The Merseyside musicians you need to listen to in 2021
2 years ago
The last year has been difficult for local new and emerging musicians and bands who would love nothing better than to play to audiences in the flesh, sharing their music in our city’s venues and festivals.
Many spent 2020 instead writing, rehearsing and recording when and where they could, and performing live streams. We found 9 of the best acts who are primed and ready to take on 2021.
Pixey was originally picked out as promising by BBC Introducing Merseyside and Lancashire. The singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer of 1990s influenced indie-pop has been playing shows in Liverpool and festivals, and releasing singles for a while now. She recently signed to Chess Club Records, whose alumni include Mumford & Sons and Mercury Music Prize winners Wolf Alice. Pixey is included in NME’s Ones to Watch and Dork Hype list for 2021 and plays a free online show at Birkenhead’s Futureyard as part of Independent Venue Week on 30 January.
Who remembers the Dead 60s? The local ska-punk outfit released two albums on Liverpool label Deltasonic, clocked up 5 UK top 40 hits and surpassed over 100k sales in the UK alone, before splitting in 2008. Former members have got up to all sort in the interim, front man Matt McManamon played guitar with the Specials but this year launches his solo career!
The single is on all major platforms now, whilst debut album Scally Folk is out in the coming months. Jumpin’ The Gun shows Matt move in a different direction to his previous band, embracing Liverpool’s love of psychedelia, indie and power pop. “Jumpin’ The Gun” is a song for all ‘the haters’ in life. The song is primarily about experiencing negative people & negative thoughts, and responding to them by doing something positive,” says Matt.
Bobby West has carved out a justifiable reputation of late as the finest crooner in town, his latest single All My Years reminiscent of Sheffield charmer Richard Hawley’s heartfelt balladeering. Formerly in the popular band Broken Men who toured Russia and Europe, Bobby’s emerging solo career is unashamedly one of a songwriter exploring the pitfalls and joys of modern life, and romances gone wrong.
Hannah Merrick and Craig Whittle make up King Hannah, quietly learning their craft playing support slots and showcases in Liverpool venues like Phase One before being signed to the prestigious City Slang record label. So far they have shared two singles and the fabulous EP Tell Me Your Mind And I’ll Tell You Mine. The guitar based songs are dark and honest, a mix of shoegaze and blues blended right in. So much of a well-deserved buzz around King Hannah right now.
2020 may have been a strange year but that didn’t stop duo Pleasure Island writing recording and playing live shows whenever they could. Sean Ekins and drummer Sam Pierpoint released singles The Game and the timely Help Me NHS, prophetically written before the pandemic. The pair brought their stripped down but forceful indie-post punk brand with an uncompromising anthemic message to the masses via the Liverpool Digital Music Festival, and even picked up support from Neville Southall on Twitter! They are currently itching to get back into Liverpool’s Motor Museum studio to complete an EP and look forward to playing shows again as soon as it’s physically and legally possible.
Four piece Courting have impressed and built up an enthusiastic following due to sheer quality releases in the form of singles Football, David Byrne’s Badside, and Not Yr Man along with fine live performances. Heading up a new wave of Britpop, Sean Murphy-O’Neill, Sean Thomas, Michael Downes and Sam Brennan’s debut EP Grand National is out everywhere including on12” vinyl on April 9 via Nice Swan Records. Courting were playlisted by 6Music in December and to kick off the new year, and named in NME’s top 100 for 2021 and the Daily Star’s 50 Rising Stars.
Known locally as the Scouse guitar queen, Aimee specialises in garage indie rock and has already won the attention and support of 6Music, Liverpool FC TV, Radio X’s X-Posure playlist, BBC Radio Merseyside, BBC Radio Lancashire and BBC Introducing. Signed to Jacaranda Records in 2019, she put out three singles last year including Today which shows a sweeter, dreamier side. We hear there are plans for an album sometime this year.
Part of the Eggy Records family, singer and songwriter Lara Boundy played one of the very last shows in Liverpool before lockdown #1 in the early months of 2020. Supporting Manchester-Italian Julia Bardo, she delighted the audience in Studio 2 with her quiet humour and gentle, beautiful songwriting and voice which brings with it Mazzy Star comparisons. Last year’s singles Gobstopper and That I Would Do, charm and tug at the heart. Simply lovely, listening to them makes us swoon at the thought of another gig from her when Liverpool’s venue’s doors reopen.
Nikki & the Waves
Nikki & The Waves describe themselves as‘some sort of pop’, but they are far much more than that. Signed to local label Modern Sky along with Jamie Webster and Red Rum Club, the band met at college here in Liverpool and formed this breezy funk-fuelled dream-pop outfit with indie rock and bedroom pop influences. Latest single Anywhere is 100% feel-good tune, with brass to keep things bouncing along nicely and so far it’s clocked up an impressive almost 12k streams!