Top 25 Albums of the Year

2019 has been arguably the decade’s best year for music, an incredibly exciting and eclectic year for new artists, genres transcending from fuzzy psych rock, to ambient electro-pop, to dirty underground grime. Indie Underground’s top 25 albums of the year vary from the best new punk acts, such as Calva Louise and LIFE, to fuzzy math rock band black midi, and the intrinsic rapper Slowthai, all of whom graced the year with their fantastic albums

All with raw DIY elements, and stunning musical themes layered throughout, here are our top 25 picks for 2019

25) Don’t Wait ‘Til Tomorrow – Yonaka

Yonaka - Don't Wait Til Tomorrow

24) All Mirrors – Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen - All Mirrors

23) Thank U, Next – Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande - thank u, next

22) Ghosteen – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - Ghosteen

21) Norman Fucking Rockwell – Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey - Norman Fucking Rockwell

20) Rhinoceros – Calva Louise

Calva Louise - Rhinoceros

19) Smooth Big Cat – Dope Lemon

Dope Lemon - Smooth Big Cat

18) Fine Line – Harry Styles


17) Hoodies All Summer – Kano

Kano - Hoodies All Summer

16) Jade Bird – Jade Bird

Jade Bird - Jade Bird

15) Schlagenheim – black midi

Black Midi - Schlagenheim

14) Heavy Is The Head – Stormzy

Stormzy - Heavy Is The Head

13) When I Have Fears – The Murder Capital

The Murder Capital - When I Have Fears

12) Infest The Rats’ Nest – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard - Infest The Rats' Nest

11) Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 2 – Foals

Foals - Everything Not Saved Will Be Lose Part 2

10) AJ Tracey – AJ Tracey

AJ Tracey - AJ Tracey

9) Athena – Sudan Archives

Sudan Archives - Athena

8) A Picture Of Good Health – LIFE

LIFE - A Picture of Good Health

7) Dogrel – Fontaines D.C.

Fontaines D.C. - Dogrel

6) Nothing Great About Britain – Slowthai

Slowthai - Nothing Great About Britain

5) 24 Carat Diamond Trephine – Avalanche Party

Avalanche Party - 24 Carat Diamond Trephine

4) IGOR – Tyler, The Creator

Tyler The Creator - Igor

3) Crush – Floating Points

Crush - Floating Points

2) GREY Area – Little Simz

Little Simz - GREY Area

1) MAGDALENE – FKA twigs

FKA Twigs - Magdalene

A hauntingly harrowing and stunning debut from Avalanche Party: 24 Carat Diamond Trephine

24 Carat Diamond Trephine

Welcome the immersive 24 Carat Diamond Trephine, one of the strongest pieces of artwork 2019 has been lucky enough to be graced with. Sharply corrosive, and harrowingly bleak, Avalanche Party’s debut album is a haunting and melodic mix of heavy edged punk, fuzzy psych rock, and shimmery euphoria, and the band have truly excelled themselves, mashing their heavy punk presence with something so stark and chilling that the album conjures up eclectic and dispersed emotions from the very start

The album opens with the vivaciously brooding El Dorado, a haunting and atmospheric track which uses a long drawn out build up and sharp, contrasting vocals to create the horror movie soundtrack feel it has. Lasting nearly six minutes, the sharp notes of Glen and Jared’s keyboards are merged with a captivating orchestral aura, Jordan’s dark vocal deep and intimidating over this. It’s a lot softer than the band’s previous work, and this sets the tone for the rest of the album. The dropping piano notes strike up similarities to a church pipe organ, the use of echoing and reverb effects prolonging an impending feel of something poignant and foreboding. Such beautiful composition instantly grasps your attention, harrowingly inducing one into the trance that is experiencing such a debut album as this. The album continues with Bugzy, which has an audacious and catchy bass line, which sets the tone for the track, steadily continuing throughout. Jordan’s vocal, as it is on much of the album, has an element of theatrical prowess to it, very deep and dark almost akin to Nick Cave, which matches the thudding tones from bassist Joe perfectly. The layering of screams – and shuddering guitar screeches over the bass – build Bugzy up into a wave of energy, which particularly peaks at the line ‘I’m not the one you wanted but I’m the one you got.’ The album then steeply punches into 7, followed by Howl. The aggressive violence of 7 is mosh pit inducing, a raucous nastiness at the core of the track. The slithering bass line that follows after Jordan’s careless projection of the words ‘oh baby’ again strike up the organ sound, as the album’s themes start to become more evident. The sharp keyboard is used again for Howl, which has more of a chorus to it, and having more than one vocal present in the chorus gives Howl an almost choir-esque feel. Heavy vocal distortions are used as well, with a well set mic reverb adding a maturity to the track

Milk & Sunlight Is A Heavy Dream is your more typical rock’n’roll track, the light whispery vocals drawing similarities to early Avalanche Party discography, notably Let’s Get Together off the band’s 2016 debut EP. The album picks out old Avalanche Party elements, yet at the same time is a highly mature and fresh piece of art. With its weird dub step electronica, HAHA is by far the album’s most experimental and unique track. It stands out quite starkly, the electronic drumming and heavy usage of dark synth and synthetic crackling adding a very fresh and tentative vibe to the album. Hey Misdemeanour which follows is very much so the opposite track to the themes present in HAHA, very soft and calming, a kind of lullaby one might feel. The use of the acoustic guitar and harmonic backing vocals is really beautiful, a little bluesy twinge of guitar cropping up in the track here and there. Vaguely similar to Million Dollar Man with that thudding opening, Playing Field Blues follows. With its damning lyrics and scratchy screeches of guitar, the track begins as a scatty and vivacious one, before interestingly becoming a much more experimental industrial piece of music. This is the point in which the album becomes the intriguing left-field controversial album that it is, as Playing Field Blues immerses you as the listener with its flowing mix of styles and sub-genres which are rarely mixed into one three minute long track

“This is the point in which the album becomes the intriguing left-field controversial album that it is”

We are then welcomed to Every Last Drop, a calming track which has subtle elements of psychedelia alongside a melancholy broodiness. Jordan’s voice is so beautiful on this album, and Every Last Drop is a really nice way of showcasing this, the calming nature of the track becoming almost overwhelming near the end, through Kane’s rolling drums and the scarring distorted guitar solo. The guitar on the album’s penultimate track Cruel Madness is a pure joy to listen to, the riff like a twisted parallel version of reality, the riffs and drumming pattern almost like a carousel theme tune. Jordan’s lyrics on this are very observational and quite scary in a sense, one of the best lines in the track being “imagine my surprise when I saw you crawling all the way from that fake dimension just to tell me you got a message, you’re trying to send.” And we end 24 Carat Diamond Trephine on what is one of the best tracks ever written, Rebel Forever. Stirring up post-grunge 90s sounds, with a stark and bleak sense of poetic injustice behind the lyrics, Rebel Forever is a perfect close for the album. It’s the rawness of the bass and reverbed guitar which jump up an octave nearer the end, paired with the sharpness of Jordan’s vocal, which make Rebel Forever as hauntingly mesmerising as it is. Lyrically, the band cleverly tie the end of the album in with the very start, by featuring the lyric ‘it flies over the sea and across the world, ‘til it reaches El Dorado’, a neat reference to the album’s opening track. Meaning ‘the golden one’ in Spanish, the old myth of El Dorado was that a city made entirely of gold existed in South America, encapsulating an undying thirst for gold and riches held by many. Yet the myth was dissolved upon learning that El Dorado was in fact a leader, a ruler so rich that we would bathe himself in said gold. The themes of greed, loss, and delusion struck up by the tale of El Dorado are extremely in line with the lyrical themes running throughout the album, one which is brutal and dark, and one of the most honest and thematically intricate albums of the year


Emphatic and Bold: JW Paris & JuiceBox LIVE at Werkhaus

A night of euphoric indie Brit Pop, infused with elements of vigorous and emphatic punk and bluesy rock’n’roll, last Thursday night saw JuiceBox and JW Paris take the stage at East London’s Werkhaus. Werkhaus is a new warehouse-style, subculture-philosophy inspired DIY venue on Brick Lane, with recent bookings including upcoming DIY artists like Rascalton, Dutch Mustard and Scary Lemons, and future gigs featuring artists like Strange Cages, Phobophopbes, GETRZ and Cavalcade. Last week was a very special night, as two of London’s most popular indie rock bands came together to play

JW Paris Live

Opening the gig were JW Paris, who are now going forward as a two-piece collective, composed of vocalist and lead guitarist Daniel Collins, and vocalist and bassist Aaron Forde. Their live presence is deafening, and the tight synchronicity and articulate aura they have when playing is all the more amplified by the richness of their sound. Their sound can really be described as a multitude of genres, as they blend blues and punk elements into a classically indie rock sound, which live is captivating and enticing. Their set included older tracks that fans know well like Radio, Rapture,and Darker Side Of Paradise, as well as the newly released Fly, and previously unheard tracks That’s Why and Sober. JW Paris craft bluesy, grimy rock and roll twisted into a kaleidoscopic blur of 90s grunge, and this vivacious and fresh sound was all the more so powerful and enticing when played live on stage

JuiceBox Live

Headliners JuiceBox put on an incredible set, the four piece drawing a huge crowd to the gig. Their sound is one that is vivid and scatty, blending indie rock with more classic Brit Pop and rock’n’roll elements. Their style is very riff based and chorus heavy, all the components of a good indie rock track solidly present within their entire sound and style as a band. A personal highlight of the set was JuiceBox’s rendition of Nick Cave’s Red Right Hand, the band putting a special spin on it and performing the track in the heavier, dirtier style embodied in the Arctic Monkeys cover. JuiceBox seemed a lot scattier and heavier this gig round, more so leaning towards an industrial-rock style with this gig. They have a very well crafted attitude and sharp demeanour as well, which helped amp up the impressionable and enticing stage presence they have


You can see JW Paris and Juicebox together for Benumu at Camden Assembly on October 27th, 2019

See all upcoming Werkhaus events here

Photos: Taylor Michael, @c24photography

Dutch Mustard Release Euphoric and Vivacious EP ‘Drive’

London based four piece Dutch Mustard have been making waves in the music industry as of late, turning their industrial DIY sound into a vehement and vivacious whirlwind of blurry post punk, with a dirty rock’n’roll valour embedded in it. Made up of lead vocalist and guitarist Sarah-Jayne (SJ), lead guitarist Neyl, drummer Arlen and bassist Alex, Dutch Mustard are one of London’s most talked about new bands. Their crowds at gigs have gone from strength to strength, with packed out gigs at venues like Werkhaus and Camden Assembly a true testament to how impressive their success has been to date

Dutch Mustard, shot by Chris Patmore

This week came the release of the long awaited debut EP, entitled Drive. Composed of three tracks, Get What You Want, Make It Through, and Drive, the EP is a stunning debut that any band would be proud of. It’s heavy and scatty, but also retains a subdued delicacy, with an intricate web of light riffs pierced by SJ’s bold vocals giving the EP a certain depth. The EP opens with the blinding Get What You Want, which is a rowdy riff-heavy track. SJ’s belting vocals kick in from the very start, the bass line running throughout adding an extra level of intensity. So full of power and strength, SJ’s vocals are really sharp on this track, floating between soft projections to belting wails, both of which come effortlessly to her. The riffs on Get What You Want, particularly in the last minute of the song, are what makes this track such a bold and emphatic opener

Dutch Mustard, shot by Chris Patmore

This passion and angst flows beautifully into next track Make It Through, which starts off a bit softer, before that crackling explosion of grungy riffs kicks in, the set up of this track more unconventional and interesting. The clarity in SJ’s vocal fits perfectly with the sharpness of the lead guitar, this track more focused on the sultry riffs and basslines rather than the thrashing of chords which Dutch Mustard are so good at executing. What makes this track so good is the oddly nostalgic feel it has to it, something almost 90s-esque resonating inside; yet the diversity and freshness of the band’s sound manage to still make it feel eclectic and modern. They carefully craft backing vocals into Make it Through, with SJ’s lead vocal sharp and concise all the way through, with a stunning control to it. This track has elements of post-punk edge to it, with subtle hints of grunge rippled through

In classic Dutch Mustard style, just as they open with a deafening heavy explosion, the EP is rounded off in the exact same way with Drive, which is my favourite track off the EP. It starts in an almost haunting way, something so calming and intoxicating about that opening riff with SJ’s soothing vocal running lightly over it. Its melodic perfection takes you on a little trip, just seconds before the hefty bass crashes in, crafting Drive into an aggressive and raucous track, full of scathing vivacity.

The band’s mix of genres and styles on this EP is unwavering and eclectic, buzz saw riffs and grating distortions used to build on the raw DIY authenticity that the four piece bring so well to the grunge genre.

