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Chris reels off his top five artists to watch this year!

5 Bands To Watch 2015

Simon and I had such fun doing this last year that we thought we’d do it again. Really, any excuse to write about bands that we love is jumped upon with vigor, but these five particular bands – and those we wrote about last year – are, we feel, amongst the very best of new and rising talent that you really need to hear.

Hopefully this won’t have the same kind of kiss of death treatment it seemed to last year – only two and a half of mine ended up releasing (Chronographs are currently in a state of vocalistless flux, and a possible revisit for a future edition), whilst Simon’s list saw almost no movement. Nevertheless, I feel that these five are on to something special, and we’d be very pleased for them if Things Happened for them in 2015; they’d not be undeserved.

Starting with:

Mandroid Echostar 2013

Mandroid Echostar

I don’t think there are many young progressive metal bands at the moment who have the same kind of potential as Canadians Mandroid Echostar. Combining sublime songwriting and instrumental execution with the kind of melodies that have you singing in the shower – plus being infinitely likeable – the Guelphian sextet are due to follow their gorgeous 2013 EP Citadels with a debut full-length this year, and I can’t imagine it’s going to be anything less than pant-droppingly sexy.

Frontman Michael Ciccia – the dead ringer for Coheed and Cambria‘s Claudio Sanchez in the above picture, who’s got a voice to match – has an infectious confidence and charisma about him that permeates the whole band. I sincerely hope that one of the UK’s smaller festivals picks them up to play to a receptive crowd – perhaps UK Tech Fest or Euroblast? Make it so, guys!

Murdock 2015


They look so clean and fresh-faced don’t they? Like butter wouldn’t melt?

Well it would. It would melt and burn your mouth and make you swear – and then you’d take another bite, because they’re so damn tasty you can’t wait for them to cool down.

Allegorical chicken kiev flashbacks aside, Murdock look to finally be releasing their label debut album this year. They signed to Destroy Everything in 2013, but nothing has yet surfaced. I actually included them in last year’s version of this article, so thanks for proving me wrong eh?

Espousing the ethos “If you’re not bleeding or exhausted, what’s the point?”, the Irish trio – complete with new bassist Rob Powderly (of Hero In Error and ex- Red Enemy) are set to lay waste to all and sundry this year. All we need is that final confirmation of the album, which we have a sneaking suspicion is not far off.

Press To Meco 2014

Press To Meco

Despite having not heard a lick of their work until a show at Surya in Kings Cross, London last year, it was evident that if alt rock trio Press To Meco are not catapulted with almost immediate and forceful flinging into the spotlight of the general populace, then something is very, very wrong.

Press To Meco are very good, and from a purely noodly/proggy appreciative standpoint are excellent musicians – but they also have the kind of broad appeal that a very large proportion of even casual music listeners should lap up like my cat does with the leftover milk in my cereal bowl when I’m not watching: noisily, and with only a base level of decorum. Luke, Adam and Lewis should have libidinous under-25 year-olds screaming their names and swooning at the very sight of them. Their music is gloriously hooky, pleasingly melodic, and the thing they do where all three harmonise their vocals – yes, they all sing – is a wonder to behold.

St. Sleep 2014

St. Sleep

Much like with Press To Meco, I came across a former iteration of St. Sleep at a show they were playing, with The Elijah - again, no prior exposure. Called Hello Mexico at the time, they wrote upbeat rock songs with absolutely stunning attention to detail, and a very talented frontman in the form of Myles Pereira.

Almost immediately after seeing them, there was an 18-month silence, before they re-emerged in their current form – darker, but just as beautiful as before.

They now play a more electronic form of their former selves; moody and thrumming with energy. There’s a free 3-track EP out there, and whilst not much more has come from them, it seems people are taking notice, and I hope this translates into a raft of live performances this year.

The Sun Explodes 2014

The Sun Explodes

It’s generally advisable to always keep at least one eye on The Sun Explodes. The Carlisle quintet – replete with bum-flashing frontman Dave Maclachlan and knee-dropping guitar hero Al Harris – are difficult to pigeon-hole, and for that reason they tend to pop up all over the place. Maybe your local tech metal festival? Maybe touring with the noodly trio two entries up?

We loved their 2013 album We Build Mountains, but they certainly have set themselves a peak to climb with their forthcoming EP. Nevertheless, some of the new material they’ve played live towards the end of last year sounds great, and with a raft of festival appearances already booked, it’s going to be a year of potential for the northerners. A new video is being shot this weekend, so it’s probably not too long before we all get to hear something brand new.

It seems like they had a really solid year in 2014, and are solidifying their position admirably. I’m always happy to see them on a bill, so do make the effort if they come anywhere near you.