2019 sees the continued fast forward of music – pop culture continues to fracture as we hurtle away from the Elvis big bang and into a new future. Embrace the changes! The past was holy but we don’t need to hide in its undergrowth forever. In this list there will be future festival headliners and game changers, there will be cult artists and burnouts but as this moment in time we love them all and celebrate their diversity. There are bands growing up in the digital age that make a music that is fluid , morphing the genre to suit their needs and moving away from the decades old formulas.
Hardy traditionalists give yourself a slap in the face and embrace the new!
Their debut album is just out and these outer-spaced rockers are breaking out big with their space rock trip and ecstatic freak live show.
Ostensibly rooted in riot grrrl, Witch Fever are really a vibrant, life-affirming rush of rock noise and the best raucous rock band in the UK right now.
Already out there and already written about on LTW in 2015 (we were going to release their debut single in 2015 as well!) the band will be Arctic-Monkeys-huge by the end of the year. (The first write-up on the Fontaines DC from 2015 was on Louder Than War here)
Two women from the north of England who are so good that LTW will be releasing their debut single. Think Patti Smith meets The Slits and then be prepared to be taken beyond this with their mesmerising live performances and poetically brilliant, highly original music.
This Moscow based band delivers an industrial tinged dirty disco with falsetto vocals that turns every venue into a mosh fenzy. They also deliver an unsettling narrative on these times and are at the forefront of a Russian band scene that is one of the best in the world and that LTW has been at the forefront of breaking.
Bruising and brilliant Dublin crew dealing a raw honesty and big mates of Fontaines DC.
Icelandic synth-punk ‘a dark fairytale with haunting synths and melodies with a post punk bass driven darkness…’
Art-Punk? Anarcho-Punk? Whatever GiS are, they are a ferocious, intense proposition and not for the faint-hearted.
16 year old band who have somehow channeled the Pixies skewed pop, and welded it to Nirvana’s intensity.
Manchester-based band with classic Fall-esque wonk and lyrical snarks that sees them endearingly described as “sons of Cabbage”.
Groovy Lancashire doggerel and post-Fall dislocation from Preston.
Wild and theatrical Mexican band whose day of the dead industrial mash up of post punk and metal is intriguingly brilliant. Expect big things.
Estonian industrial band breathing new life and fire into the form.
Amyl & The Sniffers
Signed to Rough Trade, the Australian band with the name that captures the drug of the moment and rush of races garage rock ‘n’ roll to match.
Rising stars of the North East combine enthralling songwriting with magical live performances. A much-anticipated debut release is on the cards for 2019
Art School Girlfriend
Wrexham is becoming a brilliantly unlikely musical epicentre. Partly driven by the annual Focus Wales event and a proactive arts scene taking advantage of the space in the town, Art School Girlfriend is a producer from the town ‘making introspective music for bleak times’
Meanwhile the metal world continues to delight, surprise, and disturb, in equal measure. A reflection of its collision of diverse musical styles and approaches, and lyrical themes, and edgy live performances.
A band that epitomises this is Conjurer, who somehow manage to surf the wave of all the key extreme metal genres, sliding smoothly between tech death, black metal, doom and prog metal, sometimes within a single song. They are simply breathtaking in their ambition. After storming sets at the 2018 Bloodstock and HRH Doom vs HRH Stoner Festivals, they seem destined for bigger things.
In the world of doom metal, the success of festivals like HRH Doom vs HRH Stoner, is testament to a continually evolving and increasingly inventive metal genre.Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard from Wrexham, Wales, mix spacy electronic keyboards with a sledgehammer like riffing, and pastoral-like vocals. They have a new album coming out shortly, which is sure to intrigue, as they reveal their next musical steps.
Instrumental bands in metal have become a bit of a phenomenon, with large followings and impressive attendance at gigs, an increasing component. All The Best Tapes with their recent album ‘Apex Emotion’, describe their music as ‘Thrash Jazz’, and cover the full range, from pummeling death metal like riffs, to full on elegant and melodic guitar soloing, and quirky electronics.
A shout out also for the four-piece instrumental Plini from Sydney, Australia, recently on tour with the fabulous TesseracT, who effortlessly combine full throttle metal riffs with jazzy guitar soloing and funk like rhythms.
We can’t of course forget death metal, as we look to 2019. Whitechapel hailing from Tennessee, have explored some of the most disturbing sides of humanity, accompanied by demonic like growled vocals and dynamic metal rhythms and guitar breakdowns. More recently they have incorporated prog like elements into their music, but if preview tracks from the upcoming new album ‘The Valley’, are anything to go by, their threatening death metal sounds are going to be well in evidence.
