Last year was pretty decent as far as new music goes – as it usually is. There’s always something new and exciting that comes along; 2017 will be no different on that front. Once again, we’ve chosen our top tips for the coming year. As usual, there’ll probably be a surprise or two, but we’re predicting great things from these, our Sound of 2017.
ANNA B. SAVAGE: “I will never amount to anything.” Based upon her mesmerising performance at this year’s High & Lonesome Festival alone, the opening line from her song ‘II’ proves to be a wildly inaccurate self-assessment. The mysterious London singer-songwriter has been around for a little while now – something to which a couple of very strong EPs and past support slots with Jenny Hval and Father John Misty will firmly attest – but the stark, honest, uncomfortable beauty of her songs have somehow not yet translated into any wider recognition. This could all be about to change in 2017. (SG)
COUNTERFEIT: With their unashamedly loud, ballsy, and sharp punk-rock sounds, Counterfeit really are the embodiment of the stuff music has been sorely lacking lately: passion, fire, bite, and grit. Their shows are hot, sticky, and sweaty, peppered with many heart-in-the-throat oh-my-God-someone’s-going-to-die moments – and utterly brilliant! Recently signed to Xtra Mile Records, and an album somewhere in the works (there’s photographic evidence and everything), Counterfeit are surely about to set 2017 on fire. (TS)
DREAM WIFE: A three-piece made up of London-based musicians Alice Go, Bella Podpadec and Icelandic singer Rakel Mjöll who started out life as a fictional Brighton art school project that included a mockumentary and a set of songs. So successful were the trio at playing the part that they decided to make it a reality with their group Dream Wife. Melodic, powerful, fierce and feminist, they gleefully jump into a shapeshifting alt-punk sound that’s possessed of hints of early Blondie, the attitude of Bikini Kill and hooks of Elastica and dripping in personality and attitude. (BC)
FAUNA TWIN: Fauna Twin are Parisian singer Claire Jacquemard and Welsh guitarist/producer Owain Ginsberg (of post-punk band Hippies Vs. Ghosts + We are Animal). Their debut EP Hydra recently came out on Crammed Discs. Lead track ‘Edge of the Coin’ is a deliciously dizzying enigmatic pop song, vivid lyrics swirl through a flight of fancy set on escaping a bad situation. Dramatic, evocative and mysterious, Fauna Twin’s exquisite shapeshifting sound intrigues and delights and marks them out as a mysterious yet enticing prospect for 2017. (BC)
GIRL RAY: North London trio Girl Ray recently signed to Moshi Moshi Records, and if that’s not a sign of their burgeoning brilliance then who knows what is? Poppy Hankin, Iris McConnell, and Sophie Moss mix the laidback indie-pop twang of Cate Le Bon with the fuzziness of Pavement and contemplative yet oddly playful lyrics, it’s no wonder they’ve already toured with the likes of Haley Bonar, Slow Club and Meilyr Jones. Sure, they may have only released their first single on Moshi Moshi, ‘Trouble’, in October and unveiled its B-side ‘Where Am I Now’ even more recently. But when listening to their first steps on the label, it’s hard not to think that the trio have a very bright future ahead. (EJ)
HMS MORRIS: Making giant leaps over the last 18 months the trio have played BBC Introducing Stage Glastonbury, Festival Number 6, Truck Festival, Canadian Music Week, The Great Escape, Wales’ largest music festival Maes B and Green Man. Their debut album ‘Interior Design’ is a brilliantly varied LP, that delights and surprises from track to track. With its wonderful swirling bricolage of melodies, fuzzy guitars, woozy synths: all shot through with a vivid off-kilter imagination and knowing wit. HMS Morris sit somewhere between the work of Stereolab, Stealing Sheep, and Elastica, but wrapped in a unique imagination. (BC)
IDLES: Possessors of an intense, hard-hitting, social conscience and lyrics that are often delightfully obtuse, it is little wonder that they can count Steve Lamacq amongst their fans. Vocals that are barked, rather than sung, over an invigorating spiky punk aesthetic, IDLES feel like a late night ride home in an ambulance after a pub brawl where, to your horror, the medic turns out to be Mark E Smith and his helpers are members of The Sonics. Fiercely political and brimming with energy, Bristol’s finest and most unnerving band says you spilt their pint, and what are you going to do about it, ‘eh? Their debut album is released in March. (LE)
