IN THIS PHOTO: The Big Moon/PHOTO CREDIT: Lauren Maccabee
Cool Artists to Watch in 2018
THIS is a busy day for me in terms of writing…
IN THIS PHOTO: MALAIKA
but I wanted to start off by highlighting a few artists, I think, will be a big deal in 2018. I will do another such compilation later this year but it is worth giving backing to acts that have already made an impression – and look set to do so as we creep towards 2018.
I am excited discovering such an eclectic and promising bunch of peeps. Without further ado; a rundown of groups and artists that are going to make some waves next year….
PHOTO CREDIT: Emma Swann
(An interview the band conducted with DIY)
“Set in the middle of endless green, sheep-flecked hills, Stroud – a market town in Gloucestershire – is the sort of place where it’s entirely reasonable to find a different vegetarian cafe serving variations of tofu every second step. People pairing tweed suits with monocles isn’t even considered outlandish in these parts, and nightlife-wise, there’s a single sticky-floored club called Warehouse with a light-up dancefloor. Otherwise, the local music scene consists of born and bred bands gigging around the pub circuit, a man dressed as a jester playing keyboard covers on the high street, and the occasional failed attempt at hosting rural music festivals; before the fields are overrun with underage cider-swiggers, that is, and the whole thing gets closed down.
An anomaly to Stroud’s decidedly quiet reputation are Milk Teeth. Breaking the countryside hush with their raucous debut album ‘Vile Child’ last year, the band left behind their tranquil hometown to make a right beautiful racket around the world, supporting a dream roll-call of acts – from Refused and Against Me! to rising cult heroes Creeper – along the way. Now back where it all began, Milk Teeth are sat around their beloved park bandstand where they host regular meetings. Inexplicably, somebody nearby has a tame owl perched on their arm. A gaggle of baby swans are drifting lazily down a stream. And Becky Blomfield – Milk Teeth’s chief vocalist and bass-wielder – would quite like a cider, to be honest. “There’s a Tesco across there,” she says. “I’m down”.
"Originally hailing from Belfast and now residing in Leeds, Malaika’s saccharine vocals and jazz inspired melodies have quickly turned heads across the UK. After winning ‘Best Jazz/Blues Act’ at this year’s Unsigned Music Awards last month and supporting pop-soul sensation JONES on some of her Autumn tour dates, it’s no surprise why so many industry insiders are tipping Malaika as ‘one to watch’ for 2017 ."
(An interview lead Heather Baron-Gracie conducted with NME)
Where do you see your band in five years?
“We want to have a Number One album. We just want to grow and be playing sold-out tours. I reckon we can do it. You’ve got to be positive and optimistic. We’re all in.”
Location: New York
(An interview Sophie and Tucker conducted with NNW)
NNW: Your music has a lot of different sounds that make it hard to describe with just one genre. Is that something you set out to do?
T: I don’t think intentionally we were like, “Let’s make a genre bending thing.” I think we sort of just made it and thought it would be some artsy niche thing and then more people liked it and listened to it than we thought.
S: Most people called it Pop.
T: We don’t really know what to call it but we like that. A lot of our new songs are I think equally as hard to categorize but in totally different ways and it’s fun. We just get to be creative and do stuff that people aren’t used to hearing things together. We just kind of do whatever we want and if we like it we hope other people will like it.
S: It doesn’t mean anything is off limits.
(Exert taken from Source)
"Ms Banks, a South London native of Nigerian and Ugandan heritage, brings her own unique perspective to the UK Grime scene. Her rhymes are authoritative in nature and speak on her experiences growing up in the ‘hood with a predominantly male circle. Banks smokes weed, finds it uncomfortable presenting herself in an overtly sexual way and loves a challenge, but prefers to keep things classy. These traits make her stand out in an industry determined to make her fill the feminine stereotype. She feels that her gender only boosts her popularity and isn’t worried about breaking into a male-dominated industry.
Ms Banks has been rapping since she was 12 years old, inspired by her uncle who used to rap over drum and bass beats. Her real name is Thyra with a silent H, so the comparisons to the American supermodel turned businesswoman were inevitable. Adding the Ms to the Banks was her way of formalizing her take on the name and Ms Banks was born. She began songwriting at the age of 15 to vent her experiences and help herself through troubled times. These songs formed her debut mixtape Once Upon A Grind, which came out in 2014.
Her big break later came when her radio host friend encouraged her to start recording in the studio at 18. From there, she was invited to open mic nights and started to build her social media presence, including posting popular covers on YouTube. Since then she has collaborated with the likes of Tinie Tempah and JME and stacked up quite a few awards. At this point she is happy to be an independent artist and doesn’t want to sign to a major label anytime soon".
