14 Pop and Rock Artists to Watch in 2017
The Best Up-and-Coming Music Artists to Watch in 2017
2016 has been a strange year for the music industry. We’ve lost some greats therefore it feels in many ways like the end of an era. The good news is that there are some really talented emerging new artists ready to break through in 2017. We’ve spent all year listening to the best new music around. The fruits are all here for you to read about. Here, in no particular order, are the best 14 Pop and Rock Artists to Watch in 2017.
As December Falls
As December Falls are a fearsome foursome from Nottingham plying indie/punk. They play sharp punky tunes with infectious pop hooks sprinkled with some lyrical grit. Singer Bethany Curtis has an impressive powerful delivery and she is backed ably by the guitar of Andre Hunter with Timmy Francis on bass and Lukas James on drums. They create a furious sound that begs to be played loud for full effect.
We were impressed by their When You Figure Out You’re Wrong, Get Back to Me EP which provides a fine showcase for the band over five songs. The EP is commendable as it mixes upbeat, rock anthems with some moments of unexpected subtlety. As December Falls are one of the artists to watch in 2017 and can be heard at their Soundcloud page.
Shenna Somsmieh, known simply as Shenna, has been performing since the age of seven. The singer, songwriter, actress, producer and model released her debut EP, “Dream in Color” back in 2014. After wowing audiences across the USA and Canada, Shenna released her sparkling debut album “Made of Gold” in October 2016. She is one of the pop artists to watch in 2017.
The ten-track album of glittering pop anthems and is set to propel Shenna into the mainstream charts in 2017. Nothing lasts for longer than four minutes which allows the songs to grab your attention but not outstay their welcome. Who can resist album opener “Riot” or the hooks of “Air Balloons”? The title track is superior, majestically produced pop and the standard is maintained until the end. Shenna really could be the next big thing in 2017. Fans can check her out at her Soundcloud page.
As a member of the chart-topping band, Real Life, George Pappas has been making great pop music since the 1990s. However, since he went solo and created Alien Skin, George has really found his true voice. Alien Skin have released eight albums of innovative, atmospheric and highly melodic electro-pop so not an emerging artist. However, Alien Skin is still an artist to watch in 2017. You can listen to all of these albums at Alien Skin’s Bandcamp Page and to do so is to go on a fascinating journey through the imagination of a true artist.
Readers can check out our reviews of Alien Skin’s Winter on Mars and European Electronic Cinema from earlier in the year. We were impressed by the scope and ambition of each record. Each album has a narrative and the songs follow a cycle so that the best results come from hearing each album in its entirety. Rated Sound is a big fan of Alien Skin and if there is any justice, 2017 will see this artist hit the big time.
Some Kind of Illness
We published a review of Some Kind of Illness self-titled album back in May and were immediately impressed by the quality of the songwriting. Based in Farnworth in the UK, Some Kind of Illness draw comparisons with Bon Iver and Band of Horses.
The line-up of Mark and Paul Hinks, and Tom Welsh, create a warm welcoming sound that is both comforting and emotional. Tracks like Angel Breakdown, The Light and Fool to Run Away prove the worth of this up-and-coming band. The songs on their self-titled album are short, sweet and radio-friendly. It’s surely only a matter of time before this promising band reach a wider audience in 2017. Some Kind of Illness can be heard on their Bandcamp Page
Manchester’s Kneel came to our attention earlier in the year with their sparkling EP Tales From the Secret Garden of Cobwebs and Grapevines. The creative core of Kneel is Neil Ruddy and Paul Pritchard who combine beautifully to create thoughtful, gutsy music. From bluesy riffs through “accidental punk” with a Dropkick Murphys vibe, Kneel gave us a real thrill on their four-track EP.
It’s a brave EP too. Not every musician could tackle the highly personal and emotive subject of their child’s serious illness with such skill. A difficult subject communicated with heartbreaking style. It this skill and ambition that leads us to believe that Kneel are very much a band to take notice of in 2017. Kneel can be heard on their Bandcamp page. We look forward to hearing more from this band in the future.
Chris Tavener entertained and educated us in our review of his EP “i’m sorrdy bi’m drunnk”. If you’re wondering why Chris’ lyrics are so sharp for a 22-year old it might have something to do with writing songs since he was 17! Our comparison of Chris to Jarvis Cocker in the review still stands up. It’s rare that a lyricist can be genuinely funny, genuinely scathing at the same time but this is precisely what Chris does on his excellent EP.
The songs are well written and cover subjects that most people can relate to. We’ve all had a “Super Cool Sadie” in our lives (or our dreams!). The theme of “I’m Better than You” is very relevant in these days of increasing inequality. BBC Radio 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq knows what he’s talking about and has featured Chris’ music on his show. Therefore, we’re not the only people who think Chris is an artist to watch in 2017. You can find out about Chris Tavener at his Facebook page.
Wings of Pegausus
Wings of Peagasus blew us away with their Persistence album back in the summer. At last, here is a serious up-and-coming rock band proud of their classic rock roots. Echoes of Deep Purple and Aerosmith (when they were good) abound and there’s even a touch of theatre in the music. Wings of Pegasus pack great riffs, great melodies and an immense sense of fun into their music. There is real musicianship and songwriting skill in evidence here and they are the perfect antidote to some of the overwrought bands out there at the moment.
