Featured Image: Neia James by Holy Smoke Photography
Just like you, we are fervent explorers on the quest for new music. Today, we thought we’d share with you our favourite new bands and artists who’ll be gracing our stages in the not-too-distant future. Our compilation features a huge range of material, from guitar shredder, Ania Thomas, to the experimentalists, Cat SFX and Neia Jane. From pop and soul to rock and roll, here are our best guesses at future Glastonbury headliners.
Ania Thomas is a Polish singer, songwriter and record producer from Los Angeles. She is a virtuosic guitarist who centres most of her music around her instrument. Filled with bluesy guitar riffs and long instrumental sections, her debut EP is titled Ania in Chains after her role-model, Alice in Chains. However, her attempts at production have led her to use more modern synthesisers and effects. This development, inspired by the likes of St. Vincent and Blondie, is probably where she adopted her iconic ghostly, yet rough and bitter vocals.
Another of her inspirations is the world of punk and grunge. Rock and roll have always been a way for Ania Thomas to let off steam. Ever since she emigrated to the US and was forced into an extremely strict private school, music has been her escape. She enrolled in Chicago’s School of Rock, worked hard at her instrument and earned a scholarship to study music at the USC. Now, as well as a musician, she is a guitar teacher, helping others follow in her footsteps. She uses all of these influences to call out the injustices of the world. For example, her latest single ‘Poison’ was written about a toxic relationship which caused Thomas to lose all sense of her identity. Through harsh punk riffs, she effortlessly communicates the rage or “poison” that has built up inside of her.
The two other, equally tumultuous singles from her debut are ‘Doors Close’ and ‘Runaway’. They each share her fury at the universe through roaring power chords and cries. Thomas is always looking for new ways to refine her act. One of the most interesting elements of her track, ‘Runaway’, is her use of a violin solo!
Her debut EP, Ania In Chains, is available on all streaming platforms
Based in Shropshire, Grace Keeling (or Greysha as she has branded herself) has only just turned 17. However, the musicianship she has shown so far has been masterful. By only using the subtlest instrumentation, Greysha brings out the power in her voice and the meaningfulness of her lyrics. Her tracks are almost hypnotic, constructed with ongoing loops of a light guitar sound and droning synthesisers. In fact, her verses are usually acoustic. This simplicity allows Greysha to refine the smallest details of her sound. So much effort has been put into making the production of her debut single, ‘Life Goes Fluently’, stand out. The technological side of her music conveys as much meaning as her songwriting. For example, the whirring of an old film projector that introduces the track could signify the falsity of her character’s life.
Its lyrics are centred around a heartbreak and redemption story, where a breakup causes a young woman to have to hide her true feelings and lose sight of her real identity. One line that really stands out to us is “Hearts getting undressed”. This beautifully explains, that for her to find love again, she must first share who she really is. The choruses are actually when Greysha’s character seems the most hopeless. Instead, it is the ending that reveals this young musician’s penchant for drama. A disorientating blend of guitars and chant-like vocals, the conclusion is just another stop on Greysha’s roller-coaster of emotions. Greysha’s ability to make every aspect of her composition contribute to the rich emotions of her track, already highlights her inexhaustible potential after only one official single.
Her debut single, ‘Life Goes Fluently’ is available on all streaming platforms.
Neia Jane’s (né Chloe O’Brien) background stretches from her childhood days in Queenstown, New Zealand to her teenage years in Olympus, Washington, and now to living in Boston, Massachusetts. After settling in so many radically different locations, Jane has accumulated a wealth of different influences and world experience. Her music today is a weird and wonderful blend of rock, folk and electronic music.
She first picked up a guitar at the age of 12 and formed a band a year later at her father’s Seattle School of Rock. Both of Jane’s parents were musicians and showed her female role-models that could inspire her towards success. Although she had always envisaged herself being in a band, we can’t help but feel her strong and independent personality is worthy of a solo artist.
