By Jon Milton
It’s been a while since I last posted a blog. There are a few things behind this, but one of the key reason’s has been a general lack of interest in new music that landed in 2023.
That’s not to say that there wasn’t a lot of good music released. On the contrary, I was taken aback by the quality as I compiled my Festive Fifty for the year. I’m guessing however that post-pandemic fatigue really set in and just sapped any enthusiasm for not only anything new, but also the old. And having started the blog and followed a lot of new bands since 2019, I’ve become acutely aware that quite a few of them have stopped making good music and are more concerned with chasing their moment in the sun.
Enough with the doom and gloom though! 2024 feels like it’s going to be a lot more promising…
Possibly one of the biggest highlights of 2023 was the rapid emergence of English Teacher. They kicked off the year with a single on Speedy Wunderground, signed for a major, released a slew of excellent tracks and even managed an appearance on Jool’s Holland’s ‘Later’.
The ‘Later’ performance of ‘World’s Biggest Paving Slab’ really was a joy to watch – the band seemed absolutely buzzing to be on the show.
2024 should see them release their debut album, and hopefully it will maintain the extremely high standard set by the singles so far.
My favourite discovery of 2023 was JJUUJJUU. With Wide Awake now established as a real festival staple, I make it a point of listening to all scheduled bands and was blown away by these guys.
Their 2018 ‘Zionic Mud’ is special, and they may have a second album (hopefully) on the way in 2024.
The pick of their recent singles is ‘Nowhere’ but Zionic Mud is probably the best starting point.
At the end of 2022 I saw Avalanche Party play a host of new material and had a chat with their bassist Joe, who suggested a new album would be out in May.
The excellent ‘Serious Dance Music’ arrived without any publicity in March, and there’s been nothing since then. Hopefully the album will be on its way soon.
2023 saw Speedy Wunderground celebrate 10 years at Village Underground, which included a performance from Moreish Idols, who released a sublime second EP on the label ‘Lock Eyes and Collide’.
The band toured extensively throughout the year, so hopefully another EP (or ideally an album could be on its way in the coming months.
The other major highlight from the label was the debut single from Hot Face, ‘Dura Dura’.
March 2024 will see Yard Act release their long awaited second album. Where some bands have either stood still or watered down their sound to try and widen their appeal, Yard Act continue to evolve and firmly set their own path.
Recent single ‘Petroleum’ has more than a touch of Beck about it and its predecessor ‘Dream Job’ has an 80’s funk theme going on, so what comes next is anyone’s guess. They are clearly a clever bunch who know their market, so you’d expect them to keep that bar high.
Other bands to look out for in 2024 will hopefully include:
- Eyesore and the Jinx: Their debut album comes out in February…
- Workfriends: such a good band, I just want to hear more from them!
- Porchlight: building on their excellent ‘Wives Tales & Hymns of the Earth’ EP
- Kill, the Icon, Gaylips, Human Interest, Splint, HAAL, Midlight, Keg, Wombo, Deadletter, Cowboyy,
Egyptian Blue, Last Tourist and anyone else I've missed – keep them coming!