While we've certainly had a lot of fun looking back at the best songs and albums of 2018, time is only moving one way: forward. And trust us, there's plenty to get excited about coming in the very near future. We have a collection of exciting and inspiring young artists, ready to burst into 2019 with the confidence and creativity to become your New Favourite Act. Just remember that you heard it here first.

The Playlist


The Ones To Watch


Aadae

Aadae South London soul singer Aadae made furtive glances at greatness in 2018, headlining quiet gem venues in the capital like Bermondsey Social Club with a full band and emphatically bringing the house down, but 2019 promises to be an impressive step-up in renown for one of the UK’s most exciting prodigies. A fusion of freeform jazz, euphoric soul, sensuously wistful R&B, she somehow communicates both a historical sadness, a very contemporary angst, and a liberated delight in her own individuality; all conveyed by her tremendous, bone-shattering voice. -Kieran Devlin

ALASKALASKA

Alaskalaska Originally appearing as a slightly weird indie collective in 2017, ALASKALASKA dared us to try and categorise them in 2018 with 'Meateater', a song that both sonically and lyrically tore down any plans to pigeonhole the sextet. Fusing jazzy influences with pop proclivities and a swaggering gait, they completely flipped our perspective on them - only to then go and do it again with the scratchy and gutsy kiss-off 'Monster' later in the year. It's all setting up nicely for an unpredictable debut album in 2019. -Rob Hakimian.

Altin Gün

Altin Gun Over the course of the past decade, we’ve seen a pattern where so-called ‘out-dated’ music and influences are being reshaped and repurposed into newer expressions as a way of musical revitalization. On their debut album On, Altin Gün, drawing inspiration from the seventies traditional Turkish folk blend with western rock, combined their Turkish-Indonesian-Dutch upbringing with funky rhythms, analog organs with danceable psychedelia and emotionally-charged songwriting. Along with Gaye Su Akyol, the Amsterdam-based band is also set to become a reference while elevating, with a newer and fresher approach, the richness Turkish culture has to offer. -Francisco Gonçalves Silva

BLACKPINK

BLACKPINK Cheeky of me, sneaking a K-pop act that’s been active for 2 years into our 2019 list, eh? Well, reasons abound. Recently having inked a deal with none less than Interscope to handle overseas releases and promotion, BLACKPINK are poised for a real shot at world domination. I’ve discussed this in depth for those intrigued, but in short: the possibilities are nearly limitless. Will they retain some Korean language, or delve fully into English songwriting for their Western debut? The bulk of the group is already proficient or fluent, after all. Will we see Jennie and Rosé popping up on American rapper’s albums? Will BLACKPINK’s album sport a Future or 2 Chainz verse? Exciting times, my friends. Exciting times. -Chase McMullen

dj. Flugvél og Geimskip

Dj Flugvel The rational concept of sense ceases to exist once you join dj. Flugvél og Geimskip’s ultimate mission. Described as electronic horror-music with a space twist, Steinunn Harðardóttir’s Airplane & Spaceship doesn’t settle for normal while exploring a hyperstimulated fantasy world. While singing about alien invasions, world domination and kitty cats in space, her live shows become a colorful, quirky pop party, where theatre, poetry, and experimentation come together. On Atlantis, her new album, is out in January 2019. -Francisco Gonçalves Silva

Flohio

Flohio South London’s Flohio has entered the collective rap consciousness so explosively over the past few months that I really debated whether she even constitutes “one to watch” given our eyes are fixed on her every move. With EPs as carnage – and sophisticated – as Wild Yout, and features as dynamic as Clams Casino and Modeselektor, she’s defying all clichés and superlatives about rising artists and can simply do no wrong. Her flow is punchy, her bars are barbed, and her ceiling doesn’t exist. -Kieran Devlin

Glows

Glows Contrary to the Glows moniker, young Londoner GG Skips has been a shadowy background figure thus far, cultivating the South London scene by organising gigs for the likes of Sorry, Goat Girl and Black Midi. But, with a couple of hallucinogenic electronic tracks released at the tail end of this year, he's starting to step into the spotlight. The glistening chimes of 'PERLA' suggested Four Tet with a more jittery angst, while the lost-in-London 'Foam' showed us Glows' more pensive side - both suggesting a compelling debut album is in the near future. -Rob Hakimian

Grand Pax

Grand Pax Encompassing the depth of trip-hop, the groove of R&B, and the dreaminess of shoegaze, but delivered with the poise and precision of a singer-songwriter, Grand Pax has proven one of the most beguiling new artists of 2018. The Kentish Town singer released a short but powerful 4-track EP this year, but already has plans for a big 2019 with a new single dropping in January. She's already stolen our hearts with Phase, but she could whisk them away to dreamy far off pastures with whatever she comes up with next. -Rob Hakimian

Jockstrap

jockstrap Spearheaded by 20-year-olds Georgia Ellery and Taylor Skye, Jockstrap are already masters at slamming together the seemingly incongruous in ways that are disturbingly effective. On their mini-album, Love Is The Key To The City, they used their tuition from the Guildhall School of Music to write gorgeous string arrangements, and then smash-cut to wonky and weird synthesizer jams with no fanfare but perfect judgement. And their up-close-and-uncomfortably-personal videos for tracks like 'Hayley' and 'Joy' are a sight to behold. Buoyed by an explosive 2018, Jockstrap have big plans for 2019, including a classical song cycle and at least two more straight up bonkers bangers. We can't wait. -Rob Hakimian

