12 New Acts for 2021
Without live music for much of the year 2020 has made it difficult for new Welsh based acts to showcase their talent. However, there have been some that have been able to make themselves known and we have selected the ones we think have a lot to offer in the year ahead. Like you, we can’t wait to see them at a packed out, sweaty Welsh venue in the near future.
Dylan Morgan’s previous band Homes came and went in the blink of an eye but managed to leave their mark at Newsoundwales HQ. Since then Dylan has been exploring the globe as one quarter of Premier League Welsh indie band Boy Azooga. DD Darillo are more than just a side project in between tours; their music is intricate, melodic, vigorously and glorious.
Cardiff born rap act Juice Menace is making waves and already appearing on the cooler festival line ups of 2021. She is entering an over-subscribed market but we think she has the talent to make it through the crowd. Her latest release “29 – EP” was released in November.
Sometimes acts just appear from nowhere with little or no fanfare. L26 fall into this category. It’s hard to say whether their lack of social media and internet presence is a deliberate act or not. However, that aside their debut album is extraordinary to the point that you wonder if it is actually the product of a hugely experienced producer rather than a complete novice. If it is the latter we could well have a future global act emerging.
As she says herself Emma Mae writes “sad songs about boys and booze. I am good at writing choruses.” And how! She is currently studying in Cardiff, has a strong selection of original songs and her voice is full of character and confidence. Her debut single ‘Fuckboy’ was released last year which gives you an indication of where she’s coming from.
Blueyute is the given name for Joe Oaten from Cardiff. After studying Creative Music Technology in Cornwall he has returned to his native Wales, reached the finals of the Big Gig 2019 and released a number of superbly produced and melodically memorable tracks including his latest singe “So Right”.
Surreal Kinnock feature some of Cardiff’s most respected musicians including Gruff Russell-Jones who is something of a veteran having played in various bands over recent years including the Third Party. The band have been recording at Strangetown Studios in Cardiff and with tracks such as “Bipolarism” they already have a rich and robust sound. If Suggs and Ray Davies had a love child they would probably make records like Surreal Kinnock.
In the folk world the fiddle is often present but usually provides musical support rather than being the star of the show. David Grubb is a young Scottish player now based in Cardiff and you may not know his name but if you’re a regular gig goer in the South Wales area the chances are you will have witnessed his fine playing with acts such as Darren Eedens and the Slim Pickin’s and Toby Hay. He released a stunning debut album “Nano” in 2020 and having paid his dues as an accompanist he is now taking his rightful place centre stage.
Yasmine & The Euphoria
Yasmine & The Euphoria are a young rock band from Cardiff who were selected for the Forte Scheme in 2020. Lead singer Yasmine has a powerful rock voice with echoes of Grace Slick and Janis Joplin. They are a tour de force live so once gigs start up again in 2021 they are well placed to make a name for themselves far beyond Cardiff.
Rap is a huge market and as a result the competition is fierce. K(E)NZ is from Swansea and at the age of 18 is already developing his own style and getting recognized. It’s early days but he could well be one of the best UK rap newcomers of his generation.
After becoming the worthy winner of last year’s Big Gig in Cardiff Ailsa signed to Dalliance Recordings and released her debut single “Drive” earlier this year. Being the bass player in her band the instrument forms the foundations of her sound and helps underpin Alisa’s sublime vocal. She is already becoming a fine songwriter which should enable to make a significant impression in this crowded market.
Currently studying at The Royal Northern College of Music, Menna is from Carmarthen. She has a beautiful voice with plenty of power. If you like your music with a bit of melodrama then have a listen to her single “Drowning”.
The members of Ghostlawns are no strangers to the Cardiff music scene featuring seasoned musicians who have played with the likes of Right Hand Left Hand, Gulp, Gentle Good and Cotton Wolf. Their highly regarded debut album “Motorik” was released in 2020 and was recorded by Cardiff’s go to producer Charlie Francis.