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Future Five

FUTURE FIVE: Female artists to get on your radar

WORDS BY EMMA ADLINGTON

As its International Women’s Day, it seems only right to highlight some of the women in music doing incredible things. Here’s our Future Five for this year – may they have every success in 2019 in beyond!

Lava La Rue

Lava La Rue is exactly what you’ve been missing in your life, and from your go-to playlist. Representing the creative music collection NINE8, her debut EP Letra was launched in the summer of last year. She takes inspiration from Erykah Badu and Neneh Cherry and it’s clear to see that Lava La Rue is proud of where she comes from (West London); she’s passionate about sharing her music with the world. Standout tracks like Fucked It and Widdit perfectly showcase that she’s a triple threat: sickly sweet vocals, impactful lyric writing and an enviable rap flow, too. If you don’t know, get to know – Lava La Rue will be on my summer soundtrack for 2019.

Nabihah Iqbal

Nabihah Iqbal has music woven into the very fibre of her being. Her regular NTS shows have gained a loyal following over the past year or so, as she showcases her favourite records spanning nations, decades and genre. From Italo house to reggae to punk, Iqbal never fails to surprise, educate and delight with her selections. She’s not just a talented DJ though, her skills as a producer and live performer leave audiences around the world in awe. Her debut album Weighing of the Heart (released on Ninja Tune in December 2017) is a glimmering, glowing collection of dreamy guitar pop, perfectly combining obvious inspiration from bands like Joy Division and The Cure with her own unforgettable sound. Look out for appearances in Marrakech, London and Leeds to name just a few this year.

Peaness

Hailing from humble roots in the small city of Chester, Peaness have been climbing their way up the ladder of indie pop royalty. Think Strokes-esque guitar chords with divine feminine energy and a punk edge. That’s Peaness. Although still relatively unknown around the country, the three-piece have gained listens on major radio stations like BBC R1 and Radio X. With performances around the UK and Europe gaining the girls an adoring fanbase, we’re excited to see how they progress in 2019 – Kero Kero Bonito support and AYL Fest are already on the agenda. Oh, and they’ve just put out a song called Breakfast about Brexit.

Isabelle Brown

It’s hard to believe that vocalist and songwriter Isabelle Brown is just 15 years old. But this incredibly talented lady could be the next MsLaurynHill; she’s that good. Her dreamy yet soulful vocals take the listener away, evoking a comforting nostalgia and familiar warmth in each and every one of her RnB tracks. Her sound is infectious too – we guarantee you’ll be humming along to Places from the moment you hear it. Isabelle has only released a handful of songs (her 03 EP was released last month) but she’s already been hotly tipped by The Fader and Vogue. We just know she’s one to watch this year.

object blue

2018 was the year that object blue started rising to prominence in the underground electronic music scene. 2019 will be the year that she climbs to the top. With a renewed residency on Rinse FM and regular sets across Europe alongside the likes of Ben UFO and Objekt, there aren’t many DJ-producers as exciting as this enchanting human being. Fans of experimental techno, if you’ve not yet heard her 2018 EP Rex – premiered by Mixmag -, you’re in for a serious aural treat. Erase everything you know about live performances and DJ sets: object blue is taking us on a journey of techno discovery, every single time she appears on stage or on the airwaves.

Like this? Read up on all of our blog posts HERE 👀

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ON THE RADAR: 2019

Over the year, 2018 weened out a host of new acts that met the limelight. From Boy Azooga to Parcels, independent acts have blown-up the music scene and set their sights on the big-time. But what can come through in 2019? Of course we don’t know yet who are going to rise up from the depths of their rehearsal spaces and practice rooms but our MCR Live contributors have selected the next generation of acts that they can see appearing on your playlists over the next twelve months.


EGYPTIAN BLUE

WORDS BY HANNAH TINKER

Their name comes from the “colour that disappeared” – the deep blue pigment that surfaced in the Egyptian period and vanished until it was rediscovered in the Roman Era –  but be assured, Egyptian Blue aren’t going to disappear any time soon. The Southern four-piece have cropped up slotted in amongst the vinyls of record shops up and down the country, as well as featured on many a ‘top track of 2018’ list from BBC Radio 6 to Piccadilly Records. Although still relatively unknown, they’re more than likely to break the mould in 2019 and be presented at some of your favourite venues.

FFO. Squid, Duds, Sorry.


HOTEL LUX

WORDS BY JESSICA CAMPBELL

Think of the South of England and your mind will probably be drawn to the colourful stony beaches of Brighton, the White Cliffs that lead to more exotic places or the first right of passage as a rowdy 16-year-old, Newquay. But Portsmouth? It’s more than likely that you’d probably only recognise it as the place you’d pass through to get to Bestival (RIP). However, one band are about to change this – mainly hailing from these haunts comes the macabre Hotel Lux. Though a young band, the 5-piece provide gritty realism through their lyrics – case in point being smash single of 2018 ‘Daddy’ which focuses on the often overlooked seedy underbelly of every city, all which seem to possess a sense of familiarity for front-man Lewis which in turn will leave you wholly satisfied, if not with realistic world portrayed through their lyrics. If you like dark, punky music that your mum probably won’t get, these are your guys.

FFO. Lady Bird, Goat Girl, The Rhythm Method.


LAVA LA RUE

WORDS BY EMMA LANGFORD

Lava La Rue is a west-London rapper last year releasing ‘LAVALAND’ consisting of a few short tapes integrating soft vocals with the sounds of London showcasing her personal style. Earlier on in the year in June, she released her EP ‘Letra’ showing a more hip-hop infused, upbeat sound. The track ‘Widdit’ was a success, bagging her a show on the notorious YouTube channel ‘A Colors Show’, a platform promoting fresh talent. Lava La Rue is also the founder of the nine8collective, a London based music, and arts collective, promoting and collaborating the work of its artists and musicians. La Rue’s silky lyrics and distinctive sound have caught the attention of many listeners. She is one to look out for in 2019.

