The dawning of a new year and with it new music, Getintothis staffers share their hot tips for 2020.
The midnight fireworks of New Year’s Eve may seem like a lifetime ago, but we are very much just beginning the ascent of 2020.
It’s a new decade, of course. A new beginning for some, the same old for the rest.
But if there is one welcome continuum, it is that Merseyside is once again stood set to deliver a year of new music that sets the standard for the UK.
While trained eyes naturally go to the capital, Liverpool has long led the way for the best creative new music – it’s just a little off the mainstream’s radar.
This, then, is our manifesto of sorts.
This is where we at Getintothis allow ourselves to come away from mundanities of predictable Sound Lists and Brit School alumni – and, well, get excited.
We’re driven by new music, and we have at our disposal a class of bands and artists that seems as strong as ever.
We’re enthused by the Red Rum Club‘s and Zuzu‘s of the region – daring to dream, bursting out and doing it right on a national scale.
Eyesore and the Jinx, SPQR, The Mysterines, Beija Flo, Seat Belts, Dawn Ray’d, Peaness and many more were among our tips 12 months ago – all have had UK tours, national acclaim and the promise of much brighter things ahead – while Bill Nickson, Video Nasties, Yammerer and others are all set for break out years.
It is among difficulty and adversity, of course, and the constant of venue closure threat, funding and citizenship will remain in 2020 – but always eclipsed by spirit.
On stage, behind the stage, in the crowd, behind the bar, in person, online, Liverpool is ready to go again supporting its own as it launches into another twelve months undisputed love for the music it creates.
So, here we go, and here they are – the Getintothis New Breed of the ones to watch class of 2020. – Lewis Ridley and Peter Guy.
From the early days we always knew Ali Horn was destined to be more than just a wait in the wings guitar player.
One part Sugarmen, one part Strange Collective – now the fully formed front man and band leader carving out UK headline tours, festival slots, Radio 6 DJ’s songs of the year and writer of some of Getintothis‘ favourite tracks of 2019, Ali Horn is all set to break out on to the bigger stage.
His six track debut mini LP, It Wears Off was the summation of years of graft – and what a joyous thing it is. Underpinned by singles Dreamers and Modern Voodoo, it is a sweeping mesmeric cauldron of delicious hooks, layered majestic rock and roll and a voice which just keeps getting stronger.
His recent live outings took him to the very top of his contemporaries in terms of stage craft and we can surely see him winning all manner of fans around the country with more gigs lined up early in 2020.
Charismatic busker, author of dreamy psych pop that is ever increasingly radio friendly.
This guy shouldn’t be out in all weathers on Lord Street singing for his supper. We await his first album next year, following on the heels of his debut EP. – Jane Davies and Peter Guy.
Seattle-born Abby Meysenburg has caught the eyes and ears of commuters in Liverpool Central as part of the Merseyrail Sound Station project, and at our own Deep Cuts too.
Gentle, yet powerful, and a contender for the city’s nicest musician award, she’s one EP in already, and you have to feel her name will carry far more weight this time next year. – Lewis Ridley
The Sonder are a relatively new band, the early stages of them coming into being in lead-guitarist Kyle Wilson’s shed, and as confidence grew they realised that they may be ready to take on the scene back in 2018.
And take it on they have.
They’ve already released two EPs in the space of seven months, Beneath The Dust and Into The Light, both of which are chock full of tuneful catchy indie pop tunes, bringing to mind The LA’s or the most mellow end of The Coral.
These have already found their way to the ears of bigwigs as they have already been featured on BBC introducing, as well as on Anfield’s half-time playlist at a recent Merseyside Derby.
On the back of this they have recently headlined gigs at Jimmy’s and The Zanzibar as well as playing the Smithdown Road Festival.
Going forward the band will be supporting RATS at Invisible Wind Factory in February, as well as having some interesting further support slot options.
They will also be recording and looking to release a new single shortly after, which may be the one that will break them through the indie glass ceiling.
With the festival season commencing from April onward, the band will be looking to play as many as possible, while also trying to break out of the city.
They’ve also release some social media vids showing them playing in the aforementioned shed, if they get as big as we suspect they will, then there will surely be some sort of blue plaque on the front of it. – Steven Doherty
The Lathums first gig was in Lathom, an uncanny zone near Ormskirk pointed to by signs but impossible to actually find – as literal a ‘nowhere’ as the geography of the North West has to offer.
And the Wigan foursome have indeed come from nowhere to rapidly achieve enviable positioning with sell-out tours, Spotify play-listing, and massive word-of-mouth. Wild statements tipping them to be a decade-defining act and the future of guitar bands are crackling through the ether.
During 2019 the band gained support from BBC 6 Music and XS Manchester, blown up on socials, sold out venues and became a talked-about must-see act.
The Lathums self-titled EP set out their stall – captivating, uplifting tracks with intriguing lyrics and emotive depth.
Add to that a brace of singles and their recorded output shows they can jangle indie heartstrings, build euphoric bangers and channel a range of influences from hard rock to The Smiths.
