It’s that time of year again. As 2018 draws to a close, we’ve been reflecting on what an incredible year it’s been for music. But now we turn our attention to the exciting new music that’s got us raring to race into the new year.
This time in 2017 (!) we were talking Rex Orange County, Sigrid, The Orielles, Shame and many more who went on to have an incredible year. Of course, we agree with the big ol’ publications that Sam Fender and Slowthai are going to take 2019 as their own, but we’re concentrating on some of the hidden gems and troubadours they’ve missed…
Hotly-tipped Leicester band Easy Life have blown up out of oblivion. Debut mixtape Creature Habits only came out in April and they’ve already been on Jools Holland! Their upbeat indie tunes have steered them towards their meteoric rise, but even more prevalent has been speaking up in and around the subject of mental health.
Watch the video for new single “Nightmares” below or listen to Easy Life on Spotify
Hailing from South London, Flohio has been grafting and grinding as an upcoming UK rapper for a good while, but there’s no doubt that 2019 is her time to shine. Of course, we want you to love every artist on this list, but the scene NEEDS her. Flohio is a woman riding the waves of success based purely on her talent and creativity alone. Her debut ‘Wild Yout’ EP is a masterpiece of passion, talent and hard-hitting beats and her live show will get you gassed too.
Watch the 10 More Rounds video below or listen to Flohio on Spotify
“The dial doesn’t change, oh the dial stays the same”. I mean, if Squid’s success is dependent on the dial then I really hope they’re not right. The South Londoners have landed slots on some seriously strong line-ups this year in the capital. The rambunctious cohort have been gradually making their way up with their super tight, intense but equally funk-punk live shows. Their knockout single ‘The Dial’, via Speedy Wundergound, was our first major intro to the world of Squid, but there’s so much more to come.
Listen to ‘The Dial’ below or try out the rest of their limited discography on Spotify
London duo KAWALA have an indescribable dynamic and energy that can’t be contained. Alternative/indie folk may not be for everyone, but after witnessing them live a few times this year, we can say their vitality wins crowds over – from tiny London launch shows to full festival crowds. Their signature single ‘Do It Like You Do’ perfectly embodies their enchanting, positive spirit with its disparate upbeat guitars and sweet harmonies.
Watch Do It Like You Do below or check them out on Spotify
With the gradual but dominating rise of artists like Yung Lean and Lil Peep, there were sure to be artists taking on some of their dark imagery and lyrical prowess, even if they’re not rapping them. Brunswick has created his own unique sound, mixing some 90s grunge vibes, warpy guitar lines and his gruff yet sleek vocals. He’s just found himself signed to Island Records and released brand new tunes ‘medication’ & ‘ADHD’, so we’re pretty sure we’ll be seeing much more from him in the near future.
Watch medication below or listen to even more on Spotify
Recently signed to Heavenly, Pip Blom is the figurehead of the swelling Dutch scene predicted to puncture 2019. Her Micachu-indebted brand of spiky indie pop has caught ears throughout the UK and with an album expected in Spring next year, it won’t be long before Pip Blom and band follow in the footsteps of labelmates Boy Azooga and The Orielles and end up everywhere.
Watch I Think I’m In Love below then head to their Spotify for more
Based in London, Leeds and Birmingham, itoldyouiwouldeatyou are setting a new standard for what ‘emo’ can be in today’s music industry. Their recently-released debut album Oh Dearism plows through topics of British politics to gender politics and every emotion in-between. Gone are the days of toxic masculinity and judgemental discrimination, well, hopefully soon, and we can’t imagine a better group of people than itoldyouiwouldeatyou to hold the torch and lead the way.
Watch ‘Get Terrified’ below then head to Spotify to hear their debut album
APRE create incredibly melodic and layered tracks, every single more interesting and textured than the last. We’re sort of hoping they’ll be pioneers of a new generation who refuse to make the same old guitar music. Their top singles have an insane amount of streams for a band their size and they’re simply growing from strength to strength.’ I mean, when ‘All Yours’ came out, who’d have thought every single track from ‘Without Love’ to latest banger ‘Backstreet’ would be so damn good? APRE are a delight.
Watch All Yours below or listen to even more goodness on Spotify
The British-Japanese pop sensation Rina Sawayama initially caught our attention with last year’s innovative and genre-bending ‘Cyber Stockholm Syndrome’, a track that collectively Robyn, Aqua and Kero Kero Bonito would all be a bit jealous they didn’t make. It’s the final track from her mini-album RINA which has propelled her onto even greater heights in 2018. Refusing to be pigeon-holed into the J-Pop category (and rightly so), Sawayama is one of the select few East-Asian artists breaking it in the Western world, and there’s no one that deserves it more.
Watch ‘Cherry’ below or head to Spotify to listen to RINA
Moston born-and-bred Aitch is the beating heart of Manchester’s rap scene right now. Pulling up from just a couple of freestyles, brand new single ‘Trust Me’ hit 100K views in just a couple of hours and is already at 1 MILLION views. His always-interesting flow, straight rhymes as well as the accent of course, make a perfect package for being ‘next up’ in the UK rap scene. If you don’t believe me, or want a visual representation of how I feel, watch this freestyle and just watch Kenny Allstar through its entirety. Genius.
Watch Trust Me below or check out more of his tunes on Spotify
Knocking about for a couple of years, Brighton-via-Isle of Man quartet Penelope Isles have honed their beguiling, kaleidoscopic guitar pop into a formidable force. Tracks flit between delicate textures and heavier riffs, their sound is a heady blend of harmonies and guitar. Expect big things from the Bella Union signees in 2019.
Watch Cut Your Hair below or dive into their Soundcloud for more
Described as “the best band in London” and “disturbingly brilliant” before having ANY tracks online, the mystery men of the moment Black Midi rose from the ashes of the Brit School (where they met) and then ultimately lit their flame at Brixton’s famous Windmill (something I doubt Adele ever considered). Building a following through a lack of online presence and South London word-of-mouth, their 5-minute Speedy Wunderground single ‘bmbmbm’ is an unpredictable flurry of influences all squished into a raucous 5-minute menagerie of post-punk.
Listen to bmbmbm below or check out their NTS Live Session if you’re still craving for more. There’s not much else I can offer you…sorry
Will Westerman, known by his surname alone, began shining musically in the country/folk world after growing up on Neil Young and Nick Drake. All until he started working with friend and producer Bullion, adding wavering synths and tight drum machines to his latest audible offerings. His latest Ark EP contains unique compositional arrangements that are perhaps unusual to some but are like honey to a bear for our eager ears. We can’t wait for the world to realise his brilliance.
Watch Albatross below then head to his Spotify for the rest of Ark
Hailing from Dublin, the core of Fontaines D.C.‘s dynamism is their blatant and bashfully Irish charm. This becomes succinctly apparent through vocalist Grian Chatten’s growls and twangs on killer tracks such as fan favourite ‘Chequeless Reckless’ and the brand new ‘Too Real’. Combine that with the post-punk mannerisms of The Fall and Girl Band, but more importantly, insatiable energy that is consistently pushed into making better and better tunes, 2019 isn’t ready.
Watch Chequeless Reckless below or get lost in their discography on Spotify
Another act that has taken 2018 by storm, releasing super single after super single. Pizzagirl’s 80s’-inspired indie encompasses everything from deep synths to panpipes to distorted drums, a truly satisfying musical assortment throughout his discography. Basically, if you enjoy John Hughes films and/or soundtracks, Pizzagirl is the one for you.
Listen to gymnasium below then try out his new EP Season 2 on Spotify