15 sounds for 2015 part 2

Here are the next 5 of 15 acts that I think will become well known during 2015. The Breakthrough Acts

Quite a few will already be known by many of you as a #newmusic fan.  Many were on my Ones to Watch For list last year ( this years list will be published soon) and have built up a successful following. Some have already been signed and are due to release their first album early in 2015.

Again in no particular order

6. Lapsley



18 year old Lapsley would be in my choices purely on the fact that she is the first thing musical to come out of my home town of Southport near Liverpool since Marc Almond who was in my class at school. In fact its a bumper year for Southport and Seattle Yacht Club another Southport act will be in my Ones to Watch list.  Atmospheric electronic music with such a pure vocal she has been lighting the blogs up all year and rightly so. Purity, simplicity and quirky seem to sum her up well.  Bit XX bit James Blake.

Just made the UK Bloggers  Sounds of 2015 and I think will feature highly on BBC Sounds of 2015 too.


7. Rhodes


Whilst we are in the mood for great vocalists next is Rhodes.  Singer songwriter David Rhodes is keeping up Hitchin’s push to be the epicentre of great new music as it is the original home of James Bay too. On my Ones to Watch 2014 list I somehow managed to miss him live 3 last year due to work. Superb haunting vocals as can be heard on this live recording.


8. Nothing But Thieves


Time to let the bands in.  Schoolmates from Southend have been progressing really quickly over the last year and every track brings something different to the table.   Expect intricate guitar lines and unusual chord progressions, multiple layers and soaring, angelic vocals.  They started to get a lot of interest in the second half of last year and I am expecting a great year for these guys. Touring as support to Dalia in February,  it’ll be a case of the support outshining the main act

9. Amber Run


No apologies from me for another band with  intricate guitar lines and unusual chord progressions, multiple layers and soaring, angelic vocals.  It just works for me.  Amber Run signed to a major early last year and like NBT they have really progressed. There is a similarity to Bastille and are definitely worth catching live

The video below shows them singing A Cappella with a choir


10.  Rag’n’Bone Man


To finish the list we have a singer songwriter with a difference.  Rough, gravelly vocals belting a combination of Blues/HipHop/Soul

This is an artist who will split some peoples opinion because of his refusal to be bound by a single “label”.

His 8 track EP contains 8 completely different tracks such is his versatility.  I have picked the one that I think captures his variety, but it is worth listening to the whole EP and be prepared to be taken on a journey down many lanes

15 New Music Sounds of 2015

Here are the first 5 of 15 acts that I think will become well known during 2015. The Breakthrough Acts

Quite a few will already be known by many of you as a #newmusic fan.  Many were on my Ones to Watch For list last year ( this years list will be published soon) and have built up a successful following. Some have already been signed and are due to release their first album early in 2015.


So in no particular order here we go

1. Eliza and the Bear


No list of mine could be complete without these guys. Since the first time I saw them in Feb 2013 I have been sure that they would make it. Super talented with a great understanding of the music they want to make. Great anthemic indie. What they originally lacked was performance and all the hard work over the last 2 years has seen them hone their craft.  You will often hear them either in the background of a TV programme or in an advert

A great act to see live at a gig or a festival.

1st album is out in 2015

2. James Bay


Brit Award winner and on lots of lists and rightly so. I first saw him doing street performances during Great Escape this year and it was clear that this singer songwriter was about to launch himself to bigger things. Quietly spoken and humble he is captivating as soon as he starts his strutting and singing. He is no sudden hit having started to arouse noise across social media in 2013 and working hard touring with many bands both here and in the states as the support act.



3.  Coasts


Originally from Bristol and another act that has worked hard to get to where they are now… on the cusp of breaking through. Saw them play originally in 2013 and when I saw them again this year it was clear to see how much they had progressed in both song-writing and performance, I have a feeling that they have been recently signed, as there was a sudden cancellation of a trip to America and a concentrated time in the studio . On few lists and have been getting steady play on both Radio 1 and XFM. Guitar Indie with soaring vocals, great live and always seem to be having fun on stage.  Heading to America in the New Year and it looks like a busy festival season for them


4. Honne


To defy the normal rule of taking a long time to serve your time with gigs in pubs followed by support sets etc these guys have come to attention very quickly. Duo with a great groove.  heavy soul influence with soaring synthesizers, serious riffs and vocals that are similar to James Blake. They describe the sound as  “warm and sensual, late night vibes, serious baby making sounds.” Certainly for those who love Jungle. Originally from the South West these two ex-music teachers are now based in East London. Played their first gig on 25th November and hopefully we will see lots more live shows.


5. Kim Churchill


Kim is an Australian surf dude whom I came across randomly whilst searching for some live music in Freemantle in 2010. He was playing a market square very small youth skateboard festival on a tiny stage down an alley.

I was immediately wowed by his guitar playing and couldn’t believe that someone aged 20 could have so much skill already.  I have been keeping an eye on his global travels and his “have guitar will play” lifestyle.  I hate to think how many gigs and festivals a year he plays.

He plays acoustic guitar, kick drum, pedals and a harmonica. All at the same time and has a great voice too.

Earlier this year he came over to UK for the first time as the opening act for Billy Brag and I have caught him a couple of times since. He has got even better and it was great to see him pulling people into the Avalon Tent at Glastonbury this year.  What started as a fairly empty tent soon filled up.

Towards the end of the year he was signed by one of the major labels and will be touring here in March.  Definitely one to watch and catch live he is better live than on record.

That’s it for the first instalment of my 15 sounds of 2015


Keeping Music aLIVE – Helping Save New Music Venues



If you are reading this then it is highly likely that you are either a musician, work in the industry or like me a new music fan.


One thing we all have in common is a love of music, especially live music and have probably been to at least 5 gigs this year over and above festivals.


Grass roots live music is under threat from a shortage of great venues and action and support is needed now to help ensure we don’t lose more.


Many of us will be able to remember the time we saw that famous act play in a small venue before becoming major stars. Our friends and family will have heard us talk about it many a time!  It is these small venues that are most under threat.


These small venues are the very life blood of the music industry especially now when the main revenue for many artists comes from playing live not from records. Typically an act will have started playing on the local circuit before supporting an up and coming touring band locally. The next move is to support a headline band on a tour before heading out on their own first headline tour.  This rite of passage is vital for them to learn their craft.  Many musicians are very talented, we get to hear 25 plus great acts a week  on The Listening Post at www.freshonthenet.com, but they need to learn to perform, to engage an audience and very few can do that from the start. It is for many a learnt art, learnt and fine-tuned from gigging on the “Toilet” circuit. Without this it is unlikely that they will become major acts.



I watched Eliza and the Bear recently perform a great 50 minute set in front of 600 fans at 02 Islington. The songs, performance and engagement were excellent. 20 months ago I watched them 400m away at The Old Queens Head in a room above the pub.  There were about 25 non-friends or family. The talent was clear to see but the set was a rushed 20 minutes and there was little performance or connection with the audience. In the last 20 months they have played festivals and the “Toilet” circuit week in week out. In a few months’ time they are likely to be on many a “Rising Stars of 2015” list and rightly so. Without the experience of playing so many small venues they wouldn’t have made it to where they are now


These venues are nearly always run by people with a passion for music and commercially it is really really hard. Long hours, low income, hassle and financial worries. We salute their passion.


The commercial pressure, notwithstanding, they are coming more and more under threat of closure from neighbours complaining about noise levels. Especially those who move above/close to an existing venue and then complain to the local council. It is highly likely that the venue will for years have worked closely with their neighbours to come to an amicable agreement on what is and what isn’t acceptable. Then someone comes in and complains.  The councils are duty bound to investigate and the problems start. It isn’t restricted to music venues. The person who moves next to a church that has rung the bells for centuries on a Sunday and complains can have the same effect.  Personally I live near a military training area it’s been there for 70 years and following recent building development there are numerous complaints about helicopter noise, which the local majority have learnt to accept.


To me it defies logic that you can move somewhere and then complain about something that has been going on at the same level for a number of years and then get it closed down.  Yet that is what is happening up and down the country.


When it happens there is additional cost to fight it and that alone for a music venue can be a tipping point into closure.

It is all legal and allowable due to badly drawn up regulations and councils often have no choice but upholding the complaint. They then hand out enforcement orders which the venues can’t comply with without losing the ability to play live music at a volume that is acceptable to gig goers or musicians alike. The worst case is closure and yet another venue lost


There is an answer though. Change the ludicrous legislation.

This is where you come in.

We need to pressure the government to make changes to the legislation and the Music Venue Trust is spearheading a campaign to get things changed.  The Music Venue Trust http://musicvenuetrust.blogspot.co.uk/ is a charity that was created in January 2014 to protect the UK live music network, with the ultimate aim of funding regional venues.

Their current campaign aims to get the government to adopt the “Agent of Change” principle. As the Music Venue Trust say “The Agent of Change Principle is not complicated or controversial, it’s simple common sense: The person or business responsible for the change is responsible for managing the impact of the change. This means that an apartment block to be built near an established live music venue would have to pay for soundproofing, while a live music venue opening in a residential area would be responsible for the costs. A resident who moves next door to a music venue would, in law, be assessed as having made that decision understanding that there’s going to be some music noise, and a music venue that buys a new PA would be expected to carry out tests to make sure its noise emissions don’t increase.”  It’s a principle that has been adopted in Australia and Bristol City Council applied it when the planning conditions next to The Fleece contained a requirement for the developer to ensure sufficient soundproofing.

The Trust has set up a petition with support from the likes of Frank Turner to try and force action of one form or another.

If you like your new music, if you want to help safeguard the industry we are so proud of and our musician’s livelihoods then head over to https://www.change.org/p/sajid-javid-mp-adopt-the-agent-of-change-principle and add your name to the 29,000 or so who have already done so. If another 6,000 sign then the government has to formally consider it and also respond.  That’s the rules

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