Every year is a tranche of bands trying to get your attention by the lapels and pull you towards its forehead, leaving you stunned and bloodied like a mullet. The man underneath bleeds badly, but at least you're a fabulous hipster hairstyle. The coming year, 2019, is no exception. Loads are vying for an ever-shrinking slice of the leftover mince pie that's still out on Twelfth Night, but here are some of the newcomers who are worth seeing in the new year with.
Darren Lawrence mixes The Fall and The Prodigy, fetish, comedy and satire into the band Chris Morris should've used in Nathan Barley. Their song, Meds And Beer, is one of the best songs about Office life you're bound to hear. Their live shows are straight out of the music hall tradition, if it continues in a post-industrial dystopian England of the not too distant future.
Seeing these guys at the Deadcuts album launch party in February, the glam rock stomper, I Am Not A Monster, really was a singalong anthem for a generation who have a lot of explaining to do, especially in court. Either that, or it's one for a generation that has no defining characteristic that has them stand out in history.
This under the radar grime artist has shone a light on many issues surrounding urban life, especially in his native Brixton. A close friend of Big Narstie, Levelman has some real insight into what's happening in London today. He told me that grime is shining a light on these issues, such as mental illness and gang violence. Although I consider London Drill and grime to be what Winton Marsalis called "Ghetto Minstrelsy ", he's one of the notable exceptions to the rule.
Warren Drugs spin-off of Meatraffle has his more streamlined project, born out of frustration over the recording process that entails editing and waiting for setting up time, etc, Warren Drugs gives his genreless Trotskyite social commentary that's indebted to post-punk, jazz and Leon Trotsky a new lease on life. His trumpet playing is indebted to Miles Davis and Charlie Parker as it is the pre-punk avant-garde, which adds something to the chaos.
There's a great English tradition of people who started as journalists then go on to do something greater, such as Charles Dickens, Tom Stoppard and Andy Worthington, the journalist, songwriter and lead singer of The Four Fathers. Worthington takes the tradition of punk and roots reggae into the twenty-first century with straight-talking songs about Grenfell, the proceeds going to help survivors, and how Shaker Amer and Lewisham Council are running roughshod over residents wishes in clearing a wildlife garden to build luxury flats. Although they don't have the satirical edge of The Fugs, they're the closest thing to them in London today. Especially when fronted by a journalist who's the cross between John Pilger and The Fugs Ed Sanders. Grenfell by The Four Fathers
American folk rock in the tradition of The Byrds that really speaks to today, where civil rights are eroded by corporate interests and political correctness erodes our ability to speak truth to power, whether it's on the right or the left. Daisy House do what most of us haven't got the guts to do. As society becomes more atomised by the internet, this becomes more difficult because of so many competing voices vying for our attention.