Ones to Watch in 2018: Part 1

Ones to Watch in 2018: Part 1

By Aaron Lohan

Jan 2, 2018 12:00

With 2017 now behind us, it's time to look ahead, and the next twelve months looks sure to deliver musical greatness. Releases and tours from established acts are sure to be on the radar for music lovers, yet as with every year, there are a wealth of emerging and exciting underground bands to keep an eye on.

We at Punktastic pride ourselves on exposing obscure, underground and new artists. With that in mind, we have compiled a smorgasbord of bands to watch out for this year. In contrast to previous years, we’ll be recommending 40 acts, spread over a four part series. Without further ado, here is the first batch of bands we recommend you to check out in 2018!


This quintet from Liverpool progressed from a small unheard group to one of the most anticipated metal acts of 2017. Their use of heavy riffs and clean vocal choruses draw people from both sides of the market and their song writing is un-predictable and exciting. Their debut album ‘The Cold Sun’ was received well by both audiences and critics alike. They went from complete unknowns to a much talked about sensation in a matter of months particularly off the back of touring with the likes of Bury Tomorrow. They have been making some big-time industry agreements over the past year which means they’ll be back everywhere again in 2018. We’ve never heard anything like them before and it’s refreshing to hear a band coming along with a new style, especially since Loathe can pull it off live to a very high standard. [Charlie Rolfe]

Listen to more from Loathe on Spotify

Dream State

Formed in 2014, Welsh group Dream State have been everywhere ever since the release of their single ‘White Lies’. The single alone has racked up over 3.9 millions views on YouTube and once you hear it, you won’t be able to get it out of your head. Not only that, their 2015 EP ‘Consequences’ is enjoyable from start to finish, it’s nice to hear a band with ambitious song writing and gritty female vocals. Their live performances are fresh and exciting with frontwoman CJ’s vocals being spot on if not better than their recordings. This humble band have made some major signings in the past year and we hope to see them continue to grow. [Charlie Rolfe)

Listen to more from Dream State on Bandcamp

Western Settings

Western Settings have had a good year. After spending the first few years of their existence playing shows in their hometown of San Diego or doing short tours up and down the west coast of the United States, the quartet have been extremely busy. They’ve been recording with Tyson “Chicken” Annicharico of Dead To Me, touring nationwide in the USA and throughout Europe, and they played their second Fest. They’ve acted as direct support on national tours for Swingin’ Utters and Dead To Me and did a collaboration with craft brewery Amplified Aleworks on a Western Settings branded India Pale Ale, DIYPA. They were the only local band selected to perform at this year’s Ye Scallywag beer and music festival, opening for such luminaries as Pennywise, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, The Vandals, Lagwagon, Strung Out, and The Adolescents. After a year like that, you know they’re a band to watch in 2018. [Paul Silver]

Listen to more from Western Settings on Bandcamp

A Sudden Burst of Colour

Atmospheric, warming, ethereal, uplifting… Just a smattering of the many adjectives that come to mind when experiencing this Scottish quartet’s delightful post-rock. They followed their sublime 2016 EP ‘Ambivalence’ with new track ‘I Am the Storm’ just a couple of months ago and having heard a snippet of new music, the anticipation for more is unbearable.

The band will be performing at StrangeForms festival in April and though there’s been no album announcement as yet, we’re hoping 2018 will be the year we get to experience more of A Sudden Burst of Colour’s inspiring brand of post-rock. [Mark Johnson]

Listen to more from A Sudden Burst of Colour on Bandcamp

Holding Absence

This Cardiff-based quartet spent 2017 building anticipation, teasing us with emotive post-hardcore masterstrokes ‘Penance’, ‘Dream of Me’ and ‘Heaven Knows’. As good as these singles are, their ever growing fan base have been begging for a substantial release and this year we might get what we’ve been crying out for. Vocalist Lucas Woodland’s impassioned vocals span a huge range, both technically and emotionally and with his band mates offering a powerful, driving soundtrack to back him up, it’s a formula that’s getting better with every song.

The band are teaming up with their fellow Sharptone Records brothers Loathe to release split EP ‘This Is As One’ on February 16, followed by a co-headlining tour, and if you haven’t seen this band live yet, you’re in for a real treat. Holding Absence have the whole package and this should be the year they share it with the world. [Mark Johnson]

Listen to more from Holding Absence on Spotify


With a new EP on the way, Greyhaven look set to lay down a marker for the rest of the year. Melding spiralling riffs with soaring vocals, their sound takes influence from a multitude of artists creating a hybrid that sounds somewhere between Bring Me The Horizon & Don Broco, whilst writing massive choruses that wouldn’t sound out of place on an Alexisonfire record.

Greyhaven are on course to do something special in their scene this year, having started from the bottom and working hard, 2018 is set to be the year that their hard work pays off for them. [Adam Rosario]

Listen to more from Greyhaven on Bandcamp


Despite being based in London, Molar’s members herald from various places across the globe. With that in mind, each one brings their own experiences of socio-political issues, and together as a unit, channel them through mesmerising and fierce post punk. Sonically the band blend their core style with pop sensibilities and an otherworldly sheen. Thus far the band have released a demo, a split with Durham pop punks Pale Kids, and their two track EP ‘Ring’. All encompass the qualities of their sound, material of which shifts from either a wall of sheer noise pop in one moment to gut punching punk angst the next. Molar will soon be dropping a new EP at some point in the year, so keep your ears to the ground for that to drop. [Aaron Lohan]

Listen to more from Molar on Bandcamp

Expert Timing

Last year’s debut EP ‘Selective Hearing’ showed Expert Timing as a wonderful find. It was a release which showed a trio with a brand of emo influenced pop/indie punk that was vibrantly colourful and emotively sincere. Led by the dual vocal delivery of husband and wife team Jeff and Katrina Snyder, the music itself is structurally gracious in its raw pop infused delivery. With their debut album on the horizon, the Orlando, Florida group are sure to be a potential new favourite band for emo/indie punk fans. [Aaron Lohan]

Listen to more from Expert Timing on Bandcamp

Holding Patterns

“Prematurely disbanding” is a phrase one could use to describe the break up of Derby’s Crash of Rhinos in 2014. The band had released two albums, 2011’s ‘Distal’ and 2013’s ‘Knots’, that were both undeniable classics of the emo genre. With that said, the quintet ended on a high note and have already become an inspirational cult band for the last few years since their end. Whilst guitarist Richard J. Birkin went onto a solo spoken word led path, in 2016 three of his former bandmates, guitarist Jim Cork, drummer Oli Craven and bassist Ian Draper, had revealed they were working on a new band under the name Holding Patterns. The band played their very first show in December just gone, and based on this snippet of Instagram footage from the show, it seems that stylistically it is a natural continuation of sorts from their previous band. In other words, sincere and emotively huge indie rock. Holding Patterns’ first recorded music is due to drop soon, so by then we’ll have a better idea of their full sound. Regardless, based on the members’ previous works and the morsel of footage, they will most likely deliver truly marvellous music. [Aaron Lohan]


After being around the UK’s underground scene for a few years and playing shows with future stars Creeper and Boston Manor, Harker are ready to make a similar breakout push with their upcoming debut album ‘No Discordance’. Dropping on February 9, the album calls back to bands like Alkaline Trio and Descendents, with more modern comparisons including The Menzingers or Gaslight Anthem, with lead single ‘300 Cigarettes’ having the same singalong anthem approach. [Jamie Holker]

Listen to more from Harker on Bandcamp