Wings of Pegasus are led by the multi-tasking Fil Henley who does just about everything on the Persistence album. The fine, uncluttered production is a testimony to Fil’s talents and all the more remarkable when you consider that he taught himself production techniques for the album. Check out Wings of Pegasus at their Reverbnation Page and hear one of the best new rock bands out there.
Self-proclaimed “Justine Bieber Antichrist” Dan Mahangar is the man behind Thirteen. Taking their cue from Guns N’ Roses, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, Thirteen have a nice line in powerful riffs and some pretty nifty musicianship. It’s probably inaccurate to describe Thirteen as a classic rock band. As our review of the excellent Thirteen Volume 1 said, the band certainly have classic roots but the sound is very modern.
The scene is set for Thirteen to truly become one of the most exciting artists to watch in 2017 if the quality of the material from Volume 1 is anything to go by. The band’s technical dexterity delivers powerful rock music with those significant flourishes that elevate the music to another level. There are surprises here too. Check out the track “I Let Go” for a little vulnerable confession. In fact, check out Thirteen’s music at their Reverbnation Page.
London-based Kill It are a multi-cultural, multi-national magnificent hard rock band. With band members from Argentina, Hungary, Israel and Britain, they embody the theory that rock n’ roll is a truly international language. They have an impressive pedigree too with members who were previously with We Are Harlot and the mighty Judas Priest. Kill It have the gritty hard rock sound of a band collectively and individually at their peak and are one of the best rock artists to watch in 2017.
We were impressed in our review of the Kill It Shut It Down album in the summer. On listening to Shut It Down, it soon becomes apparent that Kill It are a group of highly polished musicians with a great lead singer. The kind of playing on this album only comes from a road-hardened band confident in their abilities. We still think the guitar solo on “I ain’t Playing Your Game” is awesome! Find out about Kill It at their website.
British rockers Empyre have been building a loyal following on the resurgent British rock scene. These talented rockers certainly understand how to create and deploy a riff. That’s not to say they are a one-trick pony. They successfully combine the swagger of 80s rock with grunge influences and moments of subtlety and dexterity. Check out superb piano version of “Only Way Out”.
To date, the band have released a pair of stellar EPs. These are, the straightforwardly titled EP1 and the Something Remains EP. Both demonstrate the range, ambition and talent of this emerging rock band. Listen to Empyre at their Soundcloud page and watch them hit the big time in 2017.
We loved Tacoma Narrows in our review of their Good Mourning album. The record was funded by a Kickstarter campaign which raised over $20,000 for this energetic folk-rock outfit. Tacoma Narrows deliver folk music with a punk attitude and energy. They have a direct approach to their delivery that grabs the attention. The songs cover some dark subject matter that sometimes poses an interesting counterpoint to the delivery.
Based in New York, Tacoma Narrows are led by Cheny Munson who handles guitars, vocals and is the main songwriter. Will has able backing from the rest of the band: Will Roble (drums), Kesuke Shoji (fiddle), Arda Kosar (bass), Joe Harris (electric guitar) and Jonah Chilton (mandolin). Tacoma Narrows write cracking songs and deliver them with a fury and passion. They are surely headed for widespread recognition in 2017. Listen to Tacoma Narrows at their Soundcloud page.
Dream state are a powerful up-and-coming rock quintet from Wales. The band consists of Charlotte-Jayne Gilpin (lead vocals), Aled Evans (lead guitar), Sam Harrison-Little (rhythm guitar/backing vocals), Danny Rayer (bass guitar) and Jamie Lee (drums). We reviewed Dream State’s polished debut Consequences EP and were extremely impressed.
Perhaps the most striking thing about Dream State on Consequences is the confidence and professionalism in evidence. The songs are loud, edgy opinionated, memorable and delivered in a manner that shows great promise. If they sound this good on their first EP then the future looks bright for these artists to watch in 2017. Listen to Dream State at their Bandcamp page.
The prolific Ben Myers first came to our attention with our review of his Daylight Moon album. A versatile musician, Ben writes, records, produces the album by himself. A busy man. Ben has produced seven albums in four years. This is a musician who clearly loves to make music and the results are outstanding.
The lyrics are intelligent and thoughtful with clever turns of phrase and couplets that have greater impact through repeat listening. The music is seemingly effortless acoustic-based pop embellished with clever touches such as xylophones to add depth and texture. With more material on the way, Ben Myers is one of the outstanding pop artists to watch in 2017. Ben Myers music can be heard at his website.
We posted a review of Peacock Affect’s Rainbow EP in the summer and were impressed by the maturity of the record. Peacock Affect is George Holman who had intended the project to be a band but at the time of recording Rainbow, couldn’t find anyone else up to scratch. The quality of the resulting music is testimony to this promising artist.
George Holman’s honest, poetic lyrics are complimented perfectly by the brooding musical arrangements. The subject matter is, at times, very dark and combined with George’s open and articulate delivery creates a powerful impact. You can listen to this exciting new artist at Peacock Affect’s Bandcamp page.
The Best Music Artists to Watch in 2017
At Rated Sound we’re constantly on the lookout for new artists creating exciting new music. This is a selection of who we think are the artists to watch in 2017. Do you disagree with us? Let us know. Do you agree? Let us know. if there is anyone who hasn’t made our list who you think should be there, let us know!