Who says ‘Sound of [insert relevant year]’ lists should solely be the stuff of the post-Christmas, pre-new year festivities? In a bold display of the radical way in which threads likes to shake things up, we bring you a smorgasbord of up-and-coming musicians to YouTube, Soundcloud, Spotify, MySpace and perhaps even purchase in order to enjoy as the nights draw in.
Remember when pop music used to be about much more than telephone votes on talent shows and grasping for the Christmas number one? No, neither do I. Happily; Dan Smith is something of a pop maverick. As the founder of and lead vocalist for London-based Bastille, he uses spoken word excerpts, lyrical depth and varied instrumentation to create lush, layered pop. Much like a male Lana Del Ray, but more fun and less pouty. Coincidentally, Requiem for Blue Jeans which features on Bastille’s free EP Other People’s Heartache, provides an interesting take on the Del Ray original. It’s well worth downloading this free EP of covers to whet your appetite for their forthcoming debut album, due this autumn.
Elena Tonra is quietly, objectively brilliant. As the lead singer of the trio, her vocals tell stories that waver on the cusp between dark and light. Daughter never sound saccharine or sickly, but charm drips unexpectedly from their honest lyricism. They supported, and were in danger of stealing the show from, Ben Howard earlier this year and will be supporting the elusive Beirut during one of their rare appearances this autumn. You might have already heard Youth, which featured on this year’s Tour De France coverage advertisements. The Wild Youth EP is out now, with a full album expected later this year.
This seven-piece folk rock outfit make what Americana would sound like if it was left alone to mellow in the English countryside for a few years. Flight Brigade’s music is foot-stompingly infectious folk that combines a veritable chorus of voices with strings, accordion, glockenspiel, guitar, bass and drums, with the violin pleasingly to the fore. Songs like Sirens and Dust & Glory explore the human desire to live for something over and beyond ourselves, how that would work and what it might look like. They played a hearty selection of festivals this summer.
Already fairly established within London folk circles, King Charles is striding out of obscurity and into the wider public consciousness with the release of his debut album, Loveblood. Having won the International Songwriting Competition in 2009 and counting Mumford & Sons among his collaborators and friends, it was only a matter of time before his connections and creations brought him to the attention of prime radio broadcasters. His sound is vocally reminiscent of Johnny Flynn and accompanied by bright, energetic guitars. The album moves effortlessly between piratical shanties like The Brightest Lights and scenes of a more pastoral nature. He’s a man of many words, many extravagant fashion stylings and a maker of music for dancing to.
Lucy Rose, a 23-year-old friend of Bombay Bicycle Club, began her musical career at the age of 16, secretly writing material that was performed to no one until she left home and moved to London. Mellow, playful vocals flirt with schoolyard lyrics about love and loss. It’d be horribly easy to draw comparisons with a 17-year-old Laura Marling, so I won’t do that. Her debut album, Like I Used To, is out now. Having already supported Noah & The Whale on tour, this summer saw her gracing stages at Hop Farm Festival, Latitude, Green Man Festival and Bestival.