(An interview the band conducted with DIY)
Unassuming they may be, but “shit” is one thing they’re not. What began as a folk group boasting “three part harmonies and guitars” has gone on to become one of the most talked-about new bands – an impressive feat for a group with only two songs released under their collective name. It’s been a natural evolution, one that’s landed the outfit in the middle of a whirlwind of South London-stamped hype – not that they’re paying their acclaim any attention. “It’s good not to look into it too much,” Ellie - who also goes by ‘L.E.D.’, because why not - ponders. “It’s just a natural thing. We didn’t decide to form a band, we just all like making music with each other.” Being touted for great things right from the word go isn’t that uncommon. While Goat Girl sound sure to be on the path to something spectacular, the group make no illusions about where they find themselves right now. “I think that record labels want to snatch up ‘the next big thing,’” Lottie considers. “They’re trying to find this new scene that’s happening with the younger generation.”
PHOTO CREDIT: Steph Wilson
(An exert from an interview the band conducted with DIY)
"ALASKALASKA only formed a year and a half ago, but already this six-piece have built a cult following from a handful of dates in their native London. Short but sweet, these low-key shows are rammed with sweaty punters all raving to a monstrous groove. Everyone leaves elated, totally enraptured with the band’s jazz-infused art-pop that blends disco, funk and R&B into a rambunctious new sound. Anything but the icy exterior their name suggests".
"Born in Lagos, Nigeria where he spent his childhood as well as Laois, Ireland. In Ireland at the age of 8 Caleb Kunle began writing music whilst participating in several choirs.
At age 10 Caleb was part of a urban music group named "Illrics", under the alias "Lyrical Kingpin" he rapped whilst adding soulful melodic chorus to compliment the hardcore hip-hop vibe of the group. The group lasted for 4 years, leaving them with an unreleased album and a lifetime of experience.
Caleb Kunle branched into more electronic sounds, which lead to the project titled "When I was 17". Seeking more diversity he began playing the guitar and branched into his current sound, Soul-Afro-Electro Pop".
(An exert from an interview GIRLI conducted with The National Student)
“Despite dressing head to toe in bubblegum style, GIRLI’s sickly-sweet pop couldn’t be further from sugar 'n' spice and all things nice—videogame melodies and autobiographical lyrics create an angsty cyber-pop cocktail that breaks convention. The opposite of a wallflower, the London-based singer/rapper/producer’s tunes demand as much attention as her neon pink hair and eyebrow combo.
Citing her influences as “Riot grrrl and punk bands like The Slits and Blondie, rappers like M.I.A, lyricists like The Streets and Arctic Monkeys” the self-proclaimed sassy songstress started making music when she was 15.
“I wanted to do something where I could perform and say shit I wanted to say, it was a trial to see if I could express what I wanted to in that way.”
(An exert from an interview Wildwood Kin condcuted with HMV)
“You can understand the Haim comparisons with trio Wildwood Kin. Comprised of sisters Emilie and Beth Key and cousin Meghan Loney, the band have the same close-knit harmonies and turn for a catchy chorus as the Haim sisters, but there's something a lot more British about this threesome, more steeped in early folk and country.
How did the experience of making your debut album compare to what you’d imagined it would be?
"When we started recording, we'd actually set out to record an EP because we'd had some older songs that we were desperate to record, but soon after starting to record and experiment with newer sounds, we were encouraged to write for a full debut album. At first, it was quite daunting, a debut album is a massive thing, but we've taken our time over it and are really excited to share it with everyone!"
(An exert from an interview singer Ryan Johnston conducted with Yorkshire Evening Post)
“Last year Skinny Living released an EP called 3 on their own label; they also gained their first taste of playing on a bigger stage when selected to support Jake Bugg at the First Direct Arena. “When we all got on stage it was so calm, we all felt really comfortable, which is strange because in a lot of other gigs we’ve felt more anxious before we got on stage,” Johnston says. “It felt like the bigger stage was more comfortable because you could move around. When we walked out in the crowd there was all these people screaming at us, so I think it was just that moment of everyone being really excited and us feeling welcome on the stage and them wanting to hear us play. It set the bar for us and we’ve been chasing that buzz ever since.”
PHOTO CREDIT: Sonja Horsman (for the Observer)
(An exert from an interview the band conducted with The Guardian)
“Blinking into the sunlight for an interview are British frontman Henry Spychalski (mullet and eyebrows dyed blue, cut-glass accent, wearing a military cap and sunglasses), guitarist Duke from Paris (silver nail polish, leopard-pattern buzzcut, nifty moustache), and drummer Achilleas from Athens (flowing dark curls, piercing stare intensified with eyeshadow); left in the studio are guitarist James, bassist Nico and keyboardist Zac (most of them prefer not to use their surnames).
