Liverpool music begins a new cycle of awesome new artists, Getintothis selects its class of 2016.
It’s been five years since we began posting our annual new breed of ones to watch on Merseyside and much has changed.
When we started back in 2012, five years after Getintothis was founded, it seemed like the start of a new wave of music was sweeping across our region – there was a fresh musical impetus not just in the practice rooms, recording studios and bedrooms around the city but also a renewed vigour among the promoters, writers, venue staff, sound engineers and entrepreneurs in making the landscape tick. It’s intriguing to note that in among the more celebrated artists that made up our original New Breed list including the likes of Dan Croll, Loved Ones and Ex-Easter Island Head, were the beginnings of a variety of collectives and people who would go on to become the building blocks of Liverpool’s new music scene – these included the likes of Deep Hedonia, Milk: Presents, God Unknown Records, the Viper Label, promoters at the Kazimier Garden and Constellations plus a whole raft of newly spawned acts of a near-future – many of which are still emerging in new music outfits this year.
Fast-forward four years and 25 acts (representing just under a fifth of the artists we’ve tipped) have signed to a label – and gone on to release a debut EP at least – representing a clear indication of what’s going down on Merseyside; and these lists exclude the runaway success stories like Clean Cut Kid who surged out of the blocks before we’d had time to draw breath and a myriad of artists who formed in the intervening months who it would seem churlish to include in any retrospective catch-up. It’s this healthy competition, a will to improve and create something more inspirational and an expansive sense of ambition spurred on by contemporaries which currently drives Merseyside music. The years when the regional music scene was insular, parochial and to some extent marred by a back-handed cynicism have for the most part washed away and there’s now a collective goal and striving for better things. There’s also a distinctive network of people who are providing a clear pathway to radio, print or online platforms. In recent times a whole new wave of artists have managed to secure deals and release debut albums (and in the cases of Stealing Sheep, Forest Swords, Bill Ryder-Jones and several others, superlative second or thirds) and climb to that second rung in the ladder – and it has paved a way for a new cycle. And that’s what this list aims to represent. Those on the first rung but who we think have potential for so much more.
Each January, we’ve outlined our case of who to watch in the next 12 months, but this year we felt it was time to step back and look at the bigger picture on a national scale as there was so much we were keen to champion. We were also aware that this year’s GIT Award shortlist represented the start of something fresh; eight new nominees and the beginnings of a new cycle in Merseyside music – so we sat back and waited to see how the dust settled on a new year and it’s many new propositions.
And that’s what we think this list represents. The big wheel once again, keeps on turning. A new start. Thirty five new acts shaping our sounds in Merseyside. A new collective of musicians many of which are only just beginning on their new path. Regular readers will be well versed in much of those listed below – but what they all represent are artists just setting off; most have yet to release their debut EP. Several haven’t played a Liverpool festival. Many have yet to enter a recording studio. Some have played less than three gigs. One hasn’t played at all. Yet all have promise. Compiling the list was once again a major headache. It was done so by myself, deputy editor Adam Lowerson, our social media editor Vicky Pearson and a several other key contributors with the vast majority of our writers then adding their thoughts on the various acts. We think, it once again underlines the furtive breeding ground that’s currently on offer in Liverpool and the surrounding region and will once again, provide inspiration to the next line of artists breaking through. We also hope you find some new treasures to listen to. Peter Guy.
Still very much under the radar with not much information about her available and only a couple of songs available to listen to online, Wirral born but Los Angeles raised songwriter Azusena has all the tools to be a huge success.
Through her tracks such as Clever Gains and You, Azusena has given an intriguing taste of her stripped back, understated pop. With the latter being more acoustic guitar led while the former has more of an electronic feel to it, both tracks showcase her knack for melody and a voice to die for.
It’s very early days, but Azusena has the potential to be one of Liverpool’s next big pop stars. Adam Lowerson
If given the task of finding one word to sum up Del Florida, it would be “dreamy”. Within seconds of hearing their brilliant In Sleep you are immediately whisked away to a remote beach or a sunny afternoon in Sefton Park. The four-piece, fronted by vocalist and pianist Leela Dawson (also of Taws and solo status), bring a seemingly effortless sense of shimmery exotica to their Liverpool sound and cannot fail to bring a smile to your face.
Their more recent debut single Superior, is even more jazzy and soul-drenched, giving Dawson a chance to exercise her freestyle vocalising even further. Alongside Inge Bremnes, Chris Gaffney and Stephen Fitzpatrick, Dawson’s band are the perfect summer festival band who should quickly rise to headline status with their breezy confidence and killer self-penned tunes. Describing themselves as a cross between a surf and post-rock, Del Florida are a sublime antidote to those troublesome 2016 blues. Del Pike
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Having been the first act to sign with one of Liverpool’s newest and most exciting record labels in Deathly Records, Lilium are looking to build on their live reputation and cement their status as one of the scene’s most exciting new bands.
