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SUBCULTURE

Fred Perry’s Ones
to Watch – 2021

JANUARY 2021

As we look ahead to 2021 and a year of exciting new music, we round up our list of the UK’s hottest up-and-comers. Listen to our playlist and send us your suggestions.

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that whenever things are looking down, music is there to lift us right back up again. It’s been a tough 12 months for the music industry, but that hasn’t stopped young British musicians from releasing new EP’s and albums, and performing on livestreams across bedrooms, studios and empty venues.

So, let’s look to the future. A bright future, filled with diverse and exciting talent and the prospect of stumbling across your new favourite band, in your old favourite music venue. With a little help from our community, we’ve rounded up our list of the UK’s hottest up-and-comers to keep an eye out for this year.

From pin-sharp London rapper R.A.E. and post-punk lyricist Billy Nomates, to Psych Collective Mandrake Handshake and our very own music grant winner aden. Spanning musical genres, these are the ones to watch for 2021.

Al Mills, Rough Trade

Vlure at The Social in London was my last ‘proper’ gig and if ever there was a ‘soul to watch’ (as opposed to ‘one to watch’), it would be Glasgow’s afferent frontman: Hamish Hutcheson.

Mandrake Handshake signed to seminal indie label Nice Swan at the end of last year and are now fast on track to hyper-saturating the subliminal space where the third eye lies, and acidic astral projection is the go-to hit. Think Fantasia narratives meets hallucinogenic freeform and you’re not even remotely falling hand-in-hand down the rabbit hole with this bunch.

Or if ageless instrumentals are what you’re after, then look no further than Japanese Television’s third offering to the leftfield, and straight on ‘til oblivion. In the words of the powers that be themselves, “only Japanese Television are 100% Space Surf.”

Mandrake Handshake suggested by Al Mills

Malady

“A few fresh British artists / bands I'm excited about hearing more in 2021 are Sam Akpro, feeo, Jockstrap and old friends of mine, Caspian's Island.”

Caspian's Island recommended by Malady

Harrison Swann, Talk Show

Mica Levi. Their track Chains Baggy is a weird tune but I can’t get enough of it. Really ominous guitars, sound like they’re dragging you through the mud of a swamp. 1 minute and 46 seconds of total mystery.

Gabriel Gifford. Check him out for water-tight grooves with some seriously dark bass to it. Turn it up loud.”

Gabriel Gifford recommended by Harrison Swann

George Riley

“I’m really looking forward to more releases from John Glacier. May her reign be long, glorious and victorious.

Léa Sen dropped some really beautiful singles in 2020. I’m definitely looking forward to her EP. Type of music for your soul…

Lastly, Shaun Sky. I loved his debut single SURE THING. The latest single’s a bop too, with banging visuals. Really looking forward to seeing what’s to come from him this year.”

Shaun Sky suggested by George Riley