2020 may have been something of a damp squib in terms of everything, not least the music world. But, nevertheless, we still managed to find a whole host of new artists emerging as well as those who first raised their heads a little earlier shining through.
We asked a few of our contributors to give us a handful of acts that have been impressing them and who they are earmarking for more attention in 2021.
Here, Richard Cobb kicks off with his recommended choices.
Edinburgh’s SHEARS released her debut EP ‘When You’re Around’ in mid-October and it’s an infectious and atmospheric pop delight. Along with Kohla, Misty Galactic, Shuna Lovelle, Smut and more there’s something of a female-led pop/r&b movement happening in Edinburgh just now which is brilliant to see. Don’t be surprised to see SHEARS spearheading this movement into 2021 and with any luck the Scottish festival circuit will finally take note and put these hugely talented acts on the bigger stages where they belong and where they can shine.
Katy J Pearson
Fresh from releasing comfortably one of the best debut albums of the year ‘Return’, Bristol’s Katy J Pearson should have no problem continuing her upwards trajectory into 2021 and beyond. Having put in the groundwork over ten years of gigging and writing, the album release feels like only the beginning of her and her band’s journey. The upbeat and addictive alternative country is exactly the kind of pick-up we all need after such a stomach-churning year. Special mention to the lead guitar work on the album too which lifts the songs into another dimension.
It feels a bit weird given their extensive primetime Radio 1 coverage that Another Sky haven’t quite hit the dizzy heights yet. Their August released debut album ‘I Slept On The Floor’, and in particular single ‘Fell In Love With The City’, holds a special place in my heart with them being an ever-present soundtrack to my first few months living in London earlier this year and adjusting to the solitude of lockdown. When gigs are back in full flow, I’d expect their stock to skyrocket when people get to witness their beautiful post-rock anthems in the flesh.
I feel like this band will be on the lips of many next year, but with an ever-expanding selection of great songs, it’s fully merited. With Little Indie first mentioning these guys back in August 2019 when covering the Glaswegians debut ‘Otherside’ they’ve since released a further two tracks, our former track of the day ‘Fake ID’ and recent single ‘I Don’t Care.’ Definitely ones to keep tabs on.
Electronic DJ & producer TAAHLIAH broke several records at November’s SAMAs (Scottish Alternative Music Awards) for being the first artist to scoop two awards on the same night and being the first black trans artist to win a SAMA. Landing Best Electronic and Best Newcomer in tough categories, the feat was all the more ground-breaking given she’s not officially released any music yet. A remix of Walt Disco’s ‘Dancing Shoes’ is about all you’ll find of TAAHLIAH on the streaming services to date, but with an expanding reputation and recognition, it shouldn’t be long before she’s back with more.