8 Bands To Watch Out for in 2017
Last year was a fantastic year for music, as our top 20 albums of 2016 post proves, but 2017 could be even better! Here are 8 bands we think could hit the big time this year.
This pair of folk-punk babes from California have been around for a few years now and since releasing their first EP on Bandcamp in 2014, Cleo and Harmony have been touring non-stop in the US and UK.
What makes their sound different from other angry girl-band music is the lack of percussion. All of their songs are produced only with vocals, bass and electric guitar, and the band has never featured a drummer. The vocals are often layered and a little out of sync and off-tune, in protest to ‘mainstream’ music that follows the same patterns and guidelines.
In September last year, I managed to catch Oscar playing a gig in Manchester’s Soup Kitchen. It was a modest but lively crowd, with more younger fans than I expected; this is always the sign of an artist ‘on their way up’.
Scheller has also made friends with some promising people in the indie genre over recent years of touring, such as photographer Charlotte Patmore, artist Girli and band Black Honey. All artists that have also just come to the end of a pretty big year.
Pitchfork described his debut album, Cut and Paste, as ‘blown-out indie jams with magnetic melodies’. This is a perfect summary of the album, which boasts some classic Blur-esque lyricism and Scheller’s charmingly low baritone voice.
The Japanese House
To any Matty Healy haters that secretly enjoy a 1975 track or three, I would strongly recommend giving 20 year old Londoner Amber Bian’s EPs a listen. Healy actually helped with production on some of the earlier tracks, such as Pools To Bathe In, and you can see the similarities between Bain’s soft, electronic and dreamy sound and The 1975.
In a recent interview Bain told i-D magazine her music feels like ‘a sad little puppy listening to Beyoncé to cheer itself up’. The Japanese House’s 2016 release Clean offers the delicate ‘4am music’ we all need sometimes but without the famous 1975 ego. Letter by the Water is an overwhelmingly blissful and well crafted track from the album that will surely bring Bian the credit she’s due in 2017.
Barnaby “Barns” Courtney released his first single as a solo artist at the end of 2015, and since then has supported some pretty huge names, like Ed Sheeran and Tom Odell. He was born in Ipswich, but lived in Seattle for most of his childhood before returning to the UK to further pursue his career in music.
The singer-songwriter previously led British indie bands SleeperCell and Dive Bella Dive, but released Glitter and Gold and Fire under his own name after repeatedly being let down by labels and managers. Finally getting his break, his track Fire was chosen to be featured in the movie Burnt with Bradley Cooper, and has since made Barns Courtney a name on every forecast of up-and-coming artists this year. Barns is said to be currently working on his first full-length album, so watch this space!
I don’t think I am the only one hoping that this is the year for Manchester-band Pale Waves. But this might be too much to ask of a band that are still in the process of putting an album out… That being said, the indie-pop four-piece seemed to feature on most alternative festival line-ups last summer, and are set to tour again this year.
At Manchester’s Dot To Dot festival 2016, an impressive crowd gathered to hear the band play in their hometown. I was surprised to see so many people knew the lyrics and were singing along to some of their songs, as nothing by the band has been formally released yet. Day on day the number of fans on their Facebook page grows, which can only mean more fame is in store for Heather, Ciara, Hugo and Charlie. If discovering smaller bands is your thing, or you are a fan of the likes of Hinds and Wolf Alice, Pale Waves should be on your radar.
“Maybe Miya Folick isn’t a star yet, but on the evidence of the Los Angeles–based singer-songwriter’s haunting debut EP, Strange Darling, and her spiky just-released single Pet Body, stardom is surely in the cards.”- Maya Singer for Vogue.com
Describing her genre as the ‘fusion between grunge and folk’, Miya stands outside of the box bringing together dreamy melodies and confessional, socially-critiquing lyrics. If you’re not sure what this could possibly sound like, Miya’s music, including her 2016 single God Is A Woman, is available online. A track we’d recommend is Talking With Strangers from her previous EP Strange Darling.
At the moment, there really aren’t many artists I can compare Miya too. Maybe a more serious, female equivalent to Mac DeMarco? Or a darker Agnes Obel? Decide for yourself, and check out Oceans below! She is a talent, noticed by Vogue for her eccentric style in 2016 and Vice for her Buddhist take on music creation, that will only become more successful over the next twelve months.
Tycho is an ambient music project led by American producer and songwriter Scott Hansen. Despite being around since 2002, Hansen has managed to stay relatively under-the-radar, allowing him time to work on his secondary project REAPER while producing four studio albums and two EPs as Tycho.
However his most recent release, Epoch, has put Hansen firmly in the spotlight. His combination of atmospheric, natural instrumentation and electronic synths are hard to hate, and unlike the vast majority of popular dance music produced now, it is completely free of vocals. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Charts and received a nomination for Best Dance/Electronic Album for the Grammy Awards later this year.
Tycho have without doubt already had their share of success, but with a Grammy on the cards, it seems Hansen alongside new collaborators Zac Brown, Rory O’Connor and Billy Kim are embarking on a record breaking year.
Released on band member Cameron Boucher’s own label ‘Flower Girl’, Sorority Noise hit the punk music scene with six singles in 2016. Their alt-rock and emo fusion was created after members of American screamo band Old Gray and alt-rock group Prawn decided to break free from their old bands and start a fresh project. Cameron, Ryan, Adam and Charlie released their debut album Forgettable back in 2014, featuring nine moody tracks with a teen-angst feel that take you back to the 90s.
However, the most recent of their 2016 singles, Split, has an entirely different, more fine-tuned and serious feel. The production quality is certainly much better than anything from Forgettable which can be expected from two years of maturing as a band. That being said, it is still true to Sorority Noise style, and has satisfied old fans but brought them new listeners too. For this reason, the Connecticut four-piece are the last of my ‘ones to watch’ for the year ahead.
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