WITH another year upon us, one thing that’s sure to come with it is a string of revelations and discoveries in the form of new artists that shake the foundations of our industry. Whether it’s in the form of brash, charisma-laden rock ‘n’ roll or from innovative singer/songwriters, the list of up-and-coming prospects that seem earmarked for a breakout year is vast and it’s important to know who should be placed firmly on your radar going forward. With that in mind, here’s our rundown of the homegrown talent to watch in 2018.
As a new year commences, we remain safe in the knowledge that the upward trajectory of Rascalton is set to continue to be a sterling example to young bands that are adopting the DIY approach and seeking to make the music that they truly believe in. Right from the outset of their time together, the rambunctious four piece have given no quarter and have vehemently pursued their own hard-edged hybrid of punk and indie to tremendous effect and rapturous acclaim. Now on the cusp of heading out on tour with their kindred spirits and mentors in Baby Strange, it’s seems to be a prerequisite that 2018 will spawn even greater things for this incendiary band.
Days removed from performing to a sold-out King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, it seems to be a foregone conclusion that the next 12 months will be the site of exponential growth for Glasgow punks The Dunts. After thoroughly grabbing our attention with a succession of punchy, anthemic singles that revelled in tales of excess and the bleary-eyed regret that can follow in the cold light of day, the band asserted their presence with the release of debut EP Not Working Is Class. A succinct jolt of energy that confirmed all of our suspicions about how little of a ceiling had been placed on this band, this four track release was not only a testament to their near prodigious abilities but evidence of the unquenchable ambition that courses through the band. For any naysayers that are clinging on to their preconceptions of the band, the sure-fire way to remedy this is to head down to one of their live shows and feel your inhibitions slip away as their gritty brand of rock ‘n’ roll engulfs the room.
Having began life as a humble bedroom project before it became apparent that material of this magnitude could no longer be constrained, Ryan Caldwell’s Fauves have proven themselves to be among the nation’s in an almost unprecedented span of time. Built around expansive art-pop that never shies away from dalliances with the unorthodox, their voyage into a fully fledged band has been joyous to chart and their opening gambits such as ‘Hit Like This’ and ‘Twilight Daylight’ have been proven to harbour exceedingly high levels of replayability. Set to bring their debut EP Les Fauves to the masses this month, its release intertwined with their impending headline show as part of King Tut’s New Year’s Revolution on the 19th is sure to be a precursor for what has all the makings of a breakout year for the Glasgow-based outfit.
When SWAY made their first tentative steps into the music scene’s collective consciousness in late 2016, they were brimming with the exuberance of youth but seemed as though they could’ve easily veered off course due to the naivety that comes along with it. Fast-forward to 2018 and these concerns have been obliterated as it becomes clear that they are coming into their own like never before. Continuing to expand on their innately catchy hybrid of indie rock and pop that’s accented with tinges of dream-pop and shoegaze, the band turned in what can only be described as a blistering set to a capacity Nice N Sleazy’s at this year’s Tenement Trail and consolidated the momentum that it brought with the release of their finest single yet in ‘To Be A Man.’ A track that encapsulated the sonic and emotional maturity of the band that brought them beyond the realms of sentimentality and into pertinent social commentary, there’s no reason why 2018 can’t be the year that they expand and become a force far beyond the confines of the city’s music scene.
Immersive, poignant and deeply stirring, there is something almost otherworldly about the music that emanates from VanIves. A forward-thinking duo comprised of vocalist/guitarist Stuart Ramage and producer Roan Ballantine, their material incorporates elements of everything from sumptuous R&B to electronica, folk and beyond. Having launched the project back in August in the intimate surroundings of Many Studios, bigger stages soon beckoned as they turned in an engrossing performance at our very own Tenement Trail. Buoyed with the confidence that’s bound to arrive in the wake of the plaudits that they attained, VanIves have forged ahead with perfecting their authentic and rich sound and will provide us with another glimpse into their fascinating world at the Poetry Club in February.