FFO. Biig Piig, Poppy Ajudha, Puma Blue


32 TENS

WORDS BY CRAIG HOPKINSON

32 Tens are a Warrington based indie rock band, are set to make a serious impact on the unsigned, emerging U.K. music scene in 2019. This awesome band is already receiving thousands of streams and playlist features on Spotify, are members of the quickly growing AWAL independent music community to distribute globally and have also played a tranche of gigs across the U.K. for the last eighteen months. Their music is an energetic blend of harmonic melody, intense, heavy drums, funky bass, and lead guitar solos and very dynamic lyrics. The intensity and passion really shine through with every song and performance and so these guys are definitely a band to watch out for next year.

FFO. The Snuts, Rascalton, Chappaqua Wrestling


WALT DISCO

WORDS BY JESSICA CAMPBELL

Listen to just 30 seconds of one of their songs or seeing their oversized art-rock cum new-romantic inspired attire and you’ll wonder whether what you’re listening to is from now, or some 20 years ago. Inhaling the somewhat ‘twisted’ society around them and exhaling glittering tracks like ‘No Need For A Curtain’, which explores a documentary based on prostitution in Leeds, Walt Disco are breathing a new and beautifully flamboyant life (far beyond their years) into the flourishing Glasgow music scene. Punk AF. Glamorously gothic, with elements of Bowie ringing clear (both in haunting stage prowess, to recorded sound) everything the quintet do catches the eye. Need a douse of something refreshing to fit with your new year revamp? Walt Disco have it all.

FFO. Crack Cloud, HMLTD, The Ninth Wave (and banging clothes).


IMOGEN

WORDS BY JACK MCKEEVER

The London-based producer/DJ Imogen took the final quarter of 2018 by storm. She turned in a stonking hour mix for Rob Booth’s legendary Electronic Explorations series, and her impossibly murky breaks assault ‘Katla’ was a highlight of Mumdance’s ‘Shared Meanings’ mix CD. She takes severe techno as a starting point and splices into various grinding, wiggling forms, making tracks as likely to make one quiver as to bang fists. Early 2019 sees her appear in Brussels alongside Charlotte De Witte, and in June she’ll appear at the hallowed Junction 2 Festival in her hometown. Here’s to hoping there’ll also be a load of seismic releases from her throughout the year.

FFO.


BOY AZOOGA

WORDS BY RUSSELL HOPE

When you know you’re good you have to be incredibly good to back up that arrogance and cock-sureness of knowing how good you are and then you come across those artists that do what they do with humble confidence and appreciation of where they are and where they are going in their career. Boy Azooga is the latter and the captain of the ship (Davey Newington) has the full respect of those who have listened to his debut album ‘1, 2, Kung Fu’. Through the full variety, ranging from the grit of ‘Loner Boogie’ to the sheer brilliance and beauty of ‘Jerry’. After witnessing the album live at Bluedot in the summer, you just know that the follow up to this album has the potential of being even better. I can thank Mary-Anne Hobbs from BBC Radio 6 for opening my ears to this one and after being live on there last month I’m sure Davey is thankful too.

FFO. The Orielles, Pip Blom, The Vryll Society


CONFIDENCE MAN

WORDS BY HANNAH TINKER

Make way for the act that stole the show in 2018’s festival scene: Confidence Man. If you’re a Disco fanatic, you’ll know of the icon that is Rosin Murphy and her ability to immediately get the floor moving. Like the Disco Queen herself, the two-piece has faced audiences who didn’t know the Confidence Man title and left them proclaiming their excellence. Feel-good gets a re-boost with this group, they know exactly what to say to make it right and brighten any negativity. I for one am angling to see this pair at a festival in 2019, having heard that their spectacle of a show lets the euphoria run right up your spine. It’s Pop, it’s Disco, it’s Dance. It’s everything you need in 2019.

FFO. Methyl Ethel, Winston Surfshirt, Haiku Hands


PERSIAN HUGS

WORDS BY SOPHIE BILLINGTON

This four-piece band of men in Liverpool offers a clean but heavy sound with a lot of smooth talking. With guitars and drums that take turns in the spotlight, Persian Hugs are a classic rock outfit that are simultaneously polite and gentlemanly yet wild and unruly. The lead, Henry Belcher, is the kind of man that you want to take home to meet your parents but not for very long. Every release has been a hit so far and Persian Hugs’ following is fast growing on Spotify due to the undeniable panache that comes across in the band’s deliverance of mature and thoughtful stories.

FFO. Sea Girls, Red Rum Club, Corella


ANOTHER SKY

WORDS BY RICHARD SAMUEL

Another Sky burst on to the scene in 2017 with their progressive indie rock, that has a real cinematic quality to it. Gluing together some real classic elements with a tangible rawness, sharp observant lyrics, dark yet uplifting and the distinct vocals of Catrin Vincent that are hauntingly beautiful. If you go deeper you will find ambient guitars layered upon penetrating bass lines and apprehensive beats. Think Radiohead meeting The xx but with added bite and you’ve got something that is thrillingly haunting.  I also love the lyrics “Why worry ‘bout the weather or nuclear weapons when you can eat for free on a black card at Nandos?” on recent single ‘Chillers’, which show a band wanting to tackle big issues instead of singing about why their ex has broken their heart.

FFO. Sam Fender, Stereo Honey, Art School Girlfriend


PATAWAWA

WORDS BY JESSICA CAMPBELL

I’m going to go ahead and say it – Patawawa released the catchiest tune of 2018. Ever since monster-single ‘Patagonia’ dropped, the Matlock-based trio have gone from strength to strength playing up and down the country to packed out crowds at headline gigs and festivals alike and (not-so) rumours have it, a new EP is set to drop in the coming weeks. As new bop ‘Wires’ exhibits, Patawawa are showing no signs of stopping – taking their inherently Nu-Disco sound to new levels with Latin flavours sprinkled throughout. Hearing all this, I’m sure that you can imagine that no matter when you hear them, listening to Patawawa it’ll feel like you’ve been thrust back to the midst of the summer. And live? If you’re having a shit day, the three-piece will be sure to change that with beaming smiles as they bounce around the stage, filling any room with a contagious energy that doesn’t slow down for a second.

