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London Music Scene Blog

Along with Paris and New York, London consistently ranks as one of the best cities in the world for its rich and diverse culture. For decades, a massive part of that culture has revolved around music.

Barely a day goes by before a new metropolitan festival starts in the capital. With All Points East, Camden Rocks Festival, Meltdown and British Summer Time in Hyde Park and plenty more major festivals happening in London’s 32 boroughs, the city constantly attracts music fans from across the UK and beyond.

Pop, rock, classical, jazz, rap, folk and indie fans will never find a shortage of events at the music venues spread across the city. Unsurprisingly, the city has also generated a significant proportion of the UK’s most iconic acts from across all genres.

From Tottenham-born Adele to Amy Winehouse to the original UK rock icon Led Zeppelin to David Bowie, the iconic recording studios in London have never fallen short of talented artists already at their doorsteps. There is only a handful of recording studios in the world that have become a household name; London’s Abbey Road Studios is one of them. Within the walls of Abbey Road Studios, The White Album by The Beatles, Odessy and Oracle by the Zombies and Money by Pink Floyd are just some of the iconic albums that have the talent at Abbey Road Studios to thank.

The London Music Scene wouldn’t be the same without the grassroots venues. The Dublin Castle, the Lexington, Nambucca, The Fiddler’s Elbow, XOYO, The Macbeth and the Jazz Café have all played their part in getting artists discovered.

In the urban arena, the award-winning London-based rappers, Stormzy, Dave, AJ Tracey, Aitch, Skepta and Slowthai have completely redefined the UK hip hop scene in recent years. While exceptionally distinct acts, such as Wolf Alice, Django Django, Baby Queen, have made waves with their off-kilter infectious sound. Wolf Alice, who are thought of as London’s answer to Sonic Youth, won the Mercury Music prize in 2018. They also managed to reach number 2 in the album charts with two of their albums. Yet, most artists live in the ever-growing shadow of the two London heavyweights, Adele and Ed Sheeran. They may not be every musos cup of tea, but that didn’t get in the way of Ed Sheeran selling over 150 million albums worldwide and becoming recognised as one of the best-selling artists to have ever lived. Adele hasn’t done too badly for herself during her decade long career either. Her distinct vocal timbre has allowed her to pick up 15 Grammy awards and plenty of other awards along the way. Adele rocketed herself towards stardom with the release of her debut album, 19, while Ed Sheeran went on the arduous journey from busker to a best-selling artist and became the ultimate contemporary artist success story.

Jennings Couch speaks for the overtly headstrong in his Americana-Esque Indie-Pop-Rock amalgam, No Hands

NYC-born, London-residing alternative artist Jennings Couch is putting every artist in the assimilation game to shame with his viscerally unique approach to genre-fluid ingenuity.

If you can imagine what it would sound like if Post Malone and Imagine Dragons met somewhere in the middle, you will start to get an idea of the innovation that melodically sparks through the entire duration of his transfixing track, No Hands.

The Americana-Esque instrumental amalgam of indie, pop and rock, creates a solid platform for the deadpan yet rhythmically sharp vocals that will tattoo themselves in your mind from the first hit. Lyrically, the track is for the overtly headstrong so intent on making their own way they don’t realise the distance they’ve created from the people that leave their hands outstretched to hold. The way the singer-songwriter approaches the lyrical concept is nothing short of genius.

No Hands will officially release on January 27th. You can catch it yourself on Spotify and SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Interview: Sweet-souled London artist Niky Pasolini gives us the best possible Update

With tranquil exuberance and an ear-healing vocal output which is impossible to dislike, we had a chat with the angelic wonder who calls herself Niky Pasolini. She updates us about her brand new 9-track album, her appreciation for Holly Humberstone, and urges everyone to check out the legendary MOTH club in Hackney.

Thank you for speaking with us today Niky Pasolini. Please tell us where you are based and what are you most passionate about at the moment.

Niky: Hello! I’m based in London! And I’m pretty passionate about songwriting and The Thick of It at the moment.

We’ve just listened to your debut 9-track release called Update. Wow. Your voice is so genuine and tender, with deep lyrics that many can relate to. How did you get started in music and can you recall the first time you knew this was for you?

Niky: I’ve been playing piano and cello for ages – I was always one of those dweeby orchestra kids at school. Then randomly my GCSE music class and I went to a studio to record this song I wrote, with lots of flutes and strings, the whole works. The song turned out very cheesy but I had the best time, so I picked up the guitar and started writing more.

If you could perform live on the same stage with any musician in the world, who would it be and why?

Niky: Holly Humberstone!! If I could keep it together. I cried when I saw her at the Brixton O2.

Where do you recommend we go and find authentic live music in your hometown?

Niky: MOTH club in Hackney always hosts great artists. Also, you can find some very cool small classical concerts on Through the Noise.

Who did you grow up listening to and who are you inspired by at the moment?

Niky: I grew up listening to a lot of Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Italian songwriters like Bennato and Guccini. I’m going through a bit of a Paul Simon phase at the moment. Also, I think Wunderhorse’s new album is genius.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever given to yourself?

Niky: Don’t deep it.

Last, what are your goals for the rest of 2023 and where can we find you performing live next?

Niky: I’m releasing some new singles after March! They’re more electric and poppy than this album, so that’s exciting. And I’ll be hopping around some open mics for the next few weeks. I’ll make sure to post about them all:)

Listen up to this genuine music on Spotify. See more adventures and news on her IG.

Interview by Llewelyn Screen

Izzy and the Black Trees reached the pinnacle of empowering post-punk with their standout single, Liberate

London-based Polish powerhouse Izzy and the Black Trees barbed the post-punk genre with socially progressive spikes in the standout single, Liberate, taken from their second album, Revolution Comes in Waves. It’s easily the best thing to happen to post-punk since Christian Death unleashed Only Theatre of Pain in ’82; at least this LP is provocative for all the right reasons!

Izzy Rekowska’s organically magnetic vocal lines come alive around the calls for a better future for women the world over as the tribally awakening drums add a commanding backbeat around the psych-tinged guitars that will be a hit with Poison Ivy and Glenn Branca fans.

It isn’t every day you encounter a band that is so alchemically more than the sum of all creative parts. Izzy and the Black Trees have exactly what it takes to take you on a scintillating ride that opens your mind to the possibility of a future where feminist records only serve to show us how far we have come – not how far we have to go.

Following the release of the sophomore LP, Izzy and the Black Trees will be hitting UK festival stages, including Sound City in Liverpool – you won’t want to miss it.

Listen to Liberate and the LP in full on Spotify.

Follow the band on Facebook and Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Nothing To Lose: South East London’s F Boy Tony is ready for the appetising buffet on Mood Check

Getting the party started no matter what the time of day or night, F Boy Tony has that cool cat mentality on lock as he opens the door to his superheated new single with visual memories called Mood Check.

F Boy Tony is a South East London, UK-based indie drill artist, music producer, director and manager who isn’t afraid to punch his way into those big-time opportunities.

In addition to his musical abilities, Tony is also a skilled producer, director, editor, marketer, and manager, handling all aspects of his career by himself.” ~ F Boy Tony

Turning off car alarms automatically with his amiable charm, F Boy Tony has dropped a totally honest track with a rare self-assurance. His flow is smoothly assembled and his confidence is rather evident, as we are entertained by a video which contains many highlights.

Mood Check from South East London, UK-based indie drill artist/music producer F Boy Tony is one of those songs you will either absolutely love or distinctly hate. There is no middle ground. That’s exactly the point. He doesn’t care. This is that here-I-am-world moment which will fuse his music into that emerging-to-the-top conversation.

Turn this up on YouTube. Check out the snaps on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Niky Pasolini has unleashed her illuminating indie dream-pop single, Light On

Alt-Indie singer-songwriter, Niky Pasolini, will release her debut album, Update, on January 20th. We were lucky enough to get a sneak preview of the standout dream-pop single, Light On; from the first ring of the alt-90s guitars and bleeding Shoegazey vocals, we were hooked into the vulnerably delicate self-produced hit. With engrossing reminiscence to Sixpence None the Richer in the guitars and the sense of sentimentality Light On is as illuminating as the title alludes.

The London-based artist wrote, created and recorded the entirety of the album in a makeshift studio in her basement to provide a refreshing antithesis to the extensively produced plastic pop that does little more than scratch at the superficial surface lyrically.

Light On will be available to stream with the rest of Niky Pasolini’s debut album, which documents her coming-of-age story, on January 20th via SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Krystal Scarlet attests that fantasies can come true in her euphonious pop hit, Wonderland.

London-based pop breakthrough artist, Krystal Scarlet, dropped in on the airwaves for the first time since her infectiously vindicating 2021 hit, Won’t Forget, with her new 80s-inspired single, Wonderland, on December 16th. The funky indie guitar chops pop around the snappy percussion and colourfully vibrant electronic synthetics create an uplifting earworm that all too easily takes you to the titular destination.

