By now, the hangover of 2018 should have long subsided, and 2019 should now begin to be as familiar to everyone as much as your work colleagues, classmates, or friends you go clubbing with, are. We’ve conversed, debated and voiced our collective opinions on what the best of the best of 2018 was, and ahead, we look into the eyes of 2019 longingly, yearning for continued musical excellence as this decade draws to a climax. So bearing that in mind, the site has put together 20 bands and artists bearing a variety of new musical fruit in 2019, that you should absolutely sample, and hopefully savour and find immense pleasure from.
The realm of industrial strength pop music grows steadily and more prominent year on year, and extraordinarily talented ladies such as Los Angeles composer and musician Kanga are at the absolute cutting edge of the scene. Her self-titled debut was a true sleeper hit of the wider industrial landscape, with her calming and sultry tones contrasting deeply dark and personal subject matters, pounding beats, and a myriad of granular and snarling synth bites, that listeners on and off the dancefloor adored. Writing in earnest for her sophomore studio album, in between her prolific soundtrack work, Kanga could have every intention of putting a stranglehold on both the pop and industrial worlds and succeed emphatically.
Pop siren Car Astor (fka SEE) has been delighting the internet with both her spine-tingling electronics and acoustic proficiency for many a year. Immensely skilled in the art of writing ear-perfect hooks and lyrics that connect and capture the hearts of its listeners, and as well as being fearlessly experimental in her output, she possesses all the defining traits of a superstar begging to go global. Armed with her existing EPs, singles and a couple of other songs still waiting to be unleashed, it is the perfect time to accompany the exploits of a promising young artist hitting their creative stride, if Don’t Stop, Don’t Speak is anything to judge by.
Silk Road Assassins
Rap instrumentals, whether hip-hop or grime, simply do not get enough credit. Fact. In the hands of Silk Road Assassins however, their brand was built on evocative, dystopian atmospherics and immaculate bass tones, that belong on the silver screen as much as a weapon for MCs to freestyle over. Slow, downbeat, and at times, truly haunting, this mysterious trio rightfully have become a force on UK underground radio over the last half a decade, with their debut album soon inbound, and their shadow-soaked beats soon to ensnare plenty more, into their utterly unique chasm of gritty, cinematic soundscapes.
Emerging from the synthwave explosion of the last five years, Moderns wore their 80’s influences strongly but have quickly diffused their sound to solidify their own identity. What you have is a warm analogue dream of indie and electronica, that hints constantly at a flicker of darkness inside, forming enthralling narratives from Rosie Okumura’s dynamic vocal style. Melodically mesmerising and produced with precision, Moderns have all the potential in the world to become the next big synth-pop sensation, their shying dark spark providing an exemplary cover of Cheap Trick’s I Want You To Want Me, and with the promise of new music on the way, there’s nothing to stop them.
For this unfathomably talented London five-piece, they are very quickly becoming the UK’s worst kept secret in progressive metal. Though blowing venues away for the latter part of a decade, Sümer are finally garnering regular nationwide bookings, as well as supporting the mighty Jinjer in an escapade over to South Africa. Brooding, yet breath-taking, ambient but earth-shattering, and labyrinthine in its layers, the brunt of Sümer’s three pronged guitar attack is poise and passion that is scarcely achieved by both bands in their infancy and on top of the food chain. Still bafflingly unsigned, 2019 simply has to be their breakout year, as the gap since The Animal You Are grows ever wider.
The Final Clause Of Tacticus
A British answer to Rage Against the Machine that measures up in stature of rap, rock, funk, and strikes the precise balance of political leaning and four musicians having fun, The Final Clause of Tacticus are riotous on record and in the flesh, and only serve to continue upon release of their debut album ‘Antiquity.’ Gifted with groove and the ornate craft of burning riffs dead centre of your brain, it’s completely unsurprising why UK luminaries such as Skindred and Senser have given them the rub. Their unique and deliriously entertaining reinterpretation of House of Pain’s Jump Around alone, demonstrates everything to love about this highly promising young band.
