Words: Robin Mumford
Is there any better feeling than telling your friends about an underground music artist and laying claim to being the one that discovered them when they ascend to prestige?
As the new year looms large, I’ve given myself the exciting job of finding those fledgling artists you should expect to make it big in 2023, devising our writer’s picks and helping you along the way in becoming that one friend that everyone goes to for their next intake of musicians they’ll inevitably add to their defunct playlists.
The team we have at Our Sound Music would like to consider themselves musical aficionados, with a healthy CV of talent detection over the years making us qualified to let you into the secrets of 2023’s breakout stars.
So, without further ado, and in no particular order, here are our picks for those to keep tabs on.
If you’re familiar with our work, you’ll almost certainly have heard of Lissy Taylor. We love her. To be honest, she’d get into this list with just her powerful voice alone. Not many people can control a room with their voice, but Lissy sure can. It is this tool in her drawer that is accompanied by her natural-born ability to erect massive choruses which turn her whole discography into a competition of which track will be shouted along to the loudest in her gigs.
She could well become your one stop shop for stadium-sized anthems even before 2023 has even started. Taking the releases of “She’s a Stunner” and “Fierce” into her stride, we expect her to blow up very soon.
Dublin is the new Glasgow. And for Gurriers, this couldn’t be more palpable. Although currently lurking in the shadows of other Irish post-punk outfits, their drip-feed of vicious riffs and truculent lyricism will be the talk of the town in no time. Currently, they have three Spotify releases, including their ravenous debut ‘Approachable’. From listening to their collection on repeat, we feel they’re best seen live. We can imagine it’d be quite the show.
Very quickly, Ireland is becoming native soil for a new wave of musical high noon. Step aside Fontaines DC and Inhaler - with the inundation of brilliant bands in the capital now, we need room for Gurriers among others.
My favourite playlist addition of 2023, Lime Garden really have all that it takes to be bracketed among the beau monde with their artistic style. They create the same sort of feeling with their music as a chimeric dream; a feeling you experience with late-night conversations with someone you love or a midsummer’s gaze into the sky.
Breaking genre boundaries, the four friends that form the band compose a delicate jumble of catchy melodies and earworm hooks that bubble together into a nonchalant net of lo-fi sounds, coated by a sugar-sweet layer of invariable vocals that insist you sway along to each of their track’s toing and froing.
Although unable to directly compare them to more established bands because they are their own identity – if I had to, then I’d say they are the same level of groovy and cool as Wet Leg but with more talent. Their reputation may not be as big as the Chaise Longue singers, but I’m confident in my admission that Lime Garden deserves to go a lot farther.
PICTURE THE SCENE
After listening to ‘Goodbye’ just once, it was enough to make me want to unearth more of a band that goes about their business in a mighty fine fashion. The rock ’n’ roll label can rarely be dished out nowadays because everyone tries and fails to be Liam Gallagher. But in the comfort of their own distinctive demeanour, Picture the Scene, a budding rock band based in the south, fit the bill. Essentially, they’re fucking cool.
From their band image to their stage presence, and implacable tunes that contrive a Seattle-esque grunge nuance, these guys are instantly loveable. Another band we feel would be best seen live; Picture the Scene makes sure a forgotten part of music lives on. Think Alice in Chains meets modern day indie and multiloquent lyricism and you get this supersonic act.
We hope all these artists in this list make it big in 2023, but if Picture the Scene’s potential could be recognised, we’d like to think it’d have a domino effect for more rock ’n’ roll figures in music. An entity we are desperately in need of!
‘Polaroid’, ‘Better of You’ and ‘Jealousy’ make up a trilogy of near-perfect indie bangers released by the endearing Megan Wyn. First finding her during lockdown, back when she was livestreaming her covers nearly every night, I have since grown to love her. Though no longer a self-confessed indie kid (I’m not even a kid anymore), Megan gives me hope that, through her style and storytelling, the indie scene can be revived to its salad days.
