With a new year comes a new wave of excitement about the latest bands and producers, rising stars and best kept secrets that you should be paying attention to. We grilled the movers and shakers from the music industry in Birmingham and beyond, as well as the team here at Brum Notes, to find out what acts should be on your radar for 2015…
Joe Schiavon, booker and promoter, Transmission Music Group / Academy Events:
I’ve got quite a few that I’m keeping an eye on. Top three probably James Bay, who will almost certainly win BRITs Critics’ Choice and BBC Sound of 2015, Prides and Jack Garratt.
Same management as George Ezra, John Newman, James Morrison etc, so great track record with breaking solo artists.
The most exciting thing to come out of Scotland since deep-fried Mars Bars. They played the Olympics opening ceremony and have some BIG tunes.
He’s basically a one-man orchestra with a voice like velvet. Needs to be seen live, he’s awesome.
Sean Morgan, promoter, Academy Events:
The most talked about band to come out of Liverpool since The Wombats. About to sell out main room O2 Academy – and they still don’t have a record deal.
In an era of classic two pieces is this the one that could define them all?
After scoring the biggest hit any band has had for years in their native Eire, this four-piece look set to spread across the planet with their major deal with Universal.
Ammo Talwar, CEO, Punch Records:
Invasion Crew are by far the hardest working grime crew in the midlands. With notable releases next year, watch out for these Brummie lads amplifying their sound in 2015.
Local maverick producer Knox Brown, already known for producing credits with Wretch 32 and part of the lovely Renowned group, is about to enter 2015 with major productions, including Mary J Blige.
Tom Hopkins, promoter, Leftfoot / This is Tmrw / Hare & Hounds:
I saw them playing in Manchester recently and they were hands down one of the best live acts I’ve seen in ages. Definitely one band I’d highly recommend you check out live in 2015 if you get the chance.
A three-piece form Ascot, they’ve already got two EPs out and the latest, Lilac Lane, is really strong. I personally don’t think there’s a bad track on it. If you’re a fan of Foals, Alt-J and Adult Jazz then I think you’ll be into these.
We had these guys play for us on a This Is Tmrw lineup towards the end of 2014 and they really impressed us. They’ve got one song online at the moment, Hoover Dam, which is a really good track and judging from what we heard live there’s still plenty more to come from them. Really do think they’re going to be a great addition to the Brum – and hopefully beyond – music scene in 2015 and well worth keeping an eye on.
Lyle Bignon, music PR and Brum Notes writer:
Janet Jackson, Portico Quartet, Missy Elliott and Tensnake are amongst the artists who have had the trademark Kaytranada remix treatment – bass-heavy open hi-hats and beefed up 90s R’n’B vibes. And 2015 can only bring more good moves from the 22-year-old Canadian producer.
Formed out of the ashes of Birmingham’s sometime indie outfit The Arcadian Kicks, the duo of Rebeccas Pennington and Wilson backed by another trio of band members ramp up the pop sound to great effect. The EP dropped last month, next up, a full-length in 2015?
Described as ‘Prince masquerading as Camille’ by one US music site, the flamboyant singer, songwriter, rapper and performer smashes the flow of Yo! Majesty together with the house sensibilities of Thunderheist to bring the party. A must listen for new music fans.
Poppy Twist, drummer and vocalist, Table Scraps:
Amarillo band Western Plaza have just been signed to Burger Records and they give me happy-pop 60s The Choir vibes. My friends in Telegram deserve big things next year – Japan loves them and they’re playing with my childhood favourite Adam Ant soon.
Dan Owens, Brum Notes writer:
Crude yet eloquent, US teens Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad make music that kicks against convention. Forgoing drums in favour of a simple bass and guitar set-up, their self-titled debut EP – released last month through Wichita – is a fierce blend of juvenile screech and patriarchal critique. Praised for their equally inflammatory live shows, this bratty duo could well trigger a Riot Grrrl revival before the year’s out.
Matthew Burdon, Brum Notes writer:
Since the release of Vanilla in May 2013 Milk Teeth have refused to slow down or pause for breath. Spending an impossible amount of time on the road, they have spread their frantic songs of wasted youth and apathy across the country and if you haven’t heard of them yet you will be hearing from them soon. Their upcoming EP Sad Sack, which features both Vitamins and Linda, is out via Venn Records on January 25.
