So concludes the end of another glorious year for music which has played host to exceptional records from the likes of Radiohead, Kanye West and a bitter-sweet departure from the one and only David Bowie. In the current climate of the music scene, artists are mauling over each other to dominate popularity with cutting edge precision, side projects and surprise albums galore. Therefore, it remains as important as ever to shine a light on the future fruit of intervention. Interested? Good. Here are 12 artists to hyperventilate over for the forthcoming year…
Image Credit / Sara Amroussi Gilissen
First up is the man on everyone’s lips right now if you have your musical antenna directed in the right direction. Loyle Carner is the microphone wielding alias of South London born ‘Benjamin Coyle-Larner’ and when better to become a fan than the release week of his highly anticipated debut LP? Combining his fluidity as a rapper with the sensitivity of his personal life trauma’s, Carner lulls the listener into his story over Jazz infused instrumentals. He does this with absolute ease and a rawness that doesn’t surface very often within the literature of Hip Hop. At just 20 years of age, he’s been writing, rapping and freestyling since he was just 10 and has since propelled himself into finding a signature sound. His debut album ‘Yesterday’s Gone’ is released on the 20th of January. Until then, his releases so far deserve some serious attention.
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With a name reminiscent of an exotic bird from Morocco and accompanying slicked back guitar licks, Meet Nilufer Yanya, the new darling of the indie world. Although actually from London, there is something very Shakira about the whole image that’s proving to be cool as fuck. The sound she captures within her music is a melancholic female interpretation of blues-y King Krule soundscapes with more sass than an episode of RuPaul’s drag race. With only 2 tracks released to date in the form of the anthemic ‘Keep On Calling’ and the delicate intrication’s of ‘Small Crimes’, Yanya is becoming a pretty exciting youngster to keep your eye’s on. Oh, and she’s also done an exceptional cover of ‘Hey’ by Pixies which you should definitely be checking out also.
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Fan of David Bowie? After 2016, of course you are. Well prick your ears Bowie fans, for this next band are doing something quite special, glitter in tow. Beginning life as ‘Happy Meal LTD’, this now abbreviated London outfit of kooky delinquents are stepping fresh out of a children’s dressing up box and straight into the UK’s list of most exciting new bands. Already renowned for their chaotic live shows and refusal to comply to any specific genre, HMLTD genuinely seem like a band that aren’t here to fuck around and that stand for something intriguing. Even if nobody is quite sure what that thing is yet, due to the elusive nature of the project. Boldly stating that “So far you have only seen our Shadow”, this could be the band the UK has been waiting for. Already earning comparisons to the likes of Fat White Family, it’s only guess work at this point that can define their sound. All we know at this point is that the debut single is an essential listen.
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Hailing from a suburb of Birmingham, Jorja Smith is living proof that you can find remarkable talent in the most unlikely of places. Walsall, to be specific. At just 19 years of age and already having released the masterpiece that is ‘Blue Lights’ when she was just 18, believe me, this is a girl set to to make a big impact over 2017. As a classically trained singer that has a miraculously soulful voice defying her years, Smith is a young Lauryn Hill in waiting. She has already managed to attract the attention of Drake and is currently working on the follow up to her ‘Project 11’ EP with Mark Ronson. To add to her accolades further, The BBC also acknowledged the incredible versatility of her voice by adding her to their ‘Sound of 2017’ list. She’s already the princess of UK Hip Hop, but it seems she has her heart set on becoming the Queen.
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Potentially naming himself after his favourite size of paper, A2 is one of the many new faces contributing to the UK grime scene. Although little is known about the man behind the music, he is an artist with a whole back catalogue of tracks to his name that works as his own producer. The beauty of his work mostly consists of how sensational he is as a producer, crafting atmospheric textural beats with a lethargic hard hitting core. Despite that, he has a lyrical fluidity that is not to be shunned just because there’s better around. Although his instrumentals have a tendency to be bare boned and sparse, they are luxurious in quality and incorporate elements of trap music in all the right places. You can download his debut EP for free over at A2. Thank me later.
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“Jadu? What the hell does that mean!?” I hear you cry with confusion. Well, i’m just as confused as you are . What I do know however is that this young duo consisting of synth wizard’s Dina & Faro are turning heads for a lot of justified reasons. Signed to Mura Masa’s label and being introduced to the world by him as “the most exciting musical thing I’ve ever heard” this is a project to get your heart racing over. They wear masks but strive for a polar opposite sound to anything Slipknot or Daft Punk may stand for. Blending moonlit ominous tones with sun kissed flurries of absolute bliss. Inspired by J Dilla but sounding more like Jai Paul, the ethereal experience the two-some are bringing to the masses is something quite spectacular. It’s sensual and has an organic earth quaking backbone despite it remaining as tranquil as it is monumental. There’s flourishes of R&B, soul, funk, hip hop and they conjured elements from all this and more to produce the 2 EP’s they treated us to last year. I urge you to check them out and visit their website.
