A/K/A SOUNDS is the stage name of Amanda Keisha Ang, a house, disco and techno ninja who is also part of the Singapore all-girl music and art collective ATTAGIRL!. A fixture in the city’s late-night party scene, she’s also a multi-tasking extraordinaire who is a freelance illustrator and graphic designer.
The ALMA tsunami is unstoppable: everybody wants to work with this Finnish pop heroine and alumna of Finland’s Idols. She dishes out instant pop hooks and has a gorgeously raspy voice to go with those bold-coloured locks. No wonder Elton John is a declared fan of her mega-hit ‘Chasing Highs’, and some of pop’s biggest femme stars – Charli XCX, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus – are scrambling to work with her.
Norwegian artist Anna Lotterud aka Anna of the North makes dream-pop so pristine, it could soundtrack a winter disco or a fjord expedition. After rising to fame with the single ‘Sway’ in 2014, and a remix by The Chainsmokers, she went on to work with Kygo and Tyler, The Creator. Expect more singalong singles from her eagerly-awaited second album, Dream Girl.
She’s a musician’s musician whose songs can sound zany, cool, familiar, erudite, and downright suspenseful. Freak-folkie Devendra Banhart praises her latest album Reward as “a masterpiece” and “incredibly sophisticated”; and Jeff Tweedy of Wilco said she is “one of the best out there making music now”. The Mercury Prize-nominated Welsh musician also co-produced Deerhunter’s latest album Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?
From Brooklyn come this exciting New York alt-rock four-piece Charly Bliss, who swerve from bubblegum rock to new-wave in the blink of an eye. They are clearly ear-marked for bigger things. Their newest album Young Enough is roundly garlanded, with wonderful anthemic sing-alongs led by Eva Hendricks’ spry, sinewy vocals.
Touted as one of the most exhilarating live acts to emerge in the last few years, this Icelandic-Brit punk-rock trio – comprising vocalist Rakel Mjöll, guitarist Alice Go and bassist Bella Podpadec – kick serious butt. How cool are they, oozing steely charisma while dishing out groovilicious feminist anthems the likes of ‘Somebody’ and ‘F.U.U.’, skewering rape culture and body image with one laser stare and a blistering snarl.
Best known as the bassist for the Singaporean dream-pop band Astreal, she’s an impressive inter-disciplinary artist who revels in the interstices of music, fashion and visual arts. A professional DJ, she will spin the ultimate indie rock set of tunes.
Another band on a meteoric rise. This all-female South London foursome do not suffer fools. Taking their moniker from comedian Bill Hicks’ alter-ego ‘Goat Boy’, they take on anything from national apathy to sexual harassment on public transport – with such genre-busting sass. They rock hard, spit punk, and seldom smile. Time to genuflect.
Hop on the Bonito train as Sarah Bonito raps through a Rolodex of English, Japanese, and yes, Japlish too! Together with bandmates Gus Lobban and Jamie Bulled, they spool leftfield earworms, stitching J-pop, dancehall and video-game soundtrack with freewheeling gusto. They will make you dance, and yes, smile sheepishly.
From the Grammy-winning New York dance-punk icons LCD Soundsystem, come the two synth maestros, Nancy Whang and Rayna Russom. It’s a coup to witness these two legends in action, as they promise to ransack music’s coffers from punk and disco to funk and techno, and leave you gasping for more.
You won’t mistake this Stockholm native for any other newcomer. Hailed as the finest Swedish pop export since Robyn, she flaunts a throaty rasp in her formidable vocal arsenal, which explains why she’s got fans such as Katy Perry who championed her first single ‘Tired of Talking’ in 2015. Born Lotta Lindgren, she’s been making heads turn with a series of exquisite EPs, and an infectious self-titled debut album, launched in March this year.
Back in 2014, the Derry native was already singled out as one of the acts on the BBC prestigious longlist. Her debut album, Before We Forgot How To Dream, nabbed the Irish Choice Music Prize Album of the Year 2015. Still in her early 20s, Bridie Monds-Watson, who goes by the stage name SOAK (a phonetic portmanteau of “soul” and “folk”), has expanded her sound from understated, atmospheric folk to riveting, dream pop with a richly layered follow-up called Grim Town.
Watch out for this indie-folk assassin! The Welsh-Aussie newcomer purrs so sweetly, but her aim is true: bullies, chauvinists, anyone who wrongs her and the society. Prepare to get slayed by her delicate, funny, and vital charm, as evidenced in her feted debut album, Beware of the Dogs.
Vandetta is the R&B, soul, experimental pop persona of Vanessa Fernandez. A chameleonic presence, she flits between genres easily – from electronica to the alt-R&B corner of the planet. One of the most underrated talents in the scene here, she’s been reviewed in Pitchfork, and deserves all the breaks.