Gabriel And The Apocalypse
With a name rooted in religion, you’d better believe that the content of this band is nothing but blasphemous. In a nutshell, Gabriel and the Apocalypse are a sex-fuelled circus troupe, that provide a hard-hitting, and occasional slowly unraveling slice of industrial-tinged goth rock majesty, akin to The Birthday Massacre picking a fist fight with Nine Inch Nails. The results as you’d expect are damn right delectable. As spectacular a presence live as they are on record, this formidable sextet have made waves in the US underground for close to a decade, but their new album could take them beyond the cusp of greatness.
Dead Animal Assembly Plant
With attire to rival Mushroomhead, Gwar, or Lordi, and the theatrics, shock value, and distorted guitar roars to establish a new golden era of grotesque, Dead Animal Assembly Plant look to install their macabre universe into the lores of industrial metal history. Swatched head to toe in grime and mud, and with ear-splitting electronic noise also at their disposal, this five-piece has the audacity and cruel intention to drag industrial kicking and screaming back to its darker, decaying roots, and revel in painting in the town with the resulting bloodshed. They write a hell of a chorus too, if everything else is off-putting.
You could argue in favour of Belgium’s Raveyards being more of a performance art movement more than a band, their micro-management of choreography and all visual aspects of their live show, are an underground spectacle in the European electronic music scene. Effortlessly shifting and evolving, Raveyards’ spell-binding ambience, tribal rhythms and spectral vocals, with an elaborate and awe-inspiring vessel to broadcast from, only deserve bigger and grander stages than the warehouses, basements and intimate venues they’ve grown accustomed to. Factor in a thirst to shape technological advances with their performance, and you have a band that will innovate soon before long.
Glaswegian indie-punk upstarts Slime City may be just starting out, but they’re already making a name for themselves across the country with their parasitically catchy existentialist sloganism, contained in cleverly disguised pop culture references. Think a more chaotic, grungier version of The Jam, and you’re somewhere certainly close. As such, they produce the kind of radio-friendly racket and anarchy that will take venues by storm, once given the chance, and they are being given that chance. Though with only three recorded singles to their name, their melodies are razor-sharp, their harmonies utterly charming, lyrical content witty but weirdly poignant, it’d be a travesty to see it not get the recognition worthy of its brilliance.
A Swarm Of The Sun
These Swedes are yet again turning heads, with the long awaited follow-up to 2015’s seminal The Rifts. Released very early on this year, The Woods is even sparser, bleaker, and wracked with a greater sense of mourning than its predecessor, yet even as a talisman of human desolation, it is still an audibly stunning masterpiece. Once more, A Swarm of the Sun, across their decade plus career, have continued to transform the boundaries of melancholia in post-rock. With a growing number of live appearances and already glowing praise for The Woods, maybe this year will be the one the world realises.
In the realm of stoner rock, uncovering fresh twists on the genre is likened to panning for gold, so when Rosy Finch unleashed their debut album Witchboro in 2015, all 48 karats shone bright as can be. Melding the attitude and spirit of riot grrrl and grunge, with the intricacy and force of hard rock and sludge metal, and a tendency to descend into deep psychedelic territory, have made this Spanish trio dearly beloved in their native homeland. Avidly finishing up the writing process for their second full-length, we can expect another melting pot of sonic influences that blossom beyond tried and tested genre conventions, and one that can make them international.
International Diamond Thieves
The return of International Diamond Thieves after a five year hiatus in 2017, reignited the chemistry between one of the UK’s most interesting and energetic live outfits, and festivals were eager to call them back overseas in the process. Combining rap and rock, with reggae, ska, dub, and funk, to name but a few of the genres they’ve pummeled together, they write obscenely infectious hooks with a swagger and charisma that simply cannot fail to put a smile on your face. Though writing their first full length album in earnest, their second coming shines a bright new hope in the UK ska resurgence, and opportunity once more to catch a band with enormous unfulfilled potential.