Equally adept at wading into the contemplative waters of artists such as Laura Marling and Rachel Sermanni or a sense of barbed cynicism that would pique the interest of fans of Julia Jacklin or Courtney Barnett, Annie Booth’s recent releases have catapulted her into the public eye like never before. Possessing a voice that is both plaintive yet rousing at the drop of a hat, her debut LP An Unforgiving Light proved that she is far more than the sum of her influences and unabashedly waded into uncharted territory with confidence and unmistakable song writing prowess. Set to return to the stage at Celtic Connections, a strong showing should see her rapidly ascending the pecking order of bills over the course of the year.
Awkward Family Portraits
Bringing contemporary folk and Americana to the streets of Glasgow with a roguish charm and style that elevates them far above the stereotypes of the genre, Awkward Family Portraits are a band that have one central goal and that is to get you to abandon all of the outside world’s hang-ups and move. The brainchild of four likeminded musicians with a wealth of originality and technical skill at their disposal, you only need to catch the briefest glimpse of one of their live shows to feel an insatiable urge to make your way into the crowd and their recent King Tut’s New Year’s Revoluton headline show was a clear sign of the potential for growth that resides within their material.
Hailing from West Lothian, The Snuts have set the Scottish music scene alight with their anthemic brand of indie rock. Proof that guitar music isn’t in the dire state that many make it out to be, the band have re-energised the scene and gathered a cult-like following all over Scotland following the release of their debut EP The Matador last year. Tipped to follow in the footsteps of The View, The Libertines and other bands of that ilk, they craft the kind of impassioned, stadium-ready rock that will resonate with a mainstream audience. Looking to continue their momentum into 2018, the outfit are set to follow up last month’s sold-out King Tut’s show with a tour around Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh in February.
Edinburgh-based outfit Cheap Teeth were the winners of the inaugural Tenement Trail T Break competition last year when they beat off hundreds of hopeful applicants to open the sold-out festival back in September. Taking full advantage of the platform given to them, it was a key moment for the band that thrust them into the eyes and ears of many new music fans around the country. Now set for their busiest year to date in 2018, they have already confirmed that their debut single is on the way and it will be released to coincide with a small UK tour that will take them to Edinburgh, Manchester, Newcastle and Nottingham.
BETA WAVES seemed to appear out of nowhere last summer but their brilliant debut single ‘I Think I’m Melting’ released just last week is enough to suggest that the duo have a very bright future ahead of them indeed. A highly unique addition to the Scottish music scene, the mysterious ambient electro outfit from Dundee cite MGMT, Soulwax and Jungle among their influences. Having already sold out their first headline show, we’re excited to hear more from the duo with more shows lined up in the near future.
After a series of impressive support slots towards the end of last year, Walt Disco look set to continue their growing momentum into 2018 with a number of gigs already lined up in the coming weeks. Set to support Fauves at King Tut’s on 19th January, the band will also make the journey to Edinburgh and Perth where they will no doubt win over hordes of new fans with their glitzy live show and highly infectious indie-pop tunes. With heaps of potential and creative ingenuity on their side, we’re excited to hear new material from the five-piece in the near future.
An immensely talented duo that have seemed poised for greatness from the outset, Dundee’s St.MARTiiNS are a band who could very well find themselves in a fortuitous position as 2018 unfolds. After unleashing a maelstrom of vibrant and forward-thinking pop on last year’s debut EP Bad W/Her, the band’s unending work ethic and desire to bring their material to the masses with as much efficacy as possible was made clear by their busy live schedule that included support slots with Pronto Mama and The Ninth Wave not to mention an enthralling set at this year’s Tenement Trail. Encapsulating indie rock at its most catchy and immediate with healthy injections of ethereal pop that is made all the more gripping by the blissful, multi-faceted vocal stylings of Katie Lynch, St.Martiins’ story is one of patience and persistence and the time is right for them capitalise on their rapidly expanding acclaim by launching themselves into their music in 2018.
