2017 was a great year for the alternative music scene and artists, and if you’re wondering what gems you might have missed, check out our blog on the topic. Already though we are wondering impatiently what treats 2018 will bring. So, to feed our greed we are earmarking some artists who we believe are going to deliver a great year and emerge further into the public consciousness.
Rather than being young, fresh-faced upstarts (who you’ll find populating the rest of this list), GospelbeacH is a collection of road hardened, rock and roll veterans. Fronted by Brent Rademaker, also of Beachwood Sparks and The Tyde, GospelbeacH’s second album, Another Summer of Love, landed in 2017. The psychedelic folk rock they provided on this release was certainly eye catching. Given that, we can’t wait for what they’ll bring in 2018.
Betsy (stylised as BETSY) isn’t in many ways your typical pop artist. Her classic movie star looks, and background in the fashion world belie her upbringing on a goose farm in Wales and strikingly down to earth manner. As she told the Guardian herself, “I’ve never, ever wanted to be that girl next door,” and she has certainly cultivated her own unique style. Which she refers to, delightfully, as “trashy opulence.”
Betsy’s eponymous debut album came out last year to a reasonably strong critical response, but rather more modest commercial one. The album itself shows this star-in-the-making’s enormous potential, and provides a solid platform for her to build her career upon. Hopefully she can take further strides in 2018.
3. Johnny Flynn
There’s a fair chance you’ll have seen Johnny Flynn’s face before. As an actor he has been cropping up on the small screen pretty regularly in recent years. This includes starring turns in the Netflix series Lovesick, and as a young Albert Einstein in Nat Geographic’s Genius. It is Flynn’s musical output however that really shines. 2017’s album, Sillion, was a continuation of the wonderful work Flynn has been putting out for the last few years – both as a solo artist, and with his band, The Sussex Wit. 2018 could well be the year that sees Johnny Flynn complete his gradual transition into the mainstream.
4. Wolf Alice
Wolf Alice are a four-piece alternative rock band, fronted by Ellie Rowsell, who fully formed in London in 2012. Cut to the dawn of 2018, when they have two albums under their belt (both of which peaked at #2 in the UK chart), and a Grammy nomination to boot. Perhaps most impressively they hold the esteemed honour of having one of their songs feature on a Trainspotting soundtrack.
We would put our house on Wolf Alice’s trend of going up-and-up-and-up continuing throughout 2018.
5. Tommy Cash
We can’t promise that the works of the Estonian rapper Tommy Cash will be for you. His self-branded form of post-Soviet-rap is designed to bewilder and confront. This approach has seen Cash build an intense cult following, who gorge themselves on his surreal, encapsulating music videos, and flock to his explosive and chaotic live shows.
There is something truly indefinable, and enigmatic about Tommy Cash and his work. As the Guardian point out, Cash’s lyrics claim that he himself is the product of a Kazakhstan-based lab, in which he was formed from a mixture of semen and chemical waste. He’s actually from near the Estonian capital, Tallinn. Wherever Tommy Cash is from, we want to know where he’s going. Hopefully we’ll see him go a little further again this year.
6. Anna of the North
Anna Lotterud, known by her stage name, Anna of the North, has been making waves with her brand of electro-pop. She produces her work alongside Brady Daniell-Smith, and between them they have cultivated Anna of the North’s own sound. They received further attention when The Chainsmokers officially remixed Anna’s debut single, Sway. Lovers, Anna’s debut album followed in 2017, and set the stage things for more big things in 2018.
7. Shed Seven
This list ends as it began, with a group of old hands still here to show everyone how it’s done. You may remember Shed Seven from their 1990s Britpop heyday, when they enjoyed some commercial success, but like many others were unable to really escape the long shadow of Oasis and Blur. Yet, Shed Seven are still here, and towards the end of 2017 released their first studio album in 16 years. It was worth the wait, as attested to by the fact that it is their joint-highest charting album ever. It also received a great critical response, as these Britpop survivors proved they still have what it takes, as artists, to bang out a proper anthem. We fully expect their renaissance to continue a good while yet, extending their career’s Indian summer into this new year.
Not only do we predict that these artists will deliver the goods in 2018, we are strapped in in anticipation of some surprise packages too. Whatever musical joys this new year brings, we can’t wait to enjoy the ride. And, of course, this time next year, reflect on the soundtrack of the past 12 months with a nostalgic glow.
Also published on Medium.