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2017 has been a fantastic year for discovering new talent. The wealth of showcase festivals, regular festivals, and quality live venues mean there’s something to catch every night of the week.

And as we wind down, readying ourselves for the annual holiday, there comes a clarity away from the adrenaline of the night that helps bring forth what we’ve truly enjoyed. Time also helps us realise who’s work we’ve repeatedly gone back to ever since watching them live.

Have a dig through our under the radar favourites below, and even watch some rare fan footage of Puma Blue covering Radiohead.

11. Artbreak at The Black Heart, Camden, 17/03/17

It’s perhaps no wonder that South London five piece Artbreak seemed to be overflowing with confidence and swagger at this Camden show. Not only were preparing to unleash their first single proper, ‘Will To Survive’, after months of circulating a series of feverishly shared demos, but they’d also emerged emboldened from an intense period in the studio with legendary Bowie/Morrissey producer Tony Visconti That had clearly given taken their sound, marrying the bold romanticism of 80s pop with more modern influences like Wiley and Frank Ocean, a new impetus, probably best personified in the jerky off kilter delights of ‘Soda Can’.  (BW)

10. Lonker See at Stare Kino, Poznan, 22/04/17

Poland’s underground scene has been proving to be one of Europe’s most fertile and fecund areas of stunning musical creation. A case in point is the four-headed psychedelic beast that is Lonker See. Hailing from the Baltic town of Gdynia, Lonker See effortlessly weave a pattern that seamlessly blends space rock with cosmic jazz. Their album, Split Image, is an epic and beguiling beast that takes the listener on a widescreen and panoramic journey while effectively cleansing the third eye. (JM)

9. Joy Crookes at KOKO, Camden, 11/12/17

Acclaimed 18-year-old singer from Elephant and Castle who draws on myriad sounds from trip hop and jazz to reggae and punk to create her own stylish sound full of melody and emotive narratives. Particularly galvanising is her song ‘Power’: “You’re a man on a mission, but you seem to forget, you came here through a woman – show some fucking respect.” On stage, the multi-effected guitar played by Anteros’ former axe-man to fill out a lot of the sound combined well with the drummer leaving the singer to engage her adoring fans. Big headline shows surely await. (CT)

8. Pink Hotel at The Great Escape, 18/05/17

Some bands are born with stadium lights in their eyes. Take Pink Hotel, Somerset’s very own Gaslight Anthem/Springsteen/War On Drugs roaring out of the Bath on the same road to superstardom as Muse. Their gigs are like entire Reading festivals crammed into tiny clubs; a staggering parade of gargantuan highway rock monsters designed to eat US radio stations whole. Blue collar rampages like ‘Neon Clouds’, ‘Show Me Heaven’ and recent single ‘Miracle’ have the melodic weight to wreck roofs, and are just too goddamn mighty to stay underground for long. Checking in? (SK)

7. The Brood at Nova Scotia Music Week, Truro, 06/11/17

There was plenty to take in at NSMW. Everyone was new, emerging – and brilliant. The Brood were among the best. They have a healthy balance of tongue-in-cheek much-rock such as ‘Chicken Cheese & Beer’ country banger ‘Dunvegan’, and the sleaze prog of ‘Shackin’ Up In Tijuana’. Whilst they still seem to inhabit a studenty vibe, the capability of each musicians means they have the capacity to become any band they want and will inevitably morph their sound as their life experience grows. We wouldn’t put it past them to support a major band on a world tour soon. (CT)

6. Fauna Twin at FOCUS Wales, Wrexham, 12/05/17

Few acts all year have blown us away as much as Fauna Twin. The real charm of this band stems from the cut ‘Water On Mars’. It’s a true banger. Much of their quality comes from Welsh music scene’s most consistent players, Owain Ginsberg (see also The Heights and We Are Animal) and the PJ Harvey-esque Claire Jacquemard from France on vocals. Reverbs and atmospheric effects are used to create bold, hook-laden melodies that intertwine with the main organic melodies to evoke explorations in electronic or classical approach to writing. Their tracks have the added benefit of sounding live, and distorted enough to meld with purveyors of rough-edged hard rock. (CT)

5. Husky Loops at Academy Brixton, 24/10/17

Being the support band, their stripped back stage set up meant the three-piece “art-rockers” barely fill a tenth of the stage space in Brixton Academy, but what a presence they were sonically. Inventive use of sample pad on the drums reflects a childhood spent listening to Madlib, combines with guitar lines that evoke the unshakable groove of Gang of Four/Talking Heads/Dead 60s. Tie all that with the dark, alluring lead vocal that’s somewhere between Arctic Monkeys and Aphex Twin ‘Come To Daddy’. Husky Loops thrive in the strange, satisfying synthesis of disparate influences and it’s all so heroically woven. (CT)

4. The New Family at SPOT Festival, Aarhus, 06/05/17

The Libertines’ John Hassall is in a different band with the singer/songwriter of this effortlessly melodic group from the beautiful city of Aarhus. Playing their hometown to a full auditorium, the family band (they are actually related) captivated the room with songs from their lo-if album. You could feel that everyone in the room had goosebumps and the wild standing ovation was evidence of how moving they are. Particularly poignant is their song ‘Daddy’ – an ode to their lost father. Clever with harmonies, if you enjoy a lot of 60s music, you could do a lot worse than this as few bands lock in so well without coming across corny. The New Family are a definite hit. (CT)

3. Pleasure Complex at The Monarch, Camden, 11/01/17

An art-pop explosion, Pleasure Complex need to be seen to be believed. Whether they’re arriving onstage covered in fake blood and wearing masks of their own faces, filling venues with ticker tape from party cannons or rolling around in white monster overalls, they’re never knowingly short on spectacle. Their elastic future pop – channelling Wire, Everything Everything, Kraftwerk and Blur’s crankier bits – is just as riveting; ‘Redundance (How To Survive In The City)’ is as jittery as a brand new cryptocurrency and ‘Shame’ comes on like the wonkiest waltzer you’ve ever ridden. Complex? Yes. Pleasurable? Not ‘arf. (SK)

2. Puma Blue at Montreal Jazz Festival, 01/07/17

Puma Blue, led by Jacob Allen, rehearse at their drummers place in Ladywell, South East London. But they left their host (who also drums for Tom Misch) in England for this set and inventively brought in an MPC. The change worked a treat with the mind-bending solos of his lead guitarist who also played some sultry jazz chords added some overtones that suited the jazz festival. The singer completely transfixed with his a range reminiscent of Jeff Buckley’s. Delivering with conviction helped too. The audience were so respectful throughout and the lack of natural light in this upstairs jazz club proved the perfect environment with which to indulge in his slow jams. (CT)

Watch fan footage Puma Blue covering ‘All In Need’ from the incredible In Rainbows album by Radiohead’s ‘All I Know’ below:

1. Crosa Rosa at FOCUS Wales, 13/05/17

If you get a kick out of seeing old footage of Nirvana then get yourself down to a Crosa Rosa gig. The Nottingham three–piece rinse every last bit of energy they have on each blistering performance. Their relentless speed, melodicism, and power they put in is implicit of an amphetamine-laden diet. But the paranoiac sound seems to come from something far less temporary. This is a heavy rock séance of sorts; an emotional outpouring of the rawest kind – essential for the emotional survival of the group – and exhilirating to watch. Unsuspecting civillians who just walked in on the off chance to see them were blown away at this show. A booker flew them out to Asia straight of the back of it – a well-deserved compliment for a hard grafting band. (CT)

Original Article by Cai Trefor, Julian Marzsalek, Steven Kline and Ben Willmott via GIGWISE