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boy azooga

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

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LIVE: Boy Azooga @ YES

WORDS BY HANNAH TINKER

To come from seemingly nowhere and astound with a debut album, then to be signed to Heavenly Records is a feat not many acts can claim. Unless you’re Boy Azooga. Cardiff based and born from musically talented parents, Davey Newington is the man behind the project, with musically minded friends Sam Barnes (Bass), Dylan Morgan (Keys) and Dafydc Davies (drums).

Sold out months ago, YES is one of Manchester’s newest venues – fresh from the minds behind Now Wave – adorned with an entirely pink live room to match the lovestruck lyrics unearthed amongst Newington and co’s aforementioned album ‘1, 2, Kung Fu’.

 

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Boy Azooga, Live at YES (12/10/2018)

A post shared by Piran Aston (@piran_musicphotography) on

The album is almost a high all the way through, as a sickly sweet smitten feeling and waves of hedonism seem to vent from even the darkest vocals. The range of Boy Azooga comes through in the trait that there’s a selection of styles thrown in, resulting in a record that’s almost a mixtape of multiple genres. But not in a narcissistic ‘Now That’s What I Call Music’ type compilation, instead of each track slots into place and whets the appetite of many a music fan.

Of course, you’ve heard ‘Face Behind Her Cigarette’, it became the DIY scene’s anthem of the Summer and a BBC Radio 6 gospel, with no reason why it shouldn’t have. YES melted into the ground at the sound of the 60s-esque instrumental, with no one not lip-syncing every word and making eyes at a girl they’re equally a fan of, it’s clearly a feature track.

An accolade to Davey’s commitment to his craft though is that most of the tracks had the audience tracing every word. ‘Taxi To Your Head’ hits a similar note, with instrumental and vocals reminiscent of Jagwar Ma culminating in a single that’s lively enough to move even the most stealthy of listeners. Likewise with ‘Losers In The Tomb’ which feels like it’s straight out of a Metronomy setlist, balancing an equal merger of eloquence and movement. One recurrent theme in each track is the frequent hooks that catch you and pierce further into your consciousness with each and every listen.

With a softness nestled amongst the lyrics of the album, a track which brought YES to sway was the ever romantic ‘Jerry’. Laced with charming words of “where did you go to get that smile/why does this song have to end, why can’t I ever comprehend” it’d be difficult to find a lovestruck member of the audience that wasn’t struck with a quirky smile and the thought of someone else to the head.

 

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Boy Azooga, Live at YES (12/10/2018)

A post shared by Piran Aston (@piran_musicphotography) on

The closing song of the album – ‘Sitting On the First Rock From the Sun’ – does however edge towards a somber tone and echoes the promise that team Boy Azooga isn’t all fun and games. A darker sound filled the pink-hued space just off Manchester’s Oxford Road as the potential of this rising act was echoed throughout the room. The evening was enough to leave a shudder up your spine and a penny for your thoughts as the idea that left is that Boy Azooga will soon be filling out venues on a much larger scale.

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perfect body psych

EP: Bubblewrap Collective Presents Perfect Body & Zac White

Words – Richard Samuel

When it comes to psychedelic/shoegaze indie, Wales punches above its weight with its most famous export the Super Fury Animals still flying the flag well across the globe. Cardiff-based Bubblewrap Collective are keeping up that fine tradition. The label, who were behind 2017’s successful split EP with Boy Azooga and Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard, have just dropped their latest split EP release from psych-upcomers Perfect Body & Zac White.

Kicking off the two-track release, Cardiff’s Perfect Body. Formed in early 2017 and inspired by the sonic experimentation of bands like My Bloody Valentine, Stereolab, and The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Perfect Body are one of the highly-tipped in the Welsh capital. Having secured a place on the Green Man Rising stage earlier this year, in just over a year the five-piece have secured huge support from music outlets including Drowned in Sound, BBC Introducing alongside the PRS Foundation backed artist development scheme – Forté Project.

Upon pressing play, Perfect Bodies present us with the delicious pysch-pop track ‘Fields’, the music equivalent of sinking a pint of your favourite ice-cold beer. The distinctively polished production gives a garage-pysch feel to the reverb smothered hooks, the woozy glacial synthesisers that really drench in character from the otherworldly three-way vocals haunt the track. There is a certain haze and shimmer that shrouds the track, in turn making you envisage the band huddled together to record in their bedroom. Perfect Body retain pop sensibilities making it a wholly accessible listen, taking you on a trip that knows where it’s going but via the lovely scenic route to get its destination. Whether you want an easy or complex listen, this track has it both.

Zac White perfect body

Next up, 19-year-old Zac White. Honing his own sound based on influences such as Wilco, Loose Fur, Sonic Youth and Broadcast, Zak’s 90s/00s off-kilter indie sound has grown from minimal arrangements with drummer Ethan Hurst into a rollicking, reverb-drenched, garage-psych experience; or so we’re informed by the accompanying press release.

Zac’s new single ‘Spent On You’ featured on this split EP differs from that of which Perfect Bodies offer. Whilst it’s more accessible for a casual listener, once again the musician retains his soon-to-be trademark pop sensibilities with a contemplative sun-kissed melody, bounding baselines, and glistening riffs tiptoeing into a heart on the sleeve sing-along. Its hazy-pop perfect for those clear sunset evenings that the autumn brings.

The record – pressed to limited edition purple and orange vinyl – will be released on November 23rd, which you can Pre-order here.

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