After weeks of arguments in NME Towers – we’ve decided that these are, without doubt, the 100 new artists rock-solid guaranteed to make 2018 a magnificent year for your ears.
To help you out, we’ve made it easy to navigate the pages to the genre of your choosing, as well as sticking a complete playlist below with every single act in the list. However, if your tastes, like ours, are pretty eclectic, we recommend you clicking through page by page and checking out every one of them.
Time to get stuck in…
Sounds like: Momentous rock anthems that pack both bark and bite.
For fans of: No Doubt, Queens Of The Stone Age
Need to know: When they signed their record deal, the band got so pissed that their gig later that day was a bit of a disaster. Debut EP ‘Heavy’ is a pure headbanging triumph though, so it’s all good.
Essential track: ‘Bubblegum’
Gaffa Tape Sandy
From: Bury St Edmunds
Sounds like: Bring Me The Horizon doing Busted covers.
For fans of: Ty Segall, Paramore
Need to know: The punk band say they have “an undying love for music that makes you want to move around and punch your best friend in the head”. We’re in!
Essential track: ‘Beehive’
Sounds like: A brawl down your local fight club.
For fans of: Death Grips, Metz
Need to know: The trio combines sludge-like riffs, atonal grunts, bone-rattling percussion and sickeningly fast tempos to create a doomy, art-rock noise that feels like being concreted
into a wall. Sweet dreams.
Essential track: ‘Good Company’
The Pale White
Sounds like: Hip-swaggering blues tunes catchier than Freshers Flu.
For fans of: The Black Keys, Kings Of Leon
Need to know: Fast becoming one of the North East’s hottest groups, the trio’s first EP evokes memories of The White Stripes early material – scrawling riffs and spikey rhythms aplenty.
Essential track: ‘Reaction’
Sounds like: Thrilling garage-indie anthems.
For fans of: Blossoms, The Strokes
Need to know: If there’s any band that encapsulates the chaotic spirit of early-‘00s indie, it’s Sheffield group RedFaces. ‘Take It Or Leave It’ and ‘Kerosene’ are magnificent launching
pads for the group.
Essential track: ‘Take It Or Leave It’
From: Melbourne, Australia
Sounds like: A one woman Beastie Girl, Ecca fuses punk, hardcore, pop and electronica with brutal power.
For fans of: Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, MIA.
Need to know: Ecca has pals in high places – Refused’s Dennis Lyxzén and Letlive’s Jason Aalon Butler feature on her track ‘Price of Living’, which features on her self-titled debut
album. It came out at the end of 2017 and is a heavy, heady treat.
Essential track: ‘Broke Days, Party Nights’
From: Los Angeles, California
Sounds like: Glammy, stomping sparkle-rock delivered by a gang of teenage thrift-store angels.
For fans of: The Lemon Twigs, T Rex
Need to know: Elton John – yep, that Elton John – is a big fan of the band, playing their debut single ‘Ants’ on his Beats 1 show The Rocket Hour last year. Ryan Adams has produced their debut album, out right now.
Essential track: ‘Ants’
Sounds like: Lo-fi New Wave grooves meets an unrelenting post-punk mindset.
For fans of: Joy Division, Parquet Courts
Need to know: Having proved their weight supporting Canadian band METZ, the Leeds group have now worked with Hookworms’ MJ on their twisted debut EP ‘Third Article’.
Essential track: ‘Silk Spirit’
Sounds like: Visceral post-punk with serious heart.
For fans of: The Fall, Wire
Need to know: The band’s stunning debut ‘Songs Of Praise’ was recorded in a mere 10 days in 2017. The frantic ‘Donk’ are proof of the album’s speedy completion.
Essential track: ‘Concrete’
Sounds like: Riding the teacups while someone drives a pneumatic drill into your left temple.
For fans of: Pavement, Blur
Need to know: A few of the band spent time as session musicians for Frank Ocean, and some of the R&B superstar’s smoothness seems to have influenced their otherwise scratchy, staccato art-pop rhythms.
Essential track: ‘Twisted Wheel’
From: New York City, USA
Sound like: Scuzzy indie-rock with gigantic choruses aplenty.
Need to know: The band worked with Parquet Courts producer Jonathan Schenke on debut EP ‘Five A Side’, sharing the garage-rockers’ DIY ethos on every track.
Essential track: ‘In Yer Time’
Sounds like: Glossy but dramatic new wave post-punk for the 21st century. A sweet plate of classic flavours with a modern aftertaste.
