The Sound of 2019: A Guide

Written by Becky Waldron

Illustration by Shazmeen Khalid

Although we hear our parents say it enough, we can’t help but agree when they say music isn’t what it used to be. The funk of soul godfather James Brown is a thing of days passed, no-one remembers the last time we heard anyone resembling a young Mick Jagger, and a riff like Hendrix or Harrison is one we fear we may never see again.

Fear not. Despite the prevalence of generically talented X-Factor contestants, eardrum destroying chart pop trash and soul-less club House music, there’s still talent out there, you just need to discover it.

Let me tell you, 2019 is looking promising with some musical beauty coming to a music venue near you… (hopefully).

Nilfuer Yana

Source: Dazed

Asides from being the coolest woman lighting up the UK’s music scene right now, Nilfuer Yana has an enviable uniqueness to her style and vocals. With an effortlessly smooth yet edgy tone to her voice, combined with deliciously cryptic lyrics, it’s difficult not to adore her music straight away.

Having released her debut album “Miss Universe” only a few months ago, she’s absolutely soaring, with feel-good rock laced tune In Your Head, dreamy Baby Blu and hip-hop feel Tears.

Nilufer is versatile in her album and EP’s. With her honest, nonchalant and yet effervescent ambience, she’s just utterly spellbinding.


Source: The Guardian

Although this four-piece indie/rock/pop band formed back in 2014, they seem as relevant as ever to mention for this year as they’ve only gone and released their very first album “When We Land”. This album incorporates some of their best EP’s: Breakfast, Ring Ring and Anteros.

Anteros blend dream pop sounds with an ecstatic combination of drums, guitar and bass, topped off with front woman Laura’s Blondie-esque vocals. There’s something quite retro about the sound of their music that makes us feel like we’re bopping around some funky 60’s diner somewhere (or maybe that’s just me).

If you’re a fan of bands such as Sunflower Bean, The Big Moon or The Magic Gang, Anteros will be right up your street.

Chappaqua Wrestling


Brighton based duo Jake Mac and Charlie Woods make up the musical creation of Chappaqua Wrestling – don’t worry too much about pronunciation… The boys have been writing together since they were 14 years old and it’s not really a surprise when you watch them play, as each vocal and instrument falls together like it was meant to be.

Their beautifully harmonized and soothing vocals swoop us into a whirlwind of indie bliss, whilst hazy and intricate guitar riffs seduce your ears. When genuine talent comes along, like that possessed by the Chappaqua Wrestling guys, it’s hard not to adore them in all their melodic glory.

Sophie and the Giants


Sophie Scott and her Giants – Toby Holmes, Bailey Stapledon and Chris Hill, met at music college in the Spring of 2017 and since created a fresh fusion of pop.

Usually I’d be scared off by the word ‘pop’, but with the bands raw and relatable lyrics and a Florence and The Machine indie/rock vibe, there is something very captivating about SATG’s music.

Their latest EP Waste my Air focuses on the demons and hardships Sophie, and heck all of us, face from childhood to adolescence right through to our weird and wonderful 20’s. The band use their space as a way to ignite the world and purge their minds. Care to join?

Sports Team

Source: Vice

This vibrant and energetic six piece band is anything but dull in their lyrics and individual personas. Each song hosts an infectious beat which will either leave you headbanging, grinning, or spinning round your room in air guitar.

Lead singer Alex Rice can’t be compared to any other singer. His vocals are refreshingly distinctive. He sings ironically about Ashton Kutcher, millennial youth and the paradoxically romantic yet disillusioned experience of living in Britain. With a vast range of musical experience, this quirky ensemble know how to hold a tune.

Boy Pablo

Source: NME

19-year-old Nicolás Muñoz, the front man of Boy Pablo, has just won himself the Spellemannprisen prize, which is essentially a Norwegian Grammy Award. Of course, these kind of awards aren’t something to get hung-up on but for someone who’s only 19, it’s pretty impressive.

The indie-pop-rock band is also made up of Nicolás’ college classmates and they’re from Bergen in Hordaland (yes, it’s a real place). We can see why the project went viral. With it’s mesmerising use of electric guitar alongside vocals like honey, there’s something very enticing about Boy Pablo’s sound. It’s quite Rex Orange County-esque in the way Nicolás sings about post-adolescent struggles like loneliness, but he manages to do it in an uplifting and almost ironic way. This band is definitely the next to queue on a chill day.  

Poppy Ajudha

Source: BBC introducing

You might have heard this inspiring woman feature in Tom Misch’s song Disco Yes. However, as elegantly as her vocals contrasted Misch’s, she is an established and notable solo artist in her own right.

With a neo-jazz/soul mood in her music, laced with brass, bass and piano, Poppy Ajudha brings something fresh to the table. Refined, rich and flowing vocals assist with intelligent and self-assured lyrics.

Poppy often tackles otherness against the backdrop of societal norms. Her latest release Devils Juice is based around the artist’s queer identity and society’s preconceived ideals of behaviour, especially those perhaps deep rooted in religion.

The Author

Becky studied at the University of Sussex and currently lives in Brighton. She specialises in musical journalism and writes poetry and songwriting in her spare time on the side of doing care work.

Edited by Ruby Hinchliffe and Helena Venables

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