The Great Escape 2019
IN THIS PHOTO: Jvck James
Ones to Watch: Part Two of Three
THE names who will play at this year’s The Great Escape in Brighton...
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
are almost confirmed – I think there are a few more coming through – but there is such a range of musicians to look out for. Covering multiple genres and nations, it will be a busy few days from 9th May. I think The Great Escape is one of those festivals that concentrate on the smaller acts and those coming through. Openings its doors to an international and eclectic fleet, everyone will be able to find something that suits them in a gorgeous surrounding. I have selected another batch from the announced that you need to investigate and, if you can, go and see. There are so many brilliant artists heading down to Brighton and it is hard to find which are worth that extra bit of focus. These names are, in my few, among the very best and those that will command...
IN THIS PHOTO: Maisie Peters
A big crowd.
“Gently Tender formed from the ashes of instigators Sam Fryer, Pete Mayhew and Will Doyle’s former band Palma Violets, along with keyboardist The Big Moon’s Celia Archer and guitarist Adam Brown. Taking their name from a song by The Incredible String Band, Gently Tender draw on the sounds of old Soul and Folk records, with a tinge of 60s and 70s psychedelic pop. Their love of those records shines through brightly on their first offering ‘2 Chords Good’ – a sprawling collective sound powered by the gang vocals of the entire band recalling everyone from Spiritualized and The Animals to Kevin Ayers and back again”.
Key Cut: Some Hard Advice
“Four Northern lasses present a skewed and lively version of punk, owing more to X-Ray Spex then The Sex Pistols, and express themselves like 60’s gogo dancers who have watched too much Vic and Bob. Active for less than a year, GGAllan Partridge have self-released an 8-inch vinyl EP, supported acts such as Richard Dawson, Dream Nails and Viagra Boys. Their mix of the Fat White Family’s barely contained ire and Dee-Lite’s boundless sense of fun is an absolute joy; a gloriously off-kilter dayglo girl-gang riot of pop and politics”.
Key Cut: Eyesore
“Chicago singer/songwriter/producer Gia Margaret describes her music as “sleep rock.” It’s a genre all her own, combining elements of folk, shoegaze, slowcore, ambient electronica and trip hop. For her self-produced debut album, There’s Always Glimmer (out July 27, 2018 on Orindal Records), Gia Margaret crafted twelve gorgeously melancholic lullabies to combat her own insomnia, and to salvage some beauty from the brighter and darker moments of her life.
There’s Always Glimmer explores relationships between friends, family members and significant others, often in past tense. Sparse verses isolate mundane moments of domestic and urban life, and choruses ache with earnest expressions of yearning and loss”.
Key Cut: Groceries
girl in red
“girl in red is the project of 19 year old Marie Ulven. Hailing from Horten, Norway, Marie began the girl in red project in 2017 and rapidly developed a significant fanbase across Soundcloud and Youtube. Following the critically acclaimed release of her debut EP, ‘chapter 1’, with support from The Fader and the New York Times, girl in red won NRK P3’s ‘Urørt’ (Introducing) Artist of the Year award. Combining melancholic, angst ridden lyrics with undeniably catchy melodies, girl in red’s sound sees her begin what will be a very exciting 2019”.
Key Cut: we fell in love in october
“An absolute sonic beast, the band has stormed onto the scene over the last 12 months and there seems to be absolutely no letting up from them. Combining enormous hooks, violently voracious beats and thoughtful lyrical themes all pummelled out live at head spinning volumes with unrivalled intensity. To witness Haggard Cat live is as immersive as it is devastatingly chaotic, which is something the band has managed to replicate perfectly on their debut full length album.
Challenger (released through Earache Records) is a 10 track warts-and-all crash course in everything rock and roll should be, receiving rave reviews across the board including Kerrang (4k), Metal Hammer (4/5) and Total Guitar (4/5). Haggard Cat have managed to showcase exactly how well they can craft great songs and contain them in a package that sounds so visceral and real that they could be in the same room as you”.
Key Cut: American Graffiti
“Hot Milk are an emo power-pop duel fronted band from Manchester, England. Jim and Han met in a bar in the Northern Quarter in 2016, became fast friends and have lived together ever since. What started over a bottle of wine and an acoustic guitar in their living room, whilst it pissed it down outside, quickly became their vice and way to survive through everyday life. The Manchester weather coupled with their persistent desire to fill a meaning-shaped hole meant that one song quickly turned into fifteen after running home from work during lunch breaks and staying up all night.
Singing sad songs with happy melodies, Hot Milk are a celebration of the real. With Fun, Family and Kindness at the forefront of their minds, Hot Milk hope to create an open and warm sphere where everyone is invited”.
Key Cut: Awful Ever After
“Formerly known as Get Inuit, the Kent quartet recently released their first single since signing to Wichita Recordings, appropriately titled ‘Hi’. The track premiered by Radio 1’s Jack Saunders, and with further support coming from Huw Stephens and Radio X. Previous releases, such as ‘So Soon’ and ‘Barbiturates’, revealed the large scope and diversity the band have available in their repertoire. Expect to witness a display of confidence and manic fervour on stage, a result of months fine-tuning their live show supporting the likes of Slaves, Spring King, The Big Moon and The Magic Gang”.