JOSIN

josin With a musical and multi-cultural background (German-born, with a Korean mother), composer Arabella Rauch has a lot to live up to. Thus far, under the moniker JOSIN, she is hurdling those expectations with a grace and beauty that leaves us standing in awe. Her classical training is a constant current in the strings that underlie her tracks, but it's her grandiose synths and chasmic vocals that really steal the show. Coupled with her lyricism that speaks of great emotional distances and infinite liminal states, Josin's music has no trouble in swallowing listeners whole, and helping them to process the indefinable worries that float within each of us. Her debut album In The Blank Space is due in January and is set to be the perfect tonic for those winter woes. -Rob Hakimian

Key Glock

Dj Flugvel Key Glock is something of a blunt instrument. In an era still largely defined by CULTURE, he’s something of an antidote for the current trap trend. His latest release, Glockoma, was his most assured to date, boldly abstaining from features entirely, instead, entirely reliant on Glock’s own considerable, to-the-point charisma. Entering 2019 off that win, this could very well be his year to break through. You’d be hard pressed to name another rapper that sounds quite like him in 2018, and to put it simply, with Migos fatigue seeming to threaten to finally set in, this next year could really use him. -Chase McMullen

Nilüfer Yanya

nilufer yanya It seems likely that by this point you'll have caught wind of Nilüfer Yanya, as the prodigious London singer has released a string of self-assured singles over the last couple of years. However, with patience beyond her years that is both impressive and maddening for those of us desperate for more, she has yet to put out an album. In 2018 she released the stark and cutting 'Thanks 4 Nothing', as well as the honking and thrusting 'Heavyweight Champion Of The Year', both further proving her desire to cast her prodigious vocal talents in baroque yet accessible lights. With the poise and promise of an artist several albums into their career, Yanya has us waiting with bated breath for her debut. -Rob Hakimian

Orville Peck

orville peck Sub Pop Records’ newest signee Orville Peck made quite the first impression with the release of his obscure but ravishing first single 'Big Sky' in early December. Topped with a rawhide cowboy hat and sheathed in oil-drenched leather, 'Big Sky' is a crooning piece of country escapism coloured by a depressive tone. With goth-leaning country his calling card, Peck delivers spiritual reprieve for weary lone riders, introverts and the brokenhearted—a formula that just make you giddy (up) for what this masked mystery has to offer in 2019. -Kyle Kohner

Relatiiv

Relatiiv With Unfold, their first EP, released in 2017 and their latest self-released single ‘Places’, Berlin-based Catalan-German duo Relatiiv have been treading a fine line between downtempo hip-hop inspired beat-making and a new wave of electronic R&B and nu-soul resurgence. Their music is deeply confessional and born out of pure honesty, an essential factor in the way they approach composition and songwriting. Laura Lloreta and Markus Ehret, now preparing new releases for 2019, have travelled across borders, playing festivals around Europe and have supported the likes of Lapalux, Noah Slee or James Chatburn. -Francisco Gonçalves Silva

Rosie Carney

Rosie Carney Rosie Carney speaks as if to all of us, yet no one at all. Her upcoming album Bare is its name exactly: her inner thoughts and confessions as if whispered for only herself, and perhaps a lover, somehow available to all our aging souls. Waking up with Carney's deeply felt songwriting nearly feels as if she's in the room, just as lost as the rest of us. No voice in folk has more captured my imagination since Julie Byrne paraded into our collective consciousness. -Chase McMullen

SASAMI

sasami Having cut her teeth with Cherry Glazerr and become a fixture in the LA alternative scene, SASAMI (Sasami Ashworth) is driving towards a big 2018, with a newly-inked record deal with Domino. Debut singles 'Not The Time' and 'Callous' show a young songwriter with an ability to put her finger right on the universal pulse of heartbreak and a seductive desire for vengeance. Sonically they hew towards dream-pop, but the accessibility comes from her unhindered personality, with songs that she describes as "like over-dramatic drafts of texts that you compose in the Notes section of your iPhone." We can't wait to hear a whole record full of them. -Rob Hakimian

Ski Mask The Slump God

Dj Flugvel Ski Mask has been teetering on real success for some time now. Earlier in 2018, his mixtape Beware the Book of Eli made a decent splash, but he truly came through as an artist on the wounded, often macabre, yet always fun Stokeley. The beats were creative, irresistibly bubbling, and Ski Mask proved himself truly adept at leaping between trap cadences, Drake influence, and the very yell rapping that Tekashi 6ix9ine wishes he could perfect. Oddly, this latter release seems to have created a modicum of the fervor with a far more filling entre into his fledgling discography, but if there’s any justice left in rap, look for whatever he does next to create some noise in 2019. -Chase McMullen

Sorry

Sorry Yet another young London band with an exasperating amount of talent and patience, Sorry announced their signing to Domino over a year ago, but haven't felt the pressure to push out an album just yet. Instead, they're fine-tuning their taut and teasing rock, making it an even more perfect vessel for Asha Lorenz's barbed lyrics. In the scattering of tracks they did release this year, Sorry have veered from the depressed implosion of '2 Down 2 Dance' to the seedy confidence of 'Starstruck', with a stop at the fearsomely flirtatious 'Twinkle' along the way. All it proves is that Sorry have several different knives up their sleeves, ready to be brandished when their debut album does inevitably drop in 2019. -Rob Hakimian