The best thing about a new year is the promise of new artists. Here, we’ve selected our favourite acts set to make it big in the next few months, including local, national and international musicians.
2016 has been a rollercoaster of a year. When Bristol’s ThisisDA wrote the first line of ‘Over’, the atmospheric opener to his 2016 record 21 & Done, he probably didn’t know the lyrics about flying high before “searching the depths of my soul” would ring true for so many. But his introspection and honesty are just some of the reasons that 2017 is going to be his year. For those unfamiliar, ThisisDA combines progressive spacey sounds with flecks of the old school to create a sound wholly his own. His songs tackle the dark and light, his bouncy flow often at odds with his exhausted-sounding lyrical content.
2016 saw him starting to make waves – and not just in Bristol. His beautiful videos have found their way onto Mass Appeal and Crack Magazine, while 21 & Done has been given nods from Complex, Mobos online and Clash. He’s even staked a claim for crossover success, laying down a verse for a remix of Bad Sounds’ ‘Avalanche’, showing how his versatile, unique flow could conquer even wider. Having surfaced a few years ago, this wasn’t ThisisDA’s first year on the scene, but it has been the year he’s truly cemented himself as one of the most exciting lyricists around, making 2017 his for the taking. ThisisDA is definitely not done yet.
ThisisDA plays the Crofters Rights, 22nd Jan
Dream Wife are a unique blend. Icelandic vocalist Rakel Mjöll joined forces with British guitarist and bassist Alice Go and Bella Podpadec at an art school in Brighton, and set about creating a vicious, one-of-a-kind brand of disco punk. EP tracks ‘Kids’ and ‘Hey Heartbreaker’ saw them master sugary-sweet melodies, while new track ‘FUU’ – with added rapping from Iceland’s Fever Dream – shows their teeth, ready to bite. Having toured with Black Honey and commanded stages in both Iceland and the UK, and with an album expected in 2017, it’s Dream Wife’s time. And you bet they’re ready for it.
Dream Wife play the Crofters Rights, 19th Jan
Fenne Lily has captured the hearts of many over the last couple of years. One of Bristol’s brightest artists, her cherished stories and finger-picked acoustic strums have likened her to Joni Mitchell, Lucy Rose and Laura Marling, while her songs have reached impressive heights both live and on air. 2016 saw many highlights, including debut single ‘Top to Toe’ amassing over 7 million plays on Spotify; back to back plays on Radio 1, festival shows throughout the summer and her first UK headline tour. The whole country has begun to fall in love with Fenne Lily, and there’s no doubt that 2017 will see the rest of the world do so as well.
Klein is an uncompromising talent who has crafted out a space that is entirely her own. Releasing her album Only on Howling Owl Records – via a diamante heart-shaped USB stick, of course – the album profiled an intriguing artist with a knack for pulling together samples and melodic flairs to produce an original, all-encompassing sound. With stints in America over the past month or so, the hype for Klein is reaching monumental proportions and it’s only going to get louder. Producing everything from hip-hop to electronica to techno, Klein is a pop star for the future.
The “dolled up outfit” of Bristol’s Sean Warman, Many Monika has been on our radar since her appearance at the THORNY soft launch back in 2015. A hitherto penchant for almost Stooges-like punk rock was shattered last month with the release of astounding coming-of-age single ‘You Can’t Hide Who You Are’, which affirmed many a home truth about self-expression, queer or otherwise.
With the growth of THORNY’s DIY misfit scene and the sheer quality of her latest effort, 2017 is a surefire time to watch Many Monika go many places.
Nilüfer Yanya’s authenticity is what’s most striking about her output; candid lyricism and hook-laden melodies, her bluesy undertones giving a nostalgic element to a sound that’s wholly ingrained in the future. At just 21 years old, Yanya understands that less is often more, as stripped-back instrumentation adds a suspenseful restraint that ensures what she creates is emotive, without giving too much away. Recent single ‘Small Crimes’ is a gorgeous blend of guitar plucks and electronic samples – Dave Okumu from The Invisible actually taught Yanya guitar for two years, which points to Yanya’s ability to be unequivocally herself in her artistry. Be sure to check out her cover of Pixies’ ‘Hey’ too.
Nilüfer Yanya plays The Lexington, London, 11th Jan
This London-based four piece may signal where music is going in a post-Brexit, post-Trump and post-truth world. Rather than the uncontrolled lashing out of standard punk, Goat Girl choose the dark, brooding controlled punch of post-punk as their weapon. The band’s second track ‘Scum’ questions “how can an entire nation be so fucking thick” before turning on those who rule by fear, flipping their own rhetoric against them as they drawl “you scum aren’t welcome here.” It’s no surprise that the group have been snapped up by Rough Trade, and with the world deteriorating at its current rate, it’s looking like Goat Girl are going to be more and more necessary next year.
Goat Girl play The Old Blue Last, London, 3rd Jan
From the rural fields of Devon are alt-folk duo Ardyn. Following from their spellbinding debut EP Universe and capturing the hearts of Bristol with their show at The Louisiana in November, they continued to expand on their conventional pop, rock and folk elements.
Their latest release ‘The Valley’ is marvellously crafted, showcasing woven pop melodies that can only be created by a band like this. Katy Pearson’s vocals can be as delicate as they are powerful and, now accompanied by a full live band, 2017 will certainly see Ardyn turning yet more heads.
Ardyn play The Lexington, London, 11th Jan
The Glasgow-based duo of Amandah Wilkinson (ex Aussie indie-pop outfit Operator Please) and John Baillie Jnr (ex noise-sters Dananananaykroyd) have combined their talents for catchiness in new project Bossy Love. It’s pop music that bites, with melodies to soothe the soul and stick in your head for days on end. Hip-hop beats and wonky synths merge seamlessly with Wilkinson’s distinctive vocal to produce genreless bangers that will intrigue and inspire. With three singles already under their belts, ‘Want Some’, ‘Call Me Up’ and ‘Wind Me Up’, Bossy Love are only just getting started as purveyors of an all-new alt-pop.
Earlier this year, Liverpool’s Zuzu supported Courtney Barnett, which, if you have heard Zuzu’s music, is possibly the best-fitting tour buddy you can get. If you haven’t heard Zuzu’s music yet, let me fill you in: Take Courtney Barnett’s sharp wit, then mix in some of Pavement’s slacker guitar. Sprinkle on bit of punk spikiness before adding in just a bit of extra fun, and then you’ll have it: Zuzu. So far we only have one offering from her, the brilliant ‘Get Off’, but that, and her impressive live show, has been more than enough to prove why she will be one of the brightest stars of 2017.
Zuzu plays The Lexington, London, 10th Jan
Josiah Wise is something of a musical chameleon, after training as a jazz vocalist and dabbling in the heavier stuff during his goth phase. serpentwithfeet is where he found himself; a project that is both soulful and wondrous, with Wise having previously described the music as “pagan gospel”. Teaming falsetto vocals and barely-there instrumentation, this project is undeterred in its cinematic approach, with recent EP blisters proving Wise as one heck of a singer. Track ‘four ethers’ could slot itself into just about any Bond movie, with soaring strings and wandering vocal lines, while ‘flickering’ is a slow-jam for darkened, misty evenings. Wise’s distinctive structures and fearless approach will see serpentwithfeet take over the world.