Following on from the first part of this feature, we present to you the second wave of artists set to make this year their own. From DIY feminist punk to blissful blackened post metal, 2020 is perfectly shaping up to be a year bountiful with brilliant groundbreaking music.
Related: Ones To Watch: Top Bands Set To Conquer 2020 | Part One
Forming around the halfway mark of the last decade, the punk witches in Dream Nails have spent the past few years clawing their name into the subconscious of the national DIY punk scene. Over the course of a handful of singles and EP’s, the London punk quintet voiced the injustices queer women face through sardonic, scathing, inclusive, and above all, empowering punk. Despite consistently remaining loyal to the ideologies of the queer DIY scene, Dream Nails have been enjoying the spoils of successful endeavours as of late by appearing on Radio 1, performing at Glastonbury and Boomtown and by brining their inclusive, riotous and unique sound to Europe. Alcopop Records will be releasing their self titled debut on April 3rd and if you like your musical empowerment bubbling with personalty and rage, it’s set to be an album perfect for you.
TL;DR: Raging but wholly inclusive feminist punk to hex the patriarchy to.
FFO: Dream Wife, War On Women, Bikini Kill
The Guru Guru
Imagine the brash motorik of Idles. Now imagine the off-kilter and madcap progressive sensibilities of The Mars Volta and The Jesus Lizard. Finally, imagine an ethos dedicated to constant experimentation. Well done, you’ve just thought of The Guru Guru. Hailing from the pleasant pastures of Belgium, The Guru Guru are a band that disregard the notion of standard genre convention. 2017 saw the band completely omit the rule book with their debut full length PCHEW, with the record being a fantastic and disorientating amalgamation of indie-math, boisterous post-punk and psych-noise. With their new record Point Fingers forthcoming on January 31st via Luik Records & Grabuge Records, and with their shows being bordering legendary, The Guru Guru will be on everyone’s lips this year.
TL;DR: Authentically weird and brilliantly wild noise from Belgium.
FFO: The Mars Volta, Idles, Raketkanon
Hailing from the sprawling steel landscape of London, Mountain Caller predominately specialise in two things; riffs and atmosphere. A relatively new prospect, the trio weave monumentally dense instrumentals that carry the sensibilities of doom, post-metal and psych simultaneously. Dealing in surprising and unconventional structures, Mountain Caller are a deeply progressive band that effortlessly radiate promise and skill. Even with just three tracks released thus far, once listening to their craft it’s no surprise Mountain Caller have already shared lineups with the likes of Bossk, Pijn, Poly-Math, Boss Keloid and Ithaca. They might be a new prospect for the majority, but with a tour with Slabdragger impending and with a slot at ArcTanGent Festival confirmed, Mountain Caller are going to be breaking new ground on a continental level this year.
TL;DR: Substantially strong progressive post-metal hard enough to crack The Alps.
FFO: Bossk, Russian Circles, Pelican
Those familiar with Orchards will already know that 2020 belongs to them. For those who are still ignorant to their namesake, this year will be the year where it will be impossible not to get at least passively acquainted with them. Birthed from the thriving Brighton scene, Orchards have spent the last several years spreading their delightfully math-orinated pop honey all across the country, performing at events such as 2000 Trees, ArcTanGent, Truck Festival, Y Not, Handmade, Neighbourhood and many others in the process. Stickily sweet, but never too sickly, Orchards’s are the rare type of band that can appeal to a plethora of demographics effortlessly whilst sounding utterly unparalleled. March 13th will see the band will release their hotly anticipated debut Lovecore, and while no-one can truly predict what 2020 will entail, the only thing certain is that Orchards will dominate 2020.
TL;DR: Delightful sounds from soon to be massive math pop darlings.
FFO: Delta Sleep, TTNG, Tricot
As the prolonged renaissance of contemporary blackened music continues, we’re seeing an increasing amount of emerging artists incorporating the scorched conventions of black metal into their respective work. Understandably, given the large sum of bands attempting such endeavours, it’s natural there’s going to be a wide spectrum of quality among such bands. However, one of the best new bands focusing on the genre are Sheffield’s Hidden Mothers. With a focus on using the intensity of black metal as a form of juxtaposition, Hidden Mothers conjure gorgeously haunting soundscapes that swirl and dance through delicate ambience and atmospherically crushing black metal intensity. As proved on their most recent single ‘The Longest Journey Yet’, Hidden Mothers spellbindingly balance the ethereal and the punishing through their work. With a full length yet to come later this year, Hidden Mothers are set to be blackened post-metal’s next success story.
