808INK are an underground rap sensation. Since 2013, the duo comprised of production mastermind 808Charmer and chief microphone controller Mumblez Black Ink have been churning out an impressive discography that already includes three full length projects – creating a sound that rides the line between unforgettable melodics and ferocious intensity. New single ‘Flexing (Side A)’ however is purpose built to give a platform to the group’s more party-friendly side, with their live presence earning them a rabid cult following that only threatens to grow globally in 2018.
Abi Ocia’s musical background is deeply rooted in church where she began singing as a child. After picking up guitar and piano, a world of creating and writing opened up to her. The West London native began exploring the intimacy of lyrics and melodies, honing her skills for some time. After graduating from university, Abi began to slowly unveil herself as an artist, debuting with ‘Running,’ a track that propelled her into tastemaker territory. Recent release ‘Expo’ is taken from an EP due for release early next year.
Art School Girlfriend
Introducing Art School Girlfriend – the most recent signing to Paul Epworth’s record label, Wolf Tone (The Horrors, Glass Animals). Her debut EP ‘Measures’ is a masterclass in hauntingly beautiful soundscapes. Originally from Wrexham North Wales, Polly is now based in Margate’s creative community after spending 5 years in the London music scene fronting a shoegaze band. Art School Girlfriend is the next chapter in the musical tapestry of Polly’s life – exploring themes of lust, queer identity, infatuation and disillusionment.
Biig Piig is a once-seen-not-forgotten singer and rapper who draws on a unique and diverse upbringing. As a child she experienced a changing landscape of cultures, having been born in Spain and then moved to Ireland (before settling above the London pub her parents still own and run). She adopted the striking pseudonym of Biig Piig after drunkenly reading the name off a pizza menu and relating to its unexpected charm (“the more I called myself it, the more it made sense. I’m just a mess really. Still cute tho”).
South London dancer-turned-MC Benny Mails has spent the year working on an acclaimed run of tracks (including ‘I Blocked My Dealer’ and ‘Mantra’), culminating in his forthcoming debut mixtape. Along the way, there’s been co-signs from Jorja Smith to Loyle Carner, alongside tours with the likes of Yellow Days and Cosmo Pyke. Named among the Great Escape’s First 50 for 2018, catch this prodigal young talent next at Birthdays on November 21st.
An undeniable fresh new talent from South London, 18 year old Blossom has been playing instruments since age 5 and writing her own material since age 12. ‘Fairytale Lullaby’ recently became her debut release from her first self released EP, ‘Sit & Be’. The single is a perfect introduction to Blossoms songwriting proficiency through her endearingly naive storytelling . ‘Fairytale Lullaby’ launched with a brilliant video directed by Leonn Ward and displays her eclectic influences of 50s doo-wop girl bands, classics such as Carole King, Dolly, Tracey Chapman as well as more recent artists such as Lilly Allen and Mallrat.
Uxbridge upstarts, signed their terrific guitar led grunge-pop to Chess Club earlier this year. A string of infectious singles been played regularly across Radio 1 (Annie Mac, Huw Stephens, Mista Jam), X and Apple Music. This year they’ve toured with Sundara Karma and INHEAVEN, been Apple’s New Artist Of The Week and headlined their own shows across the country. Raw and unapologetic indie is the state of play from a band with all the potential to become the UK’s most exciting new prospects.
At just 21 and fresh out of college, Brooke Bentham’s music carries the weight of someone who’s lived a hundred lives already. Her highly acclaimed debut EP ‘The Room Swayed’ which included lead tracks ‘Heavy & Ephemeral’ and ‘I Need Your Body’ picked up support across Radio 1, 6 etc – while Brooke played a series of festivals including Reading & Leeds and Latitude. She’s now on the cusp of releasing her second EP – lead by the remarkable new single ‘Losing, Baby’ – which, like everything that has come before it, is shot through with emotive, remarkably open lyricism that suggests a maturity and life ethic that’s wiser than many of her peers.
From the creation of his visuals and his instrumentals, to his distinctive flow, cadence and lyrical ability, Denzel Himself is one of the most exciting DIY talents emerging from the UK in recent memory. The 22 year old’s visceral approach to constructing his art has led to the birthing of a widescreen vision that takes cues as much from the intense NY hardcore scene as it does hip hop heroes J. Dilla and Tyler, The Creator. The gothic intensity of punk-rap hit ‘Bangin’ and the haphazard swing of ‘Chevi’ have helped to cement Denzel Himself as one of UK’s most important emerging creative voices, while 2018 will see the him experiment even further with his diverse range of sound and visual influences.
22-year-old Dylan is a multi-talented singer, rapper and instrumentalist independently writing music that sounds more like it was created on the east side of Atlanta rather than in a small town near Middlesbrough. Dylan’s unique and varied vocal delivery on debut ‘Love Spoons’ is an exceptional first offering reminiscent of early Outkast and Beck but with a distinctly British slant akin to Jamie T or Gorillaz. Discussing themes of high school love and friendship, Dylan changes from rapping to singing throughout, showcasing his versatility and genre-spanning identity.
