Getting set up for Sound City 2018 Getintothis’ Kieran Donnachie has a look at the best UK artists to catch in the Baltic Triangle.
Nabbing the Baltic is a coup and with bigger pockets than any other organisers it’s filled to the brim with music.
At first glance it’s still that indie rock festival you’d love, if only you were fifteen years younger. But there’s plenty on offer with the various curated showcases.
Just don’t expect a huge sailing ship parked on Jamaica Street and filled with Captain Morgan’s.
Here’s our top 10 UK artists that you easily could, but best not, miss.
Connie Constance – Constellations, Sunday
Contemporary R&B, while a diverse field, is certainly a packed one. Yet Connie Constance stood out among the lineup here. She mixes jazz heavy hip hop beats with the cheeky and personal lyrics of indie rock. Connie is someone whose music we’ll be seeking out well after the festival is over. Her set will be on the mellow side of things, so seek her out if that’s your speed.
Maria Kelly – Birdies Bar, Saturday
When you’re raised by an Irish mother with a love for singer-songwriters, it’s hard to not be entranced by County Mayo’s Maria Kelly. Her music is minimalistic yet bleeding with atmosphere, allowing a focus on her distinctive voice. With a theme of mental health running through her music of late, she’s impossible to miss for us.
Aadae – On Air, Saturday
Music is a reflection of the artist, and with Aadae’s her range of influences play out across your ears. Afrobeat dominates but Marvin Gaye style soul is present, with light touches of some UK Bass. Pulling from multiple continents and multiple eras of music, all while maintaining a consistent sound is some feat. She stands alongside the other emerging artists reimagining Afrobeat, if not above them already. So if you’re pining for some Fela Kuti guitar play along with some jazz flute, this is who to see.
Benny Mails – Constellations, Sunday
As much as Post Malone is topping charts and breaking records, white rappers still get shit. Eminem made a film about it, with another one in the pipeline. As far as Benny Mails and hip hop is concerned though, he’s got pedigree. Hard beats, flow and lyrics aside, coming from a breakdancing is more than enough. It’s one of hip hops four main pillars after all. We’re hoping he brings some laminate to Liverpool.
Matt Maltese – Hangar 34, Saturday
If Ariel Pink liked old ballads instead of the 80s and hipsters, then we’d have two of Matt Maltese. His not quite muzak lures you in, but what keeps you listening is the melancholic yet funny lyrics. If his live performance holds even a tenth of the charm and brilliance his music videos do, then we’re all in for a treat.
Richard Youngs – Constellations Garden, Sunday
Most artists populating our picks have an EP or two under their belts. Richard Youngs however, has records to spare. His style is totally expansive, falling into the catch all term of Experimental and truly representing it. Youngs’ could honestly be anything, so if you wish to break monotony look no further, you can get no more leftfield.
Long Legged Creatures – Red Brick, Saturday
This band had exactly one full song available to listen. Yet that single song, Moving To Noises, managed to pull us in. It’s a tour de force, shifting gears constantly. What initially appears to be a reverb heavy Psych marathon transforms into first class Nu Disco. We’ll be going to see what more they have on offer, and so should you.
LOVE SSEGA – On Air, Sunday
So it’s SSEGA like mega, he had nothing to do with all those bad Sonic games. What he is however, is a true continuation of ESG’s pioneering New Wave sound. Their signature catchy basslines and cowbell is brought into the modern day with multilayered production. While LOVE SSEGA loses the punk edge, he more than makes up for it with infectious pop lyrics.
Shadez the Misfit – 24 Kitchen Street, Saturday
There’s a good amount of Hip Hop and Grime at Sound City, so lets squeeze in one more. Shadez stands out of the pack with unique production. His style falls in between a grey area between rap and spoken word, like his contemporaries Ghostpoet and Mick Jenkins. For those not too familiar with rap, this is a great artist to dip your toe in with.
LibraLibra – Brick Street, Saturday
When a band name drops Death Grips, you expect a certain amount of aural assault. Thankfully that’s missing here, but their aggression remains in vocalists Beth Cannon’s delivery. You won’t hear another singer like her, but their sound owes just a little to Tune-Yards modern brand of Worldbeat. LibraLibra are again a one song band, and again show plenty of potential.