FFO. Parcels, Crazy P, Franc Moody


BLACK MIDI

WORDS BY HANNAH TINKER

It’s rare nowadays that anyone doesn’t have a social media presence, let alone a music act aiming to rise up through the ranks. Meet black midi. A quick scan of their scarce social media pages shows they only post their gig listings and nothing else. Word-of-mouth has brought them an alert fan-base, each passing on the folklore of this newcomer with no online bearing. Clamouring for every scrap of information they can find, the BRITS Academy graduates: black midi are in high demand. It’s a unique math-rock take on the independent acts floating around nowadays. As individual in their promotion as they are in their performance, go see for yourself at their twenty *almost* consecutive January and February 2019 tour dates.

FFO. Shame, Warmduscher, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs

Like this? Read up on all of our blog posts HERE 👀

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techno future

Future Five: Techno

From Mexico City to Copenhagen via London – These are the Producers Pushing Techno Outside of it’s Comfort Zone.                  WORDS – JACK MCKEEVER

To the casual listener, Techno might occasionally seem like an insurmountable, soulless kind of music. But while cold, grey and metallic sounds still lay the foundation for much of the genre’s fervour, to write the most linear examples off as being representative is as dangerous as doing the same in any other genre. Artists like Marcel Detmann and the sadly passed Trevino (Marcus Intalex) have always revolved around this notion, and more recently the likes of Helena Hauff and Bruce have twisted the form to fit their uncanny, inimitable wills.

This edition of Future Five contains five rising and lesser-known artists who are incorporating a multitude of feeling, musical dexterity and evolutionary vision into their Techno orientated head space, pushing it to regions beyond its usual comfort zone.

Object Blue

Born in China and now based in London,  object blue has a hugely rich tapestry of musical and literary culture to draw upon, and her earnest approach to incorporating both in her own productions makes for brain warping results. Her two 12” records to date have been released on Tobago Tracks and Let’s Go Swimming, proving that she’s already grabbed the ears of some of UK techno’s most forward-thinking minds. Tunes like ‘Act Like It Then’ from Do You Plan To End a Siege? Is the pinnacle of club-inflected home listening, opting for cavernous antics but using unnerving initiatives and – like most of her tunes – behaving far more confrontationally than anything that could be described as ‘club friendly’.

Her REX EP fuses Shakespeare’s King Lear and tumultuous personal experiences and takes tension to ecstatic new places; from the footwork glean of ‘(time to) Work’, to the rolling, multi-faceted sequencing of ‘Chipping Away at the Kingdom’ which sounds like a full-force charge at the palace walls. Akin to New York’s DISCWOMAN crew, her vehemently pro-equality transparency on social media seeps into the pours of her extraordinarily wonky production chops.

SHYBOI

Those with a more-than-passing interest in dance music and political activism will probably be peripherally aware of New York’s DISCWOMAN collective. While Jamaica native SHYBOI is slightly less prolific than her comrades Ciel and Umfang in terms of her own productions, it’s with her DJ’ing that she’s starting to make a thunderous stir. Her Resident Advisor podcast has been one of the most replayable examples of searing, intense and fun hours of techno music so far this year. Its visceral, warehouse, feel is laced with a virtuosity that smashes gritty unknown edits & mind crushing classics together with immense confidence before a glorious denouement that rolls through tracks from Krome & Time, Sax, Future Sound of London and Tessela.

Like the rest of DISCWOMAN, SHYBOI’s unrelenting fight for equality and her musical nuance to match make her an essential figure to watch.

Sugar

Copenhagen’s techno scene is becoming one of the most encapsulating in Northern Europe, and it’s all thanks to artists like Nikolaj Jacobsen. A producer, DJ and mastermind behind the city’s Fast Forward Productions outfit, his latest four-tracker for Euromantic – No Sex Only Feelings – not only has one of the best titles of any release this year, but also some of the most mammoth tunes. His music is a kaleidoscopic rush of bubblegum energy via the 140bpm format, embracing big room emotion that stops well short of cheesiness and offering enough percussive virtuosity to make for immersive home listening. He’ll appear on Kulor 001, the debut primer from Copenhagen legend Courtesy’s new label later this year, which will be sure to stamp both his and his rising futurists’ music on the map.

Mor Elian

Originally from Tel Aviv, Mor Elian now spends her time between LA and Berlin, fruitfully contributing to two of the world’s most exciting party scenes. She’s a booker for LA’s Into The Woods crew, who have secured names as resonant as Kassem Mosse, DJ QU and hosted Bunker NY’s 15th anniversary session back in March. Later this year she’ll be knuckling down at two of Europe’s most legendary clubs, Phonox (London) alongside object blue and then a week later at Amsterdam’s De School with Randomer and Galaxian, proving the swiftness of her rise.

That ascent is as equally spurred (if not more so) by her productions. Across EPs such as Cymatic Ring and 2017’s Fairplex Drive, Elian has melded EBM, electro and expansive techno into one core. While the techno scene may be awash with examples of that same artistic expression at the moment, Elian’s work is amongst the most vital, frequently veering between rib-cage deconstruction (‘Feral chime’) and meditative, long-form dreaminess (‘Paralysed Focus’). She’s unafraid to wield a now slightly-worn formula into gripping new shapes and lead it down steely, gloomy alleyways and – at the same time – courage permeates highlights from behind the decks, like her excellent FACT mix broadcast in June.

Tomas Urquieta

Tomas Urquieta is a Chilean producer now based in Mexico City who I first heard through Mumdance’s NTS residency earlier this year. Just like a wealth of Mexico City’s techno outliers, his music is supremely primal, owing as much to industrial scree and eerie sample-based innovation as it does earthly Latin rhythmic sensibilities. His latest single is the title track from his forthcoming debut LP for Infinite Machine, Duenos de Nada, and in a way it fuses all the most experimental, spacious and precision-guided tendencies of the EPs that preceded it; smoky synths and dizzying bleepery feed off of each other, using their elemental cores to spur themselves along in deeply mesmerising fashion, particularly reminiscent of the no-nonsense rampage of his earlier track ‘Koob’. The darkest corners of Mexico City’s hulking city scape are laid bare across La Muerte De Todo Lo Nuevo and Manuscript too, making Urquieta’s work a beautiful introduction to the region’s techno mire.

Need some new music recommendations? Read back on all of our Future Five posts here!

