15 Acts to Watch in 2015

By Ben Tipple

With 2015 now upon us, it’s time to stop looking back and start looking forward to what the next twelve months may have in store. Whether you see New Year as a cleansing – a start of something fresh and exciting – is entirely your prerogative, but what it does provide is a suitable moment to turn a spotlight on the most exciting acts breaking through the alternative scene.

There are, of course, more bands who have our music sensors tingling, however the following 15 artists are likely to use 2015 to springboard them to the next level. Some have been around for some time, whereas some are relatively new. Regardless of the length of their career, these are the acts we are watching closely, and will continue to watch closely as 2015 unfolds. In alphabetical order.

#01 Allusondrugs

In the last year Leeds based five-piece Allusondrugs were picked up by BBC Introducing, leading to a set at Reading and Leeds Festival, and released the grunge infused eponymous mini-album – featuring lead single ‘Nervous’. They also opened for last year’s “Ones to Watch” Lonely The Brave and Marmozets on their UK tour. The band mix their overt influences with post-punk and indie sensibilities, all wrapped in a heap of early 90s rock and roll attitude. The energy they throw into their live performance, and their ability to let loose on stage set them miles apart from other such grunge revivalists. 2015 should see a full-length release, and undoubtedly bigger and bigger support slots and festival appearances.


#02 As It Is

As It Is celebrated the end of last year by becoming the first UK band to sign to Fearless Records – not a small achievement. Their exposure, in part due to vocalist Patty Walters’ YouTube videos, has since been cemented by their most recent EP, ‘This Mind Of Mine’. With some minor demos and a pair of EPs to their name, their recent record deal should provide the big push they need to rival their melodic pop-punk contemporaries. They begin 2015 supporting Save Your Breath on their final ever tour, and are likely to reach their status shortly thereafter. There’s also the US Warped Tour for them to look forward to.


#03 Black Foxxes

Exeter based post-hardcore trio Black Foxxes delivered an exhilarating late entry into 2014 in the form of debut EP, ‘Pines’. The record channels the expansive sounds by the likes of Brand New and Manchester Orchestra, yet with a rougher and rockier edge. It’s certainly early days in their career, but their brutally honest, often heart-breaking sound should see them picked up as supports for a whole variety of bands. With ‘Pines’ proving to be one of the most exciting debut releases of the year, things are looking more than promising for their expected debut full-length.


#04 Boston Manor

Boston Manor are not new to the scene, and have been tipped for big things in the past. They have been delivering their take on pop-punk for the last couple of years, however it was their recent ‘Driftwood’ EP that definitively stamped their intention. The band have slowly been shifting their style away from traditional pop-punk, bringing in darker, more emotive sounds. 2015 should see the band continue their trajectory by dropping a darker debut full-length record, following their previous 2 EPs, and begins with them joining last year’s tip Moose Blood and Choir Vandals on tour.


#05 Creeper

Creeper’s debut self-titled EP was enough to get almost all punk fans’ mouths watering. Combining traditional punk foundations with infectious yet gritty melody, the five tracks still sound fresh despite drawing comparisons to other, more established artists. Their live shows towards the end of the year whipped up just as much enthusiasm as their relentless drum patterns. Having already scored our favourite EP of 2014, a full-length release in 2015 is likely to follow suit. In the meantime, the band are about to join Funeral For A Friend and No Bragging Rights on their UK tour.


#06 Happy Accidents

With their debut EP behind them, Southampton based indie-punks Happy Accidents have it all to play for in 2015. ‘Not Yet Jaded’, the band’s initial five tracks, combine upbeat melodies with vocalist Rich’s distinctive tones and male-female harmonies. Ultimately the band deliver a summery vibe over a punk-rock backdrop that harks back to the new wave. Having played shows with Apologies, I Have None and Young Attenborough amongst others, their well-received live performance should help push them towards their debut full-length – with a potential 2015 release.


#07 Hindsights

There’s little speculation here. Hindsights are about the release one of the greatest records we have heard in a long time, and unquestionably the best material of their career. Far more polished than 2013’s ‘The Thoughts That Weigh Me Down’, the production veneer on the recently released ‘Cold Walls’ and ‘Pensive’ give a whole new meaning to their self-confessed sad rock. The Maidenhead outfit tour alongside fellow ‘Acts To Watch’ Milk Teeth in January, before hopefully taking the world by storm with their beautifully intense ‘Cold Walls / Cloudy Eyes’.


