20 Great New British Artists to Watch - Rolling Stone
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20 Great New British Artists to Watch

Wolf Alice, Låpsley, Stormzy and more

Lady Leshurr & Let's Eat Grandma are two British acts you should know.

Lady Leshurr & Let's Eat Grandma are two British acts you should know.

Photo Courtesy of Sony Music, Francesca Allen

Beyond its long-standing role at the vanguard of electronic music, Britain is on the international radar thanks to a handful of Bandcamp rock bands, a renewed interest in grime and their own brands of post-Spotify pop. Here's 20 artists to watch.

Phoenix Martins, 20, British, Bands, You Need To Know, Rolling Stone

Sherin Adam

Phoenix Martins

Location: Hackney, East London
For Fans of: Lana Del Rey, Massive Attack, Cocolores
Dive into the cool ether of Nigerian-born, Hackey-based mystic Phoenix Martins. Citing inspiration from Brian Eno's hospital soundscape installations, she got her own start by performing for hospital patients as part of the Roundhouse Choir. Her debut EP, Get This, received a boost from producers Nick Carter and Joe Fields, who worked with an array of artists from Dido to the Neptunes. Martins' latest release, a gauzy new EP titled 47, is a series of undulating, ambient meditations with a bluesy streak, prompted by some chance encounters with the divine. "47 is my angel number," she professed to The Fader earlier this month. Although her online presence is low-key, we wouldn't be surprised if she quietly crept her way into U.K. pop consciousness.

MNEK, 20, British, Bands, You Need To Know, Rolling Stone

Carl Wilson Potter


Location: London
For Fans of:
Beyoncé, Madonna, Top of the Pops
Pop fans have more than likely already heard MNEK: His writing credits include songs for Beyoncé ("Hold Up," to which he contributed lyrical and vocal melodies), Madonna and Mø. When he's not busy giving pop's biggest names a boost, the 20-year-old has been working on his own material. On the pulsing "At Night (I Think About You)," MNEK offers up an impassioned vocal performance over a track that fuses glimmering synth-pop with chopped-up electro, recalling the desperate late-hours pining of which he sings.

Nimmo, 20, British, Bands, You Need To Know, Rolling Stone

Ollie Grove


Location: London
For Fans of: The xx, Robyn, Alison Moyet
Singers Sarah Nimmo and Reva Gauntlett form the core of this British electro-pop quintet, their husky-yet-sweet harmonies tempering their tunes' romantic yearning and clubby rhythms with a moody sensuality that hearkens back to the Eighties new-wavers they adore. With just a handful of tracks to their name, Nimmo attracted high-profile fans right off-the-bat: Actress and model Agyness Deyn, an early admirer, directed and filmed a video for Nimmo's "Change" back in 2013.

Raime, 20, British, Bands, You Need To Know, Rolling Stone

Photo Courtesy of Blackest Ever Black


Location: Hackney, East London
For Fans of:
The Haxan Cloak, Tortoise, Cabaret Voltaire
Fitting the measuredness and menace of techno into a post-rock playbook, Raime makes moody instrumental tracks that smack of a hand-forged and hand-played manufacturing process. The duo – Joe Andrews and Tom Halstead, plus others when Raime takes the stage – have been a staple of the aptly named label Blackest Ever Black since its founding in 2010, and their fusions of spooky electronics with live instrumentation (snaky guitar, spectral drums, etc.) conjure dark nights for corroded souls. Their new album Tooth is a creeper: Beware of listening alone.

Shopping, 20, British, Bands, You Need To Know, Rolling Stone

Steve Glashier


Location: London
For Fans of: A Certain Ratio, Pylon, X-Ray Spex
Shopping found kindred spirits in bands like Downtown Boys, Priests and Hysterics, but the London post-punks wage a different protest than their vociferous American peers. The anti-capitalist trio eschew explicit politics in favor of celebrating distraction as action: "They say I had time but I had time and I wasted it well," Rachel Aggs sings with perfect staccato insolence. They practice what they preach, too, soldering charged call-and-response vocals to spiky mutant disco forged in the basements of DIY hubs, like Dalston's now-defunct Power Lunches (where drummer Andrew Milk was the booking manager). Shopping are a crucial part of the U.K. independent scene, with each member playing in several different bands – notably Aggs in the equally great Trash Kit and Sacred Paws.

Shura, 20, British, Bands, You Need To Know, Rolling Stone

Andrew Whitton


Location: London
For Fans of:
Jessie Ware, Blood Orange, Mabel
Borrowing from the same glimmering pop palettes of Eighties staples like Janet Jackson and the Cure, Shura paints scenes of modern queer love with a delicate R&B flair. The 25-year-old singer, songwriter and producer first piqued international interest with the 2014 video for her single, "Touch," which harkens back to iconic imagery from the "Read My Lips" campaign by AIDS activist collective Gran Fury. "Touch" has since racked up 26 million views on YouTube, 3.1 million Soundcloud plays, and remix treatments from Four Tet, Delorean and Talib Kweli. She wrote her upcoming album, Nothing's Real, with support from Sia and Adele collaborator Greg Kurstin.

Stormzy, 20, British, Bands, You Need To Know, Rolling Stone

Mark Surridge


Location: London
For Fans of: Dizzee Rascal, Wiley, Skepta
This physically imposing South London MC's reputation in the U.K. rap scene has been rock solid for a while now. After breaking through with a series of freestyles in 2013, he recorded his well-received 168: The Mixtape in just one week, and followed it up with a fierce EP, Dreamers Disease, in 2015. He's been awarded Best Grime Act at the U.K.'s Music of Black Origin Awards for the past two years and even got to perform his Top 10 hit "Shut Up" before the match between boxers Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte for the British heavyweight title. Stormzy's full-length debut is due to drop this summer.

Visionist, 20, British, Bands, You Need To Know, Rolling Stone

Olivia Rose


Location: South London
For Fans of: Arca, Fatima Al Qadiri, Nguzunguzu
The ghosts of rave-era jungle and early formative dubstep, when it was still an underground London thing, haunt the sound of Visionist. Cracked ambient frequencies teem with warped voices that can be cartoonish and alien at once, all abstracted stammers and sighs. Beats hit hard with a sense of creaking and grinding that makes the banging, when it happens (usually sparingly), all the more dynamic in the end. A couple of EPs for the label Lit City Trax made Visionist's name before his 2015 album Safe, released by the adventurous electronic label PAN, made him a presence to contend with.

Wolf Alice, 20, British, Bands, You Need To Know, Rolling Stone

Emily Cheng

Wolf Alice

Location: London
For Fans of: The Breeders, Hole, Mazzy Star
North London's Camden neighborhood has offered diminishing rock returns since the days when it formed Britpop's epicenter. But Wolf Alice, proud young Camden natives raised on the ballad of the Libertines, have reinvigorated the crusty London borough. They spent five years paying their dues in its dank dive bars, first as a duo, then a four-piece, before releasing debut album My Love Is Cool last June. Although pegged as grunge revivalists by the British press, they're not just another rock retread, mixing gauzy folk and muscular shoegaze with their infectious rage.

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