We continue to shine the spotlight the biggest and best emerging acts from across the UK. Each Monday, we ask one of our esteemed tippers to select five of their hottest tips to be featured on the site throughout the week.
Next up we have Jim Craigen, boss at Alternative Friday, and one of the music moderators at Fresh on the Net, a site created by BBC 6 music’s Tom Robinson as a resource to help new and independent musicians get heard. Check out all his tips below.
Named after an archipelago on the northern side of Panama, San Blas are actually a 4-piece from London and Hertfordshire, who have created a superb sound that can best be described as ukulele rock. There are, however, many more layers to their song writing and sound when you listen to all six tracks on their debut EP; Draw, Win, or Lose. The alt-rock opener Morgan highlights the vibrant side of the EP, while a horn propelled finale in the slow building Drive, and Spanish guitar flourishes in the epic Kiss from Argentina, show a different side to the band. An outstanding debut!
Bristol singer Keir is a mysterious one, as there’s little information about him online, however don’t let that put you off listening to his highly impressive early work. His unique style of dramatic pop mixes soulful sounds with alternative and RnB flavours, and takes influences from the likes of David Bowie and Patti Smith. He then adds his own personality to create a wonderful musical experience, which all comes together in his remarkable live shows, as I witnessed at Glastonbury 2017, where his presence on stage really demands your attention. One to watch!
London Afro-Latin collective Penya bring together an incredible mix of percussion, horns, guitar, and electronica sounds by way of four highly talented and well-travelled musicians. Search It Out comes from their recently released debut LP, Super Liminal, which is a wonderful mix of rhythmic beats over layered percussion, to create an emotive, almost hypnotic vibe. Seeing these tracks performed live is also an impressive experience, which in a small venue resembles a private party rather than a public gig. I challenge you not to dance!
Are indie guitar bands struggling to be heard at the moment? At times it feels that way as other genres stake their claim, but there are still numerous new acts who can write a proper tune, none other than Sea Girls, who hail from various part of the English countryside. With catchy choruses, terrific riffs, and excellent drumming as the heartbeat of their tracks, they hook you in quickly. They’ve kicked off 2018 with another cracker in Heavenly War, but Lost is the ideal way to begin your journey with this 4-piece. When straight up indie is done this well it’s infectious.
London 8-piece collective Kokoroko (meaning ‘be strong’ in the language of the Urhobo people in southern Nigeria) are inspired by the music from that West African region, however Abusey Junction doesn’t just take Afrobeat flavours, but it also adds jazz and blues to create quite an exotic journey. Opening and closing with the mellow guitar work of the track’s writer Oscar Jerome, it evolves with the addition of an impressive horn section, keyboards, and percussion, using amongst others a shekere (a West African gourd & bead shaker). A stunning and emotional seven minutes of music.