Browsing Category

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.

Kid of the Star System is in orbit again with her darkwave pop-rock-trap amalgam, Sleepwalking

Kid of the Star System

Kid of the Star System is back in orbit once again with her latest single, Sleepwalking, and we couldn’t be more stoked about the interstellar return of the London-based visionary who switches between dimensions and genres to deliver atmospherically electrifying sci-fi enhanced vignettes of our grittily dystopic times.

The trap beat in the intro quickly evolves into a hook-rife platform of darkwave electro-pop that Kid of the Star System uses to implant her domineeringly smooth vocal lines that carry the exhilarating seduction of the entire Deftones discography. You won’t be short on emotions to feel when listening to the gospel of Kid of the Star System’s ethereal space odyssey, which could rival a black hole in the darkness it contains.

With the sole aim of bringing as much fun and chaos to her music as possible, the genre-melding artist is one for the radar if you always look to music for inspiration and empowerment. Especially as her sophomore LP, Luminous, which promises to challenge her listeners and push them past their limitations, is on the periphery.

Check out Sleepwalking on Spotify when it drops.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

London’s CoolRap Pioneer, Index Dex, Turned Up the Temperature with Fire Out

The South African-born, London-residing conduit of high-octane flavorous hip-hop, Index Dex, turned up the temperature with the drop of his latest energetically unreckonable single, Fire Out.

The illustrious artist and heir to the CoolRap throne may have moved from his home, but even after ten years in the UK hip-hop scene, his roots are as vibrant as ever as they ooze through his irreplicable swagger.

Never one to turn away from raw and visceral lyricism, Index Dex always delivers introspection-rich and socially-aware hits that do more than scratch at the surface; his wit-sharp bars have an efficacious way of bedding into the centre of your consciousness as you’re dizzied by the canter of his riotously arranged rap bars.

Since making his debut, he’s worked with the E.M.I producer, O.D. Hunte, performed in multiple iconic venues and festivals, including London Love-Box Festival and Notting Hill Carnival. His latest single, Fire Out, has exactly what it takes to take his career to the next level.

Fire Out is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

London’s FOURA.M mainlined livewire energy into their alt-rock debut, Bombers

With a scuzzed-up and brashy guitar intro that will throw you right back to At the Drive-In’s moment of glory when their live performance of One-Armed Scissor on Conan became a global phenomenon, the intro to the debut track, Bombers, from FOURA.M, will capture your attention in an equally as visceral way.

Marketing themselves as ‘Dad Rock straight outta London’ scarcely does the frenetic fourpiece justice. Their influences reminisce with alt 90s and 00s tones, but nothing about Bombers feels remotely dated; the evocative pulls of the Foo Fighters-esque melodies and touches of Royal Blood in the production sealed FOURA.M a place amongst the other acts who are giving rock a fighting chance of surviving the Gen Z obsession with electronica.

If you see as much potential in FOURA.M as we do after bearing witness to their strong debut, keep your eyes peeled for their live tour dates around London.

Bombers hit the airwaves on July 28; stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Whitelocust funked it up to the rafters in their debut rock-licked hit, Your Way

The London-hailing prodigal sons Whitelocust brought the funk rock rapture with them when they released their debut single and music video, Your Way, on the 21st of July.

With the frontman emanating the energy of Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s Anthony Kiedis and the sultry grooves of early Faith No More material giving the raucousness a sensuous touch of soul, Your Way is a nostalgic rock revelation that will leave you itching for it to pour from your speakers once more from the first hit of the addictively vintage 70s grooves.

After starting out in 2021, Whitelocust hasn’t failed to garner all the right traction to give their illustrious career momentum. It is only a matter of time before they are revered as London’s premier funk-rock outfit – especially after this juggernaut of a strong debut that will reel you in hook, bassline, and sinker.

Stream the official music video for Your Way on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Gemma Felicity ignited 00s pop nostalgia with ‘Come Back to Me’

Gemma Felicity

Gemma Felicity ignited early 00s pop nostalgia with her latest single, Come Back to Me, which is set to drop on the 4th of August.The muted and choked-up guitars at the start of the single set the tone for a hair-raising feat of pop-punk. But the London-based singer-songwriter chose to run through with a moody slice of synth-pop with reverb-heavy keys and a danceable melody beneath her viscerally soulful vocal lines that will spark an evocative fire between your synapses as you lose yourself in the adrenalizingly progressive single that will leave you simultaneously wanting to hit the dance floor and wanting to drunk text your ex.

Following a mystery illness that left her physically and mentally drained, the songwriter studied for her Masters in Music Performance in Leeds before dropping her first singles, This Place and Better Without You, in 2022. Her upcoming EP was penned to explore her unhealthy romantic relationships and her journey back to herself and self-sourced peace. Keep tuned for it.

Check out Come Back to Me on Spotify and iTunes via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Spotlight Feature: Poet Initiative served up summer in his melodic RnB hip-hop EP Ocean Drive

Poet Initiative

After starting his creative journey as a poet, the London, UK-residing artist Poet Initiative took the initiative to establish himself as one of the most versatile hip-hop artists in the UK. His earwormy melodies are accentuated by the influence of Reggaeton, Japanese hip-hop, Korean hip-hop and the UK garage scene. To get a taste of his freshly honed sonic flavour, delve into his debut 4-track EP, Ocean Drive.

