Saturday, 27 November 2021

Ones to Watch 2022 #5 - Lynks


First appeared on Breaking More Waves: March 2020

When choosing artists for the annual Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch list, sometimes I mean just that; artists that you must go and watch live irrespective of if they have any commercial or critical success. Lynks is one such artist. Despite the gigging scene of 2021 being someone squashed due to Covid, I’ve managed to see Lynks 4 times this year and every show has been a euphoric blast from start to finish.

Lynks (formerly known as Lynks Afrikka) is a queer-pop artist who brings it all. Energy. Performance. Wit. Humour. Intelligence. Dance routines. Leigh Bowery aesthetic. Lyrics that you won’t hear on any other pop song: “Everyone’s sexy and I’m Dexys Midnight Runners on a Thursday night.” Lynks is the anti-Oasis. Lynks is the ultimate underground raver. Lynks will get you in a lather. Lynks is one to watch.

This is an artist who brings back the silliness into pop music in the same way that Confidence Man has done and Wet Leg (Ones to Watch #1) are doing with songs like Chaise Longue. It’s unsurprising therefore that Lynks covered Chaise Longue for Radio 1 and has been dropping it during live shows. However, put aside the silliness for a second and you'll find Lynks is talking about gender politics, stereotypes and sexuality.

Right now, with the sh*tshow of Covid-19, it feels like the right time for colour, glamour and ultimately fun to be back on our stereos and in our venues. Lynks provides all of that.

Lynks is the alter-ego of one Elliot Brett and together with the Shower Gel (and not forgetting Barbara the table – a trusted er…table that they have on stage with them) they are here to bring the joy. 

Lynks - BBB

Friday, 26 November 2021

Ones to Watch 2022 #4 - Sam Ryder


First Appeared On Breaking More Waves: February 2021

When I introduced Sam Ryder on the blog this February he had 2.6 million followers on Instagram. By November that figure had risen to 3.5 million. To give some context that's the same number of followers as Charli XCX and she's been doing music for over 10 years.

It’s easy to see why. His posts are incredibly engaging, his personality clearly huge. But most of all the reason why people lap up his social media like he’s new music’s version of Kylie Jenner is because of his incredible vocal talent; the man can sing the underwear off a celibate and he loves showing off that skill on his posts. (Don’t worry, he doesn’t actually make people’s clothes fall off that really would be an odd skill). It’s starting to transfer to real life as well – his UK tour in January is completely sold out.

Take a listen to his vocal on his version of his song More recorded in the V&A in London. It covers all bases. From angelic choirboy, to mellifluous boy-band balladeer to gritty rock star in the making. He makes music that is broad and could have Capaldi like mainstream appeal if he releases the right song and gets the right support, but his sound is (just) flecked with just enough edge to not make it schmaltzy. 

With one EP (The Sun's Gonna Rise) released in September and a new single called Spaceman due in January, Sam could easily be shooting for the stars. Not every act on the Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch list has commercial appeal, but Ryder could be one that has.

Sam Ryder - More (Live at the V&A)

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Ones to Watch 2022 #3 - Pip Millett


First appeared on Breaking More Waves: N/A 

The third artist on this year’s One to Watch list is Pip Millett. (Her real name is Georgia, but Pip has always been her nickname and Millett is her mother’s maiden name)

Pip has been drip feeding music since 2018, including 3 Eps: Do Well (2019), Lost In June (2020) and the recent Motion Sick (2021), growing her audience to the point where she is now able to play a sold out tour - unfortunately a number of her recent dates had to be rescheduled to January due to laryngitis. She’s also appeared on the most recent series of Later…with Jools Holland on BBC2, performing in an empty swimming pool. (People who have followed me on Twitter will probably realise that I think this is essentially a case of #musiciansinthebath on a bigger scale)

However, irrespective of empty bathing facilities, her music, which is what we are focussing on, is beautifully chilled and soulful; fans of the likes of Joy Crookes and Jorja Smith will relish what she does. And just like Crookes and Smith, the most appealing quality about Pip is her voice. It’s warm late at night creaminess is gorgeous and could work its way into a lot of hearts if her future songs connect with people. 

Pip Millett - Hard Life

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Ones to Watch 2022 #2 - Gabriels


First appeared on Breaking More Waves: n/a

The second artist on this year’s Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch 2022 list is Gabriels

Who are Gabriels?

They’re a LA based outfit fronted by the incredible Jacob Lusk who sings with a soulful voice that reminds me a little of Anohni and Nina Simone. That goregous voice is then carried by a luscious orchestrated backing. The songs and the sound are truly beautiful. The first time I heard Gabriels was a complete stop-me-in-my tracks moment. A wow moment. I'm not the only one who feels this way. Back in October Will Orchard, director of Blue Dot and Kendal Calling Festivals tweeted: “Truly, I’ve never seen a gig as extraordinary as Gabriels at The Social, London tonight. Their first ever show. It felt like a privilege to see a band that are clearly going to be absolutely, deservedly, huge in such an intimate space. Their unreleased stuff is phenomenal.” 

With a 12" vinyl single released almost a year ago selling out on Bandcamp, Gabriels have been picking up support from the likes of Gilles Peterson on BBC 6 Music - he was an early champion of Sault as well, who in terms of their retro-modern sound share some similarities to Gabriels. And if you do love Sault then make some more room in your heart because you're going to need space to adore these guys as well. 

Take a listen and I’m sure you’ll agree. Gabriels absolutely have to be Ones to Watch for next year as they release more new material and play shows. Their new EP (Bloodline - title track below) is due December 3rd. I have a full expectation of them being the ones to see at all the best festivals in 2022 and (hopefully) releasing one of the albums of 2022.

Gabriels - Bloodline

Gabriels - Love  and Hate In A Different Time