The beginning of a new year, a time to celebrate new music. As we leave 2016 behind, the editorial team here at Gigslutz have chosen some of the bands and artists we’re most excited about for the upcoming year.
As there’s so much new music we’re looking forward to, we’ve had to split our choices into two parts! So, here’s Part one of our Ones To Watch In 2017… Have a read and keep your eyes/ears peeled for these incredible bands and artists this year.
Now just 14 years of age, Brooklyn-based band Harsh Crowd formed back in 2013 aged 11, after meeting at Willie Mae Rock Camp For Girls – a camp focused on empowering girls and women through music. And empowering is what this young band certainly are; with a new EP Better released at the end of last year, each politically-charged track oozes an admirable passion and insight beyond their years.
With fans including the almighty Kathleen Hanna as well as feminist heroine Gloria Steinem, and having supported the likes of Sharon Van Etten and Amy Ray of Indigo Girls, Harsh Crowd are proving to be a force to be reckoned with. If these teens don’t inspire you, I don’t know what will; though young in age, what this band exude in strength, motivation, and sheer raw musicality, is truly awesome.
Harsh Crowd are just what we – not only other young girls, but people of all ages and genders – need to look up to and be inspired by right now.
(Mari Lane – Editor)
2016 saw Catalonian group MOURN release their second album, Ha, Ha, He. via indie label Captured Tracks (Mac DeMarco, DIIV). Unsurprisingly, it was a savagely good collection of punk and grunge inspired sounds that further displayed the group’s natural talent to write short but sparky songs.
I’ve been spinning ‘Irrational Friend’ and the aptly named ‘President Bullshit’ most of the year, and their allusion to William Blake’s ‘Laughing Song’ (the album’s title) cemented my (geeky) love for this album and this band. They were held back by personal and professional difficulties in 2016, so hopefully 2017 will be a more prosperous year for MOURN.
(Kate Crudgington – Assistant Editor)
With the release of their Stained Gold EP and their latest track ‘Life Of Leisure,’ 2016 saw Affairs go from strength to strength – and we’re sure they’re only about to get stronger.
Drawing comparisons to everyone from Foals to The Smiths, Affairs’ truly unique and eclectic sound – seen best in their live shows – is stylish, refined and no doubt set to take 2017 by storm.
(Melissa Svensen – Assistant Editor)
They’re named after the Italian for postage stamp, and that’s not the weirdest thing you’ll come across when checking out Francobollo. They’re one of those bands that to fully get to grips with, you need to see live. It all makes sense once you see them prancing around the stage, attempting yoga positions mid track, and just annoying each other as much as possible.
Producer Charlie Andrew (Alt-J, Benjamin Francis Leftwich) took interest in the band after seeing one of their ‘interesting’ live sets, and made them the first band to be signed to his label Square Leg Records. Through this, they’ve already released their Wonderful EP and single ‘Kinky Lola’.
In their recently released tracks, they’ve captured their charm perfectly into the recordings. From the charming lift music (but cool life music) ‘Call Me Breeze’, to slacker indie pop in ‘Kinky Lola, their personality can’t be missed and makes them even more endearing.
(Becky Rogers – News Editor)
I make no apologies that I keep banging on about these lads, but they were my favourite discovery of 2016 and I expect them to go from strength to strength in 2017. With each release the Leeds five-piece continue to impress further with their brooding, visceral rock and roll. However, it is with their storming live performances in which they truly shine, reaching an energy and intensity which few bands can match.
Plus, they dressed up as a mariachi band and showed off some eye-catching dance moves in their latest video for ‘In Sicily’, which is certainly worthy of some praise.
(Rob Conlon – Reviews Assistant)
I’ve been hooked on FISH since seeing them support Seattle pop-punks TacoCat at The Lexington, and was a tiny bit mortified when I realised I’d missed them supporting Wolf Alice at The Forum earlier in the year too. They’re friends with some of the coolest new bands on the London scene right now (Happy Meal Ltd, Dead Pretties, Shame) and I’m confident they’ll start becoming uncatchable as their fan base grows further in 2017.
