Another year of intent music listening, curating and sourcing is upon us at The Sound Sniffer. This year is going to be something absolutely special and we are delighted to share our top 20 artists with you. These acts are the top picks we discovered at the back end of 2019 and we are certain that this will be their breakout year. Filtered from over five thousand submissions in the second quarter of last year – these are the ultimate finds! Over three hundred hours of listening to new tunes was needed to gather these! YUP!
Low Island are a four piece consisting of Jamie Jay, Carlos Posada, Jacob Lively and Felix Higginbottom. Their music has received high praise in recent times with their sonic sound being compared to LCD Soundsystem, Caribou and Radiohead. I would certainly agree that they are making waves in the same ilk as the aforementioned artists. They are no pisstakers, this band are the real deal.
For a taste, give ‘Long Answer‘ a spin, its a completely stylish showcase of their talents. Think Vampire Weekend and The Cast Of Cheers. These guys have a hugely varied repertoire and are definitely going to come good in 2020. How did they bypass me for so long? Woah!
Richard Walters is no stranger to creating emotive and thought provoking music. His previous works have ended up being used on a number of TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Criminal Minds and CSI Miami. He is a well respected songwriter and collaborator behind the scenes too, working with Olafur Arnolds and Solomun to name but a couple.
He has released four solo studio albums to date and we picked out his latest offering ‘This is Where it Ends’ late last year to spotlight. The track is hauntingly beautiful to be honest and I got caught totally engrossed in the music video that accompanied it aswell. Walters’s smooth vocals work brilliantly against the subtle backdrop of those pensive piano chords and rolling drum pattern.
He is a artist worth keeping tabs on this year.
I Managed to catch this lad on his first visit to London in Moth Club mid 2019. It was their closing tune ‘Roll Like A Dummy’ that caught my attention on the night. Late Verlane is a new upcoming singer/songwriter from Sweden via Copenhagen with a groovy upbeat pop sound. These guys have already caused a bit of a stir and are associated with the prestigious ‘Future Classics’ agency based in L.A and Sydney which stands them in good stead within the industry. What I love about the tune is it’s chirpy nature, there are no big crescendos or over complicated stanzas, it’s purely happy music made well. The synth arpeggios are lovely!
Safe As Houses
Lucky Lucky is one of my favourite songs at this moment in time still, they have a nice wee bit of violin thrown in for good measure. Lucky Lucky is a really top drawer track that has been on repeat here in my venue over here in London since I got it sent over a few months ago. I would always throw a critical ear at anything new I hear for the first time – this one passed the test after a mere thirty seconds. These talented folks have got the right components.
The bands music is uplifting, charming and well executed. Straight on the summer playlist for 2020 again for sure.
Brooklyn’s Ollie Chanin with a very dapper piece of electronic soul and R&B here that has really left it’s mark on us here in London. I had never heard of this music in this style before but since discovering his unique blend of funky urban music – I have been putting his stuff on repeat. At Home During The Day is a quality addition to any playlist and has been a real treat for me personally.
Chanin built his early music career as a jazz-trained bassist and it’s this sublime knowledge of bass work that shines brightly in this pretty classy track from his debut full length album ‘Rain In My House’. With strong influence coming from a love of traveling through countries in South America, Europe and North Africa, he has built a style that is stand alone, not many artists have this kind of strikingly fresh sound. 2020 is bright for Ollie Chanin, mark my words.
Samuel Nicholson was recommended to me by superb Scottish singer/songwriter NEEV. I remember going home and googling his stuff that night and getting absolute spine tingles from his single Ballroom!!
He is starting up again in and around London and has played a few gigs for Sam Bowcher at BARK. I couldn’t agree more that this will be his breakout year.
Great friend of ours here at The Sound Sniffer – Shane ‘TADGH’ Nolan – He has just moved to London and we are absolutely BUZZING! He has been a stalwart on the Irish music scene for over five years now. This is a tune that has been sat on for a good few months and finally it has been released to the world.
