Bands to watch in 2019
Some of the fresh bands and artists that we reckon are set for big things this year…
Listen to: Moon Undah Water
For fans of: Blood Orange, Mc.gee, King Kru
Puma Blue (real name Jacob Allen) writes introspective jazz that is anything but insular in its influences. The South London artist cites Jeff Buckley as a storytelling inspiration, while his reverb-soaked electronic sound channels the jazzier end of modern hip-hop. Make an effort to catch Puma Blue at one of his intimate live shows this year.
Listen to: Devotion, Say When
For fans of: Frank Ocean, James Blake, FKA Twigs.
One of Britain’s most exciting post-R&B artists attracted plenty of attention in 2018’s end-of-year lists. Tirzah’s offbeat (and sometimes off-key) melodies build an incredibly tender atmosphere on her debut album Devotion. What’s more, Tirzah’s wandering lyrics gain a sense of cohesiveness through producer Mica Levi’s ear for intriguing loops.
Listen to: This is England
For fans of: Roots Manuva, Young Fathers
East London’s Farai Bukowski-Bouquet and Tony Harewood write angry post-punk instilled with a sense of urgency. Ominous, pulsating electronic beats whir behind Bukowski-Bouquet’s damning social commentary – check out ‘This is England’ for a suitably potent first taste of their Brexit Britain post-punk.
Listen to: The Collector
For fans of: The Maccabees, Declan McKenna
The indie-pop trio from Limerick had a very good 2018. Following a string of promising singles, Whenyoung released their debut EP Given Up in November. It’s packed with upbeat melodies that compel you to dance, plus songs that don’t shy away from grittier issues: Aoife Power expresses anger at the treatment of Grenfell Tower fire victims on ‘The Others’.
Listen to: Kutcher
For fans of: Blur, The Vaccines
Anyone who’s been to one of Sports Team’s live shows knows just how exciting this band are. The indie six-piece enjoyed a rapid rise after meeting at Cambridge University and sold out London’s Scala venue last year, despite having only one EP to their name. Their songs already feel like the finished product – instantly recognisable and downright fun.
Listen to: Hayley
For fans of: Kaytranda, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Toro y Moi
London duo Georgia Ellery and Taylor Skye embrace weirdness. Their debut EP Love is the Key to the City fuses synths and orchestral arrangements to create fun, leftfield pop. Writing songs inspired by Louis Theroux documentaries (‘Hayley’), Jockstrap make catchy music that can descend into dystopian sequences at any moment.