After years spent honing in on their craft, VanIves released their debut album ‘thanks’ on 27th May 2022.Made up of 12 tracks, including the singles ‘Just Draw Daisies’ and ‘Arc of the Moment’, the album also featured ‘Basic Love’. Pairing up with producer Fred Cox (Rag N Bone Man, Mabel, Grace Carter) once again, the track offers a slight shift in gear with Stuart Ramage’s detuned vocals delivered over acoustic guitar melodies. Enhanced by Roan’s distinctively warm, rich production, it’s a dreamy number packed with emotion.
Following The Ninth Wave’s split earlier this year, Haydn Park-Patterson quickly re-emerged with a new solo projected called Last Boy. An EP called ‘Coffin Fit’ soon followed, released in physical-only format – full of honest lyrics and emotional hooks imbued with Scottish traditional influences and a lighter outlook. One of its many highlights is ‘‘Young Pups’ – a track that opens in balladic fashion before lifting off with a heavy, guitar-driven chorus.
Using her music to interrogate celebrity culture and the treatment of female stars, Tina Sandwich aims to play with concepts such as the industry plant and teen idols gone bad and flip them on their head. And on debut single ‘Up All Night’, she pairs this bold manifesto with a fizzing, punky guitar track. Produced by Blair Crichton of Dead Pony and co-written with Eamon Ewins of Gallus, it’s an instantly addictive introduction – one that finds a meeting point between grungy indie sleaze and early noughties pop. Led by her deceptively sweet, charismatic vocals, it’s a track brimming with fizzing guitar hooks and a brilliant, high-energy chorus.
Crafting a classic Celtic folk sound that feels instantly warm and familiar yet refreshing, Brogeal’s knack for melody and storytelling can’t be understated – with both fully on show on this recent single. Carried at a steady, swaying pace, ‘Miss MCC’ another brilliant addition to their catalogue – bringing their mix of Scottish vocal, banjo and accordion to a new level.
Formed during the 2021 lockdown, the band’s music was intended as a backdrop to Andreas Christodoulidis’ lyrics, but has since taken on a life of its own – their intention being, not to tell the listener something profound, but to paint a picture and ignite their imagination. Living up to that early promise, debut single ‘yeah, mud!’ singlalled their arrival this year. It’s a sharp, punchy track – driven by Andreas’ frantic lyrical energy and a melting pot of influences.
New Gold’ is an instant hit – not too far removed from something you’d hear on a Tame Impala album, Kevin Parker’s distinctively translucent vocals glide over flickering, droning synths and then a disco-funk beat drops. With Brown adding in some rap bars, the voice of Damon Albarn and some house piano thrown into the mix, it’s a heady concoction.
An indie floor-filler that appears to detail his feelings on the music business, ‘Between The Rocks’ could be aligned with some of Jamie T’s early anthems. It’s the sound of an artist confident in himself with all his vibrancy still intact.
A surging return, ‘Pharmacist’ brings their shoegaze influences to the forefront, with Molly Rankin’s pristine vocals ringing clear over a swirling, raucous backdrop – complete with a short, blown-out guitar solo.
Featured on their brilliant second album ‘World Below’, Poor Old Me’ sees frontman Johnny Madden delivering one of his most introspective lyrics to date. An exploration of mental health, his personal revelations are delivered against an insistent and punchy instrumental – brimming with hooks and strident guitars.
‘New Jersey Sound’ shows Dutch Wine’s ability to twist plaintive melodies and melancholia around euphoric guitars and anthemic choruses. Fuelled by a real DIY ethos and ferocious live energy, their mix of poppy melodies and raw indie influences feels urgent and instantly addictive – and it makes for compelling listening.
Having caught our attention with his impressive ‘Rookie’ EP and singles like ‘Yungin’ and ‘Fallen Star’, the rapper continues to refine his craft and showcase massive potential with each outing, taking influence from US lyrical master classes and channelling them into his own immersive sonic world. ‘Set The Tone’ continued this rich vein of form – pairing his slick lyrical flow with a hypnotic, brooding production. A track imbued with emotional turmoil and personal reflection, it’s one of his more contemplative numbers – highlighting his versatility and innate musicality.
Featured in the adaptation of Sally Rooney’s novel ‘Conversations with Friends’, the track will appeal to long-time fans of the singer-songwriter – full of emotional vulnerability and striking lyrics. A subtle evolution for Bridgers, it pushes her sound slightly beyond the world of ‘Punisher’ while still speaking to her devoted audience.
‘As It Was’ was our first taste of Harry Styles’ new era ahead of the release of ‘Harry’s House’. Swerving into the world of eighties-styled synth-pop, the song is an ode to change and personal reflection, delivered against twinkling melodies and a heart-raising BPM. Instantly addictive, it’s no wonder that it has become his biggest hit to date.
Featured on her recent EP ‘Seasons’, Spring Song’ has a tentative optimism – circling around the line ‘spring will bring a second chance’. With a rich and affecting production enveloping the singer’s emotive vocal performance, it’s no coincidence that its release coincided with the coming of the new season, a time of fresh beginnings and brighter days.
Featured on second album ‘Surrender’, ‘That’s Where I Am’ is a bouncy, upbeat song about surrendering to love. Speaking of a love interest that makes her “wish we could do this forever” though “mistakes were made”, the buoyant track builds to euphoric highs with deep synths and handclaps.
Led by her flawless, pristine vocal,’Cut Me Out Your Photos’ is a deeply affecting ode to heartbreak and loneliness – her lyrics surrounded by sweeping strings and wistful acoustic guitar melodies. It’s another deeply moving ballad from an artist who gets better with each release.
After the bright and inventive ‘After Laughter’ album, Paramore’s recent single ‘This is Why’ sees the band take another sharp left turn. Brimming with urgency and tense, taut choruses, it’s a huge statement of intent from the outfit – as they bring the disco-stomp flavour of bands like Bloc Party and Foals into the mix. A band who have dabbled with all kinds of sounds from angsty pop-punk to vibrant pop, ‘This is Why’ marked the brilliant return of a band who continue to break new ground.
Confidence Man unveiled their brilliant second album ‘TILT’ this year to widespread acclaim. Pushing the duo into rapturous new territory, ‘Feels Like A Different Thing’ is one of its many highlights – overblown, flamboyant and utterly infectious. Centred around a call and response vocal, the band excel in vibrant melodies, hyperactive beats and sonic mayhem – and this is no different.
Taylor Swift’s ‘Midnight’ album sees her return to the glimmering pop last heard on 1989, if a bit more understated, moody and atmospheric in execution. Featuring some of her most vulnerable work to date, ‘Anti Hero’ sees her directly confront her flaws with the kind of late-night reflections we’ve all partaken in. Centred around the album’s biggest pop chorus, it also features some of her sharpest and wittiest lines to date.
Produced by Paul Epworth, ‘This Hell’ is a glam, country-inspired pop banger. Packing in references to Britney, Princess Dianna, Whitney and Shania Twain, it’s a kiss off to haters and toxic paparazzi culture – delivered against glam-rock riffs and jubilant pop-meets-country melodies. Above all though, it’s a celebration of community in the face of hardship.
Mercy’ is the first single to be taken from Declan Welsh & The Decadent West’s second album, due out next year. Set to feature some of his most intelligent and introspective material to date, the frontman uses the track ti explore his desire to chuck old habits. Musically though, the song is anything but – it adds further layers to their indie-rock template with rich vocal harmonies and surging guitar parts, all driven by an impenetrable swagger.
How Cool Are You?’ featured on Walt Disco’s widely acclaimed debut album ‘Unlearning’. Striking that intoxicating balance of swagger and flamboyance that the band now excel in, the glam-flavoured track struts through three minutes of pop pomposity, all playful vocal sequences and massive chorus refrains.
Set against a barbed production, ‘Hate’ is an exercise in catharsis for the South London rapper Loyle Carner. Channelling feelings of paranoia and fear, it’s a tightly wound return that sees him unleashing what has been bubbling away beneath the surface – letting rip on the state of the country and his experiences as a young black man in the UK.
Like all of her work thus far, ‘How Do I Show My Love?’ is arrestingly beautiful and deeply touching – channelling feelings of grief, pain and worry over a moving piano melody. Exploring her struggle to express herself, it’s a deeply intimate piece of music – heightened by the piano creaks and groans, and the quiet vocal harmonies. Without bowing under the pressure of such a huge question, there is a sense of warmth and reassurance as the song reaches its conclusion – as if love will win in the end.
