[sic] Magazine

Tasting Notes 2024

There’s no sanctuary quite like music. Or at least there shouldn’t be. And the privilege to say that rings truer this year than most. We’ll leave it there.

An anchor in stormy seas, a shoulder on which to cry, new music in particular has the power to stir the emotions, the frisson of discovery as unpredictable as it is to stake a claim on medium-term success, and, yet, optimistically, here again is our annual feature that really ought to be sub-titled “bands/artists that don’t yet have an album, but from whom we’d like one soon”. Catchy, huh? Like always, we’ll kick off by appraising the progress – or otherwise – of last year’s chosen few as what, simply, is the point of a list like this if we’re ultimately not held accountable for it?

So, first up, itchy punk-funk practitioners Deadletter snuck out a digital EP in late 2022 after we’d written this feature with the in-demand vinyl arriving this year, so too a new single as well, none of which mean the arty-party Leeds collective made it to the LP we craved, but their louche grooves remain a promising proposition when the time does come. Lilting Irish garage-punks Sprints do at least have a date in the calendar for their no-doubt withering album, but sadly that date has now been pushed back to early 2024. With two wry and fiery singles to their name this year nevertheless, it’s likely to be just as combustible as you’d hope. Moving on and, despite oozing potential, 2024 has however been a fallow year for swoonsome Swedes Boy With Apple from whom we’ve heard precisely zip since their hot run of singles last year. Let’s hope they’ve been spending time in the studio and are being all mysterious, ready to surprise us with the goods next year. Keeping themselves relevant in turn with a live EP of previously released material, skinny-trousered New York types Been Stellar are another with nothing new to show for themselves this year but, as we see time and again, when fame hits fast, the second act can be a tough one. Better a cautious step, than a mistimed leap in our book any day. And, ending on a high note, we already knew feminist post-punks M(h)aol had an album ready to go for 2023 so it’s no great shakes to confirm they tabled one. More intriguing perhaps was how murky much of it was, swirling mists making their now-notorious extolment of intercourse during menstruation sting the ears that little bit harder. See where the album lands in our end-of-year list coming next month.

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; 2024’s ones to watch are:

Following up a couple of killer singles with a just-too-perfect EP of cloudlike shoegaze/dream-pop, deary are a London duo under the wing of Sonic Cathedral and who seem to be getting their feet under the table with impressive ease at their spiritual home. Rather than rattle off a who’s who of first-wave greats by way of comparison, simply let those guitars and gorgeous vocal wash on over you. Key track: “Fairground”

There’s no shortage of dreamy ‘gazers in 2024 and Minneapolis band She’s Green aren’t just another one. Swooning intangibility and crystalline guitar parts swell the heart, early stand-out singles arguably bettered by the sheer elemental flow of the follow-up EP. We hope a significant stateside stable is sniffing round to do the inevitable album justice; Dead Oceans we’re looking at you (address available for royalty cheques). Key track: “Bleed”

Creatures of the night, new Manchester-based three-piece Nightbus reside at the centre of some infernal Venn diagram marked post-punk, new wave and goth. Prowling basslines meet the whispery Olive Rees (equally of her melancholy solo project Olivesque), her seductive undertow beckoning you onto the rocks like all the best shadowy singers. Do not sleep on this Nightbus; you may just never wake up. Key track: “Mirrors”

Bashing dark-synth squarely on the nose, Portland duo Graveyard Gossip – like Light Asylum before them – are so cartoonish in their hammy gloom that it’d be easy to consign them to the black-lipstick bargain-bin without a second thought. There’s glinting steel beneath their sleazy cloaks however, something strangely powerful conjured by all the theatrics. A real-world album could well be the making of the pair. Key track: “Choked”

Matador tend to know a decent young outfit when they hear one and, accordingly, they’ve hoovered up the impossibly young Chicago band Lifeguard and their two EPs to date in order to fatten up their restrained take on post-hardcore ahead of an album in the future. Expect influential borrows from American punk-rock roots and a doubling-down on all things Dischord, only as retold by nerdish Gen Z archivists. Key track: “Alarm”

Got a new band/artist you want to see make an album in 2024? Want to slag these choices off? Know something we don’t about any of the artists mentioned above? Let us know your thoughts using the comments below.