For fans of: Warpaint, The Cure
Need to know:They formed their sound from a shared love of Bloc Party, Bombay Bicycle Club, Warpaint and a ‘general distaste for the stale state of the industry’. Heads up: Thyla are
here to ruffle some feathers.
Essential track: ‘Pristine Dream’
From: Los Angeles, California
Sounds like: Thrilling post-punk that’s as moody as their name suggests.
For fans of: Fidlar, Ty Segall
Need to know: Signed to cult indie label Sub Pop, the LA group literally demolished a house for their recent video ‘The Same’. Trust us, it’s as wild as it sounds.
Essential track: ‘Don’t Go’
From: Brighton, London and Reykjavik
Sounds like: The spirit of riot grrrl, but with a pop perfection destined for the dancefloor.
For fans of: Savages, Le Tigre
Need to know: They formed after creating a fake band for an art exhibition. Luckily, they were too good to not be true and their raucous debut album is very soon.
Essential track: ‘Somebody’
Sounds like: Lilting barbeque pop with lashings of soul.
For fans of: Joe Goddard, Lianne La Havas
Need to know: They were offered their most recent gig at 2pm on the day – that didn’t phase the duo, though, as it ended up being their best yet
Essential track: ‘Boxes’
Sounds like: Rousing guitar-pop that is just waiting to be belted back to them on the festival stage.
For fans of: Peace, Swim Deep
Need to know: The band recorded their debut single, ‘Call Me Out’, above a burger restaurant that drummer Oli works in – and was inspired by the ‘dead hippie’ recipe. That’s an onion-heavy, mustardy burger sauce, by the way.
Essential track: ‘Heavenly War’
From: Melbourne, Australia
Sounds like: Intelligent, sprawling pop rock with subtle reggae rhythms and rich instrumentals.
For fans of: RY X, Ben Howard
Need to know: Not content with mastering just one instrument, the young talent can play over 10 including the trumpet and saxophone. ‘Mystik’, the funk-laden single from last year showcases her diverse talent in a blistering 4-minute single.
Essential track: ‘Jungle’
Sounds like: Slinky ’90s- influenced pop with a modern twist.
For fans of: Dua Lipa, Lauryn Hill
Need to know: Music is in this rising star’s blood: her parents are none other than ’90s star Neneh Cherry and Massive Attack producer Cameron McVey. Recent R&B mixtape ‘Ivy To Roses’ sits closer to her mum’s style than her dad’s, mind.
Essential track: ‘Finders Keepers’
Sounds like: Velvet smooth R&B from the Midlands.
For fans of: Amy Winehouse, Sampha
Need to know: Drake is such a fan, he handpicked the 20-year-old to guest on two different tracks from his 2017 playlist ‘More Life’. She repaid the favour by taking the Canadian
producer to her local Co-op when he visited Walsall with her.
Essential track: ‘Beautiful Little Fools’
Sounds like: Confessional, soul- soothing R&B.
For fans of: Rihanna, Lauryn Hill
Need to know: Mahalia was signed to Atlantic at just 13. A folk-tinged mixtape followed, but it’s her new R&B flavour that’s piqued everyone’s interest.
Essential track: ‘Sober’
Sounds like: Complex-pop perfect for the 21st century.
For fans of: FKA Twigs, Jessy Lanza
Need to know: With backgrounds in classically trained music, the Scandi duo comprised of Catharina Stoltenberg and Henriette Motzfeldt turned to heavy basslines and house beats for their intoxicating new project.
Essential track: ‘Because’
From: New York, New York
Sounds like: A rich blend of R&B and pop, directed by Dounia’s expert songwriting abilities.
For fans of: Blood Orange, Solange
Need to know: Already an Instagram star and an influential activist, the Moroccan-born, Queens-raised musician channeled her experiences into debut release ‘Intro To’ last year. Expect
to get to know her sharpish as the songs come tumbling out.
Essential track: ‘So Cool’
From: New York, USA
Sounds like: Catchy pop made for giving your s**tty ex the middle finger.
For fans of: SZA, Bryson Tiller
Need to know: Aged just 13, Beer was given her big break after Justin Bieber highlighted one of her Etta James covers to his Twitter followers in 2012. Six years on, her own material has
come on leaps and bounds – with ‘Say It To My Face’ proving Beer won’t back down for anyone.
Essential track: ‘Say It To My Face’
From: Los Angeles, California
Sounds like: Rhythmic R&B given a classical makeover.
For fans of: Kelela, Lykke Li
Need to know: Brittney Denise Parks would perform pop classics on her violin outside church as a teen. Her debut EP, however, showcased an artist who now smartly blends her funk
influences with her expert violin skills.
Essential track: ‘Come Meh Way’
From: Toronto, Canada
Sounds like: Brutally honest R&B imbued with soul, sadness and sass.
For fans of: Halsey, Kehlani
Need to know: Much of the world first heard of Jessie when she featured on the track ‘Hard To Love’ from Calvin Harris’ ‘Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1’ last year, but 2018 is the year she
steps out from under Calvin’s shadow. Her EP ‘Kiddo’ was full of emotionally raw offerings that’ll have you sobbing/nodding along.
Essential track: ‘Figures’
Sounds like: Super-slick R&B with an infusion of funk.
For fans of: Blood Orange, Solange
Need to know: The Zimbabwean-born prodigy was first discovered in an Uber driven by a former music industry exec. Now, Kwaye is on a journey of self-discovery with his joyous and
colourful videos and music.
Essential track: ‘Sweetest Life’
Sounds like: Ethereal R&B with a folk twist.
For fans of: Miguel, D’Angelo
Need to know: The winner of 2017’s Thatchers Haze x NME Emerging Artists Project, penned his delicate ‘Eden’ EP in his garden shed, and touches on isolation and introspection but with an appeal that’ll extend far beyond those four walls.
Essential track: ‘Life Online’
Sounds like: The sticky meeting point between icy art-pop and warm jazz
For fans of: BadBadNotGood, Pond
Need to know: Singer Lucinda says her autotuned vocals on ‘Patience’ were “a half-joke at first, channeling Kanye West”. One stunning EP down, and those vocals are here to stay.
Essential track: ‘Patience’
Sounds like: Sweet, soothing indie-R&B.
For fans of: Mac DeMarco, King Krule
Need to know: Latest album ‘Is Everything Okay In Your World?’ was recorded in his parents’ shed. He says his neighbours gave him “a lot of leeway” with the sound restrictions.
Essential track: ‘Lately I’ (feat. Rejjie Snow)
Sounds like: Dubby, urban pop with reggae and ska roots. A future soundsystem queen.
For fans of: Jessie Ware, Massive Attack
Need to know: 2017’s ‘Lemons And Limes’ and ‘Kingdom’ were the perfect soundtrack to sunny strolls. She also collaborated with Tricky last year – but expect even bigger things in 2018.
Essential track: ‘Lemons And Limes’
From: New York, New York
Sounds like: Achingly honest R&B wonders that’ll act as your own self-help guide.
For fans of: Rihanna, Aaliyah
Need to know: Debut EP, ‘3:33am’, was written in response to her mother’s death – offering sobering, but cautiously optimistic takes on loss. Recent single ‘Heatwave’, however, was a
summery pop hit, so who knows where she goes next.
Essential track: ‘Heatwave’
Sounds like: Mid-noughties nu-rave meets retro soul with a side of ‘80s house.
For fans of: Jagwar Ma, Superfood
Need to know: The mysterious half-American, half-Welsh duo first met by chance in the back a taxi in LA. They talked about the correct constitution of a White Russian cocktail – the
music that followed was just as smooth.
Essential track: ‘Guilty Party’
Rex Orange County
Sounds like: Joyful love songs that’ll make up your next Valentine’s Day mixtape.
For fans of: Frank Ocean, Damon Albarn
Need to know: Teenager Alex O’Connor has already collaborated with Tyler, The Creator and Skepta, as well as releasing the utterly gorgeous 2017 mixtape ‘Apricot Princess’.
Essential track: ‘Loving Is Easy’
Gotts Street Park
Sounds like: Sprawling production collective who favour jazz, soul and R&B.
For fans of: BadBadNotGood, Frank Ocean
Need to know: Their first mixtape ‘Volume One’ proved the group can work with anyone to create soulful slow-jams for when the lights go out. Bigger names are now in the pipeline.
Essential track: ‘Love In Bad Company’
Sounds like: Drake-influenced hip-hop with a trippy twist
For fans of: Frank Ocean, Miguel
Need to know: Col3trane is already mixing with art’s elite – the blissful video for ‘Penelope’ was shot by Nicole Nodland, former personal photographer for Prince.
Essential track: ‘Language’
Sounds like: The sound of now: funk, rap and grime entering brave new territory.
For fans of: Loyle Carner, Little Simz
Need to know: One of Manchester’s most touted prospects, Diana DeBrito released latest project ‘Hoodrich Volume 3’ to high-acclaim last year. Its trappy highlight, ‘Shade’, has now put
IAMDDB in the picture as one of the nation’s most complex and unique new artists.
Essential track: ‘Shade’
From: New York City, USA
Sounds like: Murky hip-hop that could be played in hotel lobbies.
For fans of: Tyler, The Creator, J Dilla
Need to know: The 18-year-old’s debut EP ‘By The Water’ clocks in at a brisk 11 minutes but is all the better for it. Laid-back beats clash with jazzy sax riffs, making for a conflicting
mix that will captivate listeners for its duration.
Essential track: ‘God’s With Me’
Sounds like: Of-the-moment hip-hop, rap and grime from the nation’s most exciting new MC.
For fans of: Drake, Kano
Need to know: The 19-year-old first snuck into the mainstream when Drake remixed his track ‘Wanna Know’ in 2016, but his latest EP ‘Game Over’ proved that the MC can do politics as well
as playful bangers.
Essential track: ‘Question Time’
Sounds like: Pop-ready hooks with liquid flow from each member
For fans of: Yungen, Drake
Need to know: Their breakout hit, ‘Banana’ started out as a beat on video service Vine, before being turned into the pop-tinged banger we know now.
Essential track: ‘Lifestyle’
Sounds like: Funky British soul with skittering production.
For fans of: Jai Paul, Mura Masa
Need to know: NAO is a massive fan, signing him to her label for the release of debut single ‘Aurelia’.
Essential track: ‘Stand’
Sounds like: Finger-picking and brutally honest tales of modern city life.
For fans of: Joe Fox, Cosima
Need to know: Formerly a member of grime group B.O.M.B Squad, the musician is now making waves with his solo music – notably ‘7am’, where Baker reminisces on nights out that continue
into the wee hours.
Essential track: ‘7am’
Standing On The Corner
From: Brooklyn, New York
Sounds like: Jazz, funk and hip-hop collide with totally weird results.
For fans of: The Internet, BadBadNotGood
Need to know: The mysterious collective claimed that their mild-melting mixtape ‘Red Burns’ was partly inspired by a GIF of a young child throwing a tantrum.
Essential track: ‘Girl’
Sounds like: Glitzy Afrobeats and Funds’ sleek rhymes make for an arresting concoction.
For fans of: Yungen, Dizzee Rascal
Need to know: Funds has been sharing singles for a couple of years now and already worked with Wretch 32 and Mabel. Recent single ‘Calling’ sees him team up with Chip and showcases an
artist whose path into the mainstream couldn’t be more blatant.
Essential track: ‘Calling’
From: Dublin, Ireland
Sounds like: Laid-back and creative hip-hop with a ’90s twist.
For fans of: Kendrick Lamar, A Tribe Called Quest
Need to know: The 24-year-old has already released material under several monikers, but his West Coast-influenced beats and rave reviews assure that this latest one will stick.
Essential track: ‘D.R.U.G.S’
Sounds like: Laid-back soul beats dominated by an unstoppable lyrical flow.
For fans of: Loyle Carner, Erykah Badu
Need to know: Each of LayFullStop’s released songs sound wildly different, from the soulful ‘YinYang’ to the ’90s R&B-tinged ‘Aura’. You’re best off investing fully into her world to
catch the stellar flow in action.
Essential track: ‘Crown City’
Sounds like: Properly massive pop bangers serving lashings of sass.
For fans of: Little Mix, Destiny’s Child
Need to know: Aside from her own tunes, Raye’s co-written songs for Little Mix and Charli XCX. Don’t worry, she’s saved some gems for herself – such as the club-ready pop bouncer ‘The Line’.
Essential track: ‘Decline’
Sounds like: Shimmering indie-pop bangers made for young lovers.
For fans of: The 1975, The Cure
Need to know: Initially produced by The 1975 frontman Matty Healy, the four-piece take influence from ’80s pop, grunge and beyond on their debut EP, which’ll no doubt be filling up indie
nights across the nation pretty sharpish.
Essential track: ‘There’s A Honey’
From: Brisbane, Australia
Sounds like: A DIY version of 1990s powerpop. A bit like the sonic equivalent of eating a marshmallow Flump.
For fans of: Charli XCX, Wolf Alice
Need to know: Eighteen-year-old rapper/singer Grace Shaw has been releasing music since her mid-teens; it’s witty, it’s pretty and it’s definitely not s**tty. Expect
a debut album this year from the self-proclaimed “Hannah Montana of the rap game”.
Essential track: ‘Better’
Sounds like: He calls it ‘Brexit pop’; we call it dramatic Cave-Cohen majesty.
