As it’s just about still the start of the year we thought it was probably time to dust off our Crystal Ball and pick some bands we’re sure will be making brilliant records in 2017.
As ever we’re not making any huge claims about these being the sound of 2017, or effortlessly pairing critical and commercial acclaim; but we do think they’re going to release some of the most interesting, rewarding and exciting music that the next twelve months has to offer.
Totally (Art Is Hard)
Having formed back at the end of 2015, London quintet Totally have slowly amassed a fan base off the back of some lo-fi demos and some impressive support slots for the likes of Weaves and Haiku Salut. Back in December they released their debut single, Falling Apart, as part of the Art Is Hard Pin Pal Club, but as we head into 2017 we’re hoping to hear an awful lot more from this unclassifiable lot.
Featuring former members of Exlovers, Feathers and Pete Astor’s live band; Totally cite a melting pot of influences from 60’s girl groups through to 90’s R&B, but ultimately they’ve created a sound much fresher, and more original than that might suggest. Falling Apart is a sparkling introduction to the band; imagine Midlake fronted by All Saints, or Stevie Nicks teaming up with Pentangle and you won’t be too far off just how great Totally sound. Whilst we haven’t got an awful lot of music to go on just yet, the hype around these talented Londoner’s seems to be bubbling nicely, and whether it comes out this year or not, their debut album can surely be filed under unmissable.
Totally don’t have any current dates, but click HERE to stay up to date.
Holly Macve (Bella Union)
You probably wouldn’t guess it from listening to her very American sounding, country and western ballads but 21-year-old Holly Macve is actually from Galway in Western Ireland. Whisked away from an errant father to grow up in Yorkshire, Holly’s sound probably owes more to her mother’s record collection, largely old blues and Bob Dylan, than it does to her Irish roots or her English upbringing. It was after moving to Brighton that Holly caught her big break; spotted at an open-mic night by Bella Union’s Simon Raymonde, Holly is now signed to the label, and has already supported the likes of Ryley Walker, John Grant and Villagers.
Holly’s debut album, Golden Eagle is out in the spring, and having shared a few singles from it already we’re pretty confident it’s going to be rather special. Recent single No One Has The Answers is a gently shuffling country classic, while last year’s sublime, The Corner Of My Mind is a perfect blend of First Aid Kit’s soaring vocals and Marissa Nadler’s gothic-tinged Americana. With her honey-dripped vocals, and melodies seemingly lifted from The Great American Songbook, we’re put in mind of Caitlin Rose, whom we lifted this entire websites name from: suffice to say we’re more than a bit excited about Holly Macve.
Golden Eagle is out March 3rd via Bella Union. Holly Macve tours the UK in April, click HERE for details.
Hater (PNKSLM Recordings)
Malmo’s Hater first came to our attention last summer with their excellent Radius EP, their debut release it came only a matter of months after the quarter had formed. These young Swede’s are wasting no time though, and have already announced the release of their debut full length, You Tried, which is coming out through the always reliable PNKSLM Recordings in March this year, they’ll also be touring the UK around the same time,
Hater’s sound blurs the lines between jangling indie-pop and hazy shoe gaze, recalling the likes of Hazel English or Real Estate, whom the band recently toured with. At the back end of last year Hater shared the first taster of the new record, the single Mental Haven. Mental Haven is the band’s finest track to date, Caroline Landahl’s creaking, emotive vocals backed by a loose and energetic rhythm section, and the crunchy, slightly disjointed chime of electric guitars. Lyrically, it touches on the subject of managing to find peace of mind in the maelstrom of modern living, Caroline at time sounding almost lost, but never entirely beaten. For reasons we’ve never quite worked out, Sweden has a fine lineage of heartbreaking alt-pop acts, and Hater might just be the most exciting in years.
You Tried is out March 10th via PNKSLM Recordings. Click HERE for information on upcoming Hater shows.
Froth (Wichita Recordings)
Those paying lots of attention might already know Los Angeles’ Froth, but with a freshly signed record deal with Wichita Recordings, and the release of their third album, Outside (briefly), already confirmed for February, this is shaping up to be an exciting year for these exceptional noise-makers.
The previously untapped middle ground of Elliot Smith and Hookworms, Outside (briefly) is an impressive step forward for Froth. Still harnessing the influences of shoe-gaze and krautrock the difference here is that they seem to have peeled back the layers of their songs, revealing the inherent melodies at the centre and allowing the quality of their songwriting to shine out. From the driving rhythms of recent single Contact through to the spacy and paired back dream-pop of Romantic Distractions, this is a sublime record: we can only hope 2017’s releases haven’t peaked too early.
Outside (briefly) is out February 10th via Wichita Recordings. Click HERE for all upcoming Froth shows.