TL;DR: Life affirming blackgaze majesty from the heart of the Steel City
FFO: Oathbreaker, Alcest, Møl
Signed to the illustrious and esteemed Holy Roar Records, progressive doom titans Garganjua are a band that harbour borderline unparalleled brilliance. Whilst Garganjua may be an original discovery for many this year, the group’s finesse and skill shall allow them to escape the murky confines of obscenity swiftly, with their latest offering Toward The Sun releasing just days away on January 17th. Like their namesake suggests, the band are monumentally heavy and crushing when required, but understand the power of juxtaposition. Creating work that swings from blissful beauty to primordial malice, their imminent release is destined to be lovingly crafted piece of work composed of finely crafted textures and fibres. Holy Roar have been a constant and reliable source of brilliance for years now, and with Garganjua’s new record under their belts, their success is only set to continue.
TL;DR: Genuinely brilliant progressive post metal from Holy Roar’s next big success story.
FFO: Earth Moves, The Ocean, Pallbearer
The term ‘indie music’ animates a host of stereotypical perceptions, with many associating the word with the boisterous, devil-may-care attitudes of the indie rock movement that reigned supreme near the birth of the millennium. However, such beliefs are nothing more than fallacies and stereotypes; something the German trio KOJ prove. Forming in 2012, the act present dark indie-prog that’s evocative, haunting and mentally enticing. Sometimes pensively minimalistic, sometimes feral – but always ingenious - the group’s craft is the sound of an act who ensure their material is finely tailored and truly resonates the intended emotions. Their fantastic single ‘Jenny’ is currently doing the rounds online and with a full length due in Spring, KOJ are a deeply illusive band that everyone should be keeping tabs on.
TL;DR: Dark and illusive indie-prog from the beating heart of the contemporary German scene.
FFO: Arcane Roots, Sleep Token, Poisonous Birds
Even with the math-laced emo sound still being entertained by countless acts across the planet, it’s clear the genre still has some new surprises within it. Hailing from the eastern shores of our nation, Norwich's Marigolds present classic midwest emo with a modern and forward twist. Formed out of a mutual love of the genre and it’s community, Marigolds intertwine classic midwestern emo sensibilities with delicate folk and country textures. The result is a sound that’s seminal, versatile and incredibly characteristic, with the group’s forthcoming EP Hot Springs destined to allure both new fans and hardened critics. Whilst the band have rubbed shoulders with the likes of Turnover, Drug Church and Gaffa Tape Sandy so far, Marigolds have remained mostly under the radar for the past several years. Yet, with the aforementioned forthcoming EP to be released March 20th via Beth Shalom Records, Marigolds are set to the next band to be championed by the DIY emo scene.
TL:DR: Summery and colourful math orientated emo laced with folk and country flavours
FFO: Wild Cat Strike, Itoldyouiwouldeatyou, Gaffa Tape Sandy
With a namesake such as theirs, you can probably visualise what this midlands collective sound like. Relentless and uncompromising, Cruelty present metallic hardcore in it’s coldest and most volatile form. The quintet demanded attention last year with their sophomore EP In The Grasp Of The Machines, with the four track record being an incredibly intimate and raw slab of flailing and unfiltered hardcore. Whilst metallic hardcore may be a tried and tested genre as of late, what separates Cruelty from the horde is their merciless speed and focus on angularly piercing conventions. 2020 is set to be their biggest year thus far, with a UK tour with Palm Reader and Employed To Serve forthcoming in March. If you enjoy your hardcore seizing, relentless and so damn fast, get onboard with Cruelty.
TL;DR: Vicious and screeching metallic hardcore at it’s most merciless and raw
FFO: At The Gates, SeeYouSpaceCowboy, Converge
Similar to the aforementioned Orchards, while Vukovi are not a strictly new discovery, 2020 will be be the year where the Scottish collective become simply impossible to ignore. The last few years have seen Vukovi turn any stage they grace, regardless of it’s size, into their own personal playgrounds, earning themselves a reputation as one the most energetic and wild band’s within the country. Their 2017 debut full length swiftly became a hot topic and instant classic with many and it’s hyper-colour and wild contents proved to be the soundtrack to countless live shows full of unhinged mania. Vukovi are a band that just emit energy and chaos and with their sophomore release Fall Better released just weeks away on January 24th, 2020 will be the year where the band bring their unparalleled live show to the big leagues.
TL:DR: Untameable technicolour madness from the great North.
FFO: Marmozets, Black Futures, Hot Milk