Imperative Sounds of 2017: The Boys


You knew he was going to be here, didn’t you? 18 year old wonder-boy Declan McKenna isn’t one to shy away from being politically provocative in his work and we’re not ones to shy away from loving every second of it. From the criticism of the football industry in Brazil, exploring trans narratives in the Paracetamol video, appearing on Jools Holland with a “give 16 year olds the vote” and perpetually championing what it means to be young and socially innovative, McKenna is a gift to the UK music scene. Equipped with his arcade-esque synths, a band that will make you feel uncool and sights set for the year ahead, Declan deserves all that comes his way.


Every once in a while an artist comes along and leaves us no choice other than to focus solely on them; Will Joseph Cook does this in many ways, his voice being the main element, and the ability to look so great dressed up in drag for his music videos being the other. Will’s seamless transition from acoustic to pop has only gained him more traction over the course of 2016, and with each release sounding different and more improved than the last we can only anticipate what the 19-year-old will be stirring up in the following year.


A hard worker with the results to show, Rationale is more than just a Bastille support act. The London-based musician blends everything from moody pop, to soul, to indie undertones in a way that can only be described as virtuosic. This fella’s production value is worth swooning over, with buildups, layers and vocals that will find you bopping away on your morning commute. His recently released Vessels encapsulates every part of him perfectly with cutting beats, gospel highlights and ~that~ voice (you’ll only understand when you hear it). Completely incomparable and a guy you could easily grab a drink with, here’s to Rationale’s 2017.


A force to be reckoned with, SG Lewis’ take on chill-out dance has seemed a long time coming, with a sold out KOKO show under his belt to prove that 2017 might just be his for the taking. His list of collaborators (Raye, Dornik, Gallant) proves he, too, has an eye for rising talent whilst his signing to PMR, home of Jessie Ware and Disclosure, can only mean it’s all up-hill for your new favourite producer.


Some would say the boys-with-guitars-and-love-songs combo gets very tiring, very quickly. KYKO is here to switch that up. The solo project of multi-instrumentalist Scott Verrill, his blend of chilled out pop and intriguing electronics have marked him as a one to watch for some time now, with a string of stellar London shows under his belt to prove he’s here to stick around.


As Ben De La Crème infamously declared on Drag Race, she’s “terminally delightful. So positive she could cause death at any moment.” Same could be said for Jodie Abacus whose blend of pop, soul and funk is so upbeat that it could easily wipe out Winter altogether and take us straight to Summer. “She’s in Love with The Weekend” would be his finest example of this.


Electronic producer and vocalist EDEN has just rounded off a 33 date worldwide tour, with sold out shows in the States whilst his latest video has rounded up a hearty 1.5 million views on Facebook. It’d be safe to assume that 2017 is in Jonathon Ng’s hands, whose buzz back home in Ireland has spread its way across the pond (in both directions). Dream pop at its finest.

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