2017 may have already greeted us with the returns of the greats (i.e the xx and London Grammar), but that’s not to mean that the underdogs aren’t ones to be watching with a keen eye too. From highly anticipated debuts, queer punk pop duos and politically motivated songstresses, we present HISKIND’s imperative sound of 2017: the bands.
A HISKIND favourite through and through, Silverdale lads Tom & Ben of Aquilo are destined for nothing less than something beautiful. An aural shoulder to cry on, Aquilo already boast an impressive pre-debut back catalog, previously working with the likes of Icelandic powerhouse Olafur Arnalds for their most recognisable track; Silhouette. Between touring with the likes of Oh Wonder and Låpsley, time and time again, the duo have dropped beautifully curated EPs offering a much needed release from the real world with their falsettos and soundscapes. Even my own mother is hooked. No doubt the most exciting band in the UK at the moment.
If your favourite moment of last year wasn’t these guys dropping their cover of MØ’s ‘Kamikaze’, I’m not sure what your 2016 was. Electronic bop songsters Nimmo are an explosion of neon noise and dance inducing tracks set to make it big this year after touring with the likes of Years & Years and the aforementioned dreamboat; MØ. Indie pop have never sounded so sweet. Make sure that your Friday nights sound like Nimmo this year.
Far more than the ‘that John Lewis Xmas ad band’ label they’re at risk of being tagged with, Vaults craft wonderfully artsy pop, oozing with dark undertones. Their debut LP, Caught In Still Life, came out only at the start of December yet easily marked itself as a stand out from 2016 whilst Alt-J, Ellie Goulding and Paulo Nutini have all backed the London tiro. Front woman Blythe Pepino’s openness to discussing her own polyamorous relationships is also refreshing to see within mainstream pop.
Made up of members Ben Hopkins and Liv Bruce, PWR BTTM’s live shows are a thing of chaotic elegance, their hard hitting 90s indie-rock sound mixed in with their risqué, witty personalities really give this duo that spark that many musicians lack in the industry. The fearlessness of entering the music industry open about their sexualities and having a band name based on bottoming is brilliant. Their lyrics cover everything from self-doubt to heartbreak, a therapeutic listen, perfect for dancing with friends or walking down the street pretending you’re in the opening credits of a coming-of-age 90s teen flick. They’re humble, they give listeners a kick of self-confidence and the way they’re so open in the industry on all things LGBTQ make it seem like the norm – exactly what we need right now.
We’ve praised Glades in the past, a lot. But can you really blame us when each creation of theirs makes us feel like we’re on an endless summer vacation? To describe the groups music in a few words feels close to impossible, though what we can say is it’s best listened to when the sky is empty and the spirits are high. We wouldn’t put it past them to put out hazy delights in the middle of Winter because it’s what they do best, and no one would complain. Glades are a perfect example of down under striking again, because no ‘best of’ list is truly a list without at least one Australian act shamelessly standing out from the rest.
MUNA are a combination of everything future girl bands should aim to be; honest, straight to the point, and all round as badass as can be. The LA-based trio take song writing to the next level, completely unafraid to convey their emotions. One track is enough to take listeners on a complete whirlwind; with soaring hooks and heartfelt melodies to accompany them on the ride. If the praise from the EP The Loudspeaker wasn’t already enough to let MUNA gain access into your hearts, leave it to the debut record About U due February 3rd to finish off the job for you; because if the album is anything like their past material we’re preparing ourselves for tears, joy, and feelings of clarification.
Image credit: Harvey Pearson