In a year that has seen a number of innovative and creative emerging musicians deservedly thrust themselves into the limelight, the likes of FKA Twigs, George Ezra and Royal Blood have been amongst the artists dominating the newcomers list in 2014. With our vision set firmly towards the upcoming year, Gigslutz has compiled a diverse list of stand-out, special and exceptional musicians who we believe are the artists to watch in 2015.
Championed by Annie Mac and Huw Stephens, Merseyside-based songstress, Låpsley has received a great of radio play and press coverage over the past few months. Bridging the gap between singer-songwriter and minimalist producer, the 18-year-old musician will be one to watch for the next year as she begins to make serious career moves as a professional recording artist. Her highly anticipated debut EP, Understudy is due to be released in January on XL Recordings and is expected to deliver more of the delicate ambient electronica that has propelled her career so successfully thus far.
Originally conceived as a solo project of Nile Marr, Man Made are a visceral post-punk band from Manchester. Heavily influenced by music of the Pacific Northwest, the three-piece have no obvious penchant for the scene which they have (quite literally in Marr’s case) been born out of. After a session at the BBC’s Maida Vale studios, playing Reading and Leeds and a number of shows with Jake Bugg, the band are working towards the release of their debut album, TV Broke My Brain, which is sure to make an impact just as much as their shows have over the past year. A must see live act for 2015.
The Blackpool-born singer-songwriter, Rae Morris has been patiently building her craft over the past few years. With a number of EPs under her belt and a key collaboration with Bombay Bicycle Club on their latest album, So Long See You Tomorrow, finally her debut album, Unguarded, is bound to cement her place as one of the most exciting singer-songwriters around currently. Morris’ speciality is her ability to unashamedly expose her vulnerabilities within her music. Unguarded is set for release on the 26th of January.
Brighton-based group, Strange Cages have hit the nail on the head when it comes to psychedelic-rock. The three-piece have received plaudits from the NME and have tapped into 60s influenced rock and roll in the smoothest and coolest way possible. Although relatively unknown outside of Brighton, we expect big things this year as we expect many more live shows and new tracks from the band that fuse lazy desert rock with the hallucinogenic energy of psychedelia.
Aquilo are an ambient electronic duo from Silverdale, Lancashire producing gorgeous and atmospheric pop music. The Lake District duo, consisting of Tom Higham and Ben Fletcher, seem to hold production value in rather high regard, developing vast and climactic progression not dissimilar to the work of Mogwai. In a sense, Aquilo have a delicate nature that Mogwai perhaps lack, making the duo much more commercially appealing. Following a successful set at Glastonbury this year, we expect 2015 to be even more eventful for the group with a number of live shows already planned for the beginning of March.
The French/Cuban twins, Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Diaz have seen a great deal of exposure towards the end of 2014 following their stunning debut on Jools Holland. Ibeyi have a minimal and stripped-down sound and a maturity that makes it very difficult to believe the siblings are just 19-years-old. With one half of the duo on piano and the other on percussion, they both share the vocals with emotion and passionate harmony and the subtle yet effective use of electronic production, contrasting with the pure and natural vulnerability of their voices and traditional instrumentation. Ibeyi have the innovation to be as ground-breaking and as genre-bending as Bjork whilst retaining pop appeal.
Another band pushing the boundaries of psychedelic rock are London and Wales based band, Telegram. By combining the high energy punk tempo of The Ramones, Telegram have created a cacophony and chaotic mixture of rock and roll influences fusing lo-fi with the Krautrock knowledge developed by guitarist Matt Wood spending 18 months working at Faust’s HQ in Germany. The band are heavily guitar-based and will be sure to attract any guitar aficionados at their shows for the NME Awards Tour in 2015.
Kieran Leonard has shared the stage with The Libertines, Ryan Adams, Mick Jones and Bob Dylan, and he lives and breathes that attitude. The singer-songwriter has a wealth of literary knowledge behind him and a gift for songwriting and speaks frankly about his political views through his music. On stage, his demeanour is of someone incredibly passionate about his music, stomping and moving appropriately when needed. Leonard is a troubadour of our times and a potentially successful one at that. The folk musician will be joining Father John Misty on tour in the New Year from February to March and he mustn’t be missed.
Neon Waltz are a six-piece psychedelic band from Caithness, Scotland. Focussed primarily on strong melodies, the band have strengths in writing quality pop songs and have often been compared to The Coral and Echo & The Bunnymen. With a great deal of radio play and festival slots out of the way for this year, the next step is to be yet to be seen, but they’re a must see band for fans of early 90s indie and psychedelic rock.
Pretty Vicious sound exactly like you think they would. After forming this year, the Welsh band are a playful but heavy rock band with punk roots and have already been picked up by a number of publications tipping them to be one to watch over the next year. Championed by Zane Lowe recently, the band could potentially make a big mark on the British rock scene, following a well-trodden trail led by the much hyped Royal Blood.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Perfect Pussy are the most exciting band I’ve heard in a long time. Considered to be a post-hardcore band, the group released their debut album, Say Yes To Love this year and it is a phenomenal noise-punk record. Fronted by lead-singer Meredith Graves, Perfect Pussy are led by a front-woman who commits her whole body to being immersed in the music, as she claims she frequently comes out of a gig battered and bruised. Perfect Pussy could potentially become huge in their field; combining lyrics of feminism and social criticism with passionate, aggressive and expressive punk rock.
