The Great Escape takes place across Brighton on May 8-10, and NME will of course be there for the duration. Here, we present the 30 best new acts to catch, kicking off with Aussie favourite Courtney Barnett who, having just finished her hotly anticipated debut album, is expected to air new material. Bring it on.
Vancouver punks White Lung are a bit of an institution back home, and rightfully so: frontwoman Mish Way is one of the most thrilling, visceral singers about at the minute. They were formed in 2006 and are due to release their 3rd studio album, ‘Deep Fantasy’, on June 16.
New Yorkers Public Access TV first came to our attention in January with the release of debut track ‘Monaco’, a fiery burst of Elvis Costello influenced punk. Their first tour of the UK includes a must-see late-night show at The Haunt on Friday night (May 8).
Based on the tip of Scotland, Neon Waltz recall the icy veneer of Echo & The Bunnymen at their peak. Back home they’re already making a name for themselves as one of the best new British bands in years.
Brooklyn trio Wet released their eponymous debut EP last year and are currently back in the studio working on a follow-up. Having toured extensively in the US, and co-headlined two shows in NYC with Jungle last month, we’re thinking they’re probably not one to miss.
Fresh from a stint on the NME Awards Tour, Brighton natives Royal Blood are in fine form at present – and one of the loudest acts you’ll see all festival.
Recently crowned NME’s new band of SXSW, American teens The Districts‘ music has hints of a youthful Kings Of Leon and Alabama Shakes. Could they be as big as those two acts in the future?
The self-styled ‘Bee Gees on Diazepam’, All We Are formed in Liverpool at Lipa before being invited on tour by another scouse trio, Stealing Sheep. Known for their blend of beautiful, drowsy melodies and lo-tech beats with a poppy filling that Haim would be proud of – it’s all pretty infectious.
Perhaps THE most hyped band of 2014, Jungle‘s live shows aren’t to be missed. Their forthcoming debut album is one of the most highly-anticipated of the year.
Another Northern trio, Darlia released their debut EP in Blackpool last year. New single ‘Candyman’ is heavy, power-hungry, but with a hook-filled chorus that lands right in your stomach.
Years And Years frontman Olly Alexander was an actor in previous years – he played Jacob in the recent series of Skins, among other roles. Although, if you’ve seen the band’s debut music video, ‘I Wish I Knew’, you’d probably have guessed that already…
Now that the wider world has caught onto their genius, make sure you see Fat White Family in a small venue while you still can. They close NME’s late night show at The Haunt on Friday night/Saturday morning, and it will likely be the most raucous show of the entire festival.
He’s got previous, in the form of an early E-Street type band, as well as a Spector-era Ramones punk/r&b act, and while on paper that might sound like one almighty mess, Ezra Furman‘s wounded rock’n’roll schtick works just perfectly live. With five albums already released, where’s he been hiding?!
Mesmerising two-piece punk Slaves hark back to the DIY-ethics of Billy Childish – they’ll also put on one of the most abrasive shows you’ll see all year.
Hazy electropop quintet from Philadelphia Cheerleader are heading to Brighton for the first time on a wave of industry hype. They recall New Order at their most addictive and cite Beach Boys, Pixies and Wu-Tang Clan as their main influences – quite a mix.
Not actually featuring any girls, Irish fourpiece Girl Band have been turning heads for around six months now. They cover of Blawan in the most intense way possible too…
Having already won over the likes of Palma Violets and Childhood, Scots Baby Strange now have their sights set on the UK as a whole. Signature song ‘Mess’ is as heartfelt as a punk band will ever get.
With a distinctive dub-inflected flow, Lizzo was a founding member of The Chalice, Grrrl Prty, and The Clerb but has now ventured out on her own. Imaginative sampling with some classic tongue and cheek moments, such as on ‘Batches & Cookies’, it’s bound to be an entertaining show.
Describing themselves as ‘Dream Pop’, adopted Berliners Ballet School have picked up where New Wave got off. A deal with Bella Union has cemented their reputation as ones to watch.
If last month’s ‘Stuck In My Teeth’ is anything to go by, this lot are going to be big. Circa Waves have been causing a storm at NME for some time with their infectious pop hooks and some intricate guitar lines reminiscent of Foals. This month they’ve been touring Europe, returning just in time to escape down to Brighton.
Not to be confused with their BBC Radio 4 namesake – which their song ‘Jenni’ refers to name dropping presenter Jenni Murray – Woman’s Hour evoke Warpaint ever so slightly, but with a bit more thought and tenderness.
Less expansive than Pixies, Brooklyn’s Big Ups push a focused sound that hits you square in the face – sort of like Talking Heads if they’d veered from white funk to grunge. Their debut, ‘Eighteen Hours of Static’, continues this throughout and their shows promise to be a marathon for all involved.
Impressing with just a laptop is a tricky task but one which William Doyle – aka East India Youth – can definitely tackle. His impressive bass-playing/laptop twiddling/vocal harmonising triple-act on ‘Looking For Someone’ is bound to be a treat live.
There have been a couple of attempts over the last couple of years to launch the next new indie guitar band and Palma Violets’ touring mates Childhood seem to have done the trick. They formed at Nottingham University in 2011 and have been causing buzz ever since.
Guitarist Matt Wood described Telegram‘s debut single as a “relentless toy train” but these guys aren’t just playing around. Formed around a shared bottle of WKD, they’ve been compared to Roxy Music and are inspired by Brian Eno. Oli and Matt Wood both used to be in Roxy Music tribute band Proxy Music too, funnily enough.
Guitar-driven five piece from Cambridge Lonely the Brave were signed to London-based label Hassle Records last year and played Download festival and Hard Rock Calling as a result. Combining rock riffs with thoughtful lyrics and some gruff vocals, the band make for an eclectic mix. “We give everything we can possibly give to every single show,” says guitarist Trotter – sounds good.
Filipino producer Idris Vicuna – aka Eyedress – is creating a world all of his own. He grew up in Arizona and California before moving back to Manila when he was a teenager. From there he’s created some wonderfully evocative music – if you like Grimes you’ll love this guy and his ‘Supernatural’ EP released last year was out of this world.
Coves mould psychedelic sounds and a wide range of influences including goth, shoe gazing, and dreampop all into one. A car crash waiting to happen? Perhaps, but not so far and let’s enjoy the ride. For fans of Temples, they’ve also been remixed by Toy – incredibly adaptable.
Scottish two-piece Honeyblood single ‘Bud’ is one of the catchiest songs we’ve heard all year, equal parts Best Coast and Mazzy Star.
Gambles, the solo project from Matthew Daniel Siskin, started as the result of an interesting sounding marriage that was on the brink. He learned his craft by playing almost 100 Leonard Cohen songs on guitar, and writing from the depths of his heart. The results hark back to a sound that would sit right at home with Lenny circa-1967 in a dim-lit New York club too…