Grime has undoubtedly dominated the UK music scene this year and there is plenty of evidence to suggest its reign will continue in 2017. Placed at the fore-front of this movement is 23-year-old Nadia Rose, one of Croydon’s finest up-and-coming MCs.
Initially starting off as a student, working in a local betting shop, Rose decided to kick-start her music career after realising she was preventing herself from pursuing something she loved. Quitting both university and her job, Rose began making music with producer The Black Obsidian in 2014 and released memorable tracks such as Station and Boom. Both tracks showcase a fusion of clever, confident bars with upbeat instrumentals that give Rose a distinct sound from the grime we usually hear. She has often cited Missy Elliott and Spice Girls as two of her inspirations and you can definitely sense the influence in her tracks and the way in which she dominates the stage during live performances. Having recently signed a record deal with Sony subsidiary Relentless Records, Rose is working towards the release of her first EP Highly Flammable. If latest single Skwod, a tribute to her closest friends, is anything to go by, Rose is definitely about to set 2017 alight (in a good way).
Politics, immigration, religion, violence, alien perceptions of the human race, VANT have covered it all in their short but certainly noteworthy career. The indie rock four-piece have made waves in 2016 despite having only released 10 songs across three EPs in the last two years. They’ve received significant support from Radio 1 DJs with four of their songs named hottest record by Annie Mac and later playing a live session for Huw Stephens. VANT have also been recognised by other large rock acts, playing in support of Catfish and the bottlemen and Royal Blood. Sonically they tread between the latter and the former, with obvious garage punk influences on songs like KARMA SEEKER making it punchy and energetic but they adopt a softer, more indie styled approach on the ballad PEACE AND LOVE.
Mattie Vant’s lyrics occasionally delve into metaphor or abstraction but are generally stripped back and highly political in order to deliver a hard-hitting, passionate message that convey his philosophy. PEACE AND LOVE does what it says on the tin as VANT call out desperately for just that against global inequality and violence and PARKING LOT rails against sexual assault and rape culture. While VANT’s snappy politicised lyrics are generally refreshing it is somewhat difficult to take a political track seriously when it ends “keep sucking my dick while my friend fucks your momma”, no matter how ironically it was meant.
My pick for Ones T Watch next year must be Cabbage. They’ve been hailed as the band to revive the Manchester music scene, with neo post-punk songs of political truth presented in an exciting and boisterous manner. If I had to compare their sound to other bands of the Manchester ilk, I would certainly say that I hear ounces of Buzzcocks and early Joy Division, with a modern twist sounding a lot like London’s Palma Violets. Very exciting indeed.
Their songs are very much what you would expect from a band whose name is Cabbage; songs about dinner ladies, the newly introduced contactless payment method and the ever-declining NHS. Their music is very pro-left but regardless of where you sit on the political scale, the music is thoroughly enjoyable and I can only imagine how exhilarating they are live. On the subject of seeing them live, a great opportunity would be when they support Blossoms at the Lemon Grove on the 21st March. Until then, check them out on Spotify or on their bandcamp where you have access to their EPs Le Chou, Uber Capitalist Death Trade, Necrofat in the Palace and TERRORIST SYNTHESIZER.
Breaking boundaries musically and stylistically, this four-piece from Reading goes by the name Sundara Karma and have proven that they aren’t afraid to be themselves. Their music is a perfect blend of indie and pop that somehow manages to encapsulate the typical sounds of an indie band while refreshingly retaining their individuality. The recurring themes of friendship, love and the rush of being young dominate the cheerful and lively beats that make for music that is impossible to listen to without feeling the urge to dance. With captivating lyrics and delightful melodies accompanied by lead singer Oscar Lulu’s radiant vocals, Sundara Karma brings to the genre a certain Circa-Waves-meets-Vaccines kick that has left us both intrigued and excited to see what else this four-piece has in store.
The band – along with releasing a series of EPs and singles that have articulated a positive reaction from music fans – has been making multiple appearances in big UK festivals since 2013. After playing Glastonbury and many other venues this year, 2017 seems equally promising for the band members who have already lined up a rather long UK tour. Whether you choose to catch them at one of their upcoming 24 gigs, or you’d just rather jam to their tunes in your bedroom, Sundara Karma are definitely a band you should be listening to.
Listen to the PearShaped Ones To Watch playlist below.