So the time has to come, another year is coming to an end and a new one is about to start. Along with all the festivities, comes a slew of predictions and anticipation for the new year. It’s the time of year to get excited about bands that you’ve maybe come across this year and have a good feeling about for year, it’s a time for introductions and it’s a time to celebrate what has already passed. So in that fashion, here are our top picks for 2015: bands, solo artists and long-time friends, they are all here….
2014 has seen Port Isla sign to Parlophone Records, tour with James Bay, play numerous festivals and basically become a lot of people’s favourite band. And it’s easy to see why, after one listen to ‘Sinking Ship’ you can’t help but find yourself mesmerised by their fulsome vocal harmonies, soaring melodies, storytelling lyrics akin to that of Tom Petty and driving grooves. I can only imagine that listening to Port Isla is what pure happiness feels like.
From the critical acclaim of their debut single ‘Infatuation’, 2014 has been a good introductory year for Liu Bei (pronounced Lou Bay), after playing their first gigs together and releasing numerous singles with their unique stamp on them of ethereal, ambient shoegaze submerged in guitar led alt-rock. Liu Bei quite possibly could be the torchbearers for new music in 2015, seeing them head out on their first headline tour across the UK and releasing their new EP ‘Goodness’ in February. ‘Goodness’ takes a softly sung vocal and makes it powerful, surrounded in atmospherics and fervent guitars, it’s safe to say that Liu Bei again have pulled us into their world. Being lost in wonderland has never felt so good.
TROWLER aka. Alfie Firmin. At only 17 years old, he is showing much promise with his only works online being two demos, but off the back of those demos he has been signed to Manchester based record label, Echolalia Records. 2015 only looks promising for this young artist. ‘Garden of Eden’ is a spiralling, ethereal psychedelic rumble of echoing vocals and chiming synthesizers, whereas ‘Primal Colours’ takes a little bit of a different approach leaning more towards Firmin’s influences The Beach Boys, though it’s still a shimmering slice of psychedelic goodness, it’s just lightened with 60’s grooves and surf melodies.
Fuzz fuelled bass lines, towering riffs and even mightier grooves. Broken Hands are definitely the band to send you sky rocketing into higher realms with aplomb. 2014 has been a year of re-invention for the band, seeing them venture into new sonic territory with their Silver Landing Program shows and a renewed inspiration to songwriting. After playing Reading and Leeds this year and receiving prized airplay from Radio 1, the band are set to soar to higher heights in 2015 with the release of their long awaited début album. Watch this space.
Cold Committee are young lads from Wales making indie rock that is rife with raucous grooves, big choruses and vicious riffs. Think Catfish and the Bottlemen having a threesome with Arctic Monkeys and Oasis, just the thought of it makes you excited. 2014 has seen them touring up a storm, playing alongside Superfood, The Wytches and Happy Mondays.
He’s played Alexandra Palace with Jamie T, completed his first solo headline tour and released his début EP this year, all that after the shock news late last year that Tribes were calling it a day, when the news broke that Johnny Lloyd had gone solo it couldn’t have been a more wonderful thing to hear. Lloyd opted to keep the aesthetic of his solo efforts raw and untarnished by any effects. The recordings sounding like they were put down in a room on the spur of the moment, but that’s part of its charm and candour that Lloyd can just simply sit down and in one session end up with a collection of songs that thrive in their honesty and the unpolished grit of real musicianship.
After one listen to Virginia-born Noah Kenton’s new release ‘Oh No’ taken from his début EP, ‘Something Shook’, I was immediately taken aback by the sonic beauty of his Bombay Bicycle Club-esque electronic indie sounds. Driven by his emotional vocal delivery and striking lyrics ‘Oh No’ is a good indication of a new artist to get excited about.
VITAMIN effortlessly glided on to the scene capturing tastemakers’ hearts and minds with their glorious, sun-kissed indie pop earlier in the year. After the recent release of new single ‘Did It For You’ I find it hard to believe that VITAMIN isn’t the name on everybody’s lips. With funk driven bass lines, soaring guitars and impeccable lyrical hooks, it’s hard not to fall in love with the band after one listen to their song ‘To Believe’.
Bridlington duo Seafret, since releasing ‘Give Me Something’ from their debut EP have been the name on everyone’s lips. From touring with Jake Bugg to being the session guests on Zane Lowe’s Radio 1 show, Seafret are gradually accelerating with pace each and every passing day. Their songs are essentially emotionally driven lullabies delivered with an irresistible intensity and a chill-inducing vocal croon. It’s impossible not to fall hard for this duo.
Manchester’s Girl Friend seductively charmed their way into our lives with their debut single ‘Perfume’ with their slick intensity and dark delicious pop that’s seething with desire and grooves aplenty, we fell rapturously and instantly in love with Girl Friend. I don’t think any other song can put it better than ‘Chain Reaction’ as an example for their profusely blunt lyrics “I don’t care about you / the only one I care about is me”. Simply said but it has a furious impact.
They had a month-long residency at The Old Blue Last to kick off the launch of their most recent single release ‘Peace of Mind’, staccato rhythms run wild under a feverously impassioned vocal and soaring choral hooks. HABITATS are a tropical dream. Now if we said we wanted to meet a band that sounded like Foals and Peace mixed together, we would definitely be very pleased to come across HABITATS.