You could stick on Megan’s music anywhere and in any company, and it’ll be an instant hit with everyone. Candid and melodious, her indie-pop soundscape is deeply infectious. For 2023, she looks a pretty prospect to feature in many festival line-ups. Make sure you catch her.
Formed in Leeds in 2017, this lot should already be a well-known giant in the rock tableau. Their most streamed song ‘Drive in Mind’ has notched an impressive 268,000 plays on Spotify alone, but each of their other songs deserve just as much recognition. To be fair, none of them are over the age of 20, so they’ve got a long way to go, I for one am just surprised they aren’t already there.
Young and bright-eyed, L’Objectif is a band characterised by passion. In every release, you can almost feel the emotion from the vocalism of Saul Kane bleed dry as it leaks from your earphones. Keeping a lid on this bunch will be a toilsome task if they go on tour in 2023.
A one to watch list made by me in the twilight of 2022 simply wouldn’t be complete without a synth-based lo-fi sound that creates an echo chamber effect. At some point in this year, you could find me listening to the mysterious auras of artists such as Current Joys and Twelve Point Buck. After searching for bands like these that are in their youth, HighSchool was uncovered.
Having released an exceptional EP in 2021 titled ‘Forever at Last’, their only 2022 production came in the shape of ‘Only a Dream’ – a single that embedded the comparison I initially made with New Order. The danceability of their synth creations are a joy to behold. But even more so, their sculpting of a band image which ensues mystery draws me in even closer to the heart of their sound.
A goth-pop dreamworld, HighSchool synthesises light with dark to build a unique listening experience. With their recent-ish move from Melbourne to London - a transition that has seen their conveyor belt of new content stiffen a little, we expect to see a lot more of them next year.
Through generous offerings of Britain’s answer to Angsty American teenage rock songs, Pentire brings stories of youthful liberation and lager-soaked student life to the fore in their stimulating collection of summer-suited indie classics. From being the unpopular kids in the sleepy town of Ross-On-Wye to instigating swathes of mosh pits in the Southwest, 2023 signals an opportunity for the local favourites to expand their superficial sphere of influence.
Perfect for parties, Pentire expresses themselves in a feel-good manner. But we’re sure that, if you catch them on a particularly revved-up night, they could bring the house down with their inexhaustible teenage energy.
Whilst sold-out shows at venues like London’s O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire and Manchester’s O2 Ritz would suggest 2022 was Rosellas’ breakout year, with their recent signing with This Feeling Records for a new EP on the horizon, next year will surely exceed this one.
More of a typical indie band featuring four lads that build on the remnants of 90s Britpop, Rosellas actually bring more to the genre than your unremarkable Oasis wannabes. What their predecessors fail on, these boys succeed. Not only do they hark back to the 90s, but they also introduce fresh flavours that reinvigorate the guitar scene. Through their release of ‘Slowdance’, you get the feeling this band is way more than your quintessential British rock band. Stripped back and delicate, the single is a complete contrast to their other songs, and we hope to see the vulnerable side of Rosellas make a return in 2023.
Along my journey of nearly three years with Our Sound Music, I’ve peregrinate deep within the interminable spectrum of music genres. In 2022, post-punk became my bread and butter. Getting lost in the darker elucidations of existence through a narrative-driven lens and crypticism supported by a cortado of cataclysmic undertones is something only the stubborn-willed of us can survive.
DEADLETTER is exactly that band. They tackle the deep-rooted problems in society through the conversational lyricism of Zac Lawrence, which is supported by the shimmering guitars and addictive smacks of the drums from the other 5 (FIVE!) members.
Their revered live performances, which has led to critical acclaim from Steve Lamacq, is what will set them apart from the rest in 2023. In fact, the critical acclaim spans far and wide, with interviews already being done with the likes of Fred Perry and DIY Magazine – this gives me unsullied confidence that DEADLETTER will absolutely tear down the plaster of 2023 almost immediately.
Below, you can find the playlist which features all our breakout stars: