2023 In Review
I go to a lot of concerts. I moved to London specifically because I wanted to be a part of a bigger music scene than the one that exists in Oslo. So while I'm here I want to make use of the city as much as I can. Back in 2022, once it felt safe enough to venture outside, I started keeping track of all of the bands I saw in a playlist. This was mostly because I constantly forgot who I had or hadn't seen, but also I was curious. I ended up seeing 62 different artists, which isn't bad for the course of a year. I kept this up in 2023 and in the course of that year I saw 146 different artists, mostly smaller independent acts playing on small stages to an even smaller audience.
I noticed that I had gotten into a habit of seeing as much as possible, so as much as I'm successfully taking advantage of London I decided that I'd dial it back a bit in 2024. So as a way to celebrate last year's obsession I'm going to showcase some of the best new artists I've discovered this year. Note that I enjoy fast and aggressive music, so these will probably all trend towards that.
There is a promoter in London called Till The Wheels who puts on a lot of punk and hardcore shows. I had been to many that were quite good so I got into the habit of just going to whatever show they had on when I had time. One of the shows was for Grade 2 and I absolutely loved it! They have the kind of eponymous British punk rock sound, at least to me, and their live show was fast and fun and got pretty crazy.
This band was a completely random discovery, which is always fun. I was at a show to see a friend of mine and happened to catch J.O.B who blew me away. Melodic rock music with a bit of a psychedelic vibe played by incredibly skilled musicians. These guys are young and just starting out, but I'm hoping they get discovered by a label or someone who can propel them further out.
This wasn't as much of a discovery I personally made, but Moskito are a band who was managed by the former manager of one of my bands. They play tight and aggressive rock music and their songs are a good mix of catchy and quirky. They also have a very cool aesthetic in their music videos and album art.
First Time Dead
Another discovery via Till The Wheels. These guys sound a lot like Propagandhi, which is a band I very much like but have yet to see live. It's kind of traditional punk rock with a lot of nice lead guitar melodies. I saw an ad of theirs where they were looking for a new vocalist which I considered for a minute, but the vocal style isn't one I'm very good at so I never applied.
Yet another band I discovered via Till The Wheels. It's almost surprising that I wasn't aware of these guys as they have been going for a few years and are somewhat more established than the artists I usually see. They play unapologetic pop-punk and I've gotten somewhat obsessed with their new release.
I was doing research for where to record some hardcore songs for an upcoming project and I ended up at the website for Monolith Studios, who claim to be "London's heaviest recording studio". Checking out their references I found a bunch of bands I enjoyed the sound of, of which Chaos Reigns was one. Coincidentally they were playing a show a few weeks later so I decided to stop by and check them out properly. The show was absolutely amazing and I got to know some of the members in the band, so now I try to see them whenever they play. Their style is very technical hardcore/metal songs that are somewhat reminiscent of Every Time I Die or Protest The Hero.
I went to see Coheed and Cambria, one of my favourite bands, for the 7th time and Soul Glo opened for them. They play really chaotic and screamy hardcore and I felt it was a bit of a strange combination with Coheed's style of music. I remember mentioning to a guy I had met at that show that I would love to see them play a smaller venue... which is exactly what they did about 3 weeks later. So I went to see them at the smaller venue and it was an absolutely wild show; exactly what I wanted.
I was at a day festival a friend of mine was playing at and it was clear that I was at the wrong show. Most of the music wasn't interesting at all and I was not having the best time... until Buds. played their set. Live their music has a more melodic hardcore feel to it, but I can imagine someone listening to their studio recordings and calling it "aggressive indie rock" or something. They're lovely people and I've seen them 3 times now.
The Callous Daoboys
When I went to see Coheed and Cambria (the same show I discovered Soul Glo at) I met a guy in the queue who I ended up hanging out with. He recommended that I check out The Callous Daoboys, a mathcore band from the US who he was currently obsessed with. It's clear that we share music taste because I gave them a listen and they were amazing. He and I ended up meeting up again when they came to London later in the year.
Those were my highlights for 2023. It was an intense year with a lot of travelling to and from venues, so the plan is to slow things down this year. Even though I have tickets to a festival next week, and am going back to Norway for a show the week after, I am not going to keep track of the artists I see anymore. I got a little too focused on seeing as many shows as possible to get the number up and I need to focus on my own music. I did end up recording at Monolith Studios and I have four songs which will be released at some point in 2024.