#08 Knuckle Puck

Chicago pop-punks Knuckle Puck are on the verge of releasing their debut full-length, following a host of EPs, splits and demos – not least 2014’s ‘Why I Stay Secluded’. The five-piece ended the year by signing to Rise Records, who have recently released material by the likes of PVRIS, Northlane and Transit. Having already garnered a huge online following, and with Rise Records behind them, Knuckle Puck have everything they need to bring their Neck Deep-esque pop-punk to the masses.


#09 Microwave

Georgia based four-piece Microwave head into 2015 on the back of their recently released full-length ‘Stovall’. The record channels early Manchester Orchestra, implementing the occasional scream and heavy riff in amongst post-hardcore meets punk soundscapes. Although the band may not use 2015 to release further material, it should be the year that Microwave begin to spread their reach further afield. With ‘Stovall’ proving to be an exciting debut, there should be plenty more in store for this band.


#10 Milk Teeth

Although originally riding in on the grunge revival, Milk Teeth have used 2014 to expand both their sound and reach exponentially. Their explosive punk meets grunge meets noisy-as-fuck has seen them support a host of acts, including a particularly excellent tour alongside Balance and Composure and Seahaven. Their unique take on their influences is evident throughout their recent ‘Smiling Politely’ EP, ramming a hot poker up Nirvana’s backside – complimented by their male-female vocal switches. 2015 sees them tour with Hindsights, release a full-length debut and opportunity for plenty more live appearances. Whatever happens, it’s going to be loud.


#11 No Devotion

Nobody in No Devotion is new to music. Each member is able to recount a history in a successful act, with frontman Geoff Rickley coming from Thursday fame and the remainder of the band formerly housed in the now defunct Lostprophets. Regardless of this heritage, No Devotion are set to make waves in 2015. Their sound sits somewhere between post-hardcore, rock and glam-punk. Led by Rickley’s vocal which retains its recognisability from Thursday, yet injects an errie 90s vibe into the sound. With such big names, uniquely unsettling tracks and a full-length underway, 2015 should see plenty more of No Devotion.


#12 ROAM

Things have been somewhat quiet in the ROAM camp during the last 12 months, following the release of ‘Head Down’ back in 2013. Instead, the band have been gearing up to unleash their new ‘Viewpoint’ EP in early 2015, having recently signed to Hopeless Records. The signing sees the band join the likes of New Found Glory, The Wonder Years and Bayside on a label dedicated to pushing exciting new alternative talent. With lead single ‘Warning Sign’ showcasing the band’s penchant for pop-punk melodies, and a new full-length due in the same year, 2015 should be ROAM’s year. They are also looking to break the US… perhaps a Warped Tour announcement is on its way. First though, they join Trash Boat on a short tour later in January.


#13 Seaway

Ontario pop-punks Seaway burst onto the scene with ‘Hoser’ back in 2013, before releasing their most recent EP in October 2014. Building upon their ‘Hoser’ sound with a more polished pop-punk direction, Seaway are now looking towards 2015 – potentially with a full-length in the pipeline. On the UK front, Seaway bring their show to British shores in support of Neck Deep, alongside fellow ‘Acts to Watch’ Knuckle Puck and the promising Trophy Eyes.


#14 Slaves

Currently placed on the BBC Sound of 2015 shortlist, Slaves are celebrating their status as a punk crossover act. Continuing the recent success of two-piece acts, the Tunbridge Wells based duo pack more of a punch in their gritty punk than the likes of Royal Blood have ever achieved. Building their tracks around suburban life in their inherently sleepy hometown, their apparent boredom explodes in their recordings. The duo will undoubtedly build upon their recent exposure in the coming months, with a new full-length (the follow up to 2013’s ‘Sugar Coated Bitter Pill’) expected very soon.


#15 The Gospel Youth

Seemingly appearing out of nowhere towards the end of 2014, The Gospel Youth are set to make their mark in 2015. Delivering melodic rock similar to the likes of later Deaf Havana material, the band boast musical pedigree, fronted by singer-songwriter Sam Little. The Brighton trio encouraged attention with the release of their debut three track ‘Kids’ EP, with a full-length rumoured for the coming months. The band also play a one-off show supporting ROAM and Trash Boat in January, with the band promising to play as many more shows as they can this year.