Yes 2018 was an amazing year for brand new music but you just wait and see what 2019 has in store for you. Here are the bands and new releases the team here at Vulture Hound are most excited about.
After a relatively quiet year, indie/punk/pop quartet Martha popped up just before Christmas with the news that they had signed to Big Scary Monsters and had a brand new single called Heart is Healing. It’s our first sign of an as-yet-untitled new album, expected a little later this year, and from the look of it it’s everything we could hope for from the Durham foursome: warm, fun, deeply heartfelt and catchy as hell. In fact it might be poppiest, happiest-sounding breakup song ever – marrying earnest, touching lyrics (‘This year blew my world apart/Admin with a broken heart’) with irresistible pogoing pop hooks like it’s the most natural thing in the world.
Martha’s last couple of albums, 2014’s Courting Strong and 2016’s Blisters in the Pit of My Heart, have earned them a reasonable shout as one of the best bands in Britain, and with a new album on the way 2019 should be a massive year for them. Judging by Heart is Healing at least, it’s easy to feel confident that whenever the new one arrives it’ll be good enough to make us all want to move to Durham and never leave.
It’s four years since Sleater Kinney came out of the woods with 2015’s No Cities To Love, after a decade of inactivity. The result was a reassuringly good record that showed their DIY punk roots were still firmly intact, as was a pop sensibility evident on the absurdly catchy single A New Wave. In fact, art-rock superstar St Vincent called that album her favourite Sleater Kinney record so far, so much so that she apparently couldn’t help herself but produce a brand new one for the band.
Members Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss announced the extraordinary team up by posting a picture of themselves on social media in the studio with St Vincent. But in spite of her very high profile, St Vincent’s involvement on the as-yet-untitled new album, which is due out at some point later this year, is unlikely to overshadow the band themselves. Sleater Kinney proved with No Cities To Love that they are still every bit the outfit that took their inspiration from the Riot Grrl scene and used it to help inspire a whole new generation of young musicians, and a new record from them is something to get very excited about indeed.
Indie punk trio Cheerbleederz signed to Alcopop! Records late last year and released a cracker of a record to celebrate. The Faceplant EP isn’t anything like as humiliating as its moniker would suggest, instead displaying a well-earned confidence to their brand of upbeat fuzz pop. New single Staying Up Late’s delightfully animated video captures the bubbly charm at the heart of this band, all while paying an appropriately adorable homage to 90s sitcom classic Sabrina the Teenage Witch. The EP’s best song Cabin Fever features singer Kathryn Woods sounding happier than anyone ever has while singing the words ‘I think that we’re all doomed’, while Don’t Hesitate calls for traditionally marginalised voices to have confidence in their art – an important rallying cry from this all-female group.
Great harmonies, smart lyrics and pretty hooks that mercilessly sink their teeth into the back of your brain are all abundant on this irresistible record. 2019 is bound to be a massive year for Cheerbleederz – a new EP is due later in the year, and the summer is set to hold more than a few festival appearances, which will suit their bright, sunny style perfectly.
One of 2018’s best records is also one of its most criminally underheard. Oxford hardcore act Worry’s Confidence EP is stuffed with enormous riffs, massive drums and while the vocals sound as savage and brutal as you might expect from a hardcore band, frontman Nathan Ball’s lyrics are disarmingly honest and vulnerable. The result is one of the year’s richest heavy EPs, one that intelligently explores subjects like insecurity, mental health, and anger (obviously, this IS a hardcore band after all), without sacrificing any of the blistering, crushing qualities that make the band so much fun to listen to.
Previously Worry had been performing as a three piece, but, perhaps sensing that the live sound needed to match frontman Nathan’s extraordinary charisma, the band have added a bassist to the line up. In doing so, they’ve transformed themselves into an absurdly powerful live act, and an essential watch for any fan of heavy music. Another EP is due in the back half of the year, but before then keep an eye on local basement shows, all dayers and festival lineups, because Worry are sure to be all over them this year.
Lets start off the new year in the right way with a big preview of all the bands and albums we at Vulture Hound are most excited about in 2019
With last year’s EP (Distant Star) Spielbergs announced themselves with something wonderful. With their debut full length out in February and a headline tour to coincide, 2019 promises to be another huge year for the Norwegian three-piece. I would not be surprised to see their rise become astronomical in 2019. This is mainly down to their musical style, individual is overused but in this case it is most certainly used correctly.
The ever-building soundscapes are condensed into clever songs full of complexity and indie pop credentials. This combination creates tracks with longevity and a real sense of self, the complex musicianship and real understanding of choruses and hooks just shows how good the song-writing here is. Lyrically everyday life is covered with clever word play and a tone that is completely relatable, every word cleverly leads into and out of choruses and hooks that are made to be sung along to. There is no doubt that these songs are going to sound incredible in a packed room.
Spielbergs could well be the soundtrack to 2019!
Ladytron might have not released a full album for seven years, but their brand of retro futuristic electropop is just as current in this nightmare screenpocalypse world. Think of songs like ‘Cracked LCD’, ‘Soft Power’ or ‘AMTV’ and you’ve got an apt Black Mirror soundtrack.
The apocalyptic lyrics of last years’ singles ‘Far From Home’, ‘The Animals’ and ‘The Island’ combined with the wildfire-referencing album art, give an indication of Ladytron’s collective headspace in 2019. Their self-titled sixth album is out on February 15th, and will include the aforementioned singles and ten other tracks.