With only a 20 second trailer for their forthcoming debut single Disappear, recorded at the Motor Museum, available to listen to online, you’ll have to take it from the people who’ve seen them live that Lilium are an intriguing act with bags of potential. For the rest of us, we can only wait and anticipate.
With layers of vocals and vast, expansive productions, the tiny glimpse of Disappear we have so far hints at a unique, widescreen sound with a wide array of influences. We can’t wait to hear more. Adam Lowerson
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17 year old L U M E N is some sort of hologram from the 80s sending us ambient echoes through the space time continuum. Although, atmospherically, he could exist quite happily with Donnie Darko at dusk, his individuality is what dislocates him from accurate reference points and genre specific chronology.
Having garnered support from Radio 1‘s new music maestro Huw Stephens and performed alongside Frankie and the Heartstrings, L U M E N became one of the latest in a long line of artists to emerge from the LIMF Academy.
This guy is special. His synth-pop sound has the potential to push music forward. The real shock comes when his lyrics ask all of the questions that make you ache. Just as pretty as Pictures of You in the age of Instagram, L U M E N’s summer needs no filter baby, it’s just true. Backed by the Merseyside Arts Foundation, the future looks very bright for young Liam Brown. Sue Bennett
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A swell of positivity seems to follow LUNA everywhere she goes these days. Her sets at Threshold, Sound City and most recently LIMF were met with lucent comments from all around, admiration that only grew further following the release of her mesmeric new single Without Love.
Delicate ambient melodies and drifting vocal power aplenty within an enchanting spell of trippy dark pop flickers and glitchy production.
Seemingly forever blossoming, LUNA is proving herself increasingly adept at production, live delivery and penning pop kicks that get many a jealous admiring glance from her peers. Her rise isn’t showing any signs of slowing up so our glowing refrences to her music won’t be either. Jake Marley
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Mersey Wylie has a musical résumé that some people could only dream of, such as working as a backing vocalist for Yoko Ono, Ringo Starr and Siouxsie Sioux. No longer a backing singer, Mersey Wylie is now taking center stage with a sound that blends her years of experience to release her own original music.
The mixture of blues, jazz, funk and soul create her own unique harmonies with a reminiscent nod to the sounds of Northern Soul. Everything about her music adds energy and passion to the room it is being played in.
Whether with a nine piece band or stripped down to her and a guitarist, Wylie makes all performances feel like an intimate show and connection and always a must see. Jess Borden
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Terrifying. In every sense. The Mysterines are terrifyingly gifted for ones so young and for ones so young terrifying in how far this sound could go. The Wallasey-based trio of singer-guitarist Lia Metcalfe (daughter of former Sound Of Guns singer Andrew), bass player George Favager and drummer Zak McDonnell (son of The Sandband‘s David) have been earning their stripes during select live appearances on the Wirral, most notably alongside The Sundowners at their Christmas special and more recently a heart-racing set at Hoylake’s Skeleton Coast.
Melding swaggering rock & roll, propulsive Bleach-era Nirvana rhythmic clout and in Metcalfe a guttural nonchalant vocal bite which flits between deadened Courtney Barnett drall and fearsome Patti Smith howl – they’re at once intense and yet alluringly warm. Thus far there’s but a handful of tracks available (nothing online) on their mini limited run self-titled CD including the twanging street-beat fury of 50’s Knife Fight notable for it’s frenetic McDonnell stomp, opener Skeleton Coast a tribal louche groove and acoustic stand out Sticky illustrating the band’s ability to strip things down yet, thanks to Metcalfe’s primal vocal, remain a strident, brutal force. It all makes for a frightening proposition – and one we can’t help but be completely entranced. Peter Guy
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Loud, abrasive and in thrall to cacophonous waves of discordant feedback, Liverpool four piece Ohmns are one of the city’s fastest rising bands. With a sonic palette that encompasses punk, post-punk and howling hardcore the band are at the forefront of an emergent scene of like-minded travellers. Yet Ohmns have been able to successfully forge their own distinctive identity with a series of eye-catching displays in the red-hot cauldron of the live stage
To watch the band play is nothing short of a captivating experience. Their sets take on an unpredictable almost chaotic air that feels like it could all descend into bedlam at any minute. You can’t take your eyes off them.
Crucially, too, they don’t take themselves too seriously. But amid the undeniable sense of fun within their broodingly propulsive dark garage sounds, is a proper band willing to be led down increasingly more experimental and avant-garde paths. Each performance sees a leaner, tighter and more confident band on display as if challenging their instruments to produce ever more ear-threatening sounds.
One not to be missed and we will monitor their progress with a keen sense of interest. Paul Higham
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Ovvls are an experimental duo newly signed to Liverpool label Deathly Records. If Edgar Allan Poe had a girlfriend that could sing – this would be her. They inspire Getintothis to do some high priestess style divination on the future of their sound: if the songwriters ever got jealous enough (Babooshka jealous) then Kate Bush might lend them her credentials.