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lgbtq+

FUTURE FIVE: Pride Month

In the wake of controversial leaders an apparent need for change is still rife in 2018 – however, the support for equality and representation within the media for previously segregated and outcasted communities has never been more prevalent. If you’ve been wondering why so many rainbow flags have been flying high, outfits have been adorned with the same colours on major red carpet ceremonies (by the likes of Janelle Monae at The BET Awards earlier this year), or your timeline has been flooded with a talk of Pride – you’re in luck. June is Pride Month; celebrated each year to honour the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan – the major US Gay Liberation Movement – The LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Gender Fluid, Intersex and Asexual + more) community is pushed into the spotlight, as an advocacy of support and freedom they once lacked. Throughout history, the queer community has been largely misunderstood – and even been taboo talk – with the media ignoring, misrepresenting and largely unsupportive in turn acting as a further struggle for many. Pride Month aims to combat this and at MCR Live, we too want to fly a flag celebrating the musicians that are helping to change the perception of what it is to be queer – those musicians that are helping others accept and understand the community & celebrate the individuality we all have, using their differences as a platform to help others to be themselves regardless of sexuality.

BEC SANDRIDGE

Bec Sandridge is the Australian singer of queer women’s power anthems we never knew we needed. Despite being around for several years, Bec Sandridge’s recent releases have become more assertive with her LGBTQ+ experiences – her older songs reference her experiences as a queer woman poetically, whilst her current songs are blunter. For example, Sandridge’s most recent single ‘I’ll Never Want a BF’ recounts an experience many gay women will experience – having friends and family rejecting their sexuality, assuming that they just haven’t met “the right guy” yet. Sandridge vehemently rejects this stating “I’ll never have a boyfriend, just ‘cause you think I should”. Her songs defy the heteronormative expectation that a femme, queer woman should be primarily attracted to men.

Sandridge’s style is a synth-laden, 80s inspired sound with unbelievably unique acrobatic vocals. Her combination of LGBTQ+ experiences in songs and unique sound make her a standout in her field & Bec is bringing the popular “independent woman” pop-trope (thanks Spice Girls) to queer women in an 80s package tied together with plenty of red lipstick and blunt brows.

BIG FREEDIA

If you’ve heard popular music in the last two years, you’ve probably heard Big Freedia’s voice. However, If their name doesn’t sound too familiar, it’s no surprise – though their voice has been heard by millions in both Drake’s ‘Nice for What’ and in Beyonce’s ICONIC ‘Formation’ videos, few people know the queer artist bringing New Orleans’ bounce music to the mainstream. Being a black, gay artist from deep south US, Freedia has overcome major adversity to reach success. Despite almost being a “ghost” within the mainstream of the typically challenging industry, Freedia is constantly creating and advocating to secure their position.

Freedia is a massive influencer for the LGBTQ+ community by simply being themselves in a genre of music that has little queer representation. Freedia accounts for their ability to be out and proud in such a public way to their mother, who they tragically lost to cancer in 2014. By being apologetically queer and innovative in music, Freedia is streamlining the way for many queer artists of colour as well as paving the way for a completely new style of music in the mainstream.

 

SUPERFRUIT

Recently headlining LA Pride, SUPERFRUIT are well known for their influence within the LGBTQ+ community. Mitch Grassi and Scott Hoying, members of acapella group Pentatonix, created their duo SUPERFRUITfour years ago through YouTube. However, the lads only just released original music in 2017 with their debut album Future Friends. The album features pop dance bangers including ‘How You Feeling?’ and ‘Imaginary Parties’. The album also features LGBTQ+ anthems like ‘GUY.exe’ which openly discusses the lads desire to find the perfect man, as well as the song ‘Bad 4 Us’ which boasts an iconic music video – an animated Super Mario style princess abduction story. However, in true SUPERFRUIT fashion, the video ends a-typically with the two princes getting together, alongside the two princesses getting together.

SUPERFRUIT constantly break stereotypes with their videos – another instance being ‘Worth It’ which features two young dancers in reversed gender roles being both a beautiful video, and extremely well choreographed. Whilst it doesn’t make a loud statement, the constant denying of norms and affirming gender expression has lead the group to become a face for pride throughout the US for many young individuals.

 

MYKKI BLANCO

Mykki Blanco is possibly one of the most open queer artists around at the moment. Having opened up about being HIV positive and experimenting with a trans identity, Blanco is truly an advocate by example. Similar to Big Freedia, Mykki Blanco is a gay, black artist who faced adversity from a young age. After gaining traction in the early 2010s after touring with Björk and quickly adopting a celebrity fan base, Blanco began to feel stagnant and restricted by hiding his HIV secret; Blanco feared that by telling the world that man behind the fun Mykki Blanco character was HIV positive, it would ruin his career and any chances at further growth. However, he was shocked by the positive response – being the only openly HIV positive artist in twenty years, Blanco represents part of the community that is often forgotten alongside highlighting the struggle that defined the early years for LGBTQ+ equality.

Upon listening to Blanco’s work, his rapping style stands out incredibly. Showcasing both male and female expression, Blanco uses music to convey personal hurdles – at the start of his career the singer struggled with his gender identity for a while, identifying as trans with female pronouns whilst he was figuring himself out, but now Blanco tends to use the male counterparts and fully embraces fluidity. Blanco recently said in a statement that at the start of his career he believed that “becoming a trans woman would make life ‘easier than being a femme gay man’ and we all know this is not true. I am a Gay man, but my Trans journey is who I am.”

Blanco’s experience is extremely valid but is often judged harshly and today there is still a stigma toward those unsure, or experimenting, with their identity. Whilst equality and acceptance of LGBTQ+ is at a better place than ever before – and about time, too – there is far less understanding and acceptance of gender and sexual fluidity. By being a prominent artist who has been open about his struggles with gender and sexuality, Blanco is a wonderful role model and advocate for the community.

 

HAYLEY KIYOKO

Affectionately dubbed “lesbian Jesus”, Kiyoko is well known for her visually stunning, short film-like, music videos. With her first video, “Girls like Girls”, Kiyoko made it known that LGBTQ+ issues were a focal point of interest within her platform. The video shows the process of two adolescent girls falling in love and the difficulties many young queer women face. As with all her videos, Kiyoko had a massive creative influence over the story and direction an all of Kiyoko’s videos deal with lesbian relationships & their beauty as well as the harsh realities.