With pitch-perfect euphonious harmonies, Krystal Scarlet carries the Taylor Swift effect before coming into her own via the authentically indie grooves in the track that will leave you humming to the tune of the fantastical euphoria for days on end.

The track that celebrates the kind of love that can abstract you from your own daydream and take you somewhere even sweeter isn’t one that you can passively let pass you by. Obsession is non-optional.

Wonderland is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The UK orchestral folk duo River Knight is on melodious form in their sanctuary spilling single, Unsprung

The folk duo River Knight has been fairly quiet since their 2021 album, Grow. They are back on melodious form in their latest orchestral folk single, Unsprung, which borrows fractions of the melody to Take on Me, but with such a stunning orchestral string ensemble and hints of the Verve and 90s Britpop in the verses, who is complaining?

The earworm brings the ragged and rough timbres through the acoustic guitar strings and percussion while the smooth can be found in the gloss of the orchestral crescendos, which are as close to heaven as the impious are likely to get.

Each new progression is a brand-new opportunity to fall in love with the duo who banded together in 2017 as a form of therapy for Darren Knight after the tragic passing of his wife. Stone River was there for unwavering support and to offer the Ying to Knight’s songwriting Yang. The duo are well known on the London, Portsmouth and Southampton live circuit, but it’s only a matter of time before they take their international-level approach to indie folk rock to the status it beckons.

Unsprung officially released on December 16th. Catch it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Gemma Felicity shared her bitter-sweet learning curve in her evocative indie pop single, Better Without You

With a guitar tone as chorally compelling as Slowdive’s in their latest album, the London-based independent singer-songwriter Gemma Felicity rendered us heartbroken by proxy with her sophomore single and official music video, Better Without You.

The steadily ascending pop artist has been refining her performative and songwriting talents since she was nine years old. After taking a hiatus for her undergrad degree and enduring mental and physical illness, she returned to music with the vow to express her deepest emotions.

Stylish, sincere and self-reflective in equal measure, Better Without You transcends the archetypal breakup song to get to the crux of tangibly resonant emotion. Unless your soul is completely defunct, you can’t help but invest in the matured indie pop masterpiece that fills you with compassion for the vulnerable powerful protagonist she portrays.

With her debut EP, Baggage, in the pipeline, we’re stoked to have her on our radar.

Watch the official video for Better Without You on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

He Promised Himself: London-based alt-metal band Elyn summons us into a world of Regret

After storming into our vortex with the electrifying 6-track, I Broke My P.C from 2020, Elyn drops one of the most moody songs the world is ever likely to witness on Regret.

Elyn is a 3-piece London, UK-based alternative metal band who likes it rather loud and with enormous power on each one of their heavy tracks.

The band’s sound is energetic and reminiscent of bands such as Tool, Nine Inch Nails, Alice In Chains, A Perfect Circle and Muse, to name a few.” ~ Elyn

Slicing away those previous worries and urging us to reach for those dreams no matter what the challenges, Elyn roar in like a hungry lion here and might shatter fragile windows who can’t handle their velocity.

Regret from London, UK-based alternative metal band Elyn, is one of the most thought-provoking anthems of 2022 so far. There is a barrage of intensity here which so many will love, as our hearts are ignited by a ravishing release. Pulsating to the core and never letting up for a second, as we take a breath and emerge from the darkness again.

Chasing those dreams has never been more important.

See this new music video on YouTube. Find out more via IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Like A Dream: Nohland longs for those warm embraces on Don’t Wake Me Up

Reminiscing so fondly about a love which is so fresh in the memory, Nohland sings with so much love and care as he shows us the way to getting back with that special soulmate on Don’t Wake Me Up.

Nohland is a London, UK-based Panama-born indie alternative indie pop artist who makes honest music which shall heat the souls of many.

This is a track about falling in love with someone with who you have no future with, the track is the story about how one night felt like a dream from which you don’t want to wake up from.” ~ Nohland

Lathered in so much authenticity and a genuine memory which shall never be forgotten, Nohland has made a single which will stir the emotions of so many lonely humans.

Don’t Wake Me Up from London, UK-based Panama-born indie alternative indie pop artist Nohland is an admirably made single which is a warm embrace to a past lover. Performed with so much gusto and projected rather sweetly, this is a reminder that one night can change everything forever.

Listen up to this top single on Spotify. Click on the IG to see more news and content.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen