After a year away from Liverpool’s stages, Sound City - the area’s annual new band discovery festival - is back for 2021 with a bumper line of already-established headliners and future favourites.
Taking over the city this weekend (1st - 3rd October), you can expect three days jam packed with around 200 artists, representing different genres, countries and attitudes. And having played host to early shows from the likes of The 1975, Florence and the Machine and Stormzy, Sound City have good form in spotlighting the stars of tomorrow when they’re still merely a glint in the record label boss’ eye.
So how the hell do you know where to start with navigating the weekend’s wares? We’ve got you covered. Scroll down for a playlist of our top 25 artists playing the festival this weekend, and have a read below for the scoop on a few standout highlights.
There’s something satisfying about listening to a band noticeably find their sound, and you get the sense that’s what happened with the release of English Teacher’s May breakout track ‘R&B’. Having drip-fed a few early singles throughout the past year, the track found the Leeds band harnessing some new stores of anger and channelling them into a rattling post-punk storm of frustrated lyrics and rumbling bass. Since then, they've been on a roll, with vocalist Lily Fontaine a magnetic front person par excellence.
By now you'll already be more than aware of Bella Latham's knack for self-deprecating one liners shrouded in shimmering pop earworms, but due to the you-know-what, Baby Queen is still relatively new to the touring circuit. Take this chance to join the Baby Kingdom early then, because come 2022 you'll likely be pushing past a lot more people to get a spot down front.
London's NiNE8 Collective are spitting out future superstars on a near-weekly basis right now; Biig Piig and Lava La Rue both count among their number, and Nayana Iz is surely set to follow them into the limelight before too long. She's already scored a banger with the undulating rap of last year's 'TNT', whilst spring single 'Breaking Point' found the 20-year-old mixing soulful jazz pianos with an enviable lyrical flow.
Wolf Alice have always felt like the anomaly on uber label Dirty Hit, but New York's Pretty Sick could prove to be both label mates and kindred spirits. Helmed by vocalist Sabrina Fuentes, their blend of fuzzy, caustic grunge and deceptive moments of shoegaze-y sweetness has the potential to be a truly cathartic, heavy-hitting highlight of the festival. Catch them on UK shores while you can.
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Beabadoobee, The Murder Capital and Låpsley are among the festival’s highlights.
“This song is just saying, ‘Yeah fuck you, I am a narcissist, and I am self-obsessed, but why do you think that is?’”
More than good enough to graduate to the next round.
“I wanted to capture the power that reveals itself when you have nothing left to be afraid of, our infinite source - the connection with our inner warrior.”