Billie Eilish Lake Jons Pale Waves Pronoun Beach Tiger BROCKHAMPTON SAKIMA Timothy Heller Oddnesse Lauv Sigrid Snail Mail Cameron Bethany Ravyn Lenae The Wonder Years Kali Uchis Dream Wife DENNY Alyeska Jetty Bones Anna Straker Wild Planet Terror Jr The Academic Kississippi Abby Diamond Imad Royal
Every year, we are amazed and humbled by the artists we discover. 2017 introduced us to so many fresh, exciting music makers whose incredible talents, stories, sounds and voices make them impossible to ignore. Atwood Magazine is proud to present our staff-procured list of Artists to Watch in 2018, in no particular order. These are the standouts we’ll be keeping close eyes and ears on over the next twelve months in eager anticipation. With 2018 just beginning, we take a look at the artists who’ve caught our attention and stayed on our radar.
Mitch Mosk, Editor-in-Chief
She’s been called everything from a “prodigy” to “the next Lorde” and “pop saviour.” All at the age of 16. Billie Eilish is a phenomenon in the making, and watching her star grow brighter in 2017 was an absolute pleasure. Her debut EP, don’t smile at me, features dynamic, exciting, and brilliantly crafted songs which range from ukulele-led, sassy breakup song “party favor,” to the thrilling “bellyache,” to the romantic-bordering-on-eerie ballad “hostage.” Along with her brother, co-writer, and producer Finneas O’Connell, Eilish creates songs with a maturity that goes way beyond her years. Live, she is a storm – she commands the stage and demands attention with her dancing, incredible voice, and at every moment when she addresses her (mostly teen) audience. At the end of 2017, Eilish released “&burn,” a second version of hit single “watch” which features none other than Vince Staples. With an already sold out North American tour in the books for 2018, and new music on the way, it’s almost certain that 2018 will be the year where the music world falls head-over-heels for Billie Eilish.
Watch: “bellyache” – Billie Eilish
Finnish trio Lake Jons caught our attention last year with their dynamic single “Breathe Out the Fumes,” an inspiring and spirited embrace of individuality. Their intimate, refreshing blend of ambient indie folk and rock will make for the perfect cold-weather soundtrack when their self-titled debut album releases later this month, 1/19/2018!
Listen: “Breathe Out the Fumes” – Lake Jons
Pale Waves are loved by many, yet still strangers to most. The British four-piece, who first notably came onto the scene thanks to pop heavyweights The 1975, are uniquely and firmly carving out their own space within pop music, creating songs whose narratives feel wholly personal and affecting. Pale Waves’ dreamy blend of wet guitars and Heather Baron-Gracie’s sirenic vocals leave listeners in a trance, and with the release of their debut EP due out in February, they are not a band to be ignored in 2018. Pale Waves is making pop music for the cool kids, and won’t apologize for being who they are.
Listen: “My Obsession” – Pale Waves
Atwood Magazine is no stranger to pronoun. We’ve been following her closely for the past two years, allowing her debut EP, there’s no one new around you, a special spot in our hearts and on our multi-genre playlists. The brainchild of Alyse Vellturo is dominating a synth-pop space of heartbreak and renewal, even just with a small handful of released tracks. In 2018, we’re hoping for new releases. Though Vellturo has yet to confirm or deny any completed tracks or upcoming releases, she’s making strategic design changes across her social media accounts. We’re taking this as the start of something new, hopefully with the heart of everything she’s previously released.
Listen: “a million other things” – pronoun
Charleston’s Beach Tiger may have released only two songs a year in 2016 and 2017, but what their discography lacks in size it makes up for in quality and caliber: Every song paints a perfect picture full of motion and emotion. While the heartfelt vibes from “Dead of Night” and the intimate anthem “When You’re Lying There” kept Beach Tiger on our radar in 2017, it’s what’st to come this year that has us truly excited about the South Carolina four-piece.
Listen: “Dead of Night” – Beach Tiger
BROCKHAMPTON just finished their Saturation project where they released three albums in one year – nearly two and a half hours of mastered and released music. It’s a staggeringly good amount of music: By the end of their third album, they finally gelled as a unit and accured a large underground following. There was specultation that the group was going to disband with the conclusion of Satuartion, but they’ve announced another album, titled “Team Effort,” which we hope cements them into the limelight even further.