For fans of: Father John Misty, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Need to know: The youngest crooner in the game, Matt’s only just out of his teens but he’s already singing huge, symphonic ballads about doom, disaster and despair. Glorious.
Essential track: ‘As The World Caves In’
From: All over
Sounds like: Freaky synthpop that balances OTT samples with blasé vocals.
For fans of: Gorillaz, Animal Collective
Need to know: After her London-based bandmates sent her the track for ‘Something For Your M.I.N.D.’ in Maine, 17-year-old Orono wrote and recorded her vocals within an hour and sent it
back. “Well,” she says, “I am a bored teenager.” Thus, the international troupe were born.
Essential track: ‘Something For Your M.I.N.D.’
Sounds like: Early Jamie T with more swagger and even more attitude.
For fans of: Jamie T, Ratboy
Need to know: At his shows, you’ll usually see 19-year-old Dominic Harrison stomping around the stage with his hood up, wielding a luminous megaphone. The crowds, obviously, go completely bonkers.
Essential track: ‘I Love You, Will You Marry Me’
From: Nashville, Tennessee
Sounds like: Sugary pop laced with killer choruses.
For fans of: Vampire Weekend, Passion Pit
Need to know: The Nashville group are keeping things mysterious right now – but their first two singles ‘Big Fat Mouth’ and ‘Didya Think’ are fruity pop triumphs you can definitely sink
your teeth into.
Essential track: ‘Big Fat Mouth’
From: South Shields
Sounds like: Soothing ballads to warm your soul.
For fans of: Margo Price, Waxahatchee
Need to know: Bentham originally wanted to be a vet growing up, but admitted to NME she was “too squeamish” for the job. Bon Iver’s self-titled second album opened her eyes to a new world, and similar icy soundscapes now appear in her music.
Essential track: ‘Losing, Baby’
From: California, USA
Sounds like: Smart, provocative pop that veers between whispers and whoops.
For fans of: Zara Larsson, Justin Bieber
Need to know: Before releasing her debut EP ‘Nervous System’ – containing the hugely popular single ‘Issues’ – in 2017, Michaels had written songs for Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Shakira and Ed Sheeran – and she’s since got a cosign from Clean Bandit.
Essential track: ‘Pink’
From: Los Angeles, California, USA
Sounds like: Carefully created pop that finds inspiration in hip-hop’s thundering beats and uncensored attitude.
For fans of: Lana Del Rey, Banks
Need to know: She may only be 16 years old, but she’s already released a staggeringly consistent run of singles over the last three years, appeared on the 13 Reasons Why soundtrack and
collaborated with the mighty Vince Staples on recent track ‘&burn’. Making us all look bad, really.
Essential track: ‘Bellyache’
From: Ålesund, Norway
Sounds like: Fiery pop that’ll have you in ass-kicking mode in no time.
For fans of: Lorde, Robyn
Need to know: After dominating the summer with her globe-conquering call to arms ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’, she recorded a version of it in nonsense language Simlish for The Sims 4. Yes, it’s
Essential track: ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’
From: Alexandria, Virginia
Sounds like: Wicked Latin-flavoured pop that refuses conform to any rules.
For fans of: Charli XCX, Stefflon Don
Need to know: Born in Colombia and raised in Virginia, Kali Uchis has already worked with everyone from Snopp Dogg to Diplo, Katranayda and Gorillaz. This February she’ll be supporting
Lana Del Rey on her US arena tour dates and she’s also up against SZA and Kehlani for Best R&B Performance at the Grammys, for her guest spot on Daniel Ceasar’s ‘Get You’.
Essential track: ‘Tyrant’ feat Jorja Smith
From: Little Rock, Arkansas
Sounds like: Swooning synth-pop.
For fans of: The 1975, Phil Collins
Need to know: Neither of Joan’s two members are called Joan. The singer’s called Alan and the drummer’s called Steven.
Essential track: ‘Love Somebody Like You’
Sounds like: Flawless electro-pop that keeps the party going and makes summer last all year long.
For fans of: Charli XCX, Lorde
Need to know: She came third on Swedish Idol in 2009. Since then, she’s been honing her craft to perfection and winning hearts across Europe – namely her pan-European hit ‘Say My Name’.
Essential track: ‘Say My Name’
Sounds like: Sky-reaching but streetwise soul-pop from an artist wise far beyond his years.
For fans of: Jamie T, Rag’n’Bone Man
Need to know: You may recognise him from his guest spot on Chase & Status’ ‘All Goes Wrong’, or Charli XCX’s already iconic ‘Boys’ video. Now we get to have Tom Grennan on his own terms.You’ll be hearing a lot from him in 2018.