Born from the ashes of the prolific Three Blind Wolves, Fiskur is the sound of Ross Clark dispensing with preconceptions in order to throw caution to the wind and the results have proven to be utterly mesmeric thus far. Launched with the riveting and heartfelt sound of ‘Too Slow Too Far’ before I Become Silver followed soon after, it is a project (assisted by Frightened Rabbit’s Andy Monaghan) that is in no way constricted by genre or the prevaling trends of today’s industry. Instead, Fiskur acts as a conduit for Clark to utilise everything from brooding electronica and synth-pop to despondent, menacing post punk to piece together songs that bustle with ingenuity. For those who are searching for something undeterred by the boundaries of three chords or meticulously crafted aesthetics, it would serve you well to catch his show at The Hug & Pint during this year’s Celtic Connections.
Bridging the gap between the day-glo sounds of 80’s pop and the decadent sound of New York’s DFA imprint, BooHooHoo are exuberant disco-fuelled outliers in a world full of poefaced and sanctimonious copyists. Sharing more DNA with artists such as Chromeo, Classixx and Confidence Man than they do any synth-pop bands that have emerged from the UK in recent times, the band’s 2017 single ‘Fire’ was a blistering amalgamation of all that had aided in the creation of their cultlike fanbase on their debut EP and it is safe to assume that there’s more bombastic material to arrive as 2018 kicks into high gear. If you’re looking to quite literally shake off the January blues, their headline show at King Tut’s New Year’s Revolution this Friday is a sure fire way to do it.
Although they may have originated in nearby Falkirk, you’d be hard pushed to name a band that’s became as universally beloved by Glasgow’s continually blossoming punk and indie rock scene than Pleasure Heads. Posessing a sound that deviates from the well-trodden influences such as The Libertines and The Strokes in favour of a more imposing barrage that harks back to the heyday of Interpol and The Walkmen, their debut single ‘Concrete Lips’ sent shockwaves through the nation’s scene and left us perched on tenterhooks as we await the follow-up.
With the impending release of their new album Post Era looming large in the minds of many, it is plain to see that LYLO’s presence is about to be felt like never before. Known for their innate eclecticism and experimental approach that yielded fantastic releases such as their Handsome Living LP and the deeply hypnotic art-pop of ‘Submerge’, each single that has emerged in order to tease their upcoming record has demonstrated the insatiable creativity that serves as the lifeblood of the band. Set to embark on a journey to Austin, Texas for SXSW in March, the band will mark the release of their new LP with a show at Stereo on the 26th January.
DECLAN WELSH AND THE DECADENT WEST
Having established himself as a powerful emerging force in Scottish music over the past few months, 2018 has lots in store for Declan Welsh and his immensely talented band. Following a string of festival appearances and single releases, each as thought-provoking and utterly captivating as the next, every indication suggests that the frontman is ready to fulfil his massive potential. Having watched him develop into the charismatic performer he is today, it looks like Welsh’s rapid momentum will continue throughout 2018 following the news that he has received funding from Creative Scotland in order to record his debut album.
The evolution of LUCIA has been a joy to behold over the past few years as she deftly segued from hotly tipped prospect to one of the most self-assured and almost effortlessly intriguing acts in the Scottish musical landscape. Constructing tracks that are laden with the forlorn idealism of 60’s pop artists such as The Crystals and The Shangri-Las alongside a considerable dose of fiery, punk-fuelled antagonism that combines to form a sound that can idealise or scorn with similar efficacy, her ascent began in earnest with the arrival of last year’s Best Boy EP. A collection of tracks that demonstrated her range and nuanced take on the garage pop sound, she has wasted little time in capitalising on that coveted momentum with new single ‘Melted Ice Cream.’
A bluesy, soulful songstress that comes complete with an unmistakable and refreshingly naturalistic brogue, Emme Woods’ future seems glaringly bright as we make our way into the year ahead. Although she’s been relatively elusive from a recording standpoint, Woods’ 2017 was dominated by a steady stream of critically acclaimed outings that rapidly asserted her as one of the nation’s great hopes for the future. With a vast arsenal of starkly honest compositions that allow the unaltered emotions and contemplative musings that gave way to their creation to seep out from every note, her new EP and accompanying film is sure to go a long way to solidifying her position among not only Scotland’s but the British Isles’ most promising emerging voices.