In mainstream media, there’s a lack of representation for queer women but Kiyoko is gracefully changing that spotlight. Instead of the glorified and hyper-sexualised lesbian relationships that so many influencers typically portray, Kiyoko’s videos are realistic and from a queer woman’s perspective. The perspective and outlet that Kiyoko showcases is massively helping many young LGBTQ+ people in the fight for acceptance and understanding amongst the masses. Though Kiyoko’s songs may not be as vocal about her sexuality – similar to Sandridge’s – she uses her visual platform to give young queer women a place to both understand, and accept themselves.

Want the perfect Pride sountrack for your celebrations? Listen back to our Pride Takeover here.

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wales mcr live

FUTURE FIVE: A Spotlight on the West Wales music scene

Cardiff has recently been crowned the UK’s music capital with its abundance of venues, initiatives and a community centring around the musical scene. However, the sheer talent that has been birthed outside the capital boasts a further array of artists that deserve to be discovered yet with their location oftentimes struggle for exposure, staying hidden gems in the Welsh countryside. From folk to electronic, the scene in west Wales is teeming with acts that are sure to blow up. If you fancy discovering some of the best talents from West Wales, the land of song, here are our five top picks you should invest some time in to.

The Tates

Having started in their hometown Carmarthen, The Tates are an indie outfit laced with a pop twist though they’re not as simple as that. Regarding their recorded material, the outfit possess a catchy collection of tracks all with an original flare, helping the band to stand tall within a notoriously popular genre. But, what sets The Tates apart proves to be in the beauty of their live shows; the band break any pre-disposed expectations the audience may have regarding their indie nature with sets consisting of powerful electronica and fearless energy. Having been likened to some pretty impressive names including Depeche Mode and New Order, The Tates bring a seasoned sound with a modern twist.

Alex Dingley

Alex Dingley is an artist who endlessly pushes the boundaries of folk with plenty of punk interjections. Travelling all the way from west Wales to California, Dingley’s forthcoming 3rd album ‘Beat The Babble’ sees creative input from the likes of Samur Khouja, Cate Le Bon and Tim Presley. ‘Beat The Babble’ has already been released in the US, with a highly anticipated launch on home UK turf coming up shortly on June 15th.

Roughion

Birthed in Aberystwyth and now based in Cardiff, electronic duo Roughion are making waves across the Welsh dance scene. Steffan & Gwion have recently collaborated with Astroid Boys frontman Benji for an exciting new upcoming release, as the pair continue to explore avenues that are bold & leave more than a statement. Their music is profoundly diverse, so diverse in fact that the musicians have been heralded as “Wales’ answer to the Chemical Brothers” – bold statement, eh? With an EP on the horizon, these guys ones to watch for those who need a new flavour of electronica in their lives. Check them out for yourselves, above.

I See Rivers

I See Rivers are an enchanting trio residing in West Wales’ Tenby after uniting all the way over in Norway. Their music is expansive and explores wondrous melodies with unrelinquishing elegance. Having dubbed their sound as ‘Float Folk’, they are comparable to the likes of Sufjan Stevens and Fleet Foxes. I See Rivers have an EP due out this Spring and what we have heard thus far is a clear representation of how they’ve grown in musicianship and production, with their latest single ‘Give Up’  receiving astounding reaction.

Adwaith

Adwaith are an all-female trio that define versatility. Encompassing both Welsh and English lyrics, their bilingual material can showcase everything from post-punk to stripped back folk with equally absorbing power. The Carmarthen girls have been appearing on festival bills for years, where their fanbase is growing rapidly out of love for their authentic sound with emotional pulls & we know they’re just a stone’s throw from breaking.

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female future five

Future Five: Female Artists

Yes, we know that ‘female’ is not a genre, but with Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day right around the corner, it seemed appropriate to celebrate the girls making a name for themselves in a music industry that is notoriously male-dominated. That’s why this week’s future five focuses on the up-and-coming female artists and female-fronted bands that you need to be listening to.

Jorja Smith

Citing Amy Winehouse as her major influence, Jorja Smith is a singer-songwriter from Walsall, West-Midlands who’s recently been making a name for herself as a female artist in the male-dominated RnB scene. Her jazz-infused vocals are both gentle and astoundingly powerful and flow from her effortlessly. Writing songs since the age of 11, Smith’s lyrics are moving and emotional and have helped her gain an impressive celebrity following including Drake, Dizzee Rascal and Stormzy, the latter with whom she recently recorded and released ‘Let Me Down’, a heart wrenchingly beautiful love song in which Smith truly shows off her incredible voice. She wowed the world this week when she joined Rag’n’Bone Man on stage at the Brit Awards to perform ‘Skin’, and has an extensive UK tour scheduled for the end of this year, including two dates at Manchester’s Albert Hall on the 10th and 11th of October.

 

Carmody

Based out of South-East London, Carmody is a female singer-songwriter with a talent for brutally honest and raw storytelling through her songs. Her music is an unusual blend of pop and indie-folk with a touch of electronica. She released her debut EP ‘Skin’ last April, the title track of which is incredibly simple, stripped back and beautiful. A song of lost love and regret, she lays her feelings out completely bare in an overwhelmingly brave and powerful move. She’s already been added to the lineup for both Wilderness Festival and Liverpool Sound City, as well as announcing a mini tour of the UK this spring, including a date at Manchester’s Castle Hotel on the 14th of May.

 

Camp Cope

Camp Cope don’t just make minimalist bedroom rock with a punk edge to it. Recently, they’ve also been making waves as activists for women’s rights, safety and equality, particularly in the music scene and industry. Taken from their upcoming second album “How To Socialise & Make Friends” aptly titled opening track ‘The Opener’ deals particularly well with these issues: ‘It’s another all-male tour preaching equality // just get a female opener that’ll fill the quota’. They have a talent for conveying anger and hurt without having to shout and scream about it, and deal delicately and carefully with difficult issues that are a common part of life for many women. The upcoming album tackles unwanted advances, difficult relationships, victim-blaming and the extra work female artists have to do to be heard. It’s available from the 2nd of March and is accompanied by an extensive tour of the US and their home country of Australia, with support from Mannequin Pussy and Summer Salt.