JESSE JAMES SOLOMON
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Next up is boy wonder and underground spitter more commonly known as ‘Jesse From SE’, another Londoner hoping to kick some air waves this year. Frequent collaborator with other rising talent Rejjie Snow and a core member of King Krule’s collective of miscreants, Jesse is an intelligent wordsmith that speaks with insightful wisdom. Typically reciting lyrics with impressive intellect over spacious sporadic beats, he is crafting a real name for himself amongst those in the know. The way he spills out such intimacy within his writing and the way in which it is delivered, tells the tale of his woe in a cool, calm and collected manner. There’s a balance of maturity and recklessness within the way he narrates situations he finds himself in, that paint him to be a sinister character with a story to tell. Something you always lust to find in a rap artist. Sharing his name with a famous American outlaw and similarly showing no sign of lowering his weaponry, this could be a deadly year for anyone in his path.
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As stunning as she is in appearance, 22 year old Laurel Arnell-Cullen has a voice that stuns beyond words. However, for the sake of the article, I will try to translate just how good she is. Welsh roots, Southampton born and now based in London. This travelled song bird has been enormously fortunate in finding a voice as unique as she has. There’s a power to her song writing that is met with the fragility of her wavering vocals that blend to form a beautifully composed combination. She certainly isn’t shy of penning a ballad with roof raising orchestration allowing her to show of her vocal range. Tracks such as ‘Life Worth Living’ and ‘Memorials’ serve as infectious insights into her ear for melodic royalty and impressive vocal range. It’s in the delicacy of her writing that she also finds great comfort however, and songs such as ‘Goodbye’ from her recent ‘Park’ EP are an absolute delight to behold.
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Being the only typical band setup of the 12, Puppy’s music doesn’t leave much to the imagination and instead opts for a straight up no bullshit approach. Does this make them any less intriguing? absolutely not. In a generation with a shortage of new guitar driven music, This trio could be the solution to get us back to good old fashioned sloppy rock n’ roll. Hailing from London, this is a band with nostalgia at the core of their sound. They are riding on the high of previous bands that have come before, and are merely crafting their own material from the fabric of their influence. What they have that makes them special however, is the ability to write songs that feel like timeless classics in the current era. ‘The Great Beyond’ and ‘Warm’ are 2 prime examples of this. They sound like Nirvana thrown in a blender with Tom Delonge and an added pinch of ‘Teenage Dirtbag’. Who Knows? They may just have a Smash Mouth sized hit in them yet. How could you possibly seek anything more for a mid-90’s high school disco revival?
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S4U (Something For You) are another London based outfit looking to cause some serious heat this year. A 90’s influenced female wolf pack led by the exceptionally named characters of Rosita Bonita and Prinz George. They produce all their own instrumentals as a collective and are exploring lo-fi territory with mesmerizing hooks that are nothing short of addictive. Although their paths strayed for a while, the duo fronting the pack are now cemented back together to form the S4U project which they put down to ‘Fate’ and ‘Cosmic Alignment’. Solely deriving their inspiration from the 90’s era and appearing as a female take on blazing squad, they act as a family and suit uniform’s even Flavor Flav would be proud of. Last year’s debut ‘Brazil’ hinted at the palette of sounds in S4U’s repertoire with a 4 track EP, although it didn’t reveal too much about what they are capable of just yet. They have stated they are set to explore new grounds with their music throughout future releases but so far that’s all they are giving away. Hang tight for info.
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Courageous he may be, yet famous he is not. Courage is exciting young talent in the form of Lincoln born producer Joe Carson who is now based in, yep, you guessed it, London. He’s been stirring up quite the attention storm over the past year and has a lot of potential riding on his shoulders. Expressing his diversity in genre, Carson has showcased a lust for expanding his sound from abrasive bass heavy floor fillers to blissful Jamie XX like soothers. On the back of producing ‘My Hood’ for BBC sound of 2017 winner RAY BLK, it’s looking likely he’ll be hot property behind the mixing desk going in to the new year. It’s not often a producer comes a long that can provide the soundtrack to your weekend as well as a relaxed night in with such ease so early on in their career. I’d arguably state he’s the most talented new UK producer of the moment. 2016’s Debut EP ‘Get Some Courage Vol.1’ implies he has a few more volumes in his arsenal. Keep your ears pressed to this one.
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And last but not least, it’s another band from London, There must be something in the water right?… Being described as ‘The Durutti Column of the 21st Century’ and already earning compliments that have likened them to Portishead, the gorgeously named Babeheaven are a Jazz Quintet receiving a fuck load of buzz already. Developing from a durational friendship between vocalist Nancy and guitarist Jamie, the band formed around the duo and their mutual love for trip-hop, soul and ethereal electronics. The rest of the band were scouted out and the initial ideas conceived between the two were fleshed out to form the band before you now. Babeheaven have crafted an awe inducing sound that is ambitious in it’s aims and sonically vivid in it’s technicalities. There’s a real passion at the heart of the band that is married with rich all encompassing instrumentation. There’s an honesty and rawness that has the charm of Adele’s earlier work, but it’s met with such emotionally heavy soundscapes that the band could really be on to something unique here.