With their post-punk inspired music, Cabbage have been described as a blend of The Clash, Nirvana and fellow Mancunians – The Fall. Singing about recent political news such as Donald Trump and Post-Brexit and with titles such as ‘Grim Up North Korea’, this band is clearly what 2017 needs.
Having recently released their EP, their biggest hits so far ‘Terrorist Synthesizer’, ‘Uber Capitalist Death Trade’ and ‘Dinner Lady’ are a blend of cheerily energetic riffs, over witty yet anarchistic lyrics in response to serious issues.
Considering they only crashed onto the music scene in 2015 and have already toured with Blossoms and received support from Tim Burgess, they’re doing seriously well. They’ve even slagged off The Sun – which admittedly just makes us like them just that bit more.
(Lottie Stuart – News Assistant)
If you’ve been paying any attention to Gigslutz over the last year, you may have noticed me banging on about Dream Wife a fair amount. Having released their debut EP, and wowed crowds across the country with their vivacious live shows, I’ve no doubt they’re going to continue to achieve more widespread popularity in 2017.
Dream Wife are a band that demand your attention, and, as great as their recorded tracks are, you need to witness the charisma, wit and sheer power of their live performances. I was lucky enough to catch them at Visions Festival this year and they blew me away with their enthralling playful charm, as they fused together their sugary surf-pop melodies and raw punk sounds to perfection.
Having already drawn in massive crowds at venues across London and Brighton, and received acclaim from the likes of The Guardian and NME, Dream Wife are set to support Sleigh Bells on their UK tour this year, and I am absolutely certain they’ll be climbing that ladder of success even higher in the upcoming months.
Southend rockers Asylums worked their fingers to the bone in 2016. They started their own record label (Cool Thing), released their debut album Killer Brain Waves, played The Great Escape, Reading & Leeds, Bestival, had a UK headline tour, and even found the time to sign some local talent to their label and release a collaborative EP (Alternative Occupations). It’s exhausting just typing that, so imagine how the band must have felt working full-time to fund this incredible list of accolades.
They’ve received huge support from Radio 1, BBC 6 Music, Radio X, BBC Introducing Essex, NME, Clash, Louder Than War, and lots of independent music blogs. You’ll struggle to find a band who are as passionate, motivated, and generous with their creativity, and I’m sure 2017 will reward the Asylums lads with more success.
Describing themselves as “like The Ronettes filtered through 80s DIY and riot grrrl with a sprinkling of dashikis”, London Riot Grrrl-inspired Big Joanie are one of the most exciting bands I’ve come across in a long time.
Following their 2014 Sistah Punk EP, last year they released an awesome 7” Crooked Room, featuring an incredible and unique cover of TLC’s classic ‘No Scrubs’. Addressing political and societal issues in their writing with a refreshing, no-frills honesty, Big Joanie are proving to be an important new addition to the London live scene.
Already confirmed to support (last year’s Ones To Watch) Skinny Girl Diet at the end of this month (26th January) at Nambucca as part of Independent Venues Week, I can’t wait to hear what Big Joanie have in store for us next.
Having released their debut full-length album, Another’s Blood, in November, Kingston-based Young Romance certainly aren’t newcomers to the music scene – they’ve previously supported the likes of Mystery Jets and Slow Club, and received acclaim from John Kennedy and Huw Stephens – but I have no doubt you’ll be hearing a lot more from them in 2017.
Since first coming across them when they were guests on our Get In Her Ears show on Hoxton Radio, I’ve been in love with Claire’s crystal clear vocals and the twinkling jangly guitar melodies of Young Romance. I’m currently addicted to each infectious track on their new album, and I’m sure they’ll be gracing ears nationwide before the year is out.
You can catch Young Romance at our Gigslutz Live At The Finsbury event this Friday, 13th January – book your free tickets here.
It will come as no surprise at all that I’ve chosen Hawk as One To Watch in 2017. They’ve been favourites of the site for the last couple of years, they’ve wowed us with a captivating live set at our Blogtober event, their enchanting track ‘Mirror Maze’ was one of our Tracks Of 2016, and now – with their debut album set for release in March – I’ve no doubt at all that 2017 will be seeing big things for the band. Read more about our love of Julie Hawk and co. here.
Have a listen to our Ones To Watch 2017 (Part 1) playlist on Spotify: