Ones to Watch 2015
Our favourite new artists
The twin daughters of legendary percussionist and Buena Vista Social Club-collaborator Anga Díaz, Naomi and Lisa-Kainde moved from Cuba to Paris at the age of two, and grew up absorbing traditional Yorùbá folk songs alongside hip hop, jazz, gospel and electronica. Now 20, the duo seamlessly weave all these disparate influences into their work as Ibeyi, creating music that’s as innovative as it is emotive. Pre-order their eponymous debut below.
Boasting one of the deepest, richest baritones in the business, Kwabs stole our hearts the second we heard his soulful SOHN-collaboration ‘Last Stand’. A year on, he’s added earworms like ‘Wrong Or Right’ and ‘Walk’ to his arsenal and claimed a place on the BBC’s Sound of 2015 longlist. His debut’s done too, apparently, and he’s told us to prepare ourselves for “a multi-layered and varied collection of songs.” We can’t wait.
Don’t let Rae Morris fool you: beneath that youthful exterior lies a seasoned talent. Signed at the age of 18, the Blackpool-born singer-songwriter has spent three years crafting her debut album, stopping only to tour, or to lend her tremulous tones to bands like Bombay Bicycle Club and Clean Bandit. Having previewed the bruised pop on Unguarded ourselves, we reckon Morris’ future looks brighter than the illuminations in her hometown.
- Hailing from the suburbs north of Sin City, a teenage Shamir Bailey became an overnight sensation back in June with the release of his debut EP. It’s not difficult to see why. Offering an intriguingly lo-fi fusion of disco, funk, soul and R&B – and showcasing his incredible, androgynous coo – Northtown was our favourite releases of 2014. Now signed to XL Recordings, the 20-year-old’s upped the ante and the fidelity with ‘On The Regular’, a brilliantly-brazen dancefloor cut, complete with cowbell and rapping.
- In an era where more down-in-the-mouth music is mistakenly deemed most “worthy” , it’s refreshing to discover a band who look, and sound, like they’re having a brilliant time. Dealing in ramshackle garage-rock, driven by loose-limbed grooves and lethargic, part-drawled, part-bellowed vocals, Deers spent 2014 establishing themselves as Madrid’s uppermost ambassadors for fun. If they can continue creating songs of the calibre of ‘Bamboo’ and ‘Between Cans’, they’ll be leading even more listeners in the dance during 2015.
- If there’s one phrase guaranteed to bring us out in a cold sweat, it’s “actor-turned-singer”. So when we heard that Years & Years frontman Olly Alexander once trod the boards with Judi Dench and appeared in the final series of Skins, we couldn’t help but scratch our heads because their songs are so great. Maybe we need to reappraise our prejudices? It’s something we promise we’ll mull over while we sway to the hook-heavy electro-pop of ‘Desire’ and ‘Take Shelter’.
- Armed with a 12-string guitar, a snare drum, some loop pedals and, occasionally, panpipes, Castlemaine’s Oliver Perry makes some of the most enthralling music we’ve heard in years. Inspired by “African desert blues, Tanzanian ilimba and transcendental Tuvan melody”, and showcasing his incredible Jeff Buckley-esque tones, this debut EP has us waiting with bated breath for the full-length effort, due at some point in 2015.
- Layering sublime, multi-tracked harmonies over a delicate web of synthetic and acoustic sounds, 2013’s Saudade EP earmarked Valerie Teicher as one of the most exciting emerging talents in Brooklyn. Less than twelve months on, the Argentina-born, Colombia-raised songwriter has raised her game again with this slice of strutting, glitter-dusted electro. If ‘Bassically’ really is the tip of the iceberg, 2015 is Tei Shi’s for the taking.
- Like Royal Blood and Drenge before them, this Kent-formed duo are already proving that, when it comes to rock bands, two is incendiary company. Punkier than the former, and more vicious than the latter, Slaves trade in malevolent guitar licks, thrashing percussion, and the sort of sneering, guttural diction which instantly injects every word with menace. Two singles and one mini-album in, we’re finding it increasingly difficult to tear ourselves away.