Clearly not just another indie band, this amiable group (singer-writer-vocalist Alex Moore, guitarist Scott Concepcion, bassist Johnny Cunliffe and drummer Ryan Durrans) are poised to bring their music of ‘positive changes’ everywhere in 2020 with a national sold-out headline tour and arena exposure with the likes of Blossoms and Paul Weller.
A Sound City slot in May will no doubt be one of many festival appearances. – Roy Bayfield
Probably this writer’s favourite Liverpool outfit at the moment.
An integral part of the SPINE set up that encompasses artists such as MAL, Jezebel, Claire Welles and Simon Ward. There’s a healthy dose of gig promotion going on too at the more experimental / noise end of the spectrum.
A LONESAW gig is apparent carnage, but cleverly controlled.
The mix of sax, bass, drums and synthetic effects creates a sound that’s unique, magnetic and utterly mesmerising. Punishing, even. They know how to build it up, to keep you on the edge until you think you can’t take any more. Yet you have to. There’s no choice with LONESAW, they hook you in.
This is a band has less to with rock music as we usually think of it and more to do with the experimentation of a cross between Einsturzende Neubauten and Schoenberg. You wonder at times if it’s all going to fall apart into chaos, which of course, is a special kind of skill because it does anything but that.
Go see them and you will never think of rock music in the same way again. – Peter Goodbody
Readers of these pages will be well acquainted with Aimee Steven.
A precocious talent, Aimee manages to blend an assured classic rock sound with a more gentle and beguiling persona which can’t help lure you into her world.
Part Courtney Barnett, part Pavement, part Patti Smith – yet all very much herself, with sets at Kendal Calling, Sound City, Deeper Cuts and LIMF under her belt all within the first six months of her short career she’s been tipped by BBC Introducing and with a EP’s worth of cracking tracks under her belt, the next 12 months is hers to be had.
Next up, Aimee plays Deep Cuts third birthday this Friday, January 17 at Phase One – we’re genuinely chuffed to host her. – Peter Guy
There are no pretences with Warrington based 32 tens, what you see is what you get, a completely different beast to the polished TV formats that first launched frontman Max Vickers into the public eye or drummer Danny Hall’s previous venture with Busted’s James Bourne and Son of Dork. They are laid back, authentic and full of gritty integrity – dirty indie at its best, with influences from Jamie T and Jack White.
Having already experienced celebrity culture, their genuine desire to just make music is reflected in lyrics such as the early release My Town, ‘I’m not sure if I wanna be famous, my new best friend cos you know what my name is and – just be known for what’s read in the papers’.
With their streaming stats now running into the millions, they are tipped as ones to watch by many sources including us at Getintothis, along with BBC Introducing’s Dave Monks, Fred Perry Sub-Culture, This Feeling and even Spotify themselves, who listed them in the top ten artists across all their indie lists.
The band’s most recent release Swan Song came out in December. Written by guitarist Sam Glancy when he was waiting to undergo major surgery, it was his first song and apparently uncertain if he’d survive, he thought it might also be his last, hence the name. The lyrics take on new meaning in the context of a young man contemplating his own mortality.
January has already seen the band play Derby, with a Portsmouth date in February and other national dates on the cards, 2020 sees them edging back outside their Northwest comfort zone. Whatever they have in store – we can’t wait to see where it takes them. – Jackie Lees
After forming early last year, Sallow Pillow were quick to make waves with their mix of punchy punk and refreshingly vibrant performances, within six months of getting together they’d been featured on the August edition of Getintothis’ own Deep Cuts.
The trio came together through working in bars and have carried that work ethic across to hit the ground running in 2019 and deliver a healthy crop of support slots and frequent appearances at fan-favourite venues like Phase One and Jimmy’s in both Liverpool and Manchester; while still finding the time to put out their excellent wincemeat EP.
Songs about serving rude customers might not seem the most rockstar thing in the world, but Sallow Pillow are capturing the adolescent malaise of the moment, and when the majority of young people are employed in retail and service there’s a vacancy for someone to become the patron punks of the service sector.
In their small but expanding body of work the band already show an impressive range, from moodier tracks like wear out the rope to the up-on-your-feet energy of 23rd floor, from mixing cocktails to mixing genres, they bring an exciting creativity that’s left us excited to see where they go in 2020. – Mostyn Jones
Jamie continues to impress with his own music after numerous gigs in Liverpool in 2019. Notable gigs include his headline show at the Zanzibar, and a support slot with Cast just before Christmas.
The new year will bring with it a sell out tour, including a date at the Arts Club that sold out in minutes.
Jamie’s a singer/songwriter with an ever growing catalogue of songs. His lyrics often focus around struggles of working class life, something that is clearly resonating with his listeners. His debut single is already at over 350,000 streams on Spotify alone.
This year expect to will hear singles which offer a deeper focus away from three day benders, and onto more thought provoking lyrics which will without doubt resonate with audiences old and new.