While many artists are quick to describe themselves as versatile, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more dynamic release than this. With grooves strong enough to elevate any mood, Ocean Drive reached the pinnacle of a universal playlist staple. With the good vibes and even better rhythmics, Ocean Drive is a stellar seminal EP that hits sweet spots you didn’t know existed.

Poet Initiative said:

“Ocean Drive reflects my evolving sound. I’ve always found myself caught between wanting to create music you can dance to but also kick back to. The catchy hooks and warm melodies in my EP combine that.

This EP is underpinned by the overarching message to have fun, be yourself, enjoy those long summer nights, party in the sunshine, and make the most of those moments’ life gives you.”

Ocean Drive will be available on all major platforms on July 26th. Pre-save the single on Spotify.

Keep up to date with the latest releases from Poet Initiative on Instagram and TikTok.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

London’s queer pop queen Tana reached peak supremacy in her single, Kiss Me Like We’re Gonna Die

The queer pop queen, Tana, hasn’t fallen short of success and supremacy since we last heard her in 2022 with her pop-rap hit, Supermodel. For her latest single, Kiss Me Like We’re Gonna Die, the London-based genre-fluid originator stripped back the tempo to unveil an RnB pop single that is steamier than *that* scene in Titanic.

Instead of painting a portrait of perfect – and therefore unattainable – romance, Tana played it pure in Kiss Me Like We’re Gonna Die by nuancedly alluding to how promises of perpetual bliss only leave us lingering in naivety further down the line. Despite the visceral pain projected into the release, there’s a sense of romanticism that visualises the realities of love instead of paying homage to Hollywood tropes that never actualise in material reality.

In addition to orchestrating originated and awakeningly installations of candour, Tana has hit the main stage at UK Black Pride 2022, performed at NXNE Festival, London Pride and Tallinn Music Week, while being spun BBC Introducing, Soho Radio, Gaydio and Trace Urban. Even if you don’t watch this space, Tana is enough of a phenomenon that you’ll hear about her regardless if you put her on your radar.

Kiss Me Like We’re Gonna Die is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

One More Time: Beat Bakery and MILENA parties on that sensational future island on Feel Alive

With fun energy brewing like a tasty iced tea in the summertime after a long walk, Beat Bakery and MILENA have dropped a sunshine-filled daydream-like single to get those legs feeling ready for a good night on Feel Alive.

Beat Bakery is a London-based dance-pop band who are joined by fellow Londoner and A&R Factory favourite MILENA, the lovable Montenegro-born indie pop singer-songwriter/pianist who kindly took us into the Secret Garden for a picnic in May.

Getting us all flustered and ready for a night to remember, Beat Bakery and MILENA change all moods with a sit-back-and-listen-on-full volume song to remember.

Feel Alive from Beat Bakery and MILENA is a tiger-biting single to tear up the dance floor with. There is a sizzling array of punchy beats and ear-splitting vocals to get enthused about here. Exactly what the doctor ordered some would say.

Soaked with fresh energy that feels like a beach party waiting to happen, we are thrilled to the core by a happy song made for all the right reasons.

Listen up on Spotify.

Feel the energy on Beat Bakery’s IG and MILENA’s IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

London pop luminary, Maria Manuel, sold ‘Sanctuary’ in her emotion-driven slice of soul

If Maria Manuel can still be considered a rising star, she’s already beyond our galaxy with her engrossingly progressive singles. The South London soulstress’ latest single, Sanctuary, digs deep into the evocative trenches to allude to how we are all the sole architects of our own refuges.

With harmonic crescendos which will allow your heart to catch in your throat, visceralism isn’t in short supply in the RnB-infused pop hit, which succeeds in keeping in line with the contemporary curve while borrowing a few synthy reverb-heavy tones from 80s pop icons.

Any fans of Leona Lewis and Alexandra Burke will find themselves instantly enamoured with the arrestive propensities of the chord progressions in Sanctuary. It is safe to say Manuel created yet another radio-ready hit. Jump on it while the hype is hot and embrace one of the most promising pop acts of this era.

Stream Sanctuary on Spotify.

Follow Maria Manuel on Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Jimmy Theo’s latest single, On My Own, is three minutes of pure indietronic pop perfection

The Sydney-born, London-based singer-songwriter Jimmy Theo is fresh from the release of his collaborative debut album, Next Step, featuring the standout single, On My Own, which is 3 minutes of pure indie electro-pop perfection.

With Flowers for Hanna enriching the hit with her magnetic harmonic timbre, which is as just as beguiling as the indietronica attitude that laces Lorde, London Grammar, and Warpaint records with stylish soul, the classic pop songwriting styling is elevated to the nth degree.

As catchy as an ABBA hit yet alternatively scintillating through the synthesised theremin, On My Own is the ultimate pop anthem for anyone who wants to hear the affirmation that regardless of how romantic uncertainty wraps up, you will always be left with the only person you need; you.

On My Own is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast