The BBC have a great ear for identifying and promoting new talent, culminating in the annual Sound Of award. Previous Sound Of nominees include Adele, Dizzy Rascal, Stormzy, Wolf Alice, and Royal Blood – that’s just a few of my personal standouts from now 18 years(!) of highlighting incredible up-and-coming artists. Probably the most notable pick of the last two years is global megastar Billie Eilish, pictured below:
Inhaler, Beabeadoobee, and Squid are the nominees I’m most excited for in the coming year. Each embodies a different facet of the rock spectrum, from the heavily grunge inspired to chaotic synth I-don’t-even-know-what-to-call-it.
Less intriguing to this author, but almost certain to gain commercial success, are the trio of ‘pop pups’ (that’s me writing “newcomers” but with alliteration) Celeste, Joy Crookes, and Josef, the former of who is officially the BBC Sound of 2020. How one can be the sole sound of an entire year is beyond me, such is the folly of this naming system.
However, one choice is somewhat questionable on the matter of new and under-appreciated music. That nominee, of course, is Yungblud. Yungblud has already achieved a lot of commercial success, with single Hope For The Underrated Youth garnering mass radio support, and collaborating with names like Marshmello, Travis Barker, and Halsey. He has one hundred times more listeners than his average fellow nominee, and almost ten times as many as Beabadoobee, his closest competition who recently featured on the front cover of NME!
Anyway, my point isn’t that the BBC may have not made the most considered list, it’s that there is lots of good music that people think will come through this year, and as the band-wagon loving, derivative fool that I am, I have come to add my opinions to what I think will be good in the coming year. Thus, my things to look out for throughout our coming sojourn around a glowy ball of toasty plasma:
- Green Day have a new album coming out in February, and while they’re hardly a new band, they’ve been one of my favourites since I knew what music was. Hopefully, Father of All will continue the form of Revolution Radio, though lead singles suggest a somewhat more diverse and 80s inspired approach.
- Deap Lips, a combination of LA feminist punk two piece Deap Vally, and Oklahoma lunatics The Flaming Lips. This project promises to at least be… interesting. If you’ve not heard either of these acts, GO! GO! WHAT ARE YOU STILL DOING HERE? GO LISTEN AND COME BACK WHEN YOU’RE DONE.
- Okay welcome back. Lana Del Rey has promised two albums this year: Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass and White Hot Forever. The former, an album of spoken word poetry from her book of the same name, both due soon. The later, a follow up to 2019’s exceptional Norman Fucking Rockwell.
- Best Coast will return with a new album, Always Tomorrow, which aims to address Costello’s past drink and drug habits, while hopefully still being an A-grade pop rock masterpiece along the lines of last record California Nights.
On a somewhat smaller scale, Black Honey and Dream Wife have both been in the studio recently. While nothing concrete is for sure, I for one will only welcome new music from two of my favourite bands to emerge in the last few years. Indian Queens are set to release their debut sometime this year, and some of my other favourite smaller acts such as Projector and Gaffa Tape Sandy have also hinted at new releases.
One thing is for sure, 2020 looks set to be a good year in music. With modern distribution methods such as Bandcamp and SoundCloud, you can be sure that even if the radio isn’t playing what you want to hear, someone out there has recorded something great and thrown it online. You may just have to hear a lot of Russian psychedelia, avant garde yoga noise, and Lofi Boriswave to find it.