Girlhood are a London duo consisting of Christian Pinchbeck and Tessa Cavanna, Tessa began writing with Christian when their separate musical projects came to an end, with the pair drawing inspiration from the shared sounds on which they grew up. Taking cues from Fugees, late 80s hip hop and The Avalanches, the group use Christian’s narrowboat – still docked on a London canal – to write, record and produce their music, bringing a distinctly British setting to their worldly and diverse range of influences. Already supported by the likes of Annie Mac and Huw Stephens, as well as having a BBC Radio 1 Introducing track of the week, a sold out debut headline show and London In Stereo cover under their belt, not to mention being part of The Line of Best Fit’s Five Day Forecast lineup in January, Girlhood’s potential as one of the UK’s brightest R&B prospects is soon to be realised.
One of the most talented songwriters and performers out there currently, Grace Carter is the hotly tipped British singer from Brighton (now based in london). She began songwriting during her school days, and at the age of fourteen was already performing her own material in public. Her debut single ‘Silence’ just keeps on growing and currently hitting 3.45 million streams on Spotify and enjoying great R1 support. She’’s just completed a UK tour supporting Dermot Kennedy and is currently supporting Dua Lipa on her huge tour where her emotionally exposing songs contunue to win over new fans across the country.
Female fronted 3-piece Hey Charlie are making waves with their dynamic brand of new wave grunge-pop. Their debut EP ‘Young and Lonesome’ is an accomplished debut equipped with heavy riffs, catchy hooks and simple and empowering lyrics produced by Tarek from Spring King. Hey Charlie feel like an antidote to the contemporary music scene, a trio of headstrong girls who all play their own instruments Lizz (guitarist & vocalist), Sophie (bassist & vocalist) and Lauren (drums & Bvs), write their own music and create a live show unlike any other.
Few would believe how a serendipitous series of events helped create LOVE SICK. Both Scottish born and bred, the pair first met whist working for the same life insurance call center, albeit in their respective cities. They crossed paths for the first time at the Christmas party when Julie drunkenly let slip she had always wanted to be a singer. Their musical meeting of minds lead to the debut single ‘Bullet’ – a total electro-pop ear-worm which was launched by Mista Jam on Radio 1Xtra in August – receiving huge love from Spotify, press and radio. There’s more music promised early 2018 – stay tuned.
Mallrat is a teenage Australian rap-pop sensation who first arrived last year with her highly acclaimed ‘Uninvited’ EP. She’s just realised a new track called ‘Better’ which is the next enthralling chapter of her sugar-coated, blissfully melancholic grunge-pop, which is a fascinating commentary on the commonplace, and often mundane life of an 18 year old who’s fresh out of her high school. In 2018 she has promised to visit the UK for the first time and play live to an ever-growing fan base.
After completing a sold out headline tour of his native Australia, as well as back-to-back headline dates in the UK on tour with ODESZA, Flume-approved producer MUTO is rapidly on the ascent to worldwide recognition. An expert in crafting emotionally driven, masterful work of electronic pop music, MUTO racked up millions of streams worldwide across three singles, ‘Through The Fog’, ‘Wildfire’, and ‘Say Nothing’. The year ahead is looking even brighter for the Sydney-based beatsmith, with his debut EP launching this month and a packed touring schedule for 2018 already in place.
Pink Kink are one of the most exciting new bands to come out of the UK in a very, very long time. Having met in Liverpool and armed with a provocative live set, their hard to define presence has already cast a spell on fans throughout the Northwest. Existing within a wholly collaborative dynamic, Pink Kink utilise their differences to drive their creativity – united by an empowering sense of purpose taking aim at fascism, misogny and the patriarchy. There’s only two tracks out there – ‘Bubblebut’ and more recent ‘Munchie Magic’ – both are spellbindingly different disco-punk chaos and it’s like nothing you’ve ever heard.
10 wonderful years in a successful indie band, and Rebecca Taylor finds herself musically re-incarnated. Self Esteem is the next chapter of her enthralling story. Drawing influence from everything and anything, her new sound is dramatic, direct and deafeningly exciting. ‘Your Wife’ is the first single (produced by Django Django’s Dave Maclean) which, like the music to follow, is the questioning of everything Rebecca’s surrounded by – the increasingly male dominated world she finds herself in, the boundaries and freedoms that that world provides and her own sexual limits within those boundaries. Stay tuned for more music next year.
Swimming Girls who formed as part of a ‘musical project’ whilst they were all studying separately in Bath last year, emerged this year with the triumphant double A side release of ‘Tastes Like Money’ and ‘2 Kids’ – both produced by Marta Salogni (Sample, M.I.A, Shura). Inspired by their mutual fascination of the warmth and nostalgia of 70’s and 80’s pop culture – The Cure, Cyndi Lauper, Culture Club alongside cult films like ‘Heathers’ and the timeless work of David Lynch – Swimming Girl’s wholly unique and hugely exciting brand of infectious and kaleidoscopic pop-punk looks set to conquer 2018 as effortlessly as they arrived.
Introducing Winston Surfshirt, the Sydney-based band quickly winning over fans and industry alike with their unique blend of soul and hip-hop – the auditory equivalent of A Tribe Called Quest splitting spliffs with your parent’s favourite band. Having developed a cult following with their smooth style and raucous live shows, the band originally emerged as the solo project of singer/rapper/producer Winston Surfshirt, before organically adopting other local artists and snowballing into what is now a six-piece musical collective.
Chaeck: Ones To Watch 2018 (Part 1)