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Ones to Watch: The Next Big Alternative Artists

All of Your New Favourite Alt Musicians for 2021

Image made by the author via Canva

The alternative music scene is, despite the obstacles that it’s faced this year, just as vibrant as ever. Here are some of the artists that we’re expecting big things from in 2021

As December Falls

As December Falls, hailing from Nottingham, are the next big pop-punk outfit from the UK. Having already released their debut album in 2019, and after working their way around the UK on tour, their sophomore release Happier is set for release in June this year. Their most recent single ‘I Don’t Feel Like Feeling Great’ boasts the best of their loud guitars and stunning vocals. For fans of Paramore, Doll Skin and Stand Atlantic, As December Falls could be your next favourite band.

As December Falls will release Happier via ADF Records

Sketchshow

Southampton’s Sketchshow are getting ready to release their first full-length record, with lead single ‘Chrysalis’ paving the way for intricate musicality and catchy vocals. Sketchshow pride themselves on striking the balance between the more obscure elements of math rock and creating really memorable songs, making the more complex alternative genre accessible to fans. Their upcoming single ‘Chrysalis’ has a fresh sound unlike anything else on the alternative scene right now, taking inspiration from genres far and wide, so their album is definitely one to keep an eye on this year. In the meantime, check out their debut, Patchwork.

Goat Girl

Goat Girl are a rapidly emerging name in post-punk. Quickly catching the attention of Rough Trade Records not long after their formation in London, Goat Girl have a wildly impressive CV, having released their eccentric and ever-unpredictable self-titled album in 2018, and supporting The Fall in their final London show before the death of Mark E. Smith. Now, they’re ready to release their second album, On All Fours on the 29th of January 2021. Their songs are bright and witty, and they’re a band to look out for once we get live music back again.

On All Fours is out 29 January via Rough Trade Records Ltd.

Seán McGowan

If you’ve got any connection to the Southampton live music scene, then you’re already well aware of Seán McGowan's musicality and charm. With two albums under his belt and sold-out UK tours, McGowan is a musical sage who knows exactly what he’s doing, an alternative troubadour for the modern age. He put on one of the few live gigs at the end of last year in Southampton’s 1865 and had the crowd singing along to his every word. McGowan knows how to charm an audience, and his quick-fire lyrics and acoustic passion on stage translate effortlessly to his recorded music as well.

Check out ‘Cuppa Tea’, released via Xtra Mile Recordings.

Hands Off Gretel

In Hands Off Gretel, you can hear the influence of riot grrrl and punk rock greats, from Lunachicks to Bikini Kill. Bursting on to the UK punk scene from South Yorkshire, Hands Off Gretel have become a staple of live punk music in recent years. With two studio albums and a handful of EPs in the span of five years, the band have been hard at work honing their sound to punk rock perfection. Their most recent release is 2020’s short and sweet Angry EP, which does exactly what it promises; provides great music for angry listeners. Hands Off Gretel are the burst of emotion and colour that we love to see in the punk scene.

Check out ‘She Thinks She’s Punk Rock N Roll’ from The Angry EP.

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Vicky Greer

Vicky Greer

Freelance music journalist and languages student