Adwaith (Decidedly Records)
Carmarthen quartet Adwaith’s press release rather boldly declares them, “the future of Welsh music”, and really who are we to argue. With a name that translates as Reaction, Adwaith have a sound that seems rich in musical history, they’re formed around the songwriting duo of Hollie Singer and Gwenllian Anthony, who met aged just three, and seem as influenced by post-punk, trip-hop and rock’n’roll as they are by any current musical fads or trends.
Thus far there’s only one single, the sublimely melodic, Pwysau (Weight), to go on, but there’s already hints of exciting things to come. Signed to the excellent Decidedly Records, Adwaith have been working with Patricia Morgan from Datblygu, and cite a fondness for artists who refuse to walk the easy path, from The Slits to The Velvet Underground; while what exactly they’ll be sharing this year we’re not sure, we are already convinced they’re one of the most exciting bands to come out of Wales in a very long time.
Adwaith play the Free For All Festival in Cardiff, January 15th, click HERE for details.
Georgie (Spacebomb Recordings)
Whilst some people seem to ease into musical stardom slowly, Georgie looks set to go straight for the jugular. With a voice destined to spawn a thousand Amy Winehouse comparisons, the backing of Matthew E. White and the ever fabulous Spacebomb house band, Georgie seems to have arrived into the world a perfectly formed popstar, not bad for a 21-year-old from Mansfield.
Recent single, Company Of Thieves is an infectious, big-band stomp; pulsating bass, twanging electric guitars and huge horn embellishments create a rich musical tapestry, but it is always Georgie and her powerful, smoky vocals at the centre of everything. If she hasn’t already, Georgie will shortly be heading back to Virginia to complete work on her debut album; we’re expecting something soulful, complex and frankly spectacular, we’re pretty sure we won’t be disappointed.
Georgie plays London in February then tours the UK in April, click HERE for details.
Peaness (Odd Box Records)
On the back of some sparkling live dates and their well-received debut EP, No Fun, Chester’s Peaness are quietly evolving into big-hitters on the ever fertile UK indie-pop scene. Their latest single, part of the Odd Box Records 100 Club Series, sold out almost instantly, and is in the process of a re-pressing, despite the fact it’s not even officially out until the end of this month.
Hype and quality might not always go hand in hand, but this much talked about trio seem destined to more than live up to expectations. Recently shared single, Seafoam Islands, might just be the band’s best track to date, a jaunty, jerking electric guitar rings out atop a steady drum beat and rich, pulsing bass, before the three-pronged vocal assault chimes beautifully atop the mix. There’s something of the PINS girl-gang about Peaness, only with a lot more West-Coast sunshine, and less Mancunian grit. Just what Peaness have in the pipeline beyond this single and a handful of live dates, well your guess is as good as ours, but we’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for it.
Peaness’ 7″ single is out January 27th via Odd Box Records. Click HERE for upcoming Peaness live dates.
Zuzu (Hand In Hive)
Zuzu is a Liverpool born 22-year-old, who deals in a winning blend of garage rock and harmony driven-pop. Bringing to mind the likes of Standard Fare or Honeyblood, Zuzu has a way with a swaggering chorus without compromising her electric guitar-led grit and grime.
Zuzu’s latest offering is the excellent new single, What You Want, featuring an I Heart Huckabees inspired video, the track find’s Zuzu regretting spending her teenage years worrying too much about what other people wanted her to be, be it an overly handsy-ex or society in general. Having supported Courtney Barnett and with a host of fans, including Huw Stephens, the future looks bright for Zuzu, and whilst there’s apparently no album immediately in the pipe line, we’re still expecting big things from her this year.
What You Want is out now via Hand in Hive. Click HERE for further information about Zuzu.
Modern Studies (Song, By Toad)
We’re thoroughly late to the party with Glasgow-via-Yorkshire quartet, Modern Studies. They released an excellent album, Swell To Great, back in September, but with some dates supporting King Creosote, and potentially another album before the year is out, their momentum seems well and truly on the up.
Swell To Great is a dreamy slice of chamber-pop, featuring an impossibly long list of instruments, including but not limited to, a wine glass orchestra and a Victorian pedal harmonium. It gives the album an orchestral sheen, but with their playful use of melody it’s more Penguin Cafe or Lau than it is Last Night At The Proms, thankfully. Recent single, and the albums closing track, Swimming, is a classic example of saving the best for last, rich folk-tinged harmonies, sit atop the wheezing harmonium and a gentle accompaniment of guitars, as the lyrics are laced with the uncertainty, darkness and longing. We might be late to the party, but anyway Modern Studies are probably more suited to watching the sun come up as you uneasily amble back home, not entirely sure where you left your keys, or whose phone number that is scrawled on your arm.
Swell To Great is out now via Songs By Toad. Modern Studies tour the UK with King Creosote, click HERE for all live dates.
We’ll be back with Part Two of our 17 for 2017 next week