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10 Up-And-Coming British Bands To Know
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10 Up-And-Coming British Bands To Know

Picture of Helen Armitage
Updated: 8 December 2016
Discover ten up-and-coming bands – from Glasgow-born synth-pop trio Prides to Kent-based punk rockers Slaves – that are currently taking the British music scene by storm.

Spring King

Fronted by producer and mix engineer Tarek Musa, Spring King are a four-piece hailing from Manchester who burst onto the scene with their upbeat garage-rock anthems in 2012. Spring King’s debut single Mumma, released in early 2014, received rave reviews from the likes of British music press mainstay NME Magazine and debut EP Demons gained airplay from BBC Radio DJs Huw Stephens and Steve Lamacq. With a second EP and a UK tour with Aussie indie rocker Courtney Barnett under their belt and their latest single “City” becoming the first song ever played on Apple’s new radio station Beats 1, Spring King’s profile looks set to soar.

Slaves

Kent punks Slaves are guitarist Laurie Vincent and drummer Isaac Holman – a raw, stripped back duo whose abrasive, energetic sound is making waves in the UK music press. Sugar Coated Bitter Truth, Slaves’ 2012 EP, was a typically brief punk debut featuring the 15-second-long fan favourite “Girl Fight” and – thanks the duo’s relentless gigging – by 2014, Slaves were signed to Virgin EMI Records and playing a slot on BBC2’s Later…with Jools Holland. 2015 looks set to be their biggest year yet: after a sold-out UK headline tour in May, Slaves released their debut album Are You Satisfied? the following month and recently announced a second UK tour taking place in November.

Nimmo

Described by Guardian music journalist Paul Lester as ‘darkly scintillating disco pop’, Nimmo – a London five-piece fronted by vocalists and childhood friends Sarah Nimmo and Reva Gauntlett – are hotly tipped as the British music scene’s next big thing. Already familiar faces on London’s gigging circuit, the band have found fans among the city’s scenesters with model Agyness Deyn directing the video to their 2013 track Change. Now signed to Columbia Records, the band are set to release their debut album this year and fans of Nimmo’s brand of dark pop can catch the band on tour throughout the UK in September.

Real Lies

Lauded as one of London’s best up-and-coming electro pop outfits, Real Lies (trio Kev Kharas, Tom Watson and Pat King) have been making a name for themselves over the past two years. With a string of singles, they embody a sound described by their label, Marathon Artists, as ‘what it is to be young, locked in and somehow adrift in Britain today’. Named one of DJ Zane Lowe’s ‘Future 15 of 2015’, Real Lies will release their debut full-length album Real Life – produced by Dan Foat and Nathan Boddy, also known as production duo Local Hero – this coming October and follow up with a five date UK headline tour.

Gengahr

North London four-piece Gengahr – frontman Felix Bushe, guitar virtuoso John Victor, bassist Hugh Schulte and Danny Ward on drums – are the purveyors of a melodic indie psych-pop sound that has found fans in the likes of 6Music’s Lauren Laverne and Radio 1’s Huw Stephens. Recently signed with indie label Transgressive Records, Gengahr released their debut album, A Dream Outside. The album features their breakthrough track ‘Fill My Gums With Blood’, a song described by the band as a tale of ‘a little boy vampire who falls for a girl’ – this summer to critical acclaim and will embark on their first UK headline tour later this year.

Wildwood Kin | Courtesy Wildwood Kin
Wildwood Kin | Courtesy Wildwood Kin

Wildwood Kin

Sisters Beth and Emillie Key alongside cousin Meghann Loney make up Wildwood Kin – the Devon-based alt-folk outfit turning heads in the British folk scene despite their young age. Known for their beautiful harmonies, Wildwood Kin perform a mix of thought-provoking original songs and contemporary folk-inspired covers. Having formed just a couple of years ago, they have already scooped themselves a first prize at the 2013 National Open Mic UK competition in the 16-20 age category. This year, along with playing the summer festival circuit with slots at Beautiful Days and Somersault Festival, the talented trio were shortlisted for BBC2’s Young Folk Award and will support celebrated folk singer-songwriter Seth Lakeman on tour in December.

Hector Bizerk

Glasgow might not seem the most likely breeding ground for hip hop, but Scottish experimental rap outfit Hector Bizerk are proving otherwise. Formed in 2011 by drummer and producer Audrey Tait and rapper Louie, Hector Bizerk bring a distinctly Scottish twist to modern hip hop with thought-provoking social commentary and razor sharp lyrics backed by their signature grooving basslines and tribal rhythms. Last year, Hector Bizerk won Best Hip Hop Act at the Scottish Alternative Music Awards and in 2015 wowed American audiences at Austin’s SXSW festival, but their talents don’t end there. The group also recently published a book of Louie’s poetry and produced the score for a play about the life of troubled can-can dancer Jane Avril in collaboration with Glasgow’s Birds of Paradise Theatre Company.

Demob Happy

Newcastle-born, Brighton-based garage rock four piece Demob Happy have been described by NME as the seaside city’s most exciting band and their dirty rock laden debut single Succubus, released in late 2014, received rave reviews from the likes of DIY, Classic Rock and the Guardian. Relentlessly gigging around the country for the past two years plus a slot opening for headliners Girl Band at DIY’s Hello 2015 show have found the band a firm fan base. With debut album Dream Soda and a headline tour announced for later this year, the quartet’s raucous rock looks set to take the UK by storm.

Prides

Since forming in Glasgow in 2013, synth-pop trio Prides’ profile has soared – over the course of just one week last summer they not only played the closing ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in their hometown and opened for Blink 182 at London’s Brixton Academy, but also announced their first UK headline tour. Citing the catchy yet emotive pop anthems of ’80s bands like The Cure and Tears For Fears as influences, singer and keyboardist Stewart Brock hopes Prides’ songs ‘recreate that feeling of brutal honesty dressed up in a charming appearance’ – a sound that is out in force on the debut album The Way Back Up released on Island Records this summer.

Honeyblood at London’s Oslo, 2015 | © Paul Hudson/Flickr
Honeyblood at London’s Oslo, 2015 | © Paul Hudson/Flickr

Honeyblood

From humble beginnings organising their own DIY guerrilla gigs at underground venues in their hometown, all-female duo Honeyblood – singer and guitarist Stina Tweeddale and Cat Myers on drums – have grown from a grassroots Glaswegian outfit to one of the UK’s most promising bands. Their self-described ‘crunch pop’ – grungy indie pop full of melodic hooks – has seen Honeyblood likened to new acts like Haim and Best Coast and also the darker, early ’90s sounds of The Breeders and PJ Harvey. 2014 saw the duo not only release their self-titled debut LP, but also take the USA by storm on tour with fellow Scottish talents Belle and Sebastian.