20 New British Bands To Watch This Year
20 British alternative bands we're calling must-sees for 2023.
If 2022 was a great if unsteady year for UK indie music, 2023 is the year bands are truly back. If your crate digging has dried out, you’re stuck in a sonic rut or merely hungry for bragging rights – here's a fast track to the top UK bands due to pump out some of the best new alternative music releases in the coming year.
Beef up your 2023 playlists with these up and coming bands – your ears and mates will thank you later. In no particular order...
Sludgy indie straight from the mouth of London, bar italia have been gigging at some of London’s most iconic venues including Avalon cafe, Shacklewell Arms and Bermondsey Social Club – a great blueprint on how to plan a music tour.
One of the buzziest new bands for 2023, their fresh take on shoegaze/punk is short, sour and sure to soundtrack your long bus rides or your afters.
Middle English band Cucamaras are one of our favourite discoveries of last year.
Owning acerbic turn of phrases, slice of life imagery and urgent revelations of small city life, the Nottingham natives are carving their own space into the noise rock scene.
GENRE: Post-Punk/Garage Rock/Noise
International outfit Ghost Car are screaming into the void against homophobia, racism, political injustice, the patriarchy and toxic relationships.
Hints of noise-pop combined with the shouty angry lyrics, it’s destined to be an urgent and formidable year for Ghost Car. Listen up!
GENRE: Rock/Psychedelia/Jazz/Noise Rock
The 4 piece London outfit have just released their second EP 'Trapped In The Big Room', and they show no sign of slowing down.
After gigging continuously throughout 2022, expect to hear their noise rock/jazz/psychadelia waves piercing through a Radio 6 introducing. Lauren Laverne, listen up.
GENRE: Noise Rock
Gentle Stranger’s immediate sound explores noise-rock/shoegaze/ambient, maybe all of it.
Using unconventional soundscapes, otherworldly and guttural vocal technique and complete and utter switch ups in form, their debut 'Upon Return' is sure to leave you breathless and itching to see the insanity live.
A masterclass in how to compose a song that breaks all the rules.
FROM: Germany, based in London
GENRE: Rock/Math Rock/Noise Rock
German-Language London-Based outfit Kyoto Kyoto have already ticked most dream indie gig venues off their list. Their math-rock infused noisy Deutsche sound is sure to be filling bigger venues very very soon.
One to really rattle your skull to, or (try to) emulate in the drum practice rooms.
London Collective ‘Civil Partnership’ spit droll words of an English underbelly, soundtracked to spacious drums and minor chords. All of this conjures a palette of those rainy nights on the bus home in London.You know the ones.
We'll be shoving this in our ears on all future failed nights out.
Jemma Freeman and The Cosmic Something
UK rock bands are having something of a renaissance and Queer outfit Jemma Freeman and The Cosmic Something are jumping on board.
Incorporating glam-rock, power vocals, a PJ Harvey tinge and earhooks through and through, we’re ready and waiting for their anticipated LP coming Spring 2022.
Grungy 90’s/00’s inspired alt-rock from BERRIES is sure to get you all dressed up to burn the house to the ground.
Snappy choruses, scuzzy guitars and to-the-point lyrics combine to form a powerful, airtight sound for your listening pleasure. One of the best new rock bands, and so much more as well.
The international outfit fronted by British singer Tommy Blitz have done the rounds in 2022, at EartH in Hackney and a sold out headline gig at Old Blue Last.
Formed from impromptu jam sessions, they’re set to release their debut EP in Feb 2023.Their straight up indie sound will most likely be heard in the best dive spots everywhere this year.
A classic British indie band, straight from Leeds, the 5 piece’s big sound and off-kilter outlook is ready to cartwheel their way onto festival stages this summer.
Their debut LP 'Delusional Space' finally scratched the itch but we’re ready and waiting for more.
GENRE: DIY/Bedroom Rock/Indie
Looping drum beats, anxious vocals and a formidable guitar start as the foundations for a Beige Banquet track.
From lockdown duo to unstoppable five-piece in the space of 2 years, we can hear this soundtracking record stores and filling out gig spaces across the country. Rough Trade pay attention!
adults’ call-and response lyrics, tongue in cheek song titles and electric energy make them one of the best new bands of 2023, and indicate they’re here to stay.
We can definitely imagine crowds of thousands head thrashing to the wink-wink nudge-nudge ‘tfl has a lot to answer for’ whilst downing a can of flat cider on day 2 of a camping festival.
GENRE: Indie Pop
A favourite new British pop group, Welsh outfit CVC are poised for greatness in 2023 off the back of the release of their debut album in January.
The band, an acronym for Church Village Collective, have made a name for themselves in native Wales but their pop inflected indie sound, earworm melody and wide gamut of influences from Snoop Dogg to Stills and Nash are sure to place them on your 2023 playlist.
GENRE: Noise Pop
One of our favourite new British pop groups. The anti-authoritarian collective have been touring the UK, playing some iconic venues, working with IDLES' producer, releasing an EP and playing on every BBC regional introducing spot.
Our guess is, in 2023 we’ll be hearing a touch more from their punk infected, Life Without Buildings vocals esque noise pop punk. All of it.
GENRE: Indie Pop
Latenight Honeymoon gained Pirate residency status in 2022, using the free rehearsal space to practice for a host of gigs and prepare their EP ‘All of this makes so much sense yet none of this makes much sense at all’. Their earworm melodies and ascerbic lyrics play like the soundtrack to an indie brit flick in all the right ways.
Half pop, half punk outfit Breakup Haircut impress with their hilarious lyrics (someone tell me where I can find the dog, singing Come On Eileen on the floor on my own, I want to go home!). This combined with their “genuine effort to not use the same 3 drumbeats” are sure to cement them as your new indie favourite.
Shovel Dance Collective
The queer folk unit from British islands and further afield explore drone, classical folk and ancient traditions in their sweeping sound. One for the quiet moments on a post-rave Sunday morning.
FROM: West Scotland
Hushed tones and lush arrangements make up Scotland born London based outfit Frankie Morrow. Their sound is destined to be in a Spike Jonze film. This is perfect for solo reading, heartbreak, a long drive – you know the deal.
Brixton Chamber Orchestra
FROM: Brixton, London
Pirate Residents and Registered charity Brixton Chamber Orchestra is intertwining classical music with Grime and Drill, showcasing their orchestral arrangements in the New Year.
Their flexible and loose style evoke great band practice ideas. It’ll be one worth seeing in the flesh.
Listening through this list, it's clear that good British bands aren't hard to come by, but it's also clear that the UK doesn't have one sound.
Pop, indie, experimental, metal, jazz, punk, shoegaze and ska bands have a place amongst grime, techno, reggae, dance hall and orchestral acts in cities and towns across the UK.
Amongst the most current bands on the scene, we’re more than excited to see what projects come from these 20 up-and-comers.
It’s amazing to see the UK indie music scene continuing to thrive and produce some of the most cutting edge and interesting sounds against all odds. My only piece of advice would be to catch acts like these in small venues while you have the chance.