Andy Hughes, music photographer and Brum Notes contributor:
The feisty Royal Tunbridge Wells duo of Isaac Holman (vocals and drums) and Laurie Vincent (guitar and vocals) come at you with the power and force of a hundred men. Their live shows are both physically and mentally exhausting, but their charm and presence will keep you coming back for more and more. Catchy hooks, beats and lyrics which would start off a mosh pit in an old people’s home. You will want to see this band at a small venue before they literally blow up, coming off the back of a support tour with Jamie T and their own reckless headline tour with support from our very own God Damn, it won’t be long before you will know and love them.
Joel Webster, promoter, Killer Wave:
Sudakistan are my ones hotly tipped for 2015. Their first album is due for release early in the year on PNKSLM and it sounds massive. I’m saying an avalanche of percussion making a carnival for the psychedelic wailing guitars over chugging prog bass lines and dark South American/English lyrics. Fixing to blow your mind. Their live shows speak for themselves and anyone that has seen them can testify.
Amy Sumner, Brum Notes Assistant Editor:
On the home front I’d like to see Coventry’s Batsch do well. It’s Metronomy meets Dutch Uncles – the perfect blend of disco and carefully thought through concept. I’ve always been behind Hoopla Blue so I’d like to see a good year for them, they’re a beautiful beautiful band, and I’m going to second Hopkins’ Chartreuse tip too, it feels like finally more and more of Birmingham’s feisty females are coming out of the woodwork and I really like the direction this band are headed. From further afield I’m crossing my fingers for strong follow-ups from Liverpool’s Outfit, whose debut album was exquisite, and Beaty Heart whose superb first record I thought was shamefully overlooked.
Sam Redmore, DJ and promoter, Freestyle :
The Bluebeat Arkestra have a totally unique sound, taking influences from all over the place – disco, trip hop, punk, electronica, indie – and make it work in a truly beautiful way. Free School have been on many peoples’ radar for some time, but I think 2015 could be a big year for them with the release of a brilliant second album just around the corner.
Thomas Barr, promotions coordinator, The Institute:
Definitely one of the best sets I’ve seen this year supporting Metz at the Hare & Hounds in August.
Still my favourite Birmingham band and dubious style icons. They get heavier with every show they play. Check out You’re More Like A Young Mary Bell. New material on the way next year.
The only way to understand what this guy is all about is to go and see him live. You won’t regret it.
Ben Calvert, musician and promoter, Bohemian Jukebox:
Nat Bite has recently been wowing audiences at intimate Birmingham shows and playing as a tour support to Miles Hunt & Erica Nockalls. A Birmingham Conservatoire graduate with a background in metal bands, she plays her own individual style of dark, folky, acoustic baroque metal. She’ll be releasing her debut EP in the spring.
Micheala Fellows, Birmingham Promoters:
Having already gained support slots with bands such as The Voyeurs and playing a packed out hometown headline show at The Oobleck this year, Cold Ocean Lies are steadily amassing quite the following. Their sound draws influences from a whole host of eras and genres, including grunge, shoegaze and the 90s Britpop, nodding to bands such as The Smashing Pumpkins, Ride and Oasis respectively.
The young Telford four-piece formerly known as Weatherbird have undergone a makeover, reinventing themselves as Hyena, but have not lost any of their ferocity in the process. Debut single Mental Home was produced by Tom Dalgety, Royal Blood producer who honed in on the band’s surging, Nirvana-esque dynamic and raw power. The band received critical acclaim from NME, heralding them as one of the big players in the current ‘rock revival’.
Still working on his debut album, Sivu came to attention with his stunning video for single Better Man Than He, a project that saw him volunteer to sing live within an MRI scanner, allowing the audience to view the cerebral activity of a musician. We can’t wait to see what else is in store next year…
Leamington duo Coves catapulted onto the scene with a number of impressive support slots with acts such as Band of Skulls, St Vincent and The Raveonettes. With critical backing from NME, who gave the band a staggering 9/10 for their packed out headline show at London’s Koko venue, the duo have also won praise from the likes of BBC DJs Zane Lowe, Nick Grimshaw and Lauren Laverne.
Chris Moriarty, Brum Notes Editor:
After creeping into view late last year, 2014 has seen Elephantine growing their reputation with every live show. Their intense yet melodic take on noise rock translated impressively onto October’s debut EP Glimmer, giving a glimpse of more excitement to come in 2015.
Rollicking riff-laden duos may be all the rage right now, but Black Country boys God Damn are all about making the noise they want to make rather than following trends. We nailed our colours to their mast back in their early days as a trio and it’s hard to beat the unadulterated joy of watching a crowd erupt to their turbocharged blend of blues, grunge and metal. With their debut album due out in the spring through One Little Indian, 2015 is set to go into overdrive.
Photo: B at GIPPA