The current single Winter makes them sound like they have knowledge of forgotten folklore essential to surviving the season of the witch. With synthesiser riff repeats, and distorted violins this is a good one to take a hair-raising run through a forest to (don’t look back). Getintothis introduces Ovvls as a wise old totem to new psychedelic gothic sounds. Sue Bennett
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Paris Youth Foundation are a Liverpool-based alternative rock band. They released their first single, If You Wanna, last month on Soundcloud with it gaining a lot of airplay from BBC Merseyside and Radio X. They made their mark with their debut single, and that’s not an easy thing to do. It’s energetic and the vocals are captivating. It’s a track that you can’t help turn up the volume to. After the first listen, all you want to do is press repeat. It’s that kind of a track.
2016 is looking to be a big year for the group, with a slot on the BBC Introducing stage at Reading and Leeds Festival amongst several other dates across the UK. Steph Niciu
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Pink Kink party-popped into our consciousness late last year at their ram-packed debut show at the Kazimier, a fizz of colour and psycho tropical bubble rock for every kinky woman and every pinky man. Star spots at Sound City, FestEVOL and the GIT Award launch party at the top end of the year have enchanted and pulled in a wider fan base, plus garnered great reviews.
The LIPA band is currently on a summer break, and Liverpool misses them. With no recordings available to keep us company over these weeks, we look forward to the band’s return and anxiously await news of a first release.
Few have exploded onto a scene like Pink Kink first did almost a year ago, and despite the lack of recorded music available to listen to online, the five piece have been featured on Apple’s Beats 1. Surely there can’t be many debut singles as highly as anticipated as theirs? Cath Bore
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Souped-up scuzz merchants Psycho Comedy have got it going on, from debaucherous riffs to a frontman oozing raw charisma, fusing dreamlike shoegaze with gritty rock ‘n’ roll taken straight from the handbook containing the sexed-up jams of The Stones and the eerie, unsettling, psychedelic strains of The Velvet Underground.
Formed only in 2015 and signed to Playing With Sound, the first tastes of recorded music and glimpses of live shows have done nothing but fuel a genuine and justified appetite for this Liverpool five-piece from all corners.
Psycho Comedy find various ways to flood the senses, their minimalist approach to lyricism only enhances the impact when a line does land, ensuring it sticks around in the conscience, and the gradually enveloping drones of sound niggle at your psyche like a crack addiction. Electrifying stuff. Tom Konstantinowycz
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Recently announced as The Label Recordings‘ latest signings, slick six-piece Red Rum Club have made fleeting appearances on the live circuit while moulding their cinematic debut masterpiece in Parr Street Studios alongside Chris Taylor.
Oozing the vigour of a group brimming with confidence and explosive anthems, their debut release is only the tip of their undoubted potential. Delivering blow after blow while remaining rather under the radar, this is a group surrounded by a natural buzz, primed to lead any renewed Merseyside charge on the national music scene.
They’re set to open for the Shimmer Band at the Buyers Club later in the year and if their recent slot at Sound City was anything to go by, fans are in for a real treat. Jake Marley
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Yet another group who have carved their early reputation through a series of impressive live performances across Liverpool in recent months, SPQR are ball of pure energy and fuzzy guitar tones.
With alt-rock perhaps not exactly being the coolest of genres, SPQR manage to give it a fresh feel with interesting melodies and impressive vocals. Packed with grooves and searing guitar solos, you know what you’re getting with them. They’re tonnes of fun and have a knack for earworms, in particular their track PLINK.
Although still pretty new to the Liverpool scene, SPQR have picked up a decent online following, and if they build upon their early promise could soon become favourites on Merseyside and beyond. Adam Lowerson
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The Shipbuilders, fronted by Matty Loughlin, a singer songwriter with a genuine La’s era John Power curly mop, are the real deal. Their songs reflect their name with their deep rooted dock road stylings, further reflecting the Loughlin family roots in actual shipbuilding.
Their songs are honest and direct, with obvious Scouse influences box-checked but with a style unique enough to call their own. Matty, alongside his mates Danny Lee and Sully and newbie Nicky McGrane on bass (following brother Andrew’s recent move to Spain), have a fresh sound that is difficult to put into words, as it is the atmosphere they create that is the key. Their sound is evolving into a harder edged approach too, and it suits them down to the ground
Songs like Hanging me at Dawn and Darkening Vale are modern day folk songs with real stories to tell and demand to be heard. Not only are they a genuinely talented band but also some of the nicest guys you could wish to meet, and that warmth seeps through their music to create something special. Del Pike
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You know when you hear a new track from someone you’ve never heard before and it sounds just right? When it sounds like the track that you’ve been waiting for? When in some instinctive way there’s a promise of more? When that one single track renews your faith in music?
Zuzu bagged a very appropriate support slot when Courtney Barnett played Liverpool last December and with a tight 3 piece band behind her, plenty of gigs in the intervening months and a debut single, Get Off, just released, her inclusion on this list is more than justified.
The promise will be delivered in spades and we can’t wait to hear what she comes up with next. Rick Leach
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