As a reflection of the amount of talent out there, it’s impossible to be comprehensive in 2021.
There is an avalanche of talent. Many great bands will never get heard. Some may slip through the cracks.
There is trad rock. There is punk rock. There is pop music embracing all the sounds and new cultures of the 21st century cities. There is introspective. There is expressive. Pop culture comes in all shapes and sizes and forms in the new decade and exists despite the pandemic.
We were going to make a Spotify playlist but we know how controversial that is with some of the readers because of the small pay rates on streaming, so we added YouTube links instead – they don’t pay any money at all but for some reason no-one seems to care about that! We also added Bandcamp where possible.
Despite the pandemic, 2021 will see a further opening up of music as a world wide culture – the Anglo American pop culture axis, whilst remaining powerful, will further shrink in influence – hampered by the pandemic and also for the UK by Brexit.
This is compounded by a new cultural confidence in countries like Russia, China, South Korea and the African continent where the new superstars will come from…the music world is changing fast.
Who : ‘Angry songs for sad people’ Wargasm are the perfect 2021 blend of cranked up nu metal and in-your-face riot grrrl punk.
Why : They’ve already toured with Creeper and Holding Absence creating a riot everywhere they go and taken time in the enforced break to ready their debut after a run of really well received singles.
2. The Lounge Society
Who : More great social commentary with killer deadpan post punk grooves from the now fertile West Yorks scene
Why : Their ‘Burn The Heather’ track is one of the killer tracks of the moment…
3. Those Fucking Snowflakes
Who : Blackpool posts punk maths rock crew
Why : With a neat line in snark political anthems they are so good that we had to release them on Louder Than War Records
4. Hello Cosmos
Who : Cosmic Manchester outfit who have been making some ambitious noise in the pandemic.
Why : With members who run kendal Calling Festival or were in Lanterns on the Lake they certainly have the pedigree. They also have the ideas and the tunes.
Who : If modern pop is a culture flux of all the direct sounds from different cultures floating out of headphones and windows of our wonderful musitlucltural cities the the Engypuan Ethipoan mixed heritage of Alewya is perfect fore these times.
Why : Her sparse pop is full of seductive rhythm and great vocal lines. Her sound is influenced by her Egyptian and Ethiopian heritage, too. According to Alewya she “sings like an Arabic person” and plays the guitar in the Arabic scale.This is the modern heartbeat.
Who: DJ and producer from the Bay Area who is making a big name on the local club scene.
Why: Dealing an industrial and atmospheric dance music that adds a classically trained background in a thrilling danceable dark flux.
Who : French post rock band who deal God Speed You Black Emperor dark orchestral post rock with cellos, dark electronica and guitar flux…
Why : They released a debut single in 2018 and are ready to release their debut album in 2021 – a potential game changer.
8. Rum Lad
Who : A working class Indie Punk n Rolla hailing from Derbyshire UK, singing songs about real life
Why : Sleaford Mods have opened up a pandoras box of small town poets with brilliant songs – lets celebrate!
9. Greentea Peng
Who : A free-spirited Londoner who was on the pre pandemic 21st century hippie trail
Why : The tattooed charismatic singer has the image and the voice to match.
10. Bantou Mentale
Who : From Congo and claiming that ‘what Björk is to Iceland, Kraftwerk to Germany or Metronomy to the UK Bantou is to the Congo – of a place, but not defined by it. More great underground electronics from Africa.
Why : Lots of great brooding electronics partucvlary on their dark brooding Moto track which you listen to here.
11. The Dead Freights
Who : Southampton’s favourite rock ‘n’ rollers.
Why : The band are not a one trick pony by having a punchier, heavier sound than their previous work with the second verse toying with Frank Sinatra’s Strangers in the Night
12. Freya Beer
Who : was just about to break out in 2020 with her sparse taut PJ Harvey dynamics…so good we are happy to wait until 2021
Why : Surely 2021 will be the year for this talented and angular and edgy songwriter?
13. Queen Of Uncool
Who : Incisive, intelligent London based group with a nod to Nirvana but adding a roaring twenties dystopia to the mix.
Why : There’s only so long that the underground can contain bands this good.
Who : Classic song writing that is like a new wave Peter Perrett tinged nod to the great story tellers like Bob Dylan.
Why : Classic songs deserved to be heard. Story tellers need to be listened to.
Who : North-East outsider punk-pop alchemist.
Why : Even in these times you need to party…
15. Ded Rabbit
Who : Originally from Yorkshire, Ded Rabbit moved to the Highlands in 1996 and through the isolation and a developing love of music, the brothers started playing music together for over ten years.
Why : Now they are ready with their raucous blast
Who : A great new Wolverhampton band.
Why : Make a great racket for a two piece.
17. Mercury Circle
Who : the new side-project of Swallow The Sun and full of gothic drama twisted through synth rock that reminds us of the mighty Ulver.
Why : There’s always space for this kind of shimmering atmospheric darkness…
18. Battery Farm
Who : Vitriolic powering vocals and splenetic noise from Manchester band.
Why : Fast becoming one of the best new bands stirring the pot on the Manchester scene at the moment.
Who : Raw hardcore punk metal grunge that has been dubbed ‘Prunge’.
Why : More noisy pissed off Mancs.
Who : Liverpool based punky power pop with a raft of great songs.
Why : ‘the kind of guitar music that shifts easily from hangdog to heroism, though she has a stronger inclination towards pop – her choruses tend to light up like a match dropped in a box of fireworks’
21 : Other Half
Who : ‘nasty music for nice people’ from Norwich – angular post hardcore with killer live show ion only we could see them!
Why : Their recordings are even better…