 

Clairo

A 19 year old artist from Boston, Clairo recently gained popularity seemingly overnight when her track ‘Pretty Girl’ suddenly blew up, racking up over nine million views on YouTube since it was released in August. She’s been releasing music on SoundCloud since she was fourteen, and her sound has an easy-listening, lo-fi bedroom music feel to it. She filmed the video for ‘Pretty Girl’ in about thirty minutes one afternoon, tackling the female issue of feeling the need to change to look and act a certain way for a partner. She writes about what she knows – teenage awkwardness and early relationship struggles – but in a surprisingly mature and articulate way. Earlier single ‘Flaming Hot Cheetos’ is just as effortlessly cool and relatable, about romanticising a relationship that wasn’t really that great. And apparently she gets free bags of Cheetos now.

 

Hejira

Perhaps the most striking thing about female-fronted, London-based band Hejira is not their sound but their attitude. Their debut album Prayer Before Birth was inspired by a trip to frontwoman Rahel Debebe-Dessalegne’s home country of Ethiopia, where she had not been since the death of her father. The band explored Ethiopian culture, met and formed connections with distant family members, and came home to London to begin work on the album. This has given the sound an underlying tribal feel, with traditional rhythms and beats blended artfully with folk and jazz, though their sound is constantly evolving and they try to avoid sitting comfortably within one genre for too long. Their single ‘I Don’t Belong to Anyone’ is a declaration of independence and self-ownership; particularly powerful when coming from a black female artist. As opposed to traditional touring, Hejira curate their own residency night, TRAUM, which, as well as a set from the band themselves, has featured other artists such as Clout, Hello Skinny and Man Ray Sky.

 

If that’s not enough girl power for you, you can listen back to our special galentines day show with Pins here, or read our review of  the ULTIMATE woman in Music- Lauryn Hill The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill  here.

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punk

Future Five: Punk

Punk has come a long way since the days of the Sex Pistols and, though there aren’t that many mohawks around nowadays, the attitude of punk is still going strong today. To celebrate it, this week’s future five is a round up of our favourite new punk bands that you need on your radar this week.

LICE

Describing themselves as ‘satirical art-punk’, LICE have been making music together since 2016. This year, they got a nudge towards the mainstream when added to the bill as support for Idles on their UK tour starting this April. For fans of Cabbage, these guys are making entertaining music that doesn’t take itself too seriously, poking fun at the current state of the world in an interesting and original way. Their newest single ‘The Human Parasite’ is an angry, angsty look into modern life that was born out of an interesting songwriting process – frontman Alistair mumbling into a microphone until he figured out what the lyrics were going to be and hoping the rest of the band didn’t notice. The Idles tour starts in Bath at Komedia on April 8th, and comes to Manchester’s Gorilla on April 18th.

 

YOWL

 

Punk and poetry have always gone perfectly hand in hand, but there are few bands who combine the two as well as London five-piece YOWL. They have an incredible ability for storytelling that shines through their lyrics in a frustrated yet artful way that speaks out for the people. ‘My Headache Likes to Speak’ is a darker take on The Strokes with the melancholy of The Airborne Toxic Event thrown in for good measure. The track speaks of a deep desire to form genuine and meaning connections with other people in the face of social pressures and anxiety and, in frontman Gabriel Byrde’s gritty yet gentle voice, sounds more like something out of late 90’s New York rather than modern day South London. They’re supporting Phobophobes at shows in Bristol and London in March, and have already started adding festivals to their summer calendar, including Portsmouth Psych Fest and Sounds from the Other City in Salford.

 

Phobophobes

 

Speaking of Phobophobes, the London six-piece have recently released their debut album ‘Miniature World’ on Ra-Ra Rok Records. Latest single ‘Where is my Owner?’ is, much like the rest of the album, dark and introspective with a heavy bassline throughout, accompanied by the deep and melancholic vocals of frontman Jamie Taylor. Though their music itself could possibly be better described as garage rock, the lyrics themselves are punk, through and through. ‘Miniature World’, the title track from the album, is infectiously catchy with its droning and repetitive chorus sandwiched between angsty, almost raucous, verses. Their UK tour starts next month with support from YOWL at two of the dates and others including Leather Party, Calvadore and FEHM. They play at The Eagle Inn in Salford on March 16th.

 

PINS

All-girl anti-establishment punk rock from Manchester with incredibly eye-catching style and a lot to say. PINS use their all female perspective to offer a fresh take on political and social issues usually dominated by men in an intriguing and original way that sets them apart from other punk bands. Their latest single ‘Serve The Rich’ is a repetitive marching chant – and therefore catchy as hell – and the video features the band, alongside 30,000 other anti-brexit campaigners, protesting the government’s austerity policies in Manchester last October, which perfectly sums up their values and visions as a band. Off the back of their ‘Serve the Rich’ tour at the end of last year, they’ve been added to the lineup for Cabbage’s Glamour at thee Ritz with The Blinders (you can read our review of their recent gig at The Deaf Institute here) and The Rhythm Method among others, as well as festivals including Kendal Calling and Bearded Theory’s Spring Gathering. We had PINS do a special GALentines Day show for us, which you can listen to here.

 

Sports Team

Based out of London, Sports Team have been making music together since they met at university in Cambridge and found the music scene there to be somewhat lacking in guitar music. So they decided to do something about it. Their debut single ‘Beverly Rose’ and its accompanying video is an adventure into the mundane, everyday aspects of modern life told in an incredibly fascinating way. Owning and embracing their Russell Group educated backgrounds, the band understand that they come from a place of privilege, and therefore don’t take themselves too seriously in anything that they do, and neither should you when listening to them. They’ve also been added to the bill for Cabbage’s ‘Glamour At Thee Ritz’ for their first ever show in Manchester this May.


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pop

Future Five: Indie- Pop

There’s a reason that pop music is so, well…popular. Built around fun melodies and catchy choruses, this week’s Future Five is a selection of some of the best up and coming indie- pop musicians we’re loving that you definitely need on your radar. If pop isn’t your thing, you can check out the rest of our Future Fives here, for everything from shoe-gaze and psych-rock to indie and alternative.

 

 Anteros

Formed in London in 2014, Anteros are a pop four piece who have spent the last four years developing and perfecting their dreamy, sugar sweet sound. Taking their name from the Greek god of requited love, Anteros often write songs about something sad, but use perfectly crafted pop melodies to transform them into something you can have fun and sing along to. Taking influence from Blondie, front-woman Laura Hayden also says that Stevie Nicks has had a huge impact on the way she writes songs and thinks about music. Their latest EP ‘Drunk’ is four tracks of pure fun, influenced by various pop styles from the 70’s to the early 90’s. Title single ‘Drunk’ perfectly demonstrates their ability to take something that could have been heartbreaking, and turn it on its head into something fun. They headline Jimmy’s on Sunday 4th February.

 

The Van T’s

Also known as The Van Twins, The Van T’s are a indie- pop four piece based out of Glasgow and made up of twin sisters Hannah and Chloe Van Thompson on joint vocals and guitar, accompanied by Shaun Hood on drums and Joanne Forbes on bass. The girl-dominated quartet started making music together in 2013 and have gone from strength to strength ever since, with the release of two EPs; self-titled ‘The Van T’s’ and, more recently, ‘Coming of Age.’ Their 90’s pop sound has the occasional edge to it with a touch of grunge and more than a sprinkling of glitter in their glam aesthetic. Their latest single ‘Bittersweet’ is both fun and intense with a touch of the attitude that helped them scoop the ‘Best Live Act’ award at the Scottish Alternative Music Awards. On Friday 16th February they play their first headline show of 2018 at Glasgow’s Stereo Cafe Bar with support from Shredd.

 

Catholic Action

Pioneers of Glasgow’s DIY music scene, Catholic Action are redefining what it means to make guitar-driven indie- pop, gaining fans throughout the UK with their unique sound following the release of their debut album ‘In Memory Of’. Unashamedly pop, the album is vaguely reminiscent of early 00’s indie and even has the occasional hint of dreamy shoe-gaze; the influence of My Bloody Valentine can be heard throughout. Latest single ‘Black and White’ has a youthful energy to it combined with a bittersweet, nostalgic feel that nods to guitar driven pop of the past, while keeping one eye on the future at all times. Earlier single ‘L.U.V’ is much more exuberant, made for toe-tapping along to, and is above all else, just good fun. Catholic Action set out on a headline tour of the UK this month, starting on February 20th at Newcastle Underground and finishing in Glasgow on March 24th with a massive hometown show where they take over the iconic King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut with support from ST. MARTiiNS, Shredd, The Bellybuttons and more.

 

Superorganism

Made up of a whopping eight members, Superorganism could easily be described as a supergroup, in more ways than one. Everything about their eclectic alt- pop sound feels incredibly DIY and quirky. Almost by accident, they gained recognition in early 2017 when they uploaded ‘Something For Your M.I.N.D’ themselves to streaming services, and by the end of the week had made it onto Spotify’s New Music Fridays playlist. It’s been onwards and upwards from there, with a near constant stream of singles being released throughout the year, including the quirky and surprisingly uplifting ‘Nobody Cares.’ ‘It’s All Good’ is a little further out there, straying slightly from pop and venturing into electronic territory but still, at the heart of all their music, is a sense of good fun. Their catchiest song yet, ‘Everybody Wants to be Famous’ is the lead single from their debut album, set to be released on March 2nd on Domino Records. They set out on a massive headline tour later this month that includes dates in Europe and America, as well as The UK, including a show at Manchester’s Gorilla on March 7th.

 

The Vegan Leather

Describing their sound as art-pop, The Vegan Leather are a four-piece band from Paisley (none of whom are actually vegan) and have been making music together since 2014. Their first single ‘Days Go By’ delicately layers vocals to build a gradual intensity without becoming overwhelming, and is undeniably catchy. Newer single ‘Eyes’ is much dreamier but no less fun to listen to, upbeat and energetic melodies accompanying slightly melancholy lyrics. Influenced by Talking Heads and LCD Soundsystem, their sound is occasionally funky and always built around an interesting indie-pop guitar riff. They play The Bungalow in Paisley on Friday 2nd February as part of independent venue week.

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Independent Future

Future Five: Independent Venue Week

With Independent Venue Week just around the corner, this week’s Future Five focuses on some of the many bands who will be playing shows throughout the week, celebrating the Independent venues that without, new music would seriously struggle to be supported. With an assortment of genres, there’s something in this week’s five for everyone – no excuses!

Bad Nerves


Formed in 2016, London-based four piece Bad Nerves introduced themselves to the world with straightforward, in your face punk in the form of first single ‘Dreaming’, which was absolutely bursting with potential. ‘Bad Kid’ followed, and was just as punchy and powerful, hinting at their ability to create anthem after anthem, each song as relentless as the last. Latest single ‘Radio Punk’ is ever so slightly more melodic and gentle, but with no less attitude. It’s catchy as hell and, at only two and a half minutes long, is over way too quickly. Numerous replays at top volume are a necessity. The influence of The Ramones and The Clash shines through clearly, but with a thoroughly modern twist that sets them up well for the future. They play Chelmsford’s Independent The Bassment on February 2nd alongside The Horse Heads, Victories and Grandma’s Waffle Velocity with Nu-Punk legends Slaves Djing the whole thing after. HUGE.

 

Isaac Gracie


Everything London based singer-songwriter Isaac Gracie does is so full of heartfelt emotion that it’s a challenge to get through a song without shedding a tear. His voice is heartbreakingly gentle and overwhelmingly powerful at the same time and his moving lyrics flow like poetry. Citing Jeff Buckley as a major influence, his sound centres around the folksy and acoustic, with the occasional venture into something a little heavier, a little faster. Since the release of his debut EP, ‘Songs from my Bedroom’, Gracie has gone from strength to strength. His latest single ‘Terrified’ is possibly his most raw, honest and powerful to date and is both incredibly personal and incredibly relatable at the same time. He plays The Village Underground in London on January 30th.

