New from the North – Bands to watch out for in 2020
2019 saw brand spanking new bands sprouting like foot fungus from all four corners of this fine musically obsessed land so we’re going to highlight a few that need to be on your radar as we predict big things for these acts in 2020. And before you cry “Where’s the South, we’re Southerners and don’t believe anything of substance can be created North of Brum???” Firstly, give your heads a wobble the M1 motorway North is a beautiful thing and secondly there will be a New from the South article coming soon…..
So put the kettle and Spotify on and in no particular order get listening to this lot.
The Leeds 3-piece released the first single ‘Going Nowhere’ from their upcoming album ‘False Company’ December 2019 to critical acclaim from the likes of NME, Music Glue, Radio X, BBC Introducing, Amazing Radio and Kerrang. Fusing rock guitar riffs, pounding drums and vocal hook after vocal hook, the band have carefully honed their musical skills with hard graft and a hectic tour schedule making them a treat to catch live.
As feisty as they are ferocious, Manchester’s guitar-wielding quartet have been ripping up the DIY scene in basement venues across the city. With their no holds barred take on post-punk, glam and new wave their sound is a riotous ramshackle of seductive energy. The Red Stains are the band most likely to inspire a whole generation of riff-heavy groups and in case you have lived under a rock from the last three decades and still need proof that they can rock this band is all the evidence you need.
As 80’s nostalgia is gaining momentum this Hull act are riding the crest of that proverbial wave there is no sign of capsizing. Having already drawn regular comparisons to the likes of Blossoms and Pulp, supported established acts such as Scouting for Girls, Republica, Hinds, Red Faces and RATS and an arena show confirmed at the end of the year, 2020 looks set to be very bright for the band.
The Chester duo may quite possibly make the most amount of ear ringing noise I’ve ever heard two people create. With thick Blues Rock riffs soaked in even thicker reverb and drumbeats that sound like rapid gunfire, they sound like a band with twice the members. They manage to sound both tight and reckless at the same time with strong repetitive melodic riffs throughout and with tracks titles, “I Am Cock”, “How To Stop A Terrorist” and “Keepin’ Up With The Cunts”, it’s impossible not to like them.
The next entry is a curious one having never actually played a gig, yet are undoubtedly the most productive and exciting songwriters of 2019 having released 6 quality albums in just 6 months. Def Robot are former Furball and Kerosene bandmates Paul Taylor and David Hancox who met in an alternate universe aeons ago and while David now resides in Berlin, in 2019, the two found a way to make music. Describes as Indie-rock-Americana with a touch of Northern English grit mixed with a love of Film Noir.
Manc Gutter Punk four-piece are a band who aren’t afraid to explore the darker, more repugnant aspects of humanity. Describing their sound as Doom Punk, they infuse pain and passion while serving up a visceral, guttural noise with echoes of Idles, The Fall and Fugazi. With lyrics tackling everything from society’s response to the 1992 murder of Manchester teenager Suzanne Capper to the nefarious impact of TV shows such as Love Island and Jeremy Kyle these songs aren’t built for daytime Radio 1. But for anyone in need of music that articulates the anxieties and injustices of life in modern Britain TheBattery Farm are the band for you.
The only solo artist to make the list, Clark is from Newcastle but has travelled a long way to create his first album “Sometimes Bewilder” Featuring songs composed in the arrivals lounge at Macau Airport, on the Amtrak somewhere in the Pacific Northwest, and from the cabin of a Boeing 777 crossing the Atlantic, A beautifully arranged, lushly melodic piece of work; concerned with the condition of travelling, and the memories of conversations with strangers encountered in far-flung places. Five years in the making, Clark’s Americana-indebted songwriting recalls Neil Young and Wilco.
The Saddleworth four-piece are a curious bunch. With the combination of the elder seasoned musicians Niklos Jackson and Dom Wint teaming up with two music students who babyfaces should barely be allowed in most venues after 9pm. Together they produce a perfect mix of funky ska guitar riffs but unlike the new wave American ska-punk scene this is more ballsy and undeniable Northern British. Also drawing influences from Pixies and The Clash, Stepford Wives have been serving up a melodic clash through a series of high profile support slots around Manchester.
While San Pedro Collective barely have 3 gigs under their belt, with their debut being the infamous Shiiine On Weekender, the members have an impressive collective musical history. The collective was the brainchild of Rikki Turner-former member of the iconic Paris Angel’s and more recently the New Southern Electric and The Hurt. S.P.C. have an exciting and fresh approach to music, a real melting pot of genres with the combination of established musicians, fresh emerging talent, spoken word, and with Rikki at the helm. Members include; On drums Simon Wolstencroft (The Fall, Ian Brown) Bass Keith Higgins, Guitar Justin Lennard, Key/Bleeps Martin McLaren, Vox Millie MacBean, VoxSarah Bouchier (Nature of Wires ).
Velvet are an up and coming five-piece indie band from County Durham. The quintet have a unique electric pop sound which takes you on a floaty psychedelic adventure with their summer haze, early 80’s rock vibes and light rich melodies. Having played a series of high profile support shows in the North East including a gig at The Riverside in Newcastle supporting Shaun Ryder & Alan McGee and also a support slot at Middlesbrough Town Hall supporting The Bluetones the band are setting up for what could be a big year in 2020.
After spending the last five years in bands across Manchester, Leeds, Stoke and Sheffield, the band met working at the historic nightclub 42nd Street. The desire for a new and interesting musical project resulted in Yuka Tree. The 5-piece played their first show in February 2019 to a sold-out Jimmy’s Manchester supporting The Clause. They spent the rest of the year writing material and developing an in-your-face, yet grippingly melodic live show. Yuka Tree’s debut single ‘Preacher’ is a call for free-thinking, self-expression and a healthy critical attitude towards authority and social norms. It will be released on 24/01/20, with a headline single release show at The Eagle Inn, Salford, on the same date. The track was recorded at The Warren Studios in Sheffield, produced and mixed by Fat White Family producer Jack Howarth alongside Stephen Harrison.
The Seamonsters are a 6 piece indie-pop band from Sheffield, driven by beautifully executed ethereal vocals and on-trend 80s inspired fun-filled synths. Their debut single Lost (And Found) created a social media buzz and critical acclaim has followed from the likes of BBC Intro and This Feeling. With a summer of festival appearances as well as support slots with Hinds, The Undertones, Drenge, Bill Ryder-Jones and Kate Nash The Seamonsters need to be on your 2020 summer festival hit list.
When soul, rock n roll, reggae and funky guitars riffs is fused together with love from Doncaster you get the uniquely fresh sound of live sensations Kiziah And The Kings. Forging a strong reputation as an electric and eclectic live band with perfect party summer vibes, the band have gone from strength to strength playing back to back gigs and recent release “Ain’t No Breaking Me” is their most ear worm worthy track to date.