Next up we have Mary Chang, Editor-in-Chief of There Goes the Fear (TGTF). Although based in Washington, DC, Mary’s heart resides in the UK, and she has covered events, gigs and music festivals in North America, Europe and Australia. Mary began her blogging career at American outlet PopWreck(oning), quickly becoming their British music expert. In addition to her writing at TGTF, her reviews, interviews, and essays have appeared in DIY, ClickMusic and CALMzine, the official magazine of Campaign Against Living Miserably.
Enjoy the mayhem of growly rock music and the relentless thumping of a monster electronic tune, but sad you usually have to pick one or the other? With London duo Black Futures, you can have them both and in the same song: listen as they fully embrace an incessant thudding of beats and screamo vocals. Accompanied by mysterious followers dressed in hazmat suits stood down the front at every show and with their identities veiled in darkness and secrecy, it’s unlikely anyone will blow the lid off this crew anytime soon, but with music like this, who really cares?
Declan Welsh and the Decadent West
With the incredible amount of amazing music coming out of Glasgow right now, it’s difficult to choose one act to feature here. Influenced by Billy Bragg, Jarvis Cocker and Kate Tempest, Declan Welsh is a punk poet with a conscience and with his band the Decadent West behind him, they’re bashing out tunes about the class divide, fascism and sexual fluidity. This isn’t pop or rock as you once knew it, but the music of a woke Scotsman on a personal crusade to keep up the good fight and recruit as many good people to the cause.
English musician Michael Aston has degrees in classical composition from Oxford and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. More importantly for us, he’s been influenced by James Blake and records music under the unique name Knightstown. His soaring falsetto vocals match well with the lovingly crafted electronic soundscapes that run the emotional spectrum from brooding introspection to catchy, upbeat and fanciful. As he’s always chasing after a good melody, it’ll be fascinating to watch the evolution of Knightstown from here on out.
Loads of bands are now scrambling to add synthesisers to their arsenal, but how many of them have the potential to be future stadium headliners? Scottish singer/songwriter Robert Shields is ONR. (pronounced “honour”), playing live with a full band to realise the grandiosity of his musical vision. Instrumentally, this is bombastic pop at its best, with huge chords and massive builds towards crescendos, while Shields’ lyrics reveal an emotional vulnerability passionate enough to stand up to the music. At shows, he punches the air like a football coach with one only word on his mind: winning.
Rachel K Collier
Self-admitted Ableton obsessive Rachel K Collier started out as a bedroom artist and producer and had topline writing experience. But it soon became clear that the Welsh artist’s talent in writing dance songs and singing on them herself was just begging to be translated to the live stage. Collier has already wowed audiences with her energetic, dynamic shows showcasing her unique blend of house, electronica and indie dance and she hasn’t even released her debut album yet. It’s a little early to award a crown, but Rachel K Collier seems well on her way to becoming the queen of Welsh dance music.