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New Year, New Music: The Ones To Watch For 2019

Alex Thompson runs through his top picks of the essential listening amongst 2019's up and coming artists

Photo Credit: Partisan Records

With 2019 rearing its ugly head and Brexit just around the corner, now seems the perfect time to look into my metaphorical crystal ball and anticipate the artists to watch over the coming year. These pseudo-predictions come in the form of a list: attempting to cover a range of genres and levels of fame in what I would only describe as a blatant attempt to crowd-please. You may already know some of these or they may be new to you, either way these are the acts I think (or hope) will blow up in 2019.

Either that or I embarrass myself in a year’s time.

Amyl And The Sniffers
There’s something brewing in Australia and it’s not just Fosters. Hailing from Melbourne, this Aus-punk outfit combine a raw, abrasive sound with a lager fuelled rock and roll swagger. It’s not complex and it’s not high brow, it’s just track after track of throbbing drums, fuzzy power chords and enough edge to take your face off.

Essential listening: ‘I’m Not A Loser’.


Growing up on indie music of the 2000s, Bakar is a musician who pulls inspiration from everywhere; from Skepta to Bloc Party and Jamie T. An explosive set at The Chapel in Leeds put him from a fairly minor figure in the indie scene to a strong up and coming act in 2019.

Essential listening: ‘Big Dreams’.

Fontaines DC

Punk music has always been Ireland’s second best export after Guinness and Fontaines DC are the next band in a long line of musicians creating furious state-of-the-nation guitar music. It’s fresh, exciting and proudly Irish - you can almost taste Guinness through the speakers.

Essential listening: ‘Boy In The Better Land’.


Shoutout to UOY’s very own Jerry, a student band that’s actually half decent. With cutting guitars and a tight rhythm section, Jerry spent 2018 fine tuning their sound and creating brilliantly noisy post-punk.

Essential listening: ‘Late Hugh’.


In the space of one month, Jid went from a rapper on the edge of my radar to a playlist essential. With rapid, Kendrick-esque flows and witty punchlines, Dicaprio 2 was one of my top hip hop albums of 2018 and it feels like Jid’s only getting started.

Essential listening: ‘Slick Talk’.

2018 was a great year for Idles. Several European tours, a critically acclaimed album and, most significantly, being harassed by me in a pub in Leeds. Combining ideology, wit and sarcasm with raging guitar riffs, Idles are one of many punk bands keeping the genre alive and fresh.

Essential listening: ‘Danny Nedelko’.


Chicago native Noname makes conscious and layered hip hop with jazzy instrumentals and delivery that sounds so natural that at times it doesn’t even seem like she’s trying. It’s soulful, intelligent and utterly compelling.

Essential Listening: ‘Blaxplotation’.


Winner of the BBC Sound of 2019 poll, Octavian is a Uk based rapper who’s been making innovative hip hop for the past few years. Bridging Uk hip hop and trap, increased exposure has resulted in him picking up a huge overnight following.

Essential Listening: ‘Little’.

It may be named after the dullest TV program around but indie rock group Shame’s ​Songs Of Praise​ was an explosive debut. ‘One Rizla’ was one of my favourite tracks of 2018 and after watching them perform a chaotic live show at Rough Trade East, I have no doubt that they are destined for wider success.
Essential listening: ‘One Rizla’.

With an insightful take on UK hip hop and a completely unique style, Slowthai is turning the despair of Brexit Britain into state-of-the-nation grime. It’s somewhere between indie, garage and hip hop but whatever it is, I can’t get enough of it.

Essential listening: ‘Tn Biscuits’.

Snail Mail
After receiving underground fame with her first record, singer-songwriter Snail Mail delivered a gorgeous album in 2018 with ​Lush.​ ​Lush i​s the perfect way to sum up her sound, with reverb drenched guitar and laidback, soulful vocals.

Essential listening: ‘Heat Wave’.

Tierra Whack
West Philadelphia born and raised, rapper Tierra Whack is part of a new wave of conscious hip hop. Her music is personal and intelligent, winning the favour of artists like Tyler The Creator, Brockhampton and Frank Ocean.

Essential listening: ‘Bugs Life’.

070 Shake

Protege of Kanye and feature on both his and Nas’ 2018 albums, 070 Shake combines the dark and moody aesthetics of emo rap with a more accessible hip hop flavour.

Essential Listening: ‘Ghost Town’ (Kanye West ft. Kid Cudi and 070 Shake).

Kenny Beats

The only producer to make this list, Kenny Beats produces chaotic instrumentals for artists such as KEY and Jpegmafia. His style is an erratic take on trap music with samples, choppy drums and, of course, adlibs.

Essential Listening: ‘Puff Daddy (Jpegmafia ft. Kenny Beats)’.

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1 Comment

Edward Stone Posted on Wednesday 29 Jan 2020

This article was posted a year ago and I really like the content in it. It has nothing about smooth freestyle beats but the content in it is still pretty amazing. I learned a lot from it about music that I didn’t know before.


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