Listen: “Bleach” – BROCKHAMPTON
Carving a space for himself in the electronic r&b / pop sphere with his explicit yet authentic LGBTQ centered music, SAKIMA has hot momentum going into 2018. Fresh off the heels of his music video for “Daddy,” one of the singles from his Ricky EP released fall last year, it seems things can only get better considering his growing attention and support from Billboard Pride, Moving Castle and others.
Watch: “Daddy” – SAKIMA
Soft and subtle, seductive and dynamic, Timothy Heller’s stellar debut “Sleep” is an important first step at the beginning of the ex-Dresses artist’s brand new journey. With an incredible artistic voice and wealth of promising talent, we can’t wait to hear what Heller has in store for 2018!
Listen: “Sleep” – Timothy Heller
Rebeca Arango and Grey Goon’s musical adventure has proved an impressive expression of limitless artistic potential in its first full year. Their latest single, the intimate post-breakup song “I Used To,” is a brooding dream pop concoction that captures pain and love, heartache and hope. Oddnesse hit all the right notes when they set their mind to it, and we cannot wait for more from them in 2018!
Listen: “I Used To” – Oddnesse
With gospel familial roots and blues influences from his hometown of Memphis, Cameron Bethany delights listeners with his sound dubbed as “Mod-Fusion;” music that soars with evocative, confrontational lyrics and energetic, smoky melodies. He dropped his YOUMAKEMENERVOUS EP only a few short months ago, but you can tell Bethany is a music machine headed for greatness.
“Lillian From The Valley” – Cameron Bethany
With contagious beats and dominating vocals, Lauv is hard to ignore. We’ve loved how catchy his songs are, and how after just a few listens, they’re stuck in our heads time after time. Like many male vocalists, Lauv has controlling and strong vocals. Still, there’s something soft and sweet to his vocal confidence. It’s the forumla that makes a boy band, yet adult. With the hypnotic spirit of a large-stage name, we’re expecting Lauv to make moves, and we’re ready to dance along. .
Listen: “I Like Me Better” – Lauv
With rich, shaking, yet strong, vocals, Sigrid is a shoe in for an indie standout. Her classic voice is an unusual, yet inviting, change to the pop tracks she’s selling. Hits like “Don’t Kill My Vibe” are radio-ready, yet feel at home in their acoustic counterparts. Sigrid’s latest single, “Strangers” gives us a larger taste of what she’s got to come. The pop powerhouse track holds a whimsical air with the confidence of a chart topper.
Listen: “Strangers” – Sigrid
Lindsey Jordan creates lo-fi rock music that sounds like a classic from the first strum of her guitar in her solo project Snail Mail. Jordan released debut EP Habit independently mid last year, and since then has signed to Matador Records, with plans for a debut album to come out later this year. Her music is nostalgic and intimate, but at the same time noisy and relevant. It’s the soundtrack to a coming of age movie, but also to her own coming of age. Her voice sounds distant, sometimes you struggle to hear what she’s singing, but the effort is worth it. She was deemed by the New York Times as one of the women who is ruling rock music, and has a year full of promise coming up supporting Japanese Breakfast’s on tour as well as having a secured slot at Coachella.
Watch: “Thinning” – Snail Mail
Ravyn Lenae is hot off of the CTRL tour with Sza, also featuring Smino as an opening act. She’s known for her dizzying sultry vocals and great R&B melodies. Her last two projects really picked up momentum (getting her on the CTRL tour), and she just released a fly ass single, “Sticky,” entirely produced by Steve Lacy! Lacy is also set to produce her forthcoming album in its entirety.
Listen: “Sticky” – Ravyn Lenae
The Wonder Years
The Wonder Years have been one of the hardest working pop-punk bands of the past decade, having written songs about everything from Cap’n Crunch to questioning religion at a friend’s funeral. They’re due to release their sixth album, and I’m intrigued to see where they’ll go.
Listen: “There, There” – The Wonder Years
Starting the year off with slots on both the Coachella and Governor’s Ball lineups, Kali Uchis is also supporting Lana Del Rey on her spring 2018 tour. Featuring on songs with Major Lazer, Daniel Caesar, Miguel, Gorrilaz, Juanes, and Tyler, The Creator, she has already proven her versatile capacity as a talented songwriter, vocalist, and producer.