31-year-old Arian Asllani goes under the pseudonym of Action Bronson. The hip-hop artist is making a huge impression in the industry so far, with a number of well-received mixtapes and his major label debut EP, Saaab Stories. After working with a number of acclaimed artists previously, such as The Alchemist, his 2015 debut studio album, Mr Wonderful, is highly anticipated for the upcoming year.
Freshly awarded the Brits Critics Choice Award, James Bay is guaranteed to make an impact on the industry in the New Year. The singer-songwriter and former BIMM student has stunned audiences with his live performances over the past year, whilst receiving a large amount of radio play for his single, ‘Hold Back The River’. The soulful singer-songwriter will be releasing his debut album in Spring.
Receiving a great amount of compliments in the press, Manchester’s Blossoms have a head start this New Year. Gigging extensively in the North-West, the band are proving to be a live band worth adding to everybody’s must-see list. As a psychedelic rock and roll alternative, Blossoms have been said to have invented their own genre, ‘Ethereal Nostalgic Sonance’. Blossoms prove that it is possible to be pushing boundaries in rock and roll in 2015, and we expect even more innovation in the New Year as the group progress.
18-year-old Bridie Monds-Watson, describes herself as “a short Irish kid who appreciates Dragons & Dinosaurs.” The musician, also known as SOAK has been attracting a lot of attention over the past year having signed to CHVRCHES’ label, Goodbye Records. Floating in similar circles as George Ezra and Rae Morris, this singer-songwriter is another one to be admired for her unique ability for writing melody and storytelling. Writing relentlessly, SOAK’s appeal is her vulnerable and subtle folk-pop influenced by a vast array of musicians such as Cat Power, Pink Floyd and Joni Mitchell.
George The Poet
Another of the BBC’s favourites for 2015, George The Poet does what he says on the tin. The musician, songwriter and poet has blossomed due to his passion for exposing social issues and has formed a genre and style primarily focussed on social commentary in its most accessible form. The Cambridge graduate who studied Psychology and Sociology has developed his innovative style of mixing urban and dance genres with his wealth of education. The forthcoming year could see him becoming a key spokesperson for the youth in 2015.
Slaves performed on Jools Holland this year and famously made a badly received U2 joke to Bono. Having been named as an act to appear on the 2015 NME tour as well as being included in the BBC’s Sound of 2015 list, the upcoming year will be busy for the duo from Kent. Loud, primal and channelling a venomous hardcore-punk attitude, Slaves will be making an impact in 2015. Balancing on a pedestal in-between mod culture and American grunge, the duo may have sparked something special to ignite in the next 12 months.
Oozing an ethereal beauty and magnetising majestic sparkle, Laura Doggett has had a pretty exciting year. Following the release of her wonderfully enchanting debut single, ‘Phoenix’, Doggett has gone on to perform on Jools Holland, deliver a heart-rending intimate show at St Barnabas church and has supported John Newman on tour.
Having signed a deal with RCA and featured as Radio 1’s BBC Introducing artist, Doggett has been receiving generous airplay and praise a plenty from those in the know. And, with second single, ‘Moonshine’, exuding stirring melodies and emotion strewn crescendos, this young woman from Bath has proved just what she’s capable of.
Already sweeping plenty of people off their feet with her spellbinding, quivering vocals and subtle hypnotic power, I can safely say that 2015 holds big things for Laura. She is a truly unique talent, a bright star set to outshine all others.
The Savage Nomads
Coming to the end of an incredible year, The Savage Nomads just continue to get better and better. They are genuinely one of the hardest working bands I’ve ever come across, and deserve every success (and there seem to be many!) that comes their way. The band just don’t seem to stop… This year’s highlights include: a wealth of new material, a new line up, major connections made (notably Brendan Canty from Fugazi), a huge array of exciting live dates (including supporting the legendary Adam Ant), airplay on BBC 6Music and winning our esteemed ‘Unsigned Act Of The Year’ award…
Now, with suave new bassist Tom Williams and Louis Lacoste’s impeccable pounding beats added to Salewicz’s infinite supply of swagger and charisma and the impressive, funk-infused riffs of the Miles brothers, the band really are on top form. As the Savage Nomads continue to impress with their unrivalled enthusiasm, originality, motivation, charisma and style, I predict that many more incredible opportunities will be coming their way in 2015.
North Eastern ‘supergroup’, SLUG – consisting of Field Music’s Ian Black and those Brewis brothers – deliver eclectic blasts of experimental rock with an entirely unique edge. Currently producing their debut album, the band have been receiving plenty of airplay with single ‘Cockeyed Rabbit Wrapped In Plastic’: a thrashing track with pummelling beats that race alongside Black’s speeding falsetto, it is one of the best things I’ve heard on the radio all year.
A complete contrast to the band’s other side projects (Peter Brewis’ orchestral venture with Paul Smith, Frozen By Sight), SLUG are a weird and wonderful venture, exuding heartily eccentric creations that need to be heard. With a wealth of live dates coming up in the new year, including The Social in London on 27th January and a number of exciting festival announcements, these bonny lads are most certainly ones to watch in 2015.