking on his adversaries with a shrug and an effortless putdown, ‘Shutdown’ is an anthem for those who couldn’t give two shits what the naysayers think.
Wolf Alice - 'Giant Peach': Anyone who’s seen Wolf Alice live in the past 12 months will know that the Londoners are fast accumulating a set of balls-to-the-wall hedonistic gems capable of setting any crowd on fire. ‘Giant Peach’s heavy riffs and mammoth build up, however, come top of the league.
Tame Impala - 'Let It Happen': Proving beyond any reasonable doubt that Kevin Parker is an otherworldly being, ‘Let It Happen’ – the first track from Tame’s imminent third album – is an eight-minute lesson in slow-building, melodic hypnotism. There are few who could turn such a gentle, gauzy lilt into a bona fide epic anthem, but Parker’s certainly one of them.
Swim Deep - 'To My Brother': On debut ‘Where The Heaven Are We’, Swim Deep were the soundtrack to hazy summer days larking around the park – now the Birmingham boys are taking it into the PM. If the Primal Scream loops of ‘To My Brother’ don’t transport you to a ravey, psychedelic wonderland then you’re doing it all wrong.
Shamir - 'On The Regular': Of all of 2015’s breakthrough artists, 20-year-old Vegas boy Shamir is the most unabashedly fun. Full of kitschy, playful hooks and tongue-in-cheek lyrics, his is the set you’ll want to watch out for this summer if you want the sassiest party on the site. The ace chorus to calling card ‘On The Regular’ (“Don’t try me, I’m not a free sample”) is proof enough.
Tobias Jesso Jr - 'Without You': During the 72-hour party of weekend festivals, even the best of us need a break sometimes. When you want an epic sing-a-long of the kind you just can’t get to ‘Eez-Eh’, then look out for this lighters aloft weepy courtesy of Tobias Jesso Jr and make sure you’ve got some mates nearby to grab and bawl your eyes out with.
Kendrick Lamar - 'I': After the epic success of ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’, 2015 is entirely belonging to Compton’s finest and with a summer jam as good as this then who could argue? Featuring a sample of The Isley Brothers, ‘I’ might be the lightest cut from the record, but in these times of trial, maybe a field full of people singing “I love myself” is the kind of positivity we all need.
Jamie xx - 'Gosh': Jamie XX’s newest LP ‘In Colour’ is set to arrive on June 1 and ‘Gosh’ – its first track – is a typically deft opening from the sonic pioneer. The trick here – as with The XX – is in what he doesn’t do. Sparse, minimal but undoubtedly huge, ‘Gosh’ takes old school rave influences and pushes them into new ground that’ll leave the fields of 2015 going batshit.
Courtney Barnett - 'Pedestrian At Best': “Put me on a pedestal and I’ll only disappoint you,” goes ‘Pedestrian At Best’s self-deprecating chorus, but honestly Courtney – there’s little chance of that happening. A whipsmart thrash of fuzzy guitars and lyrics that’ll sound brilliantly perverse when yelled by thousands, this is a festival banger with some serious smarts.
Florence + the Machine - 'What Kind Of Man': There were few returns as highly anticipated in 2015 as that of Florence Welch and lead single ‘What Kind Of Man’ justified the hype with snarling, confident aplomb. Adding a darker menace to Flo’s usual soaring stylings, this will be a peak of the singer’s newly-cemented headliner status, without doubt.