Tuesday, 6 January 2015

10 Musical Artists To Watch in 2015

by Pete Rapp

For me, 2014 had some real highs on the music front. Real, heavy rock music made had a (very loud) return to the mainstream charts led by Royal Blood; Taylor Swift showed how artists can totally change their style, going from repetitive heartache-folk to consistently catchy electropop; new albums were released from two personal favourites of mine, Jack White and The Black Keys, along with a host of new indie bands ready to dominate the festival circuit next summer; and finally, old school music blended with the new to make some seriously cool sounds, with Jungle’s Busy Earnin’ and the brilliant Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars ruling the radio.

However, with luck, I think 2015 could be even better. I’ve picked out ten artists who I feel could make a real splash this year and I think you should look out for. That said, last time I did a music article for Portsmouth Point it was so long that I had to make it a two-parter…so here are some bite-sized recommendations for the next twelve months.

1. Prides 
I’m a sucker for a huge-sounding singalong chorus; Prides manage to combine the energy and catchiness of pop music with the chest-pounding aspects of stadium rock. You won’t be able to get songs like "Messiah" and "Out Of The Blue" out of your brain easily, and I reckon the Scottish three-piece will achieve big things very soon. Favourite song by them - "Out Of The Blue": 

2. Little Comets 
They’ve been around a little while - and have been one of my favourite bands for a while - but I feel like Little Comets could really have a strong 2015. They have already released two brilliant albums (their sophomore effort, Life Is Elsewhere, is hard to fault in my opinion), so they aren’t new or returning to form or anything, but the new material they’ve already released is just so much FUN! Their third album, Hope Is Just A State Of Mind, arrives in February, and I can’t wait for more jerky rhythms and danceable hooks to sing out from my speakers. Favourite song by them - "Ex-Cathedra":

3. James Bay 
He’s already won the Brits Critics’ Choice award for 2015, so it’s hard to see James Bay having a quiet twelve months. He’s a good old-fashioned boy with a guitar, but there’s something about him that takes him above your average troubadour: a rawness, an edge in his voice. His passion is on show in the rousing "Hold Back The River" and he displays heartfelt emotion on "Let It Go", while there’s a bluesy edge to tracks like "Sparks" and "When We Were On Fire". He’s got fight in him, James Bay - just you wait. Favourite song by him - "Let It Go": 

4. twenty one pilots 
twenty one pilots are already an established and respected act, having released two albums and sold out a recent world tour. However, they aren’t as big as in the UK as they are in their native America, so let’s see if that changes this year as they prepare a second album for their devoted fanbase. I can’t quite put into words how much I love twenty one pilots - they’re my favourite band of all time - but they cover basically all musical styles, write very catchy songs, and write lyrics that can truly speak to people, even in their darkest moments. And don’t get me started on how amazing their live shows are. They blend rap, pop, electronica, folk and rock into a brilliant schizoid-pop package and I defy you not to like them. Favourite song by them - ALL OF THEIR SONGS, but let’s go with "Holding On To You": 

5. Circa Waves
There’s something beautiful in how simple music can be sometimes. Two guitars, a bass, and a drumkit is all you need - that, and some insanely catchy hooks. Circa Waves are full of uptempo indie rock, releasing bite-sized chunks of happiness throughout 2014. Their debut long player is due this year, and if the riffs stay as catchy as on Stuck In My Teeth, I have no doubt they’ll gain many a fan and light up many a festival stage in 2015. Try not to smile, I dare you. Favourite song by them - "So Long": 

6. Amber Run
Lush harmonies, heartfelt lyrics and massive climaxes make Amber Run’s music very difficult not to enjoy. Often building up the layers of a song before breaking into a huge final chorus, they create songs that make you want to pump your fist and shout along to the music. The Nottingham five-piece show how good things come to those who wait, as "Spark" and "Noah" go out with a bang after starting out with just a kick drum and a piano, while "I Found" is, quite simply, a beautiful song. I’m sure their debut album will provide more of the same. Favourite song by them - "Just My Soul Responding": 

7. Ryn Weaver
She’s only released one EP, but Ryn Weaver’s electropop has really hit me as the new year has begun. It’s got a something about it that lifts it above other pop music, driven by raw emotion, that makes you sit up and listen. Neatly straddling the line between critical and commercial success (I’m calling it, she could easily get in the charts), Weaver is set for big things, especially if her output stays as bonkers and enjoyable as it stands. Favourite song by her - "OctaHate":  

8. Public Service Broadcasting 
Bands always want to stand out from the crowd and be noticed, but rarely do they actually have that ‘thing’ that makes them different; PSB have found their thing. The duo sample old public information films from wartime and throughout history to serve as vocals, while creating seriously cool, energetic and often danceable soundscapes underneath. On stage, they never even say a word - again, utilising old audio from films - and they project the old films onto screens while playing, creating an audiovisual treat for all to enjoy. It probably shouldn’t work, but it does, and their second album is due next year: The Race For Space will use audio from space information films: history has never sounded so good. Favourite song by them - "Gagarin":  

9. Saint Raymond 
Callum Burrows, otherwise known as Saint Raymond, is only twenty, but he’s created some of the catchiest songs of the last year. His guitar-driven indie rock is tinged with electronic aspects, while relatable lyrics and a knack for big choruses that hit you right in the guts show just how good a songwriter he is. Tunes like "Everything She Wants" and "I Want You" will get you up and dancing, while "As We Are Now" and "Brighter Days" will tug at the heartstrings a little more. Having already supported Ed Sheeran on his 2014 European tour, Saint Raymond will likely be everywhere in the coming months, and I can’t wait. Favourite song by him - "Young Blood": 

10. Jack Garratt 
Sometimes, a musician is just so genuinely talented that it blows you away. Jack Garratt’s musical prowess shines through on the relatively few songs he’s already released, and it sets him apart from the recent surge of electronic/dub-affected artists dominating the radio. Fans of the also-brilliant James Blake will love Garratt. He puts real emotion into an astonishing voice, which jumps from a growl to stylish falsetto with ease. A multi-instrumentalist from a young age, guitars and pianos clash with heavy dubstep and drum machines to create songs that move all over the place in the course of four minutes, leaving listeners dazed and confused, but very happy. I’m so damn excited to hear more, and I’ve no doubt I’m not alone in thinking that. Definitely see this guy live, because he is just something else. Favourite song by him - "Worry":

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