To say 2017 had its highs and lows would be a dangerous understatement. To say that the one saving grace of this year was the great music it provided would be… questionable. Managing (for the most part) to save myself from such tortures like Ed Sheeran’s 500th album, Luis Fonsi’s inescapable summer hit Despacito, and Lil Pump (just… Lil Pump) throughout the year, I decided to turn my attention to some of the better releases of 2017. And, at the risk of sounding up-my-own-arse in pomposity (and hipster-osity), the most insultingly underrated, too.
From good, old fashioned girl-power rock to an indie/soul hybrid band; take a look at the list of home-grown artists I want to hear more from in 2018.
1. Nadia Rose
I’m rolling ten gyal up in that skwod
That’s what? That skwod
Generating over 5 million views on YouTube and over 60,000 followers on social media (including a little-known rapper going by the name of Drake) this early in her career, Nadia Rose is far from unknown. Already being compared to the greats of the grime scene such as Lady Leshurr, Lady Lykez and Little Simz; she’s tipped to become one of the breakout stars of 2018.
Her debut single Skwod (released in the latter half of 2016) is a fun, feminist, f-you to the male-gaze and the patriarchal domination of the UK grime scene. The song contains two magical, empowering elements; a woman boasting about how much she owns and how much is yet to come, similarly a woman boasting about how dedicated she is to her female friends. The track is an upbeat, memorable, enjoyable girl-power anthem and is bound to get you screaming along with your friends at the club. Watch the video below:
2. The Bright Black
Now do it how the saying goes,
Strike a pose
Based in Manchester, UK and with over 4,000 views on YouTube under their belt; the boys from The Bright Black may very well be turn out to be the pioneers of the indie/soul scene. Exuding raw talent, attitude and sex appeal (A.K.A. ‘the big three’), it’s a wonder these boys haven’t made it to the big time yet. Find out what they’re up to on Instagram and Twitter.
Their 2017 single Strike a Pose is the epitome of cool. The Bright Black manages to prove that combining gutsy vocals with cocky lyrics and a roaring guitar makes for one hell of an anthem. It’s edgier than something you’d hear on Radio One, but you feel all the more dangerous for listening to it. If these boys manage to maintain their anarchic attitudes and intense vocals in future endeavors, I predict massive things for them in 2018. Watch the video for Strike a Pose here:
It’s risky business, all this living life in another realm
Bonzai, search for my name like a Holy Grail
London-based Irish singer Bonzai has been making key moves and huge connections within the music industry this year. Having already collaborated with A$AP Rocky and Stormzy hitmaker Mura Masa, and garnering over 90,000 views on YouTube, 2018 expectations are high for this promising young artist. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.
Bonzai’s Sept. 2017 single I Feel Alright is a high-spirited, bouncy electro-R&B anthem; combining her silky-smooth vocal style with a club-ready drop and major chords. Her effortless, carefree style is conveyed through her mood-positive lyrics that are bound to make even the most miserable misers among us crack a smile. This could very well become the summer anthem of 2018, or the soundtrack to your next massive night out. Watch the video below:
4. The Franklys
You complete me ’till I die
And you will keep me for yourself
Swedish-English London-based Indie band The Franklys have met with an immense amount of critical acclaim over the past two years. NME and Radio X alike have compared them to successful nineties Swedish band The Hives, while UK publication The Clash commented on their ‘feminine edge which sets them apart from their more laddish contemporaries’. Think HAIM with added aggression, The Franklys bring an element of militant girl power to the garage-rock scene. Indie music is cancelled; The Franklys are all about the rise of indSHE music in 2018. Follow them on Instagram and Twitter here.
2017 track Weasel, the lead single from their debut album Are You Listening? is a real dance-around-your-bedroom, sing-into-your-hairbrush belter. The Franklys absolutely crush any stereotypical perception that indie-rock has to be a downbeat, moody cry-fest in order to be enjoyable. An authentic instrumental comprised of a booming bass, daring drum hits and a garish guitar loop featuring the mighty vocals of Jennifer Ahlkvist and Fanny Broberg equals a force to be reckoned with in the world of indie-rock. Watch the video here:
Here’s to a better year, better music; and to finally kicking Sheeran off the Billboard Hot 100.