Anyone with a ticket for his early 2020 tour could be in for a treat, there’s rumours that for the first time, Jamie will be playing with a full band live for the first time.
Jamie is onto something big, and this is without a doubt his year to see just how big. – Conor Baxter
The latest outfit to emerge from the fertile grounds of West Lancashire are New Mexico.
To date, the band have just one solitary gig to their name, opening up for Ali Horn‘s show at Arts Club in December – they are new breed indeed.
That gig, though, set out their stall for what they’ll offer in 2020.
Fronted by Cai Thomas, who exudes a melodic Tim Burgess hum over lead guitar riffs that are unequivocally Gallagher.
There’s a punchiness, too, attitude and bite enough to catch the ear of the early birds at the bar.
Though it’s unlikely they need to be focused on audiences warming to them for long; while many things change in Liverpool there remains a firm and hungry desire for indie rock and roll.
Should New Mexico have the desire to channel that, they will certainly be tuning up later in the evening by the end of the year. – Lewis Ridley
Charity Shop Pop
The quirky, charming, talented, Charity Shop Pop, otherwise known as David, is an Edge Hill University student based in Ormskirk, who creates a really interesting sort of 80s synth bed-room indie-pop, with heavy inspiration drawn from The 1975.
From the releases of; Dreaming (It’s a Nightmare), Crazy About Her and Beach, in 2019, David comes into this year with a steady back-catalogue of guitar-jangly boppers, littering his setlist.
He’s come a long way since we plucked him for his first gig in the basement at the Jacaranda with tracks topping 30,000 streams.
He plays the Zanzibar Club, in support of Flizz, on February 29, so the perfect chance to get your fill of Charity Shop Pop. It’s vintage, baby. – Cai Thomas
Irish songwriter, Merseyside-based Lucy Gaffney was one of our finds of the summer.
Trading subtle guitar with a delicate yet warm vocal, her all to brief set at last year’s Skeleton Coast hints at greater things to come.
Working alongside The Coral‘s James Skelly in Parr Street Studios she has also toured with Bill Ryder-Jones – we can see why both these Wirral contemporary songwriting Godfathers have been drawn to work with such a talent.
She closed the year touring with She Drew The Gun completing her hat-trick of Scouse hook ups – while next up is a slot at Studio 2 on January 28 – make a date while you can to see her in these intimate settings. – Peter Guy
The alias of Dumfries student Connor O’Mara, his on stage persona is part shy, bookish romantic and part gleeful, balletic disco chameleon.
He’s a natural raconteur recounting tales of bunking into cinemas with a lover or emotional car-crashes delivered with a coquettish charm which makes him a charismatic band leader.
He first came to our attention at Deep Cuts in April last year and then at our Deeper Cuts festival in the summer.
He’s witty and engaging, intelligent and thought provoking. And his song about “fucking bees” is just hilarious. – Peter Goodbody
If Pavement holidayed in West Kirby, they’d probably sound something like COW.
Largely built around mainman Kyle Lee’s squaling guitars and anguished vocals, COW have not long released their first EP All My Friends Are Dead to Me, which brings to mind the noise of Dinosaur Jr and the quiet/loud sonic dynamics of Bill Ryder-Jones.
Their live shows are really where the band step into their own, with each member thrashing their own instruments (stop sniggering at the back) as if it were their last gig. Shows frequently end with wails of feedback and Lee on his knees, summoning waves of noise from a despairing amp. Fantastic; keep your ears out (and well protected) for these lot. – Matthew Loughlin
Liverpool thrives on rock and rollers – and Bandit are one of the best around.
Nat Waters is there secret weapon blending his street beat poetry in sets which owe as much to Ye Crake as they do Alex Turner.
Crunching riffs trade with barnstorming hooks and lyricism aplenty, and having conquored much of Merseyside’s live circuit we’re expecting a break out year for these swaggering Scousers. – Peter Guy
Liverpool trio Motel Sundown dropped their debut single Chicago last month following a debut gig at Getintothis’ Deep Cuts back in November.
It’s fair to say you wouldn’t have guessed that was the first outing for a band that has managed to capture the comfort of country folk from across the pond with a youthful Americana sound that nobody needs telling in their city has been a winning card to play recently.
Catch them at Phase One on January 29 as part of this year’s Independent Venue Week. – Lewis Ridley
The enigmatic Mr Berelow is our most recent discovery – but one we’re hugely excited about.
Melding the warped yet quintessential Englishness of Syd Barrett with a frenetic West Coast psychedelia, Laz Berelow comes almost fully formed while seemingly on the edge of self-destruct.
His five track EP released at the back end of 2019 has the charm of early Ariel Pink demos clashing with Moby Grape while simultaneously falling down the stairs.
The title track, with it’s buzz-saw chugging guitar and layered percussive stomp is our current favourite – but we suspect there’s even better times ahead of Laz. For now, enjoy this glorious ragged riotous mess. – Peter Guy