Paul Golder writes for the Brentwood Gazette
Something we do all the time on Phoenix FM is give airtime to local bands and singers who wouldn’t get the opportunity on our other more commercially-minded local radio stations – which doesn’t make sense to me as everyone has to start somewhere!
Many of the artists we’ve featured while unsigned have gone on to bigger and better things – we’ve been lucky in the past to interview artists such as Rag’n’ Bone Man, Lewis Capaldi, Kasabian, The 1975 and Wolf Alice in tiny venues long before they made it to headline slots on festivals or stadium gigs.
I’ve been asking some of our presenters which local artists they’re tipping for the top and we’ve managed to come up with our own list of musicians who you should really check out.
Local record label COOL THING is a great place to start as they’ve been promoting an eclectic mix of musicians from punk to acoustic for quite a few years now.
I’ve really enjoyed the debut EP from Southend singer/songwriter Frances Murray, otherwise known as BLAB, and also THE HORSE HEADS whose recent single Bulldozer was one of my favourite of the year and both artists should have more new music soon.
Cool Thing’s art rockers ASYLUMS are also planning to release their highly-anticipated fourth album this year. And female rock/pop trio BAXTR have had some great singles out and hopefully there’s an album to follow soon.
Ultra-prolific Southend fuzz rockers HIGH/LOW should have their fifth album in six years out in 2022 – they’re a band to follow if you’re a fan of early 90s rock bands like Dinosaur Jr, Superchunk and Weezer.
Southend is a great hub for rock bands of all shapes and sizes and it was good to hear new music from THE TRUSTED in the shape of single Vellichor. The word means “the strange wistfulness of a used bookshop” in case you wondered!
Brentwood indie band OCEAN FLAWS haven’t been as prolific as they should be – but they had two great singles out this year, Hannah’s Ray Gun and Hologram.
My own Friday night show Resurrection has featured some great new bands this year for the first time, including HAPPY SCIENCE, DISTORTED MODEL, THE BROKEN JOHNNYS and A CAUSE IN DISTRESS. I’ve also featured some local rock and power pop veterans including THE NEW TWENTYS, ANDY J GALLAGHER, VIX 20, PET NEEDS and THE 1957 TAIL-FIN FIASCO. I’m looking forward to hearing more from all of them this year.
Several of our other presenters have been featuring local artists on their shows too and I’ve enjoyed discovering new music from more Essex artists like RAMES, SANDCASTLE JESUS, ADMISSIONS, SUSPECTS, THE STATINS, JOSH GLEAVES, SOPHIE GRIFFITHS and KATY FOR KINGS.
The worst part about writing an article like this is leaving out so many more talented local musicians – I could write 1000 more words! Keep an ear out on 98FM this year and you might just hear the next big thing before you hear them anywhere else.