Listen: “Loner” – Kali Uchis
Dream Wife have been creating a buzz in the UK for at least a year. The trio, composed of Icelander Rakel Mjöll, and British Alice Go and Bella Podpadec, make punk-leaning, pop-infused rock music whose message is to empower and have fun. “Somebody” punches misogyny and sexism in the gut, while “Let’s Make Out” is a cheeky and flirty assertion of sexual liberty. You cannot go wrong with Dream Wife if you like amazing guitar riffs combined with powerful messages and music you can dance to. After a busy run at SXSW and a huge UK tour in the fall, they returned to America in November of last year for their first headline shows in LA and Brooklyn, and now all of us are eagerly waiting for their debut album to drop on January 26th and see what other incredible music they have in store for us.
Listen: “Let’s Make Out”” – Dream Wife
Minneapolis trio DENNY are slow to release new music, but when they do, it never fails to leave a mark. The band’s blend of rock, electronic and pop influence has resulted in two totally different singles between 2016’s “Bloom” and 2017’s “Girls Like You,” and it’s exactly that dynamic creativity that makes us excited for more DENNY in 2018!
Listen: “Girls Like You” – Beach Tiger
Alyeska introduced themselves in 2017 with debut EP Crush, an intensely raw, vulnerable and vibing mesh of rock, folk and dream-pop that so perfectly captures the weight of the world as it falls on our shoulders. Whether it comes in the form of an EP or a full-length record, we can definitely expect even more emotive energy and soul-crushing honesty from the LA indie in the coming months.
Listen: “Tilt-a-Whirl” – Alyeska
Jetty Bones’ Old Women EP from last year was a favorite, and their early 2000’s-inspired sound is reminiscent of early Paramore with better lyrics. They’re sure to tour more, and hopefully we can see an album by the end of the year.
Listen: “No Lover” – Jetty Bones
A producer, songwriter, singer, and fan of genre-bending flavorful pop bangers, Anna Straker is one young powerful maestro prepared to make 2018 her year. With festivals, viral singles, and a short Japan tour stint under her belt, this 20-year old Brit owes us a sizzling album sooner rather than later.
Listen: “Ignite Me” – Anna Straker
Hailing from Tallahassee, Florida, this indie four-piece is set and ready to make 2018 their year. Having recorded and released their first EP Subtle Spectres in 2017, they’re gearing up to take their music on the road this spring. Unfiltered and unapologetic, they’ll no doubt be paving their own path in indie music this year, so keep a close watch.
Listen: “Running From The Sun” – Wild Planet
With impressive, progressive pop roots, Terror Jr. are taking listeners to bubblegum hell. From political statements to a downright satanic Christmas release, Terror Jr. are full of unapologetic surprise, and they’re pushing the boundaries of pop music as we know it. 2018 boasts the promise of their debut album, following three diverse, yet directional EP releases. The year has begun with a face to the mysterious group, and a strong vision is sure to follow. The intrigue is only intensifying with every passing day and grape emoji on their Twitter account. We’ll be waiting patiently for what this year holds, terror style.
Listen: “Dead of Night” – Terror Jr
Last year, Irish quartet The Academic’s breakout single “Bear Claws” topped a million listens on Spotify. In addition, they’ve earned slots supporting The Strokes, The Kooks, Liam Gallagher, and Catfish and the Bottlemen. Their debut album Tales From The Backseat, full of more of their signature catchy guitar-heavy pop, will be released later this week and should set them up nicely for a strong 2018. Stay tuned for more coverage…trust us when we say you won’t want to miss what’s coming.
Listen: “Bear Claws” – The Academic
This indie rock duo is about to take 2018 by storm. Their reign of soft indie rock royalty started in 2016 with the release of their EP We Have No Future, We’re All Doomed. This existential EP showcased their delicate melodies and biting lyrical genius. Their new single “Cut Yr Teeth”, has proven to be an instant hit in the DIY community, building up massive hype for their first full-length album Sunset Blush. The album is set to be released in April 2018.
Listen: “Cut Yr Teeth” – Kississippi
Relishing in feminine power, Abby Diamond creates luscious soundscapes of ethereal R&B-electronica that have landed her on Dr. Dre’s Beats of the Week playlist on Apple Music.
Listen: “There’s a Light In My Room” – Abby Diamond
One of those artists who can be called a 100 percenter, Imad Royal’s prowess in singing, songwriting, and production place him at the forefront of today’s pop artists. Collaborations have included Sweater Beats, Miike Snow, and gnash, and he has proven time and again that he is exactly what today’s streamers want to hear.
Listen: “superlit” – gnash & Imad Royal
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