Following Animal Alpha’s dissolution, Djerv quickly sprung from the rubble and injected an even more aggressive and dare we say blackened serum into an already electric beast of a modern rock formula. An extensive touring schedule burnt them out, but refreshed and ready some years later, they’re chomping at the bit to restamp their authority as one of Europe’s most astonishing live acts. A second album is in production, but where an avalanche of unforgettable power chords meeting frontwoman Agnete’s dynamic siren songs and skin-withering screams is concerned, their resurrection will no doubt be embraced by diehard fans and newcomers alike, for an explosive output that has few equals in their vicinity.
The Foreign Resort
Denmark’s The Foreign Resort have set about conquering their homeland and North America for several years, and it feels like they could finally stretch the extra mile further, upon reclaiming rights to their music, and producing their first new music in over two years. Cold but rich, deeply ambient new wave, with pop-heavy choruses, stunning reverb-soaked guitar melodies, prominent, memorable bass grooves, and oft sinister synth lines that lurk in the darkness, all form an intoxicating sound that resembles the best parts of New Order and The Cure, and the early material of U2. With a third album on the horizon, there has never been a better time to invest in this phenomenal band.
The much-adored Australian freedom fighters reunited a little over two years ago, with unfinished business to attend to aplenty, namely combating political and social injustices on a worldwide scale, with their lightning in a bottle, alternative funk tour de force. For those unfortunate to miss their first run, Mammal were revered for their zealous and joyous performances, whipping countless crowds into a storm with their captivating but crucial mantras, an unparalleled sense of rhythm, and an untameable fire that spurs an even greater energy from its recipients. Being killer musicians in addition certainly helps their cause. With a new album already on the way, this is a vital band you cannot afford to sleep on twice.
Undoubtedly the most volatile hardcore supergroup walking the planet right now. For all the right reasons. Fronted by Sara Taylor (who’s simultaneously plotting the third Youth Code chapter) and flanked by members of Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie and Suicide Silence, Heavens Blade, not to be confused with the Oakland indie troupe bearing the same name, are quote unquote ‘a shit-kicker punk band,’ and with all the incendiary energy that this band yields, it’s an apt description. Reception was already hot for their sole single, the frenetic Spoilt Rotten, so expect that reaction to become thermonuclear upon what recordings surface next.
If absolutely any band will surge expotentially in their fanbase this year, it will be Sleep Token. Seeped in the enigma surrounding a deity known as Sleep, their fusion of soul, post-rock and bone-crunchingly heavy tech metal is a totally original commodity in the musical world right now, and fans are frantic about every ounce of information drip-fed to them. Achingly beautiful, atmospherically astounding and instantly infectious, Sleep Token sounds as though they seriously have unearthed artifacts beyond our own spiritual dimension, as their seamless transitions from heart-wrenching vocals to being pummeled by the sky’s might in instrumental form, vocabulary struggles to do justice to.
Ranked somewhere in the most avant-garde and experimental as progressive metal journeys, Amogh Symphony is an international collective of supremely talented, multi-instrumentalists, that painstakingly arrange philosophical, cerebral movements and concepts that weave in amongst and throughout technological and spiritual planes. Safe to say, their sonic palette can drift from serene ambience into dizzying technical displays in the space of a heartbeat, without ever becoming overindulgent. Multiple cultural backgrounds, also brings a sweeping host of ethnic arrangements to the forte, which only further characterises an idiosyncratic creative powerhouse. Though a release date remains ever elusive for album number four, Amogh Symphony continue their ambition to challenge listeners from all walks of life.
Ingeniously modelled on the X-Men character of the same name, and consisting of twins Sean & Chris Campion, Multiple Man revived the analogue synth pulse and drum machine punch of electric body music, and set their own perverse, claustrophobic strain upon the world in 2017. Critically acclaimed from there on out, their murky beats, uneasy ramblings, and urgent, tension-spiked hooks have seen appreciation from both techno and industrial circles, and bookings from all corners of the globe. Glimpses of new music have been teased into the new year, so we know that a possible second volume of trance-inducing, primitive yet mechanised floorfillers is soon inbound, to terrify and to titillate concurrently.
This is but a sample of exciting sounds and frequencies that are forthcoming, or here already and will propel its architects to unfound heights, in 2019. It is with hope that you have found a band, artist or release that has caught your attention, and will support going forward.
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