[sic] Magazine

Tasting Notes 2020

AKA our annual feature sub-titled “bands/artists that don’t yet have an album, but from whom we’d like one soon”. No matter, each year we kick off by appraising the progress of last year’s chosen few; we say it each year but what, simply, is the point of a list like this if we’re ultimately not held accountable for it?

So, first up on last year’s list was Launder, who feature Zachary Cole Smith of DIIV on guitar and John Cudlip on drawn-out vocals. The band may only have one new single to their name in 2019, “Powder”, but – to their credit – it’s a cracker, an acoustic-led dreamer that grows in stature, stepping on the pedals to swell and pulse with beautiful ‘gazing fuzz, melodic motifs getting swept away by a dark undertow of bass, the emotive flip a similarly styled echo in turn. UK post-punks Drahla went one better though, tabling an impressive album, Useless Coordinates, via Captured Tracks. As fine an album as it is however, it’s basically classic era-Kim Gordon singing icily over the best of Wire. Naturally we love it. See where it comes in our albums of the year list soon. Another band to have only managed a new single this year is Glasgow indie outfit Hairband, who again exercise their danceable post-punk muscle on the B-side to “Paris”, the single itself a charming dose of French-language DIY that tumbles together elastic guitars and exotic percussion. More of this please! Our other two tips sadly though are yet to dip their toes in 2019, singer-songwriter supergroup boygenius showing no sign of getting back round the campfire and Scouse psych-punk rabble Ohmns conspicuous by their absence too.

Anyway, with that round-up done and dusted, let’s head on over to the main event. Make of the below what you will, considering the mixed bag above. Here goes nothing then; 2020’s ones to watch are:

Blanketman sound and also – crucially – look the part to be next off the conveyor belt of disaffected Brit bands. All elbows and angles, they’ve pockets full of such statements, but none better than the pummelling one below that’s been hanging around a year now, the Manchester miserablists spitting barbs over wiry guitar parts and rumbling percussion. It’s a deadly combination of passion and hunger, an opening move that takes no prisoners. Pity lesser bands that get in their way. Key track:

A. Swayze & The Ghosts hail from Hobart, Tasmania and it’s that splendid isolation that helps stand their rolling garage-punk yelps apart. Consequently, thrusting at our prudish colonialism at every turn, their songs itch frantically as if infected with New World fever. They strut arrogantly, a two-finger salute to anyone in earshot and, yet, every body contortion and soaring riff is calculated perfectly, any criticism levelled at their posturing bouncing straight back because they’re so tight. Key track:

KYŌGEN are sitting on a treasure trove of glistening dream-pop and here’s hoping more of it is committed to tape soon. Member of Manchester indie band PINS by day, moody frontwoman of this electro-fired ensemble by night, Kyoko Swan’s songs haunt intense electronic pulls, stuttering drum-machine snares and bassy wubs, Dan Broomhall twiddling the knobs impressively. If there’s any justice in the world, there’ll be nothing but exciting times ahead for the pair of them. Key track:

Dry Cleaning are so dry in their delivery that they cut straight to the bone, the South London band’s ramshackle post-punk vignettes tackling mundane modern malaise with a deliciously wry sense of wit. Deadpan vocalist Florence Shaw thus paints intimate insights into her relatable, occasionally furious world via her disinterested near-spoken word and, with two impressive EPs under their belt, an album cannot come soon enough. It ought to be an awkward beauty. Key track:

Le Marina is of Italian roots, but these days she’s thoroughly enthralled by the cutting-edge pop of her hometown London. Taking cues from future beats, Bass, and the more humble sounds of simple synth-pop, her FKA Twigs-indebted melodies also take in woozy trip-hop motifs and straight-up R&B gloss. It’s a more than winning combination too, her slo-mo drops and synthy oscillations as striking as anything making it big right now. Maybe, just maybe, she’s next. Key track:

Got a new band/artist you want to see make an album in 2020? Want to slag my choices off? Know something we don’t about any of the artists mentioned above? Let us know your thoughts using the comments below.