Key Cut: Hi
PHOTO CREDIT: Kenny McCracken
“iris makes music of exquisite balance. Deep emotions play out on a backdrop of warm, minimalist electronica. Stories of love and connection vie with a desire for solitude. On her debut EP “a sensitive being”, five songs of intimate, electronic beauty are brought to life with the cream of London and Norway’s young producers. The first of those tracks, “from inside a car”, was recently just released. This painterly, synth-driven stream-of-consciousness arose from a session with Bergen producer Askjell Solstrand and was based on a formative trip to Paris. Having never travelled on her own, iris lived in France, working on farms, and experienced for the first time the energising power of loneliness”.
Key Cut: from inside a car
“Raised on the Northern Coast of Ireland, Callum picked up a guitar at the age of 12 and within a year was writing his own songs. Now, just ahead of his twenties, Callum Stewart has blossomed from a bedroom singer/songwriter into one of the hottest voices coming from Ireland today. He’s been tipped as a ‘One To Watch’ for 2017 by Hot Press and made the playlists of Irish radio across the country.
With swelling arrangements and heart stopping melodies, Stewart creates climactic, alt-pop marked by real emotion and raw passion”.
Key Cut: Like I Did
“Joy Crookes is ONE OF THE UK’S MOST EXQUISITE NEW TALENTS . Still only 20, her songs effortlessly capture the trials and tribulations of life. Born and raised in Elephant and Castle, Joy’s musical journey is still just beginning but she’s already garnering Amy Winehouse and Lauryn Hill comparisons.
‘Reminiscence’ is the second EP from Joy Crookes, following the widely acclaimed debut ‘Influence’ last year. Introduced by the heartbreakingly beautiful first single ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ at the end of last year, the brand new EP marks the start of a new chapter for Joy in what’s promising to be an enthralling story”.
Key Cut: Bad Feeling
“East London born & bred, 19-year-old JvckJames is already creating a buzz with his blend of Jamaican roots and tasteful soul music taking in influences from the 90’s greats such as D’Angelo & Lauren Hill whilst giving a nod to the likes of Khalid & Frank Ocean. Graduating from ELAM (East London Academy of Music), young Jvck has been mixing his studies with song-writing sessions for the last year, laying the foundations of what promises to be a very exciting next chapter in his life. Having already released ‘Extroverted Lovers’ and ‘Easy’ to much critical acclaim, plus his stand-out live session for Berlin based ‘COLORS’ and recent appearance on the JD Reid track ‘Home’, he’s already pricked the ears of numerous tastemakers and fans. Having spent time working with a crop of talented producers including Scribz Riley (Khlaid, Ca rdi B), Di Genius (Drake — Controlla), this year will see this unique British talent release a slew of new music to the world”.
Key Cut: Wave
“Since her debut release in September 2017, Kara Marni’s work has amassed incredible radio support from the likes of industry tastemakers MistaJam, DJ Target, Annie Mac, Benji B and Jamz Supernova.
After two show-stopping, sold-out headline shows, three European support tours, including the Rita Ora ‘Girls Tour’ and a string of Summer festival appearances the 21-year old concludes the year with the hit single ‘Move’.
Key Cut: Curve
“It’s six years since Kingswood first crashed the Australian touring circuit, supporting iconic headliners such as The Saints and The Living End with belching rock singles like “Ohio”.
Their debut album, Microscopic Wars, made directly for the Top 10, followed by nomination at the 2014 ARIA Awards. Following up with 2016’s After Hours, Close to Dawn, Kingswood got their biggest hit to date, “Golden.” In 2018, the band made a debut appearance at Mondo in NYC, followed by extensive touring through the Europe. Meanwhile, sessions for album #3 continue. The first taste, “Messed It Up” — all sinewy synth-soul compulsion with a restless rock undertow — presages another stunning act of evolution”.
Key Cut: Golden
“A Welsh speaker with Bajan heritage, 22 year old Kizzy Crawford has already achieved great recognition for her work including airplay on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio1,2,6 & 4, as well as her music being used as set works for the WJEC 2016 A Level Music syllabus. Festival highlights include Glastonbury, L’Orient, Cambridge Folk Festival, Womex & Hay Festival.
Her recent single Progression was playlisted on the Jo Whiley & Simon Mayo BBC Radio 2 Drivetime show and received support from Tom Robinson & Craig Charles on BBC 6Music. Kizzy is excited to release her debut album via Freestyle Records this year”.
Key Cut: Enfys Yn Y Glaw
“21 year old pop singer-songwriter from Newcastle. “I don’t get why people hate on pop – it’s the best kind of music. Everyone listens to it. It’s way more credible than people think, and it’s way easier to write some sort of metaphorical bullshit on an acoustic guitar”.