A brilliant introduction for those not yet acquainted, ‘Never Get Tired’ is a blissful, dreamy slice of electronica. Merging the glorious electro-pop of Caribou with the ravey sounds of Jamie xx and the emotive swells of James Blake, the track packs a punch full of emotion, creativity and intelligence. With new layers revealing themselves upon every listen, it’s deeply affecting music that engages the listener on a cerebral level as much as it lures them to the dancefloor. Brimming with originality, Rory James effortlessly fuses a myriad of influences to create a unique sound that is sure to mark him out as a standalone talent.
Released back in January, VLURE lived up to all their promise and more on debut EP ‘Euphoria’. The title track is a fitting conclusion to the collection – from its restrained opening, it builds and builds with a rush of energy and emotion, ensuring the EP finishes on an uplifting high. It’s the final act of liberation they so desperately crave.
Kendrick Lamar made a triumphant return with ‘Mr Morale. & The Big Steppers’ this year, marking his first album since 2017’s ‘DAMN’ and one of the album’s strongest tracks is ‘N95’. What initially starts off as a classic hip hop song soon reveals much deeper ideas – self-justification, hypocrisy, covid, fakeness, insincerity and more.
Rising from the ashes of former punk outfit Dead Pretties, Jacob Slater unveiled his debut album ‘Cub’ this year as Wunderhorse. Already a firm live favourite among fans, ‘Leader of the Pack’ signals Slater’s unshakeable ambition. All scuzzy, bluesy guitars and rich, snarling vocals, it’s a formidable offering which is born of betrayal, frustration and a desire to come out on top. It certainly justifies all the hype.
From DIY bedroom producer to chart-topping superstar, ‘Bad Habit’ is Steve Lacy’s biggest success to date. A track that went viral all over social media, its highly addictive choruses, chugging riffs and zany synths deserve to be heard far and wide.
Foals shared their new album ‘Life is Yours’ this year – which also featured the upbeat ‘2AM’. Revisiting the bouncy ‘My Number’ era, it’s amplified by a classic sparkling Foals riff – sure to please fans far and wide.
‘Miss Me Now’ marked Brooke Combe first release of the year – and it shows her in a different light. The Motown influences are still present and correct, as are those deep, soulful vocals – but it’s more upbeat and poppy. Propelled by a strong bass line, the track adds a layer of synths to her sound and a poppier edge – all while building up to a huge, catchy chorus. It’s one that will be circling in your head long after your first listen.
This band have a built a reputation for their punchy alt-rock hits, full of grungy influences, driving rhythms and soul-stirring harmonies. his time though, they go down a different route – slowing down the pace to deliver an introspective track that tugs on the heartstrings. Opening with a nostalgic piano melody, the track is all about the heartfelt vocals and personal lyrics, delving into themes of loss, nostalgia and moving on – but it’s also still understatedly anthemic, growing into a classic Spyres chorus.
Showcasing their hectic assortment of punk influences from the outset, the track is spearheaded by enigmatic frontwoman Anna Shields – her magnetic vocals delivered over dynamic, propulsive rhythms and heavy-duty guitars.A perfect encapsulation of their relentless energy and anthemic powers, it’s a whirlwind of a track that never quite lets up pace – like a shot of adrenaline you never knew you needed.
Originally from Banchory in Aberdeen but now based in Edinburgh, Calum Bowie went viral earlier this year with a series of TikTok videos, and has since racked up over 40 million views on the app. Behind all the online success though lies a genuine storyteller with a knack for crafting uplifting tunes, inspired by personal experience. His single ‘I Arrived And No One Saw’ arrives armed with a message of perseverance and self-belief – the singer delivering his story over strident guitar strums which build into soaring, anthemic choruses.
The Big Day arrived this year with ‘Fashion Statement’ – a track full of unwavering ambition and pop hooks galore. Taking inspiration from a blend of sound and influences such as David Bowie and the vibrant world of modern pop, it’s fun, upbeat and absolutely addictive – full of eighties bombast and undeniable swagger. Much like he is on stage, Ryan Hunter is a magnetic force, bringing all the character and charisma as he explores the uncertainty of pursuing a career in today’s music industry.
Following on ‘Jackie Down The Line’ and ‘I Love You’, ‘Skinty Fia’ is easily one of the trippiest and murkiest tracks we’ve heard from the Irish outfit. Built on a foundation of clanging percussion and an ominous churn of guitars and synths, the song explores the idea of ‘Skinty Fia’ through the lens of a doomed relationship. According to a press release Skinty Fia is an Irish phrase which means “the damnation of the deer”, which is used to display disappointment or annoyance.
The 1975 released their fifth album ‘Being Funny In A Foreign Language’ on 14th October and this tune is one of the many classic 1975 bops featured. Locked into an infectious groove, the track leans into the massive hook ‘I’m In Love With You’.
Medicine Cabinet bring the summer vibes on ‘Factor 50!’. Channelling No Doubt and 80s synth pop outfits, it’s a song brimming with charisma and infectious energy.
Taken from ‘EP2′, What a Shame’ is a jaunty singalong indie-folk song that takes aim at those with ‘fake tears’, with Dylan John Thomas professes ‘spare me the lies’. Showcasing his flair for storytelling yet again, it’s another striking addition to his catalogue.
Back of the Car’ is a first taste of a new era for Vistas, which also sees them embrace a new direction, bringing darker and rockier elements into play and watching them develop from emerging indie summer anthems to darker more introspective lyric driven songs.
The third single to be taken from ‘Last Night in the Bittersweet’, Paolo Nutini’s utterly brilliant soulful rock album, ‘Shine A Light’ is an anthemic rocker – driven by chugging rhythms and stirring guitar lines.
Wet Leg’s self-titled debut album was one of the biggest releases of the year. One of its many highlights is preview single ‘Angelica’. Named after Teasdale’s oldest friend, the track was recorded in Chambers’ living room by bandmate Joshua Mobaraki. “It’s laced with disenchantment,” Teasdale says of the track. “Even though the chorus is ‘good times, all the time.’ That’s just impossible, isn’t it?”
Rarely have we heard the band so earnest as Alex Turning sings wistfully of yesterday and past romance. There’s a touch of Last Shadow Puppets while the strings and harpsichord gesture towards their 2018 album ‘Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino’, but this song feels more grounded – giving us a gorgeous, unabashedly romantic preview of ‘The Car’ which was eventually released in October.
Geronimo’ marked Young Fathers’ first new song in four years – the first since 2018’s brilliant ‘Cocoa Sugar’. Now available on all streaming platforms, it’s a typically shape-shifting return that opens in soothing fashion with a gentle vocal and distant piano. It subtly builds with a profound and uplifting chorus, brimming with the vitality and euphoria of diving headfirst into something new.
Taken from their second widely acclaimed album ‘Burn The Empire’, ‘Knuckles’ sees the band at their best; loud, anthemic and bursting with energy. “We wanted to create something feel good and carefree. A song close to our hearts, but wide open for interpretation, it’s a new age indie tune designed for letting loose,” said lead singer Jack Cochrane.
It’s Been A Little Heavy Lately’ was another step forward for Joesef, adding more colour and nuance to his deeply personal lyrics with warm synths, hand-claps and an upbeat chorus. Perfecting the art of the sad-bop with each release, the track finds him questioning his decision-making during depressive periods – it’s another example of him channeling his vulnerability into a rallying moment.
A confessional delivered from the safety of a locked bathroom, Uninvited show their knack for crafting big addictive hooks with heartfelt lyrics on ‘The Party Song’. Led by those pulsing drums and impressive vocal harmonies, it’s a track about social anxiety that ultimate sees them come out on top in the end.
Produced by Chris Marshall and Johnny Madden, ‘Are You Finished’ marked Gallus’ first single after an elongated period in the studio – and since they recalibrated their line-up. Blasting through its three-and-a-half-minute runtime, it’s an exhilarating listen that catapults into a storming hook of a chorus – Barry Dolan delivering his sermon over a barrage of guitars, dynamic rhythms and pop-punk influences. And just like the singles that came before it, there’s more to it than catchy hooks as the band explore feelings of inadequacy.
Hailing from the Scottish Highlands, Katie Gregson-MacLeod went viral this year with a TikTok rendition of her original song ‘Complex’. The singer-songwriter has since dominated social media channels with the track, attracting the attention of many major labels and international pop stars in the process.
Coming in at our Number 1 spot, ‘Zidane’ has been a revelation, going down a storm since its release in early July and remaining a firm favourite with fans. Brimming with charisma and infectious energy, it sees Bemz thread his sharp lyrics over lively beats and a garage-inspired instrumental. It’s absolutely massive.