Punk sure as hell ain’t dead, and it’s bands like Slaves (above) keeping it alive. Formed in Maidstone way back in 2013, we all love a duo who can make their presence known – Slaves are just one who are impossible to ignore. With drums stripped down to just a floor tom, a snare and a couple of cymbals (played standing up, of course), and a bass guitar, Slaves aim to be the noisiest, most viciously British band, channelling the likes of Gallows and Joy Division. The shared vocals are raw, the attitude is relentless and the old school is here to stay.
Clementine Creevy created Cherry Glazerr when she was just 15. Who knew that dream shaped in her LA bedroom would evolve into the boisterous, in-your-face Cherry Glazerr it is now? This badass, guitar-heavy three-piece offer an empowered, Bikini Kill-esque social commentary, showing just how to do it in the noisiest way possible. Releasing their debut on Burger Records and another on Suicide Squeeze, these guys perfectly channel old school, DIY riot grrrl vibes. Cherry Glazerr’s unbelievably catchy hooks and sassy, unruly vocals are equally captivating and utterly enjoyable – a bittersweet (cherry)bomb just waiting to explode.
We can’t get enough of this girl. Proud South Londoner Ray BLK delivers her honest and powerful blend of R&B and soul with a tough and enviable hometown spirit. Collaborating with grime superstar and fellow Londoner Stormzy on last year’s hit My Hood, Ray BLK prides herself on pushing boundaries with her rich, textured beats and smart, soul-soaked raps. Seamless, organic vocals and a gorgeously empowered style have lead to success after success – and after winning the BBC Music Sound of 2017 award, we’ve got a feeling Ray BLK’s year is going to be HUGE.
Brighton’s very own, Croox are the soulful, minimalist collective you never knew you needed in your life. Oozing addictively sultry, sexy, electro-R&B sounds, the four-piece focus on keeping themselves in the shadows, preferring to remain as dark and as mystifying as the tracks they produce – letting the tunes do the talking. Channelling the likes of The Weeknd and SBTRKT, Croox craft fresh and honest tracks with sharp and clever composition. Boasting a Radio 1Xtra Introducing artist feature, last year’s sell-out tour alongside Jeremy Loops and the release of the beautifully atmospheric sophomore EP Tide, nothing’s getting in the way of these boys now.
“We threw a dart at a map, and that’s where it landed,” claims vocalist Ellie Kamio, of the band’s name (Sälen is a town in Sweden). With a mélange of influences from Grimes to The Neptunes to Rihanna, Kamio pours sassy attitude like honey over ominous beats, hissing lines like “Let’s bite until our lips are split”. Sälen are a super-chilled trio, breezing through their latest video shot entirely on their iPhones, posing in an 80s BMW. The beats are breezy and glamorous and Kamio’s purring vocal may be sugar sweet, but she won’t let you leave without a bitter aftertaste in your mouth.
Bergen-based singer-songwriter Sigrid Raabe signed her first record deal at the age of just 17. Her moving debut single Known You Forever was instantly playlisted on Norwegian national radio, and following her debut at Bergen’s Vill Vill Vest music conference she was snapped up by Island/Universal Records and begun the journey to record her first album. This girl has got a gentle but absolutely killer voice, owning every track she gets her hands on with an incredible and explosive honesty. If the last year was anything to go by, 2017 is set to be Sigrid’s year.
Brighton favourites Kudu Blue, known for their ambitious live setups and sellout shows, return this year to blow us away again with their unparalleled blend of 90s trip-hop, 00s garage and every little thing in between. Storming sets with masses of attitude, the four-piece translate their intricate composition into an incredible show, led by effortlessly cool frontwoman Clem’s killer vocal. You’ve never seen a band so in tune with each other like these guys, and with support from the likes of Radio 1’s Huw Stephens and a whole host of new music to come, Kudu Blue are slowing down for no one.
Fazerdaze is the fresh, fully-formed version of Amelia Murray’s bedroom dream-pop project. Hailing from New Zealand, their music is entirely self-written and produced, coming together to perform as a four-piece. And it’s been a fantastic touring year so far, with UK dates alongside BIG DEAL and even appearances in New York. Murray’s intimate, beachy sounds are a gorgeous blend of light, ethereal guitars, thrumming drum machines and the softest voice to die for. Check out the dazzling pastel-toned video for Little Uneasy to see what she’s all about. Fazerdaze are a band to get totally lost in.
Loud and proud Australian four-piece Tired Lion have got a hell of a lot going for them. Beating Tame Impala and Pond to the Best Rock Act spot in Australia’s WAM Awards, taking the stage at both Glastonbury and Latitude, supporting The 1975 and even an incredible signing to Island Records – this train’s not showing any signs of stopping. This tough, raw and brutally honest foursome’s show is set to be electrifying. Enigmatic frontwoman Sophie Hopes brings along her powerful female presence we love so much, bursting into the UK with a 90s nostalgia-filled energy which is difficult to ignore.
There was a time when Marika Hackman confessed herself to be self-conscious, playing by the rules and hesitant to just “let it flow”. Transforming songwriting that was once soft, folky and beautiful, Hackman’s total reinvention of her world is grungy, tough and exhilarating. Departing from her previous introspective self, Hackman will be accompanied by a live band for her upcoming tour of I’m Not Your Man – so expect things to be unhinged, rowdy and thrilling like you’ve never seen her before. In her own words: “It’s still my world – and I’m gonna create it how I want.”
Lo-fi psychedelic fans: this one’s for you. Pitchfork recently said New Zealand’s Kane Strang “has a gift for pulling diamonds from the rough”, and they’re not often wrong. Drawling and deadpan, Strang has a very modest way about him. His simple and charming melodies dripping with luscious reverb are inoffensive and captivating – like your favourite teenage garage band, wide-eyed and just a-little-too-well put together. Lazily sung lyrics of love and loss render Strang comfortingly relatable. Paired with the slow, languid pace of his 2015 debut Blue Cheese, it’s effortless songwriting like this that’s truly going to take him places.