The NME 100: essential new music for 2017

Like new music? Then you're in the right place. Here is the NME 100, a full century of brand new acts set to explode in 2017. Whether you're into grime, indie, rock, punk, hip hop, dance, pop or genres not-yet defined, your new favourite artist or band is in here – all you need to do is listen.

PWR BTTM

2016_pwrbttm_ebruyildiz_131216Ebru Yildiz

From: New York

Sounds like: Shred-heavy, gender-fluid punk with indelible pop nous

For fans of: Weezer, White Stripes, Nirvana

When PWR BTTM’s gig was picketed by anti-gay protestors, they retaliated with humour. “I brought out three dresses I was choosing between for the show,” says Liv Bruce, one half of the ‘genre-queer’ New York punks. “I asked their opinions, like, ‘I know God hates me for wearing a dress, but which dress do you think God hates the least?”

Using sly wit to make a powerful point similar translates into their music. Coming on like Weezer managed by John Waters, their debut ‘Ugly Cherries’ was a coming-of-age album addressing issues of identity while wearing its heart on its glittery sleeve. “Is punk dressing up in leather jackets?,” questions Ben Hopkins, who shares guitar/drumming duties. “No. It’s having a counter-cultural perspective. Getting up onstage and talking about Grindr or wanting to sleep with Niall from One Direction is politically radical.”

Liv changed names last year to come out about gender-queerness, and uses the pronoun ‘them/they’, while Ben, the son of a former opera singer, “came out through the band – seeing me in drag playing guitar was how my parents found out.” Both understand the importance of music in making you feel less like an outsider. “Whenever someone heckles me on the street,” says Liv. “I just sing to myself out loud and people don’t fuck with you as much.”

Forming PWR BTTM in Bard College in 2013, they “wanted to write songs that were fun – or that made us feel less alone,” says Ben. Inspired by riot grrl – Liv was once in a Hole covers band – the pair penned a band manifesto, emphasising inclusiveness. Gigs are safe spaces and gender netural bathrooms are part of their rider. “It’s not just us opening our big annoying dictionary of obnoxious terms like ‘cis’ or ‘genderqueer’,” laughs Ben dryly, “If you’re paying to see us, you should feel comfortable taking a piss.”

Their celebratory gigs are a place where Carrie can feel like prom-queen. “PWR BTTM fans dress up better than we do,” says Ben. “One gave me cowboy hat after every song – each smaller than the last. By the encore, I was holding one the size of a thimble.” As Trump’s America threatens LGBTQ rights, PWR BTTM are taking on the alt-right one sequin at a time. Gary Ryan

Our goal for 2017 is: “There’s so much bad shit going on politically in the world, we want people to come to our shows and forget people trying to divide us. We want people to leave the gig having learned something – lots of straights guys have said our gigs have helped them better understand their cousin who’s just come out.”

The one thing you need to know about us is: “We take fun very seriously. We love obscure queer punk bands as much as Carly Rae. And above all, it’s glittery.”

See them live: UK Tour starts April 11, Manchester Deaf Institute

Essential track: ‘I Wanna Boi’

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