Text: Laura Rosierse & Susanne van Hooft
Despite the past year being an absolute whirlwind of disaster after disaster with barely any support for the event and live music industry, some good things have risen from the ashes. Some artists in particular have brought us hope and positivity while we were trying to stay sane as the walls were closing in on us, as we weren’t allowed to meet others outside for most of 2020. Underneath you find an overview of some talented and promising artists we think are ones to watch for 2021!
Scotish alternative rock trio Primes have previously released some amazingly powerful singles that are infectious, heart-warming as well as heart-wrenching and make the trio and their musical catalogue impossible to ignore. Besides being able to write intriguing pop rock riffs and choruses we are all still singing along, the band have played several festivals, live gigs all over the country and received international attention with ‘Nine Lives’, ‘Moment’ and latest single ‘Shangri-La’. We are more than interested to find out what 2021 has in store for Primes and for us.
It took Marie Naffah only one song to mesmerise and enchant, her latest single ‘Gabriel’ showcased a refined and open-hearted message wrapped in a laid back, soothing alternative pop soundscape and simple instrumentation. The singer songwriter, who is currently based in London, was chosen as MTV’s Unsigned Artist of 2014 and still does most of it on her own. It is remarkable that the young woman has gone to have since released five singles, delivered her own TED Talk, toured the US and sold out several hometown shows. For those of us who appreciate Christmas-covers, she just released ‘Driving Home for Christmas’, and in our humble opinion, it is better than the original.
Seraphina Simone burst onto the scene with attitude, energy, self-belief and hook-filled alternative pop songs. Debut single ‘Cherry <8’ was released at the start of this year and followed up by multiple soothing, almost jazzy pop anthems. As if there was no global pandemic and if life resumed as usual the past year, Seraphina created a way for her listeners to escape into a non-judgmental world of grand build ups and infectious indie with a nod to commercial pop charts. ‘Skin’ is her latest and many tastemakers as well as the music industry approve of both ‘Skin’ and Seraphina Simone. So do we.
Polarized Eyes introduced themselves with debut EP ‘Prescription Lens’ which was released last year and in no way did it give away the trio’s age. Merely out of high school, their debut gathered attention from national radio stations and with their latest single ‘Sinner’ they showed they have kept up the quality of their music without much effort. Talent and perseverance is what will elevate Polarized Eyes, as well as brand new single ‘Blackout’, an intriguing, almost hazy grunge rock inspired track!
Not many bands these days find the inspiration and financial support to be able to release an album, let alone three! Synth punk outfit Twist Helix from Newcastle released their third album this year, one that is a modern twist on their classically inventive and inspiring synth sound. Having released their latest album ‘Machinery’ via Spanish label Paul Back Music, having toured the country and having had support from international outlets as well as venues Twist Helix are a promising act to keep your eyes and ears on in the new year!
Garage rock band Sprints from Dublin only formed in 2019, but still they found a nice sound: catchy guitar music with pounding basses and great riffs. The energy and the desire to play splatters from the music. Frontwoman Karla Chubb has a pleasant, warm voice and her vocals sometimes sound careless, like we are used to from post-punk, and at other times it sounds raw. The lyrics of the songs are like conversations in a café: honest and quite straightforward. In 2020, the band released a few songs on the label Nice Swan Records (Sports Team, Pip Blom) and they have announced an UK and Ireland tour. It suggests that the band is going to take major steps in 2021.