MINIHORSE: Picture a dirty, untidy, ashtray-ridden student digs, pungent with the aroma of last night’s marijuana. Yesterday evening’s revellers this morning have miraculously transformed into mere lumps that resemble slow-moving lava lamps, strewn lazily over beer-sodden sofas and sticky carpet. The stereo plays something that sounds like Clouds Taste Metallic but perhaps performed by Teenage Fanclub instead of The Flaming Lips; that’s minihorse, that is. A band that specialises in scuzzy power pop, the Michigan trio somehow manage to do this while instilling a fuzzy, warm glow inside your soul. Slacker pop meets shoegaze and it never felt so good. (LE)
NOGA EREZ: Tel Aviv may not be everyone’s first choice when asked for the location of a vibrant underground music scene, but the Israeli musician, singer-songwriter, keyboardist and producer Noga Erez is proof positive that it is. Recently signed to the celebrated independent imprint City Slang, she has just released her debut single ‘Dance While You Shoot’, an energetic and irresistible slice of exploratory electro-beat pop. Having just bagged a coveted berth on the bill for Primavera Sound 2017, there can be little doubt about the direction in which Erez’s career is now heading. (SG)
PELUCHÉ: In 2015, Peluché released a short string of singles that suggested there was more to them than your average alt-pop group. Their tunes encompassed everything from jazz drums to tropical hues and even a smattering of saxophone. In November this year they re-emerged with their debut EP, Utopia Village, which distills their wide-ranging influences into a truly beguiling collection of quasi-pop gems. The trio are genuinely doing it for themselves, saying, “we keep going through setbacks and struggles, ignoring most people’s advice about what we “should” be and staying true to our ideas.” Peluché’s resulting idiosyncratic mix of dub, funk, jazz and pop is ready to send you to utopia in 2017. (EJ)
REMI MILES: Time flies, it will soon be two years since The Guardian shone a torch onto Virginian-raised but Brighton-based Remi Miles and pinned him with a “one to watch tag”. This was largely on the basis of Under Light Symphonies – an EP as sweet and fluffy as Angel Delight with a subtle hint of ’80s inflected pop. Now he’s back with the ‘Inside of Paradise EP which fuses his rich, soulful voice with a magpie’s instinct for a shiny synth hook; every now and then punctuated by a big, dirty guitar riff. It’s dreamy, it’s sophisticated and at times it’s emotionally barbaric; the soundtrack to a thousand hearts breaking and mending simultaneously. (DM)
SINGLE BY SUNDAY: Glasgow’s gloriously punk-inflected pop band Single By Sunday have done incredible things in the short time they’ve been together. They sold out their first headline show for one thing. Since they released their Get Up Get Out EP – their debut, no less – in 2015, their fanbase has grown, their shows have gotten better and better, and, if the little we’ve been told is true there’s something special on its way soon. If all that’s anything to go by, 2017 will be an exciting one for this lively bunch. The band will play their biggest show to date this Saturday at the O2 ABC (TS) Tickets available HERE
YONAKA: For several months ‘Ignorance’ was the only evidence that Yonaka actually existed; three and a half minutes of barely controlled anger which drips vitriol from every pore. Theresa Jarvis snarls like Karen O with a hangover and as a statement of intent the single is an impressive tour de force. The recently released ‘Drongo’ provides a rare insight into what Killing Joke would have sounded like had they been blessed with Kate Bush on vocals. Live, Yonaka are devastating; brash, energetic and in Jarvis, they have a frontwoman who is as effervescent as she is talented with a vocal delivery forged from the pit of Mordor. Brighton may be a bohemian paradise but Yonaka represent a seedy underbelly hidden down a dingy backstreet. (DM)
Photo credits: Paula Rae Gibson (Anna B. Savage); Francesca Allen (Dream Wife); Ellie Connor Philips (Girl Ray); Rhodri Brooks (HMS Morris); Tonje Thilesen (Noga Erez); Hugh Rees (Peluche); Clare Ballott (Single By Sunday)
God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.