Key Cut: Panic
“Made up of five independently talented and successful members who were looking for a new creative outlet unconstrained by over-thinking, over-planning, and excessive control; LEISURE are an anomaly in the music industry. This unusual melting-pot of contributions means LEISURE is greater than the sum of its parts, each member bringing different influences from 70s funk, to 90s rap and R&B, all the way to dance music from the early 2000s. Each member also brings a different skill set – strong pop song writing sensibilities, experimental production techniques, and the talent to mix and master their own work”.
Key Cut: Got It Bad
“When Lewis Capaldi’s debut single Bruises exploded at the start of 2017 it seemed from an outside perspective to have all the hallmarks of an overnight sensation. How could this 20-year-old with a soul-wrenching voice that sounded like it had been hewn from granite seemingly emerge from nowhere with a song of such emotional depth?
A stripped-back and almost painfully raw meditation on love and loss from a writer who seemed like he’d already lived several lives and had the scars to prove it, within weeks it had racked up an astonishing 15 million Spotify plays and topped streaming charts around the world.
Key Cut: Bruises
“Lowen embraces the ferocious, Janis Joplin-esque rasp of her voice. In fact, it’s one of the reasons she chose to adopt the name Lion. “Someone said I sound like a lion,” she explains, “Also, everyone says I have lion hair, and ‘Löwen’ means lions in German.” Still, declaring herself deserving of such a fierce moniker wasn’t something that came easily. “I didn’t mention it to anybody for months,” she admits. “It’s a big statement, it’s pretty extreme.
Lowen doesn’t make music than can be easily compared or categorised. Each song differs from the next – though there’s one thing she hopes they all manage to achieve. “I hope people feel something,” she says, “like I do when I’m playing it. Take what you want from it, but feel. I want to make boys cry.”
Lowen doesn’t make music than can be easily compared or categorised. Each song differs from the next – though there’s one thing she hopes they all manage to achieve. “I hope people feel something,” she says, “like I do when I’m playing”.
Key Cut: Oh No
““Me again… and I’m here to pick up where I left off”, Little Simz states over a growling bassline on the opening bars of her new album, GREY Area. Amid the chest-thumping chaos of jazz flute and playground chants, on the bold first track “Offence”, the UK rapper aligns herself with male auteurs including Picasso, Jay-Z, and Shakespeare. This bravado lays the stage for a project that, in its fullness, actually takes the listener to dark, vulnerable, and tender places. First, though: a reminder that Little Simz is at the peak of her powers. The 24-year-old independent artist has been living in the midst of a whirlwind since dropping Stillness in Wonderland, her second full-length album (and 11th release in total), in December 2016. Simz is no stranger to success. By the time she was 21, Kendrick Lamar had called her “one of the illest doing it right now”, and she was the first independent UK artist to ever be listed on Forbes’ 30 Under 30”.
Key Cut: Offence
“The quiet town of Steyning in West Sussex, where Maisie was born and raised, was hardly the kind of cosmopolitan capital you assume all pop artists are raised in these days; she would have been more likely to see the town choir play church concerts than her own kind of idols. Maisie Peters knows that pretentious singer-songwriter cliché just as well as you do. “I love Joni Mitchell, and I listen to her in the bath – with the lights off!” she laughs, creating a caricature of the woman so many assume this gifted artist might be in real life. But there’s something different about this girl: one who, at the age of 18, has already spent years beguiling millions of followers with her breezy, folkish guitar pop. A Joni Mitchell fan she might be, but beneath it all there’s a regular teenager who’s more interested in modern chart superstars than the esoteric legends of her field. She is, quite simply, not all that bothered about seeming cool”.
Key Cut: Worst of You
“Malphino are an outer-national, mystical band from an imaginary tropical island that has dreamt up a cinematic score and audio backdrop to their idyll. A promised land of hypnotic cumbia rhythms, subtle digital warbling, accordion textures, voodoo vapours and woodblock charm awaits the off piste explorer willing to step through the arch and Visit Malphino, the debut album from this London based collective of musicians and visual artists.
The joyous, often frenetic, style of cumbia that Malphino have landed on, tips its hat to the various denominations of modern cumbia movements worldwide yet carves its own unique, transcendental spin on the genre”.
Key Cut: Molienda
“20-year-old Mathilda Homer’s contemporary soul is formed by blending traditional influences with modern, creative production. After leaving London for rural England in her formative years, Mathilda’s alternative education lead her to pursue music from a young age. Born to two established composers, music filled their family home and inspiration was found everywhere. Growing up in a social environment, Mathilda grew to be a natural performer and turned away from academia in favour of exploring her creative side. After moving back into London in her late teens to study, Mathilda connected with her now main collaborator, writing partner and producer Isaac. Finding each other a perfect fit creatively, the pair began writing, recording and relentlessly gigging their music in pubs
and bars around London.
Mathilda and Isaac’s natural rhythm and spontaneous writing process bore fruit and a body of work began to form, including Mathilda’s upcoming debut single ‘Ready When You Are’”.
Key Cut: Ready When You Are
IMAGE CREDIT: @thegreatescape
ALL PHOTOS (unless credited otherwise):