 

Cosmo Calling

Based out of Manchester, Cosmo Calling are a colourful pop-rock five piece that met while studying at The Royal Northern College of Music and have been making music together since 2016. The combination of male and female vocals from their charismatic front duo makes for incredibly catchy melodies that are hard not to sing along to. Latest single ‘Like Lightning’ bursts with youthful exuberance and energy. Taking influence from Fleetwood Mac, Arcade Fire and Queens of the Stone Age, their sound is a delicate combination of all things alternative and indie, with the occasional touch of rock and even the slightest hint of surf in some of their guitar riffs. They play at The Monarch in London on February 1st, with support from Daze and Lacuna Bloom.

 

Jealous of the Birds


Solo project of Irish singer-songwriter Naomi Hamilton, Jealous of the Birds began to gain popularity in 2015 after the release of her debut EP ‘Capricorn’. Taking influence from Cat Power and Laura Marling, her sound is an artful combination of folk and gentle acoustic indie, accompanied by poetic lyrics. Taken from her debut album ‘Parma Violets’, single ‘Mountain Lullaby’ is hypnotically dreamy, with delicately layered vocals accompanied by a soothingly soft acoustic guitar. Latest release ‘Mrs Dalloway’ is heartbreakingly nostalgic with a touch of a romantic, vintage feel to it. Accompanied by Ryan Vale, Cut in Blinks and Gross Net, Jealous of the Birds will play at The Oh Yeah Music Centre in Belfast on February 3rd.

 

Little Illusion Machine


Since early 2015, Manchester three piece Little Illusion Machine have been working together to create what they describe as ‘gloomy guitar laden indie psych rock’. Though it’s a good description, in reality their sound spans a lot more genres and is more difficult to pin down. The influence of The Arctic Monkeys and The Last Shadow Puppets can be clearly heard throughout ‘Moth’, the first single to be taken from their debut EP ‘Melancholia on the Horizon’, but with much darker undertones peeking through. The impressive first release even has touches of grunge and hard rock, truly putting it in a class all its own. On Tuesday 30th January, they’ll play at the Independent Venue Week Showcase at Night People in Manchester alongside The 99 Degree, Control of the Going, Lavender and Working Men’s Club.

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Future Five: Alternative and Indie-Pop

This week’s Future Five focuses on all things alternative and indie-pop. Full of bouncy melodies and catchy lyrics to sing along to, these are five of the up and coming bands you need on your radar this week.

Future Five - Alternative and indie pop bands - Floral Scene - MCR Live Blog

Floral Scene

Formed in 2016, the past year has seen indie-pop four piece Floral Scene really make a name for themselves. Not only did they play to a sold-out crowd at Deaf Institute in support of Saint Motel, they also headlined their own show at The Castle Hotel. They finished last year by supporting The Cheap Thrills at Liverpool’s Cavern Club, and are starting this one with a gig at Jimmy’s on February 8th which is not to be missed.

Their latest single ‘Esteem’ is a bouncy, summery pop tune. Made for fans of Two Door Cinema Club and Bombay Bicycle Club, it also holds the slightest hint of teenage frustration in the lyrics that cut through the track’s sugary sweetness giving it edge. Earlier single ‘25’ is heartbreakingly nostalgic with a hopeful look to the future. Fans of Viola Beach will love these guys, and they are surely on their way to big things.

Fur

Somehow, FUR have managed to take the sound of the early 60’s and infuse it perfectly with modern alternative-pop without compromising on anything. Their latest single ‘If You Know That I’m Lonely’ is an upbeat and jangly tune full of youthful optimism in the face of heartbreak, with an accompanying video that’s just as quirky as the band who made it. Based out of Brighton, FUR have been making music together for over two years now, but since working with Jager Curtain Call to record the single and playing a set at Bestival in the Summer, they’ve been almost unstoppable, playing nonstop gigs both in their hometown and around London. Their cover of Elvis Presley’s ‘Blue Christmas’ sounds perfect with their vintage-inspired sound.

Banfi

Formed in east London in 2015, Banfi’s third year of making music together looks as though it’s set to be a big one. In March they set off to play a few shows in Europe, before returning to the UK to headline a mini-tour here, including a date at The Soup Kitchen on March 20th. Their music is best described as pop, but with hints of rock and an alternative edge throughout.

‘Happy When You Go’, the first single from their debut album, is, above all else, infectiously catchy with a chorus that’s impossible not to sing along to. The lyrics are both poetic and straightforward and, in some cases, a little dark and bittersweet. Latest single ‘Caroline’ is a heartbreaking step away from their usual sound, a huge track bursting with nostalgia, regret and most importantly, love. They’ve been teasing a big announcement for a while now, so keep an eye out for new material.

Night Flowers

London five-piece Night Flowers had an absolutely massive 2017, supporting both The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and The Japanese Breakfast on their UK tours at a number of sold-out dates, as well as filling their Summer with a number of festivals including Boudica and End of the Road. Their alternative sound has a touch of shoegaze and dream pop element lent to it by ethereal, almost impossibly sweet vocals.

Single ‘Amy’, taken from their ‘Glow in the Dark’ EP is an optimistically youthful ode to growing up and taking chances that sticks around in your head long after it’s finished, and lead single ‘Glow in the Dark’ is more of the same, oozing hope and romance in equal measure. If their constant teasing is anything to go by, they should be announcing the release date for their debut album any day now.

The Orielles

Made up of two sisters and one best friend, The Orielles are based out of Halifax and have been making music together, learning as they go, since 2014. Their genre-spanning sound is influenced by bands such as Sonic Youth and Pixies, giving it a 90’s undertone with a modern, updated twist. Their latest single ‘Blue Suitcase’ is a lot of fun, with a hint of a disco vibe in there that’s telling of their DIY attitude and sets them apart from the alternative pop crowd.

Earlier single ‘I Only Bought it for the Bottle’ has a slightly darker edge to it but is no less catchy, and no less exciting. After a visit to Europe in February, they’ll be back on tour in the UK, playing Manchester’s Gorilla on April 14th, and will be releasing their debut album next month on Heavenly Recordings.

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