2018. What a year it has been. We’ve witnessed probe landings, poisonous politics and a plastic revolution. But let’s put all that aside for now and focus on the tremendous tracks and marvellous musicians that made 2018. We are not talking top albums just yet (but watch this space). No, we are talking about our chosen artists from our Eyes on 2018.

Back in January we hand picked a few musicians we thought would have a whopping year. What have they been up to? Where are they now? And when will we hear from them next? Here is a look back at our Eyes on 2018 artists.


BAD SOUNDS

The brothers from Bath who know how to throw a party. 2018 has been a pivotal year for this indie funk duo and their band. Bad Sounds started out with a hate for indie live shows. This made them want to revolutionise how a band can perform on stage. And what a show they now put on.

One half of the Merrett brothers who make Bad Sounds, Callum Merrett, said his 2018 resolution was to simply, “try not to act like a dickhead”. We couldn’t possible comment on that. However what we can comment on is there solid production of tunes this year.

What have they been up to? They started the year with two EP’s under their belt which initially caught our eye. The awesomely exuberant track ‘Avalanche’ from their first EP PHRESSSH, went on to feature on their full length, Get Better, which was released in August. The album is full of funk-laden anthems and earworm-engineered choruses we have come to love. Also in the year they’ve had their single ‘Wages’ chosen as Radio 1’s tune of the week and have been featured on the FIFA 2018 soundtrack.

Where are they now? The Merrett brothers and co, have recently wrapped up their sold out, confetti filled,  headline tour promoting the album. They have also just returned from Mexico where they played the Corona Capital festival, although whether they duetted with Robbie Williams and Nine Inch Nails is still unsure.

Where will they be in 2019? Whether album number two is in the works is unsure. However Bad Sounds have told us they are “working with a few people away from the band like producers” and are generating some remixes. So expect to hear their name carried forward into the new year.

 

 

CONFIDENCE MAN

Another of our Eyes on 2018 artists to release an album this year. Confidence Man released their debut titled, Confident Music for Confident People in April. The record is certainly confident, that’s for sure. It couldn’t be anything less considering the two showmen of the band are called, Janet Planet and Sugar Bones while the other two only ever appear veiled. This was a band who were never going to go unnoticed.

What have they been up to? Their debut certainly lived up to expectation. Packed full of sass and crazy choruses, they indeed became a Ting Ting’s-esque band you weren’t afraid to play on the tube for fear of embarrassment. It also features lush 90’s beats and LCD Soundsystem driven synths to get you groovin. The band have been touring the globe with their bonkers tracks. From their home country down under right over to us here in the UK.

Where are they now? Of course they’ve just released a Christmas song. Santa’s Comin’ Down the Chimney‘ is full of innuendos and arcade style synths. Everything you could possibly want from Confidence Man really. “I’ve been nice and I’ve been naughty, everything that Santa taught me.” Not one for the kids perhaps.

Where will they be in 2019? Hopefully the new sound of Christmas. But if not, well then I am afraid it might be radio silence here in the UK for a little while. It looks as though their only shows are in Aus until March.

 

 

LOW ISLAND

Debut EP Just About Somewhere grabbed our attention in 2017. With its delicate blend of guitars, synths and keyboards all tied together by the soft and often high reaching vocals of lead singers Carlos and Jamie, we knew these lads were onto something.  Low Island have gone from strength-to strength spreading their pulsating synths and mega choruses to the masses across the country.

What have they been up to? No albums from Low Island just yet. But they did release the Low Island and Friends 17-18 mixtape. This is something they replicated on tour. Sharing the love and touring with some other great musicians has been a big passion of theirs and something which has translated to an incredible live experience.

Where are they now?  They are constantly uploading tunes onto their Spotify playlists to continue spreading their love of great music. They are currently on a break from touring but have some great shows line up…

Where will they be in 2019? A fantastic set of dates are down for March. Covering nearly every city in the North, Low Island are starting the year in go-mode. Expect to see more releases down the line and an incredible live show if you go see them in concert.

 

 

GIRLHOOD

It was their performances in the big smoke that first got us gripped on Girlhood. The duo consists of Christian and Tessa. It is Christian’s impressive ability to jump between samples and live piano playing matched with Tessa’s powerful vocals that makes for a combination made in heaven. Their show at The Social orchestrated by Radio One’s Huw Stephens was a turning point in their accent of success. Since then the two have continued their graft and honed their talents.

What have they been up to? The duo supported Polica last month in London. You could have also found them at festivals this Summer including Deer Shed, Dot-To-Dot and Latitude. In early 2018 they released the silky smooth track, ‘Milk and Honey’ which caught not only the attention of the BBC but various other publishers across the web and beyond.

Where are they now? It is currently all a little bit silent but we are hoping Girlhood are cooking up some tunes. For now we will be playing ‘Milk and Honey’ on repeat.

Where will they be in 2019? Answers on a postcard please Girlhood. We need to know more!

 

 

REX ORANGE COUNTY

 

The laidback Surrey lad came into 2018 storming. The soulful, rocking-chair-on-the-patio vibed single, ‘Loving is Easy‘ was a massive hit. And rightly so. But Rex Orange Country (real name, Alexander O’Connor) came into 2018 with a whole lot more success than you first might have thought. He was featured on FIFA 18, worked with Tyler the Creator and placed second in the BBC Sound of 2018. Plus, he was only 19. With hard graft this talented teen made 2018 his own.

What have they been up to? In terms of music releases, Rex has not been overly productive. His only release came with Randy Newman, covering ‘You’ve got a Friend in Me’. A perfect fit for this playful and cowboy-hearted musician.

Where are they now? Having just returned from touring America, O’Connor has recently wrapped up his live shows for 2018. One of these shows included a surprise free solo-show in The Big Apple.

Where will they be in 2019? He has made clear his intentions of returning to the U.S for more live shows. Equally we hope he continues touring the UK and hopefully a follow up to 2017’s phenomenal Apricot Princess is in the works.  But its all hopes and dreams for now we’re afraid.

 

 

CHILDCARE

 

Despite their title, the South London four piece are far from their musical infancy. Their rowdy cross-dressing appreciation track, ‘Getting Over You (By Dressing Up Like You)’ peaked our interest. The band exude fun and their 2017, Made Simple EP was a no-nonsense string of indie bangers. It was filled with tracks which turned humorous and awkward scenarios into simple, colourful tunes, filled with catchy pop hooks.

What have they been up to? All sorts really. The band released the sublime Luckyucker EP. A slightly more mature sound, transcending from their earlier releases. They’ve not only be working towards the EP but have announced that their album is nearly complete. They’ve also being touring relentlessly round the UK and getting airtime from Radio One. Proper grafting.

Where are they now? It’s all go, go, go for the band right now. They’ve just release their new single ‘Bamboo’ and it got a spin from Huw Stephens. They’ve also been sharing all their plans for 2019, from a film, to support slots and more music releases. That is what we like to hear!

Where will they be in 2019? It looks light it might be an even bigger year for Childcare. With the album due for release by the sounds of things, their musical portfolio is set to grow. They’ve also recently shared the big news of their support slot for Bastille in Birmingham in January next year. On top of that they’ve also announced they’ll be playing Close Up festival in London at Hoxton Bar and Grill. These lot are truly growing into something huge and 2019 might be well be their explosive year.

 

 

For our longlist of Eyes on 2018 artists check out our playlist below which we curated this time last year. Featuring all the musicians above plus Superorganism, Jorja Smith and many more marvellous musicians who were crossing the threshold of success in late 2017.

Also keep your eyes and ears peeled for our class of 2019. Let us know what you think of the artists from 2018 or if you have any tips for 2019. Or perhaps you happen to know what Girlhood’s plans are for 2019. Whatever it is you want off your chest you can reach us on Facebook, Twitter or by giving us an email at josh@thevlm.co.uk

 

About The Author

Will Fisher
Co-Editor/Writer

Journalism Student at The University of Sheffield, music nerd and chatterbox on Forge Radio.

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