Fast-forward to 2020, and we have a debut album on our hands: an edgy, angsty powerful ode to real-life problems. Neia Jane pulls from a whole plethora of genres to create her music. However, there is always an overarching theme of defiance. Her latest track, ‘Break Your Heart’ is a synth-led tribute to coming out of hard times stronger than you ever were before. It was written after Jane experienced the strain of a long-distance relationship with her French boyfriend, who was struggling to gain US citizenship. Meanwhile, through the rockier ‘Not romantic’, Jane finds strength through revealing her insecurities: the paradox of craving for attention from someone you never want to see again. ‘Lady in Red’ is about boldly moving on and is told through vibrant guitar and synthesised bass. The pure pop chorus in ‘Sad Girl’ is unforgettable, whilst the album’s title track is a beautiful acoustic ballad.
Her experimentation even goes as far as creating a track which is focused purely on vocals – Neia Jane is an ever-evolving creative mastermind.
Her debut album, Magic & Honey, is available on all streaming services
Signed to Alan McGee’s Creative 23 record label, Cat SFX consists of vocalist and composer, Cat, guitarist Patrick, bassist Jacob and drummer Gordon. They have just released their debut single, ‘Doom Generation’ and its B-Side, ‘Stay Young’.
‘Stay Young’ is a roaring indie-rock tune, which goes from the familiar muted guitar intros of 80s classic rock bands to a gloriously punk-infused chorus. The song is a criticism of our digital age. Cat talks about the falsity of our modern society where quick fun, instead of feelings matter. “Just looking for a way to get off/I know it’s bad, but I don’t know how to love,” chants Cat under cries of “Stay young!”. The band play with the punk genre, creating a fun and lively song, which communicates the lack of seriousness and commitment Cat refers to in her lyrics.
‘Doom Generation’, on the other hand, is an observation on mental health and the huge enterprises which prey on the weak with their “miracle cures”. It is a racing journey of pounding drums, throbbing synthesisers and cynical cries. She depicts our hectic modern lives through the sheer abundance of harsh noise. Right at the end of the track, Cat lowers the volume right down, whispering, “I feel nothing at all”. CAT SFX’s thundering chant is another much-needed reminder to avoid the temptations of the technological era.
It’s brilliant that Cat has finally chosen to return as an artist, after years as a songwriter for Sony ATV. She was first noticed by Alan McGee in a band at the age of 16. However, she chose to stay away from band life until now. We’re so excited to see what she produces back in her creative world.
‘Doom Generation’ is available on SoundCloud, whilst ‘Stay Young’s music video can be found on YouTube
Adeline’s music is a concoction of all things soul, funk and R&B. Despite appearing nostalgically retro, her music remains inextricably relevant to our current times. Her latest EP, Intérimes, is an exploration of the different elements of love. She compares the stages of relationships to times of the day. For example, ‘Twilight’ refers to love fading away, whilst ‘After Midnight’ recounts the initial thrill of a crush. ‘Stay Up’ talks of romantic late nights in, yet ‘Just Another Day’ focuses on a relationship which is destined never to happen. Every track is filled with an infinite supply of groove and style, despite being more stripped back than her debut album. Adeline’s voice alone is enough to put this record on the map.
When she is not composing her own music, Adeline is the bassist for CeeLo Green’s touring band. As a result, each track is underpinned by unbelievably funky basslines. Adeline has also performed as part of the nu-disco group, Escort, and, as a solo artist, supporting the likes of Anderson Paak and Lee Fields. By this point, it won’t surprise you that Adeline is also a fashion star and a political activist! In fact, the release of Intérimes was postponed so that Adeline could spend time protesting for the Black Lives Matter movement. She also initiated the #TwilightChallenge, which resulted in a five-track EP to raise money for the charity, Until Freedom. The release featured five remixes of her track, ‘Twilight’, by black artists.
Throughout the record, Adeline teaches her audience about making the most of life and savouring the time you have. The amount of care that has gone into each of her seven tracks is undeniable.
Intérimes is available on all streaming services