Blossoms have been announced as fourth on the BBC Sound of 2016 list, which aims to showcase the rising stars to watch out for in the year ahead – and deservedly so. Having formed just a couple of years ago, the indie rock quintet is already producing a tight sound of psych-pop majesty. As the only guitar group on the list, are Blossoms to be the saviours of rock ’n’ roll this year?
Last year, Blossoms released their Blown Rose EP at the start of summer and opened 2016 with the release of their new single ‘At Most a Kiss’, marking their territory on the indie pop/rock scene. Both are corkers of EPs, filled with heavy bass lines and synth accompaniments that work together to create mesmerising and catchy tracks that stick with you long after the EP ends. Blossoms ability to write a great melody is perhaps what has earned them their place in the BBC Short List – it certainly got them the attention of BBC 6 Music who have long been supporters of their playful, eighties-tinged tunes.
Blossoms acknowledge their retro vibes, but their sound manages to remain contemporary, drawing comparisons between Ogden’s voice and Alex Tuner’s of the Arctic Monkeys, something that becomes especially obvious on ‘Polka Dot Bones’. All five members hail from Stockport, were born in the same hospital, live within a two-mile radius of each other, practise in the scaffolding yard of a grandparent and named themselves after their local pub, The Blossoms. This certainly has an old school feel to it, more akin to a 1960s band than one of the 21st Century.
I would highly recommend Blossoms becoming part of your 2016 listening – maybe, just maybe, the way forwards in modern day rock’n’roll is backwards.
Words by Victoria Gilmore
Brother and sister duo Ardyn are a new addition to the growing market for alternative folk music. Having featured on Spotify’s “New Music Commute” playlist for their first single ‘Help Me On My Way’, their combination of eerie folk-like vocals and building ambience seems to be hitting all the right notes.
Words by Jess Bishop
Growing up in the North of Staffordshire, Dom Morgan started singing at the young age of 8, hogging the karaoke at every opportunity. Self-taught in singing and later the guitar, he bought his first guitar at 13 (by selling his collection of Star Wars memorabilia), and began busking in the streets of Leek. He has a long way to go, but with the launch of his two EPs, Living Off You and Those 3 Words and A Brew to Think Things Through, we sit eagerly awaiting an album.
Whilst taking musical influence from Ed Sheeran and Lewis Watson, Dom adds his own quirkiness, which often comes across a certain kind of innocent nerdiness. And where you’ll hear Sheeran singing about drugs, alcohol and love, Dom reserves his lyrics for considerations like making a cup of tea or what it means to be alive. You can see why his spot as one of the most promising talents in the Midland’s music scene is justified.
Words by Sally-Ann Dunn
Spring King, a four-piece band from Manchester, are one to watch in 2016. Their song ‘City’ was the first played on Zayn Lowe’s Apple Music show and they performed an energetic, mosh-pit inducing set at Reading Festival. Their songs are rough-edged and catchy; a must listen for fans of indie rock.
Words by Jess Bishop
Velvet & Stone
Listening to Velvet & Stone’s music is the closest thing you can get to a walk on Exmouth red cliffs without leaving your room. With their roots firmly in Devon, Velvet & Stone are an independent alt-folk band with jazz and blues influences. The three artists are based in Silverton, and some of the stories they tell in their songs take inspiration from local tales.
Velvet & Stone is a relatively young project: they performed live for the first time in 2014. Since then, they have played at festivals and been featured on BBC Introducing, Balcony TV and Amazing Radio. Their first EP, The Storm, is now available on iTunes and Spotify.
Kat Tremlett’s violin and the harmonious combination of Lara Snowdon’s powerful and soft voice with Holly Jo Gilbert-West’s lighter sounds guide the listener along a boat trip through different moods, from the bluesy ‘Same Old Record’ that seems to be coming out of one of Tim Burton’s movies, to the melancholic title track written by Lara Snowdon on a Cornish beach. Musically speaking, Velvet & Stone have all that it takes to go a long away: they know where they come from and they have something to say.
Words by Emma Prevignano