Essential track: ‘Found What I’ve Been Looking For’
Sounds like: Unabashed, production perfect pop that’ll take you back to the early ‘00s.
For fans of: Solange, Carly Rae Jepsen
Need to know: Whilst at Cambridge University she was in a hip-hop group called Lazy Lion alongside Wolf Alice’s Theo Ellis.
Essential track: ‘Alterlife’
From: Easton, Maryland
Sounds like: Aching and crystal-cut pop with an arresting alternative edge.
For fans of: Angel Olsen, Lorde
Need to know: She got her big break when her track ‘Alaska’ was played to Pharrell Williams at a masterclass at New York University. His response? A stunned silence before he replied, “I have zero, zero, zero notes for that”. Us neither.
Essential track: ‘Alaska’
A House In The Trees
Sounds like: Woozy dream-pop ideal to watch the sun set to.
For fans of: Tame Impala, MGMT
Need to know: Operating out of a South London pub, the collective crafted a space where budding musicians can record music in for free – as long as they bring some kit with them. As a
result, their first first EP ‘What Am I Supposed To Do?’ is a melting-pot of lush melodies and hedonistic imagery.
Essential track: ‘Tuesday Afternoon’
From: Limerick, Ireland
Sounds like: A blissed-out space where grunge-pop meets shoegaze.
For fans of: Wolf Alice, Alvvays
Need to know: You may remember this trio from a couple of years ago when they were called Sisters. They were ace then, but they’re even better now – their upcoming material is going to
take them to the next level.
Essential track: ‘Actor’
Sounds like: Sunshine-filled pop guaranteed to put a spring in your step.
For fans of: Frank Ocean, King Krule
Need to know: In 2016, Pyke appeared in Frank Ocean’s ‘Nikes’ video without even knowing of the star – but there’s reason to believe the skater/model/artist has the chops to make it to
Essential track: ‘Chronic Sunshine’
From: Los Angeles, California
Sounds like: Pouring you heart out to the bartender.
For fans of: Bright Eyes, Angel Olsen
Need to know: The 23-year-old’s music – hushed and folky – is striking in its emotional honesty. She’s unafraid to tackle tough subject matter, such as a friend’s overdose, which makes
her all the more compelling.
Essential track: ‘Motion Sickness’
Sounds like: Straight-up indie bangers that’ll have you heart racing in no time.
For fans of: Foals, Bastille
Need to know: Discovered on our NME Emerging platform – Blushes showcased their diverse songwriting skills with the pulsating ‘To The Bone’ and on psych-pop wonder ‘Blame It On The
Weather’. Expect great things to follow.
Essential track: ‘To The Bone’
Sounds like: Strung-out indie ideal for lazy afternoons.
For fans of: Yellow Days, Grizzly Bear
Need to know: A carpenter by trade, Mellah built the studio his gorgeous debut EP ‘Liminality’ EP was recorded in. Luckily, the same amount of attention has filtered into his diverse
Essential track: ‘Nada’
From: Trondheim, Norway
Sounds like: A curious car crash of angular post-punk, visceral math-rock and a twisted kind of pop – every turn defies expectation.
For fans of: The Sugarcubes, Battles
Need to know: This mind-bending, madcap quartet (formed of “jazz musicians who don’t play jazz”) are named after named after the legendary and equally insane Japanese animated movie by
Essential track: ‘Jazz Baby’
Sounds like: Fizzing indie that’ll immediately brighten up your world.
For fans of: Alvvays, Porches
Need to know: The group found inspiration for their break-out hit ‘Suzie Wong’ while messing around with a child’s guitar – resulting in the song’s playful atmosphere.
Essential track: ‘Suzie Wong’
From: Nashville, Tennessee
Sounds like: Your bedroom pop project – if you were much, much, much more talented.
For fans of: Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, Elliot Smith
Need to know: Sophie Allison released an EP called Song For The Recently Sad, which gives you an idea of her music. Largely consisting of vocal and guitar, it’s direct, emotional and goddamn beautiful.
Essential track: ‘Your Dog’
Sounds like: Blissful indie stuffed with melodic hooks.
For fans of: Florence + The Machine, The Big Moon
Need to know: Yanya runs a zine that helps fund creative initiatives in refugee camps. Similar heart has been poured into her gorgeous output.
Essential track: ‘Baby Luv’
Sounds like: The middle ground of hip-hop, indie and slacker-rock.
For fans of: Jamie T, Beastie Boys
Need to know: They described debut song ‘Pockets’ as a “93 bpm head-nodder born out of the need to give a middle finger to those people who don’t believe in simplicity, and are only
concerned with material wealth”. Bosh.
Essential track: ‘Pockets’
Sounds like: Pensive psychedelia from a seedy speakeasy.
For fans of: Unknown Mortal Orchestra, The Black Keys
Need to know: 25-year-old Jacob Read is friends with King Krule, who gave him a shoutout at the start of his 2012 track ‘Rock Bottom’.
Essential track: ‘Voodoo Saloon’
From: Ellicott City, Maryland
Sounds like: Gorgeous lo-fi garage pop that dares to dream out of small-town life.
For fans of: Angel Olsen, Kevin Morby
Need to know: When Lindsey Jordan first wanted to play shows as Snail Mail just over a year ago – the 17-year-old had to ask her Principal to approve her absence for a couple weeks. She
got it, debut EP ‘Habits’ was born and the next-great American songwriter started her journey.
Essential track: ‘Thinning’
Sounds like: Hazy indie that revels in the grunge and the gunk.
For fans of: Pixies, Pavement
Need to know: The band celebrated their signing to cult label Domino (home to Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand) by releasing a free 28-minute mixtape that flitted from heavy rock to
Essential track: ‘Wished’
From: New York, New York
Sounds like: New York City.
For fans of: The Velvet Underground, Television
Need to know: Dan Lardner and Alex Niemetz released their debut album at the end of last year. It is guitar-pop at its most catchy and follows in the long line of bands from New York who
sound oh so very much like they’re from New York.
Essential track: ‘Rodeo’
Sounds like: Funky, psychedelic house.
For fans of: Daft Punk, Justice
Need to know: Aside from their astounding string of singles last year, the pair of producers also worked with Frank Ocean on his recent singles ‘Lens’, ‘Biking’ and ‘Chanel’. Not a bad track record, then.
Essential track: ‘Hear This’
From: New York City, USA
Sounds like: Korean-American electropop with minimalist, house-flavoured beats.
For fans of: Jessy Lanza, Arca
Need to know: In a recent Pitchfork interview, the 24- year-old revealed she first chose to sing in Korean because she “didn’t want people to understand what she was talking about”.
Essential track: ‘raingurl’
Sounds like: An industrial dystopia populated by huge drums, stuttering synths and grizzled vocals.
For fans of: Crystal Castles, Ministry
Need to know: Johann Rashid was signed by Julian Casablancas to his Cult Records label after the Strokes man saw a video of him hanging upside down at New York City’s Bowery Ballroom.
Expect wild things at every single show.
Essential track: ‘Take Down The House’
Sounds like: Gorgeous grooves and hypnotic riffs collide for an oh-so funky cocktail.
For fans of: LCD Soundsystem, Hot Chip
Need to know: The duo’s two initial offerings – ‘Gone As A Friend’ and ‘Going West’ – hint at a pair who know their way around an intoxicating rhythm or two.
Essential track: ‘Going West’
From: Copenhagen, Denmark
Sounds like: Chilled-out pop laced with jazzy hooks and hazy synths
For fans of: James Blake, Off Bloom
Need to know: The Danish producer, real name William Asingh, worked with fellow Scandinavian export MØ on her latest EP ‘When I Was Young’ – adding his latin-flavoured production to a
handful of tracks.
Essential track: ‘Falling’
Keep Dancing Inc.
Sounds like: If New Order started from scratch in 2018, it’d sound a little like this.
For fans of: New Order, Talking Heads
Need to know: Their pulsating debut single ‘Rhum & Ginger Magic’ has been such a resounding success, the band have rarely played a gig in the French capital that isn’t sold out.
Essential track: ‘Life Goes On’
From: The Netherlands
Sounds like: Super-smart pop with exactly the right amount of frills
For fans of: Selena Gomez, Lorde
Need to know: Though Megan Bülow has yet to finish secondary school, the 17-year-old has already released an EP of beautifully crafted pop songs, and more is on the way.
Essential track: ‘Not A Love Song’
Sounds like: Outrageously fun disco tailor-made for your next pre-drinks sesh.
For fans of: !!!, Chic
Need to know: The trio have been dropping vibrant disco tunes since 2015 – but with a dead-exciting EP imminent, this year will see their glitter ball shine brighter than ever before.
Essential track: ‘Patagonia
From: Oslo, Norway
Sounds like: Bedroom electro-pop with an icy Nordic twist.
For fans of: Charli XCX, MØ
Need to know: Their debut EP ‘Do You Mind’ is a romance-fueled adventure, chronicling the dizzying heights and bitter lows of love via with ethereal rhythms and lush soundscapes.
Essential track: ‘Are You Leaving Me’
Sounds like: Warm, euphoric beats with subterranean vocals.
For fans of: Caribou, Mount Kimbie
Need to know: The Blaze is an audiovisual project, and they direct their own videos – so each track benefits from being seen rather than simply listened to.
Essential track: ‘Virile’
Sounds like: Chilled, jazz-inflected ballads with J Dilla beats.
For fans of: J Dilla, Nick Hakim
Need to know: As well as working with his sister, saxophonist Laura Misch, Tom has also collaborated with the Mercury-nominated rapper Loyle Carner many times: they’re great friends.
Essential track: ‘Crazy Dream’ (feat. Loyle Carner)
From: Brisbane, Australia
Sounds like: Party-ready dance-punk for the Snapchat generation.
For fans of: LCD Soundsystem, Basement Jaxx
Need to know: The Aussie four-piece use pseudonyms to hide their true identities – meet Reggie Goodchild, Clarence McGuffie, Janet Planet and Sugar Bones.
Essential track: ‘Better Sit Down Boy’
Sounds like: Vibrant psych-pop with enough legs to break into the mainstream.
For fans of: Pond, Jagwar Ma
Need to know: The band’s debut single, ‘Face Behind Her Cigarette’ was heavily influenced by the late, great William Onyeabor – bringing his funky beats in exciting new territory.
Essential track: ‘Face Behind Her Cigarette’
Sounds like: Euphoric disco-funk from Down Under by way of the Berlin underground.
For fans of: Daft Punk, Soulwax
Need to know: Robot legends Daft Punk swung by their show in Paris last year. Afterwards, they offered to produce the band’s new music, starting with single ‘Overnight’ – and it’s
obvious, in a good way.
Essential track: ‘Overnight’
Sounds like: Genre-splicing British rap, complete with tropical production.
For fans of: Krept & Konan, J Hus
Need to know: The music video for the grime and Afrobeat hit ‘Party Here’ was made by Octavian and his pals for a thrifty £50. What a bloody bargain.
Essential track: ‘Party Here’
Sounds like: Brazen British rap with dexterous bars and brilliant metaphors.
For fans of: Cardi B, Lady Leshurr
Need to know: Nicki Minaj is a huge fan. In fact, last year she tweeted out Ms Banks’ verse in ‘Yu Zimme (Remix)’. Not a bad first endorsement, then.
Essential track: ‘Bangs’
Sounds like: Dancehall- infused R&B with impossibly catchy choruses.
For fans of: J Hus, Popcaan
Need to know: Bane draws influence from everywhere. His name was inspired by the villain in The Dark Knight Rises, and his breakout single was named after one of the world’s biggest pop
Essential track: ‘Rihanna’
Sounds like: A little bit dancehall, a little bit grime but all totally brilliant.
For fans of: Skepta, Drake
Need to know: The Tottenham rapper bagged two bona fide stars for his finest work to date: Skepta and Stormzy both jumped on ‘Energy’ to provide rabble-rousing verses.
Essential track: ‘Energy’
Sounds like: Raw grime project with a global appeal.
For fans of: Goldie Lookin’ Chain, Doc Brown
Need to know: The bumbling rapper is the brainchild of gifted comedian Michael Dapaah. If you haven’t heard ‘Man’s Not Hot’ yet, it must actually be very hot where you are, because you
must live on Mars.
Essential track: ‘Man’s Not Hot’
Sounds like: Lilting Afro Bashment with club-ready choruses.
For fans of: J Hus, Sneakbo
Need to know: After the vibey single ‘Addison Lee’ went viral last year, the 19-year-old was invited to perform at the taxi firm’s Christmas party. Safe to say, Not3s is going places.
Essential track: ‘My Lover’
Sounds like: Trippy rap made for long, late-night drives.
For fans of: Drake, Wretch 32
Need to know: A2 has deliberately kept a low profile since his inception, spurning social media and interviews to let his music do the talking. Murky debut EP ‘Blue’ did just that,
revelling in smoky beats and his ever-changing vocal delivery.
Essential track: ‘Southern Comfort’
Sounds like: Piledriving garage beats with a liquid flow.
For fans of: DJ EZ, Brockhampton
Need to know: Jevon provided vocals for the New Gen’s old-school ‘Man Of The Hour’ last year.
Essential track: ‘Do The Road’