A couple of years ago Nolan struck the mark with his brilliant ‘OkayLove’ release. He received rave reviews from the likes of ‘HotPress Magazine and ‘Nialler9. Two big influencers (pardon the word) on the Irish music publications tree. The tune went on to be included in several well followed Spotify curated playlists and offered TADGH his first taste of the numbers he will need to make it to the next step. Since then, like millions of musicians, he is trying to make all of his new stuff similarly appealing to the bigwigs of Spotify etc. Keeping the hype is incredibly difficult. I am fairly convinced that Nolan’s upcoming releases will catapult him from mid-table upcoming Irish act into a hidden gem. Bring on the 2020 buzz.
This is absolute quality from Dutch artist Benedict. Finish The Wine is a song thing of beauty. Like a mix of The National and Beirut. It is just THAT good.
Benedict is from Amsterdam and is making solid sounds over there. I genuinely get excited upon hearing new talent like this. I end up sending the tunes I find to a couple of friends on WhatsApp no matter what time it is. They are probably sick of me by now. It’s safe to say the Benedict was one of the artists I sent around like a pest. What a track. Big year ahead!
Alex Bayly was a nice find for me just as 2019 drew to a close. I first caught wind of this hard-working musician through listening to his beautiful single ‘Animal‘. He is one of the most dedicated gigging musician in the city – he seems to be playing a gig every second day. His music struck us so much so that he will play our second installment of the Sniffer Sessions this week.
The lad has talent and is definitely one of the breakthrough artists to watch in 2020. It is his sheer passion and graft that will push him on!
Bucharest is the home of talented singer/songwriter Andrew Marica. There is something really appealing about what this superb Romanian singer has been releasing recently.
His style is very reminiscent of the vocals of Jose Gonzalez – which is a brilliant thing. I have absolutely fallen for Marica’s mellow music. His single ‘I just wanna go’ was one of my most played of 2019!
With only two songs released so far, 2020 will be his breakout!
They have been around for over a decade now! Swiss band The Animen have been bashing out stellar tunes for years. I only really came into contact with the band recently and after a few intent listens of their latest track ‘From The Get-Go’ I came to the conclusion that they are Fucking Amazing.
They are going to hit 2020 hard – Such a brilliant style!
Sam Johnson has just released his debut EP titled ‘Eastcote’ over the weekend. His latest single ‘Lost in The Mail’ didn’t get lost in the mail and landed on our lap a couple of days ago. My word, what a tune this is. Johnson grew up in Oswestry on the Welsh border and has been writing music since he was a young lad. This single is the absolute nuts.
The song starts of with a crescendo of la la la’s, I wasn’t sure what to expect initially as I scrolled through my everlasting list of submissions. As soon as I heard Johnson’s voice in the opening verse, I was absolutely sold. His voice is unique and powerful and just what the doctor ordered. I have to say, I have been really excited to sit down and give this track a few more compliments.
Look, I’m not going to ramble on more, I am detracting for the impact of the fella himself and it doesn’t need too much of an introduction.
Outrageously refreshing London based post/punk band Fake Turins have been releasing and performing a plethora of gig over the last year or so. We have been tracking this eclectic ensemble of musicians for the last couple of months, having had the pleasure of seeing them blast out tunes live on two occasions thus far in the City. The group is led by the charismatic Dominic Rose, who has been churning out the tunes for a good long while now, even before Turins were assembled. The group consist of a wide variety of highly trained and talented individuals and are ever changing in their live rotation. In one gig you may see a certain set of band members, the next gig you will see five or six totally different musician’s supporting front-man Rose. The idea of the collective is to create a community under the ‘Fake Turins’ umbrella, rather than just a set band of people. This arrangement ensures that the band can fulfill their packed schedule of gigs.
2020 may just be the year of the TURIN
Once I heard this, I just had to throw it up here. It is very rarely that you stumble across an act who is just starting out that sounds so accomplished. Conversations, remarkably is the first single to be released by Nashville based Blood Root and I’m instantly in love.
It all starts slowly with a simple beat, some shakers and then is brought together beautifully with subtle melancholic electric guitar plucking. That was the point where I was sold. Throw in a voice hitting notes seamlessly like Irish songstress AE MAK and we’ve got a winning formula. This is one hell of a first few forays – already on the crave for more.
I have a suspicion that this artist will catch hold. There is so much amazing music out there just waiting to be discovered. Generally we only get what is pushed towards us on Spotify curated playlists and promoted pushed material etc – if you look hard enough, brilliant stuff like this one from the impressive Blood Root is waiting to be unearthed. Enjoy.
There is always a first for everything. Drum roll….. This our first ever feature of a Mongolian artist (about time) on The Sound Sniffer. Dulguun Bayasgalan is the man responsible for the infectious indie vibes of Magnolian. I cannot name any other Mongolian Indie singer/songwriters off the top of my head and I’m very excited to bring you this wholly catchy singlefrom this enigmatic musician. Caroline is a good one.
He has just signed with Anti-Fragile Records and now sets his sights on worldwide exposure. What a story.
Will we see him in London this year? ….. Absolutely
Richy Mitch & The Coal Miners
Absolutely stunning stuff here from Colorado four piece Richy Mitch & The Coal Miners who have just released their quite lovely third album ‘Subliming’ pretty recently. It is one hell of an accomplished gathering of tracks! The opening song Wet Socks in particular, is a total weapon of a thing. I have been lucky in recent times to be immersed in quality new music and this album certainly ranks very highly in my current estimations. The band consists of four crucial elements – Mitch Cutts, Nic Haughn, Jakob Ervin and Ryan Lavallee – these four have a fantastic chemistry going on, I’m jealous.
Absolutely top quality band!!!! They are finally doing a bit of touring for the first time ever this month. They are the business and will be exploding this year!
St Paul is a song that goes right back to their early days – its a ridiculously raw and rugged composition.
Some early afternoon mood music from American duo Bad Flamingo. If I was curating the songs to fit into the sequel of Django Unchained, ‘Open The Gates’ would be an absolute shoe-in for the soundtrack. This is a simply class duo with a slight wild west tinge elevating it to higher heights than a standard run of the mill track.
These two have been releasing belter after belter! Their latest single ‘This House is On Fire’ is one of them classics! Not long now before these two are breaking into the household speakers across the globe. (Lets hope)
Love Love Love
Genevieve Stokes is a mega talented 18 year old songstress from Portland, Maine who has just released her third ever single late last year and it is enchanting to say the least. Portland Nights is a quick and swift track that showcases Stokes’s fine vocal ability perfectly. This is a voice you will want to hear over and over again after the first listen. It has a beautifully listenable tone and coupled with the simple piano accompaniment, this is tops.
This track is one that I have come back to time and time again over the last week or so. I firmly believe that her music is right up there with the early works of Regina Spektor. Her vocal is truly peaceful and tranquil. This track is a perfect remedy for these dark, cold and dreary December nights. I am loving this and reckon you all will too!
Genevieve Stokes is a Talent!
We have featured Callum Pitt on the Sniffer before, with his single ‘Slow My Heart Rate Down’ and ‘L.Lane’ making a lasting impression on us. This guy is a classy talent and it is no wonder he had a successful mini UK tour last year.
This is a man who boasts a fantastic falsetto to accompany his indie lead vocal, not many can create quite a sound like it. L.Lane is a rolling indie tune in the mold of The War on Drugs instrumentally with the delicately executed vocals offering a different vocal dynamic. This is a crashing, high octane track that has been played repeatedly here for the last few days. L.Lane is an infectious one.
We are delighted to have had tickets to his London show late last year. Mercurial.
Ah there was only going to be one man to top this list. Mindchatter is a brainchild of a fella called Bryce over in The States. He has single-handedly molded and sculpted his own unique blend of noise. His style is bold, weird and totally new.
He supported the Polo & Pan tour late in 2019 and has released five or six singles of pure gold.
Kerosene, Trippy, Tough as Nails, Blood and Just Gonna Exist are the first singles that have circulated thus far.
2020 we will see more and Mindchatter will be the main man!