We can expect a darker and heavier affair than 2011’s Gravity the Seducer, with songwriter and producer Daniel Hunt promising us a “diverse and emotional” album. Fans of 2005’s excellent Witching Hour will be pleased to know that producer Jim Abbis has returned to work with the band on Ladytron.
It’s twenty years since the Liverpudlians launched their debut single, and vocalist Helen Marnie says that reuniting for the forthcoming release was like “getting together with an old friend”. Having played three gigs in the UK before Christmas, and currently touring the US and Mexico, it’s an exciting time for Ladytron- and the fans.
The Orange County hardcore outfit didn’t so much dominate the metal world two years ago as obliterate it, 2017’s Forever the Death Star to Earth’s Alderaan. A truly majestic piece of music that will be heralded as a stone cold classic for years to come, anticipation is sky high for the group’s fourth effort that is expected to come out in 2019 and, given such factors as their abrasive demeanour, outright refusal to any sort of conformity and a wealth of avenues with which to take their brutal, crushing sound, they’ll probably exceed all expectations yet again.
It seems a lifetime ago that death metal bruisers Venom Prison released Animus, a sonic blast of pure venom and anger injected straight into the musical bloodstream of anyone who dared give it a spin. The reality is it was only 2016, but the quintet’s relentless touring in the time since endeared them to not only people who relish the extremer end of the metal spectrum, but also those who had never ventured close to it beforehand. The follow up, due out this year, will likely be just as chaotic, thus propelling Venom Prison on a deservedly fast upwards trajectory.
Despite the constant pining that fans will harbour for the superb Letlive, Jason Butler has ensured his unabashed rage and animosity towards the current political climate remains in the open. Continuing the harsh, bullish mentality of his predecessors, Fever 333 are set to become the angriest band to pick up guitars and drums since Rage Against the Machine and their initial EP Made an America received acclaim from all corners upon its release last year. Full-length debut Strength in Numb333rs is unleashed this month and promises to kick things into overdrive with a healthy dose of pure, unadulterated spite.
“Holy Roar Records were the standout label in metal in 2018, releasing superb album after superb album. At the very top of the tree were Rugby’s Conjurer; debut album Mire was a tour de force of sludgy riffs, savage twin vocal lines, punk abrasion and expansive post-metal brilliance. There might not be any new music due from them this year, but a short headline run of the UK and Ireland next month will be followed by their first tour of the ‘States, thus setting up for their already impressive upwards trajectory to skyrocket into the stratosphere and beyond.”
A band who, quite frankly, need no introduction. The eighteen-legged juggernaut known as Slipknot are back with a brand new album this year and, if latest song All Out Life is anything to go by, they are about to take us on a dark and twisted journey the likes of which haven’t been seen since their 2001 opus Iowa. Still one of the best live bands on the planet and continuing to pack a serious amount of punch, the legendary masked riders of the apocalypse are about to leave the rest of the competition trailing in their dust. Again.
Lana Del Rey – Norman Fucking Rockwell
After years of being the face of glamorous misery – and wearing it damn well – Lana Del Rey’s more recent releases are slowly phasing out the dramatized, cinematic sound she has built. In place, teaser tracks such as Venice Bitch and hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have – but I have it focus on Lana’s dreamy vocals and instrumentals that sound like they’ve been ripped straight from a 70’s classic rock vinyl. It’s a marriage made in heaven.
Seeing Lana break down everything we thought we knew about her and experiment with deeply personal lyrics, new sounds and make tracks nearly 10 minutes long (Venice Bitch) is almost like discovering the magic of her music all over again. I can’t wait for a whole album of it.
Ariana Grande – thank u, next
Love her or hate her, the world has pretty much revolved around Ariana Grande for the past year or so- and it looks like it is going to do so for the foreseeable future. Ariana has an incredible talent for turning everything awful that happens to her (and she has certainly experienced her fair share of awful things!) and turning it into radio-friendly art.
Image Credit: Dave Myers
The first track we were given from the new record – thank u, next – was unavoidable, autobiographical and insanely catchy. The lyrics dealt with tragedy and the criticism the pop princess faces and turned it into what is sure to be one of the most memorable pop songs of this century. The second track imagine fed us the impossibly high Ariana vocals we know and love. So if this is anything to go by, the album is going to be unmissable.
It’s been widely lied about that rock’n’roll is dead. If faced with middle class privileged skinny jean wearing Strokes wannabees with only half the talent of Casablanca’s et al then it maybe it is a reasonable viewpoint.
What many fail to realise is that you shouldn’t be searching for identikit Topshop Rock Stars all wearing plastic leather jackets and Converse, as it was when that look was born, it came from the streets, it came from the disenfranchised working class wearing hand-me-downs that became cool that became vintage chic.
Prowling the stage like he wants to pick a fight with the front row wearing what looks like his Dads old brown leather jacket and cords, Grian Chatten, doesn’t say a word, stares out the crowd and fronts the frantic dirty rock’n’roll band that clearly do not give a f*ck. They don’t look like they are enjoying themselves; it appears more that this is a necessity than a pleasure.
They graced us with a couple of incendiary singles in 2018, “Too Real” “Checkless Reckless/The Boys From The Better Land” and the word on the Liffey is that Dan Carey has produced the debut L.P and it’s all ready.
All live photos: Vicki Bailey