Underground’s Top 10 bands to watch 2019
It’s that time of year where we all attempt to make fresh starts, new year’s resolutions and become better people for it right? Well forget that and remember it is also that time of year where the music world gets all worked up with fresh hits and festival line-ups start getting exciting. With all of this delirium it’s easy to stick to the mainstream and jump on the hype wagon that everyone else is riding… Underground, on the other hand, urges you to whip out your ticket buying app and find the most progressive band you can, because they might just be the next big thing. That’s the beauty of the music scene that’s off of the beaten track, for you never know what you’ll find next. To give you a head start, here at Underground we have comprised a list of ten artists you should be looking out for this year, because they just might appear, in what I presume might be, some dingy drinking establishment near you! So hop on the secret bandwagon and find the unknown band everyone’s talking about… it’s guaranteed to impress all of your friends.
Here we go…
- Who:Viagra Boy
photo Creds: Renan Peron
Hailing from Stockholm, Viagra boys are a sardonic six piece that take self-loathing and socio-political concerns and turn them into a hyper-masculine pastiche. Despite having played music together since 2015, only last year did these guys release their debut album Street Wormsand perform for the first time in London. Full of images from twisted a mind and comical self-flagellation, Viagra Boy’s post-punk music laughs in the face of masculine hubris, political uncertainty and cultural oppression with such a finesse that even their spit contains the sardonic rebellious elixir that music in the modern age needs. With their break-neck riffs, hoarse vocals, erratic synths and slick saxophone it’s hard not to fall into their mesmerising trap that entices you onto their rock n’ roll roller-coaster full of pandemonium and debauchery… which you won’t want to get off.
Essential track: Everyone thinks it’s ‘Sports’ (which is a fantastic song, there’s no doubt about it) but ‘Down in the Basement’ is a banger that cannot be resisted.
Next gig: 23rdMay @ Studio 9294, London
Photo Creds: Lina Zabinskaya
Having already had their name imprinted on Underground’s radar, this duo’s popularity in the underground music scene seems to be quite relentless. As regulars on lineups all around London at the end of last year, 2019 only seems to promise that you’ll be seeing a lot more of these two. With very little on offer in the way of music online, the band merely provide a taster of their track ‘Talks’ on their SoundCloud that leaves you hungry for more. Intergalactic in melody and retro with their style, it’s like this duo were born on the moon and landed on Earth with nostalgic art-pop made to get 21stmillennials moving. With their many sythns and space-ship like sounds coming out of a drum pad they will transport you out of this world to groove like extra-terrestrials before realising you were in the pub along.
Essential track: Must be watched live and make up your own mind, you’re guaranteed to get stuck to them like glue.
Next gig: 18thJanuary @ The Windmill, London
While the smog of London may have something to do with the talent that seems to pour out of the city’s crevasses, the sea air would seem to have the same effect down south. Toy are a prime example of this, swanning in as if they’ve just stepped out of an acid trip in the 1960’s this Brightonian quartet wield guitars and luscious haircuts in attempt to make shoegaze psychedelia that’s swoon worthy. Hallucinogenic in style and hypnotising with their melodies, Toy manage to amalgamate sounds from bands like The Seeds and The 13thFloor Elevators with shoegaze tropes you’d expect from artists such as The Stone Roses and Suede to bring their passé techni-coloured day-dreams into the 21stCentury. While they have been together since 2012, 2019 seems to be their year having just released two new singles and are taking to the road with a long list upcoming performances up and down the country that aren’t to be missed.
Essential track: ‘Sequence Once’
Next gig: 13thFebruary @ Empire Music Hall, Belfast
4. Who:Biig Piig
Photo Creds: Daniel Alexander Harris
Forget “Sad Boy” culture and say hello to Biig Piig who is wiping the floor with many artists in her genre while wiping away her tears and sipping her wine. Ethereal hip-hop is maybe the best way to describe the style which she adopts in her efforts to make tracks that are alluringly infectious and relatable. Creator of dreamscape sounds, she makes you feel as though you are sat with her in her bedroom as she raps sweet nothings to you in Spanish about love, loss and hurt. Although she has over a million listeners on Spotify, Biig Piig (AKA Jess Smyth) is humble with her popularity releasing tunes subtly and sticking to low-key venues; inviting you to ingest her music as intimately as they sound.