While hip-hop and R&B have been flourishing, in recent years much rock music has been floundering towards irrelevance. How can they make a bunch of men with guitars exciting again? “For a long time now guitar music has been looking backwards instead of trying to recontextualise itself,” says Spychalski. “It hasn’t been paying attention to what’s happening in trap and hip-hop and electronic music, so it hasn’t kept up with how the majority of people look at music.”
One solution is subverting listeners’ expectations within each song: their first single Stained starts as playful camp rock, morphs into a dramatic postpunk anthem, and culminates in an all-out feast of noise and distortion, courtesy of a sample from experimental hip-hop group Death Grips. “People’s attention spans are a lot shorter than they used to be,” says Spychalski. “With streaming you listen to about half a song and then flip to another one. So it’s important that our music flips between a lot of different things, or else people are going to turn to something else”.
(An exert from a piece by Riverbeats)
“Terror Jr. appeared seemingly out of nowhere back in March 2016. Their song, “3 Strikes” was featured in Kylie Jenner’s advert for her lip-gloss line which premiered that fateful Thursday. That very same day, the group made their first tweet, declaring themselves “Born”, posted their first Instagrampicture, and uploaded the aforementioned song to their newly created Soundcloud.
This, along with a handful of other potential clues, led fans and critics alike to speculate that Lisa Terror was actually Jenner herself. The theory circulated strongly for a while, but was dismissed by the band and Jenner.
Terror Jr. is presently signed to the new collective, EFFESS, which Singer-Vine runs with Snow. The name itself is a play on Snow’s initials and stands for “Every Fucking Feeling Equals Something Special”. From Kiiara, to Gallant, to SZA, Rita Ora and more, Snow and Singer-Vine’s combined experiences and skills are amplified when they work together and Terror Jr.is no exception.
Their sound is a fusion of dreamy yet sometimes darker dream-pop colored with plenty of references to drugs and sex, all laid over bright synths and and occasional heavy bass work with plenty of saccharine autotuning to top it all off. The imagery they employ to accompany their albums is quite fascinating”.
“The pop punk trio - Alice, Bella & Rakel - Dream Wife formed within the walls of art university in Brighton. When they left uni that's when the rocky roads of Dream Wife kicked in full speed: Their reputation as one of the best new live bands in London is already cemented following tours with Sleigh Bells, The Kills and their recent US triumphant stateside debut on tour at SXSW which earned them praise from NPR, DIY, Stereogum, Nylon, Entertainment Weekly etc. Armed with razor sharp pop tunes and a take no prisoners punk attitude they’re are known to elicit pure chaos at their raucous live shows”.
The Big Moon
(An exert from an interview the band conducted with Interview Magazine)
“In 2013 Juliette Jackson was waitressing at a cocktail bar in London, writing songs on the side and seeking out a band that needed a bass player. She'd been in groups before but had never been the songwriter or frontperson, so the prospect of either seemed like a stretch. When she hit a wall ("Nobody needed a bass player," she recalls) and widened her search—she asked friends and friends of friends if they knew anyone who played an instrument or wanted to learn how—she found three collaborators: Celia Archer (bass, vocals), Soph Nathan (guitar, vocals), and Fern Ford (percussion). Together they formed the Big Moon in 2014, but before they sat down for pints and to practice, a tracklist was already in the works: "It took me quite a long time to find everyone, or to build up the courage to try to find everyone," explains Jackson, who became the band's lead vocalist and one of its guitarists. "So we had five or six songs before we even existed."
Last week the four-piece released their debut LP, Love in the 4th Dimension(StarTime International/Columbia). Recorded live, it's a playful and boisterous indie rock record that satisfies an itch for self-revealing, relatable songs and invites the listener to jump around. Interview recently spoke to Jackson and Archer by phone ahead of the album's release, before the band came to the U.S. to perform at SXSW for the first time. They were dreaming of what they'd drink (beer, margaritas), what they'd eat (Mexican food, Doritos), what they'd wear (shorts), and the prospect of meeting celebrities (like Snoop Dogg or President Obama, who both have a standing offer for a free the Big Moon T-shirt.)”.
“IDLES met as a quintet at the death of the indie scene in Bristol and began making visceral and sometimes unlistenable post-punk to a growing crowd. They began with their own club night Batcave and practicing religiously until they felt they had found their sound and their live show; with that in check they have now completed their first album and are savaged in hunger to play their music. They want to give themselves and their art to the audience in a concise and violent way unrivalled by their peers. They have no qualms in terrifying and entertaining in the same breath. They celebrate their influences in a vitriolic and belligerent sound that is both familiar and new. They are a nose-bleed on the ears and they're here to show you they care”.
Location: New York
“A Montreal Native of Italian origins, Betta Lemme is a vocalist, songwriter and producer. Betta quickly learned to play any instrument set in front of her. Her three native tongues of English, French and Italian have been incorporated into her music and elusive disposition. Betta made her recording debut as a featured vocalist and writer on Sofi Tukker's "AWOO”.