Welcome to one of the hottest contested gongs at this year’s NME Awards 2015 With Austin, Texas. The Best New Band Supported By Replay category is always one of the most sought after awards on the night, purely because of the pedigree of acts who’ve won it before. 2002? The Strokes. 2003? The Libertines. 2006? Arctic Monkeys. Hell, in 1964 a little known singer called Mick Jagger picked up the equivalent. Put simply: voters of this award are always amazingly on-the-ball when it comes to predicting who’ll go onto be massive in future years. With that in mind, lets take note of this year’s nominees…
For Fans Of: The Vaccines, The Strokes
NME Says: Circa Waves sent the whole music industry into a spin in early 2014, just after debut track ‘Get Away’ was released. It wasn’t just the usual circles of bloggers and A&Rs who’s hearts were racing either – the rushes of excitement even reached one of Britain’s longest standing pop icons, Elton John. “I was hoping he might call me but that phone call never came,” frontman Kieran Shudall told NME about the somewhat random hook-up. “His management company wanted to manage the band. They sent the tracks to Elton and he sent them an email back saying he loved it. It’s quite bizarre knowing that he’s listened to it.” Since those heady days, the band have settled down and released some of the finest straight-up indie tunes of the past 12 months. Their debut album ‘Young Chasers’ is set for release on March 30.
For Fans Of: Bjork, Aaliyah
NME Says: Although she might now be known best as Robert Pattinson’s other half, FKA Twigs’ rise in the music world was already pretty meteoric. Her debut release, EP1, came out on Bandcamp at the back end of 2012 and instantly struck a chord with the tastemaker press. Her debut live shows, which took place a few months later, saw her profile rise further. Backed by a band honed from the XL Recordings stable, Twigs released her debut album LP1 last August to great acclaim.
For Fans Of: MGMT, Prince
NME Says: Jungle strutted from the internet in mid-2013 shrouded in a very modern mystery, two enigmas called J and T hidden among crowds of retro-futurist fashionistas in their publicity shots and playing shows at London’s Village Underground deep in shadow. They expensively mimicked viral videos with their clips for ‘Platoon’ and ‘The Heat’ featuring breakdancing kids and synchronised rollerskaters and their music merged the cool and the naff with a cult-like panache: Prince, The Bee Gees, The xx, Bon Iver, Portishead, Scissor Sisters, krautrock, Curtis Mayfield, ELO, P-Funk, MGMT psychedelia, Junior Senior, Snoop Dogg, Disclosure, Tron. Most of all though, they represented the internet’s Utopian fantasy of a culture discovered and driven by the plugged-in masses. Is it any wonder they’ve been such a mainstream hit since their self-titled debut album was released in mid-2014?
For Fans Of: The White Stripes, Drenge
NME Says: Has any other new band had quite the rise of Royal Blood in recent memory? The already huge-selling duo started out humbly, playing pubs around Brighton until Arctic Monkeys management spotted them and nurtured them into the big deal they are today. A cynic might look at them and say that success has come easily – Matt Helders wearing their t-shirt when the Monkeys headlined Glastonbury certainly helped get their name out there – but really, the songs do back up the bluster. Jimmy Page was seen salivating at an early gig of theirs, while the reaction of fans at festivals across Europe over the past six months proves they’re connecting with people in a way most new bands could only dream of.
Based: Maidstone, Kent
For Fans Of: Future Of The Left, Crass
NME Says: Kent duo Slaves are far from your typical major label band. For starters, they make unrelenting, shouty punk that crosses Crass and Refused while keeping its tongue firmly in its cheek. Early single ‘Where’s Your Car Debbie?’ took their songwriting down a surreal path, tackling the pair’s fear of bumping into Bigfoot in their local woods while searching for a friend’s motor, while another 15 second long track, ‘Girl Fight’, ends with the line “I’m not gonna get too close/My shoes are new, my shirt is white.” Aesthetically, they’re the greatest new band on the planet, then. And surprisingly, mainstream media is picking up on them too – they’re all over radio, and have played Jools Holland.
For Fans Of: Peace, Blur
NME Says: Before forming Superfood, 23-year-old Dom Ganderton unintentionally helped propel his friends’ bands towards record deals, festival bills and mainstream consciousness. He produced early demos by Peace and Swim Deep, capturing the raw excitement that pushed the Midlands under the nose of the music industry in 2012. While watching them accelerate from unknowns to buzz darlings and beyond, he decided to start his own band so he could join the fun. The pursuit of fun defines Superfood. It’s rare they don’t look like they’re having heaps of it: last July they brought a foam machine to a tiny London gig, covering their fans in bubbles, while at aftershows they’ll usually be found downing tequila until way past dawn. When the ceiling collapsed at another summer date, they posted a pun-packed video about it (“We brought the house down”). That spirit sloshes through their 2014-released debut album, ‘Don’t Say That’. “It’s us saying ‘Stop moping about and do something! Put some trousers on!'” Ganderton told NME about the album, and that sums Superfood up perfectly: the Birmingham quartet have an amazing energy.
Vote for Best New Band supported by Replay in the NME Awards with Austin, Texas at nme.com/awardsvote. The winners will be announced at a ceremony at London’s O2 Academy Brixton on February 18.Tickets for the ceremony are on sale now.