Essential track: ‘Perdida’
Next gig:March 19th@ Village Underground, London
Photo creds: Kimberley Ross
ronted by Peckhamite Liam Ramsden, Mellah is one person but also eight? That’s right, with a frequently fluctuating line-up you never know what you’re going to get with Mellah, but something they always guarantee is some unconventional jams overlaid with Ramsden’s hauntingly honest vocals. Made up of addictive melodies and charming lyricism, Mellah’s tracks cover close-to-home topics with a touch of cynicism that most listeners will no doubt feel the pang of commonality with. Having been posted around by many major media outlets, Mellah is still a homebird and can often be found performing in local waterholes around London. Last year was a gooden for Mellah, which saw him release not 1 but 4 singles as well as headlining a ton of shows ticketed and secret. Get involved before everyone else quickly does.
Essential track: ‘What It Is’
6. Who:Jimothy Lacoste
Photo creds: Judit Trota
Norf’ Londoner Jimothy Lacoste is part joker part lyrical genius. With suave dance moves in abundance this boy is a hip-hop jester that’s squeezed his way onto a throne – becoming king of DIY bedroom pop. Known for being a rebel without a cause, Jimothy is often found playing around with social commentary and comedic irony while dancing on top of bus stops and riding the back of tubes – don’t try this at home. His popular tracks cover concerns about drug taking, making money, and finding a lover, performed in his own unique dead-pan style over-layed with groovy low-fi rhythms. After the internet lost their shit over the rap renegade last year, 2019 seems to promise that everything’s coming up Jimothy: what with increased media features and his upcoming headline tour where he will take to the stage up and down the country. Watch out for him as it would seem life for Timmy is getting quite exciting.
Essential Track: ‘FUTURE BAE’
Next gig:6thFebruary @ King Tuts, Glasgow
7. Who:The Starlight Magic Hour
Photo creds: Through the Eyes of Ruby
ccupying the nitty gritty opposite poles are The Starlight Magic Hour, a 6 piece who come from the north and are taking over the south (well south of London anyway). Rowdy and raw, they make tunes that carry the same unrestrained madness that is a motif for London circuit bands such as Cabbage and Yowl while adding their own poetic flare – which ultimately results in tracks that tell despairing tales while contrastingly evoking you to mosh. With an almost cowpunk aesthetic to their name The Starlight Magic Hour embody certain reminiscent quality of classic punk styling fused with a modern-age take on singing the blues: telling tales of unwanted pregnancies, younger generations being left with the mistakes of their predecessors and selling your soul to false prophets (of course). Certainly breaking the mould and frequenting dive bar line-ups, these guys are quickly becoming a must see act of depravity that everyone’s getting hooked on.
Essential track: ‘Song To Johnny’
Next gig: 19thJanuary @ The Windmill, London
Photo creds: Scallywag Fox
Originating from Brighton these anarchist-feminists are currently taking up residence in London, dominating the capital stage-by-stage with relentless force. Visceral and raw these girls flood your ears like a pack of banshees with shouty vocals, raging riffs and beserk beats that explore concerns that should just be common sense – “My Body, My Choice” is a fine example of this. Armed with innuendos and revolutionary passion, each song these ladies make is another stick of dynamite they can use to blow the patriarchy into smithereens. Unrepentantly feminist and rightfully enraged, Pussyliquor are creating music that rejects oppressive social norms and howls in the face of their oppressors while they strip on stage. They believe that through the fusion of feminism and music they can create a space where lived experiences can be shared and individuals can feel comfortable with their identity– what’s not to like.
Essential Track: ‘Kitty Kitty’
Next gig:26THJanuary @ Foresters Arms, Egham
9. Who:Ellie Bleach
Lowering the pace slightly, is lo-fi queen come indie-pop dreamboat Ellie Bleach. Taking inspo from awkward 90s fashion and experiences that many of us can relate to as we reach the inevitable coming of age, her musical style is equally humorous as it is heart-warming. From her recorded tracks to her music videos, Bleach explores how far she can stretch irony with upbeat tunes full of synths and jangly riffs from her bass intermixed with juxtaposing melancholy lyricism about the desire to be left alone, lovesickness and staying bed so long that not even you can stand your own smell. With two singles and an EP to her name, Ellie Bleach is quickly becoming a house-hold-name within the indie-pop inner circle of London. With an increasingly large portfolio of shows too, I predict that this year it’ll be hard not to find one of her gigs and get down to the sound of the cruelty of modern life and the angsty milieu of adulthood.
Essential track: ‘Leave Me Alone’
Next gig: 29thJanuary @ Old Blue Last, London
10. Who: Fat White Family
The ultimate come-back kids on our list are the Brixton-grown group Fat White Family, who although don’t all look as they did when they suddenly blew up in 2013 (mostly because the lineup is pretty different to the original lot) still remain just as beautifully marmite as they always have been. For years they’ve been known for their outrageous stage performances and their crass musical motifs. Regardless of which ever bandwagon you choose to jump on (love ‘em or hate ‘em), it’s hard not to admit that at the basest level this group of willy-waggling scallies are a marvel if nothing else. Kept alive by brothers Lias and Nathan Saoudi and Saul Adamczewski, Fat White Family have always been (and remain to be) pervertedly seductive in their style and musical creations. They invite you to become part of the degenerate clan whether you like it or not, to par-take in the sinful fruit, if you will, that leaves the taste of human degradation in your mouth and the smell of bodily fluids up your nose. Despite maybe sending you into sensory overdrive, Fat White Family have released a teaser for their new-born 3rdAlbum Serf’s Up (directed by the talented Niall Trask of The Kill Shop) that hints toward a continuation of their critical yet comedic take on socio-economic oppression in the current political climate that it hard not to admire. With this in mind, there’s no doubt the next album will provide a brutalist, but perhaps much needed, social commentary that hits apathetic listeners and yuppy onlookers with a cold hard socialist-cosh to the face. Watch this space (until April 19thto be exact)… and epic Game-of-Thrones pastiche teaser trailer:
Essential track: ‘Is It Raining in Your Mouth?’
Here are 5 festival highlights to look forward to and snatch up tickets for this year:
Dot-to-Dot Festival: Taking place in various cities across the UK, this festival invites you to get involved with local venues who will house a variety of artists for one day and one day only. With little released yet keep an eye out for updates on this one to catch the freshest acts of the day.
End of the Road: This is a festival that always has a promising line-up that will give you a hankering to get down to the middle of no-where between Shaftesbury and Blandford. With a relatively low price for festival thickets, they not only guarantee some exciting headliners, but they offer it at almost bargain price.
Lost Village Festival: Since the sad death of the much beloved Secret Garden Party, many festival goers have been trying to fill a glitter covered kaleidoscopic hole that SGP has left behind in their summer. Lost Village offers a tempting replacement, alluring “those on the outside” to come and take up residence in their trippy village full of artwork, theatrics and a multitude of musical stages.
Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia: Looking for a festival out of the norm, well head up north to Liverpool and get sucked into the world of psychedelia. Run by a small team, the festival is returning this year after taking a year off in 2018. With their slogan in 2017 being: “THIS FESTIVAL WILL DESTROY YOU”, 2019 only seems to promise a reiteration of the same. Not much has been said about the festival’s development for this year but keep an ear to the group because self-annihilation has never looked so good.
Field Day: If you’re looking for city break without the muddy wellies and back-aching tent rests then Field Day is the festival for you. Running over two days, Field Day always pull through with current acts from London and outside. Taking place in a new location, 2019’s celebration will be held at an enormous ten acre pitch which makes it their biggest festival to date. And what with an abundance of after parties spread over London as a music chaser, there’s not much more that needs to be said about just how exciting this weekend long party is.
Don’t forget what there is to look forward to: Independent Venue Week (Monday 28thJan – 3rdFeb), Record Store Day (20thApril),
Words By Aimee Williams-Maynard
- Photo credits- if we have missed you our let us know please