An exciting development in 2018 was black metal band Winterfylleth’s ‘Hallowing of Heirdom’, an acoustic album full of beautiful melodies, harmonies and strings, and with a focus on folklore themes. They successfully toured the album, and it spoke to the musical risk taking that metal is quite wonderfully capable of, and may encourage other bands to open up their musical palette.
An amazingly odd relatively new band from Belgium “are space rock for the now generation. Five wired men from the sonic spaceship. A modern digital..”
London-based garage psych band (guitarist Harry Stam is My Drug Hell’s bassist), delivering 60s sounds with a 90s edge in new album Forget Everything You Know. We reviewed their latest single here.
Russian shoe gazers whose debut album is a masterpiece of dynamics and atmosphere.
LTW writer Simon Tucker witnessed Slagheap supporting Beak> last December. Raving about them to anyone who would listen he described them as “four women who are making music because they HAVE to. No posturing or plastic about them and absolutely no fucks given. . A mixture of slap-dash Talking Heads funk and The Slits ramshackle punk-dub. The real deal. Catch them as soon as you can.”
These cut and burn guitar boys are taking the Welsh language in a new and exciting direction. Louche, intelligent, hook-ridden and addictive. Los Blancos will follow in the footsteps of Accu and Adwaith and be the next Libertino Records band to break big.
Los Blancos Soundcloud
The experimental producer is really set for an exciting year and has already garnered praise from Electronic Sound mag and Neil Arthur of Blancmange fame with his unsettling and spell binding electronic soundscapes.
Fresh from supporting Johnny Marr – lush and melodic indie with yearning melodies and classic swooping anthems with a hint of Suede.
Quirky wonk with an energetic edge and brilliant eccentric lyrics.
‘Show me your sex and I tell you my genre!’ say Berlin and sometimes sunny L.A. based duo Stony Sugarskull. From dreamy shoe gaze post punk to hitting edgier grungey notes…we are hooked.
The sound is of full of melody, bright and intoxicating. A far cry from some of the denser grooves like Swerve that former band Dub Sex dealt.
Mancunian-style rap (from West Bromwich) meets indie crossover with an addictive urgency. A total fusion of Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Rage Against The Machine, Dust Junkies, fuck me, they are great! Keep your ears open folks because they are special.
A dark-pop queen for even darker times.
With her stunning tough beats and brilliantly in your face lyrics Moonchild Sanelly’s self styled future ghetto funk is so stunningly 2019 it’s perfect.
Explosive raucous loud/quiet rock from the northern duo.
Fine mix of harsh punk mixed and quieter tracks.
They have been on the scene a couple of years but this will be the year of the band with the wild dishevelled live show and full of dislocated riffology music like an early Birthday Party. Their debut album of angular post punk saw them noticed by those that know and they are doing the full Sleaford Mods tour. The Manchester-based three piece will be making a big impression this year.
Poetically personal and considered approach. We still get the careering bass freak-outs, drum solos and screams to punctuate the performance
It is a short, sharp shock of a band. Spare, tight and perfect – another example of how the modern, punk influenced scene in Scotland’s largest city is 21st splenetic punk at its best.
From Middleton – Kaiden Nolans put together a filthy rock ‘n’ roll quartet – They play ramshackle Libertine-esque rock n roll, reminding us of early Beatles, with their good looks and swagger.
Manchester-based three piece delivering a noise-pop and grunge agenda full of song angst, fuzz crank and deep intelligence.
(also available digitally on Bandcamp).
British rapper with a machine gun dense word delivery breaking boundaries and mixing heavy metal and hip hop together in an extraordinary way
Awesome brooding electro-goth from Manchester – great spooked atmospherics – see also another new band – Working Men’s Club (from over near Todmorden)
Local psych madness taking the existing psych energy in the room and exploring it further through free-flowing instrumental jams of guitar, bass and drums which washed around like a weird bliss
Crafting shimmering art rock underpinned by artful guitar – all the time the sound swirling with experimental edges, every little trill and flair adding felt bursts of intensity.
Carving out unique, individual spaces in a zone where mould-breaking innovation has all too often ossified into idea-free conformity. Essential listening.
Now signed to SubPop and played by Iggy on the radio, etc with a perfect soupcon of styles that hint at the compressed psychedelia of early Wire – that deceptively stripped-down and yet complex brilliance of the post-punk.
Glorious, modern soul-pop record that dives deep into a weird, blue lagoon of the senses and never seems to surface
The vibe is so transcendent in places you feel you are in motion listening to it, transported in a stupor through some faerie glade