There are a few exceptions – more on which later – but most Ones to Watch lists recommend the same artists, pushing the same sound, quite possibly under the same management. That sound is heavily orientated to hip-hop, r’n’b and grime, and while we have nothing against those genres, it doesn’t represent us or our audience.
Has ‘band’ music died a death? It seems unlikely; it’s not limited to one genre, and coverage in the written media has always been widespread and eclectic. In fact, like many blogs we’ve purposefully tried to push boundaries and recruit writers that are willing to do the same.
More likely indie music and its variants have become less commercial and therefore have less financial backing. Tellingly fewer truly guitar-orientated bands make it onto the radio these days. Big labels with the budget to get musicians in the limelight are no longer pegging for white guys with long hair, and in many ways, that’s a great thing. It’s just a shame to see the entire spectrum of music associated with said white dudes. In reality, it’s a lot more diverse, and we’re not sure that diversity was ever proper realised by major labels.
Below we’ve picked some of our favourite new artists waving flags for different communities. We hope you find something to love, but if you don’t, let us know who we’ve missed in the comments below. We’re all ears.
Black Belt Eagle Scout
Portland multi-instrumentalist Katherine Paul creates beautiful, stark music under the moniker of Black Belt Eagle Scout, exploring her queer and Native American identities through songwriting. Read our Introducing article here.
Nah-na-na-na-na-na-nah! We dare anyone to listen to West London band Childcare and not walk away hopelessly humming their songs. They’ve been around since 2014 but finally made some headway last year. Read our Introducing article here.
If Pale Waves left you out in the cold, Thyla could be the warm blanket you’ve been looking for. Bung in a few measures of late-90s Garbage and The Cardigans for good measure and it’s not hard to understand why so many blogs have been tooting this Brighton band’s horn. Find out more about Thyla on Facebook.
This Isle of Wight-based musician and indie pop star in the making counts time on the main stage at Bestival and recognition from the Unsigned Music Awards as accolades, not to mention time spent rubbing shoulders with BBC radio bods. Strange then that she’s not made it onto harder hitting countdowns. Read our full Introducing article here.
The kind of singer-songwriter to also post visual art on her social media account, Ariel Gold has a beautiful, honey-thick vocal that’s drenched in dark waters. Her Grace EP was released at the end of last year and includes an eponymous single akin to Torres at her fiercest. Find out more about Ariel Gold on Facebook.
Not a crusty troubadour but – in their own words – an ensemble from New Hampshire and Main; Rick Rude released their debut album Verb for Dreaming through Explosions in Sound in November 2018, in doing so reminding us how good punk-inspired indie rock can be. Find out more about Rick Rude on Facebook.