EP rating: ★★★★☆

Stream the EP here:

Rascalton, SNAYX, SNASH & Splinter: Gig Preview

This Thursday 5th September, Rascalton, SNAYX, SNASH and Splinter are all coming together to put on what is certain to be one of the rowdiest and sweatiest gigs of the year. With a ferocious punk grit at the heart of this lineup, all four bands possess a nasty grungy punk prowess, with energy and fire at the heart of what they do and how they play

Headliners Rascalton

With a core DIY ethos, Werkhaus is a new DIY venue in East London, and their recent bookings have been focused on the genres of indie rock, psych rock, post punk and grunge. Recent events they’ve put on have included live sets from bands such as Dutch Mustard, The Gulps, Scary Lemons, After London, Framatics, Mummy and Bikini Bombs, with upcoming bands playing including Juicebox, FILM, JW Paris, BUTE, The Howlers, GURU, Strange Cages, and more

Thursday’s gig is definitely the most exciting lineup Werkhaus has had to date; have a listen to the bands who will be playing on the night below, and grab yourself a ticket!! This is an 18+ event, so please keep that in mind, and ensure you have valid ID with you. Tickets are £6 in advance, and limited £8 tickets will be available on the door


Stage times below

8pm – DOORS

20:30-21:00 – Splinter
21:15-21:45 – SNAYX
22:00-22:30 – SNASH
22:45-23:15 – Rascalton






See you Thursday!!

Talkin’ About Wilkestock Festival 2019

Wilkestock festival year and year again always stands out as one of the best festivals of the summer, an eclectic mix of genres, stages, and just the best vibes in general making it one of my favourite festivals ever. 2019 saw the festival’s best lineup to date, with Slaves headlining on the Saturday, bands like Lady Bird, LIFE, Zen, JW Paris, Avalanche Party, Strange Bones, and many others also gracing the lineup. Here are Indie Underground’s Festival Highlights from Wilkestock Festival 2019

Well known for their raucous punk angst on stage, Slaves have had an incredible summer, and their headline set at Wilkestock was one of the best, trashiest, and sweatiest times I’ve seen them play. Opening with a scathing screech of ‘Oi, what are you doing? Nobody gives a shit!’ before lunging into the thrashy The Lives They Wish They Had, Slaves played a mix of old and new tracks, their setlist featuring the likes of Magnolia, Beauty Quest, Sugar Coated Bitter Truth, Live Like An Animal, and classics Where’s Your Car Debbie? and The Hunter

Their energy is always impeccable, a solid raucousness and tightness embedded in the unique energy Laurie and Isaac share with one another. Tracks like Fuck The Hi-Hat (which Slaves smashed out just after a cymbal was kicked out into the audience) and Sockets were filled with that scatty passion and vigour which is so special to Slaves, resulting in the psyched up crowd moshing and jumping around in the audience

Luke Hinton (Juicebox – The Horn St Albans / The Horn at The Half Moon Bishop’s Stortford) runs the bookings for Wilkestock Festival, and Slaves played The Horn years ago to a tiny crowd, so seeing them headline the festival to such a stunning crowd reaction really was a magical thing to witness


Heavy and raw, Strange Bones are always phenomenal live, and their set at Wilkestock for many was the most anticipated set of the weekend. In such an intimate setting, their set was immense, the tent absolutely packed; Bobby did everything that is classic for a Strange Bones live performance, from crowdsurfing and jumping into the crowd with his gas mask on, to climbing up the metal ladders inside the tent before jumping from the top into the audience. Their set was wild, tracks played including God Save The Teen, Snakepit, and Here Come The Wolves. An absolute blinder, Strange Bones never fail to entice, excite and impress, and their set was undeniably one of the best festival sets I’ve seen this summer

Savage and malicious in their fun punk attitude, Lady Bird were a definite highlight of the festival. Signed to Slaves’ DIY Girl Fight Records Label, the three piece had circle pits and moshing during their set from the very start, which can only really be described as a passionate set full of fiery grit and vigour. Their set included tracks like Spoons and Social Potions, as well as personal favourite Boot Fillers; this band have some seriously strong riffs up their sleeves, a rowdy guitar-heavy foundation to their music

Lady Bird

Playing on the tiny Bella’s Stage on Saturday night, Avalanche Party were phenomenal, putting on a menacing and visceral set which obliterated the tent to pieces. They’re incredibly enticing live, and what always intrigues me about this band is the intimidating stance of lead singer and guitarist Jordan, who comes across as possessed in his demeanour. Their set was a stunning chaotic mess, featuring tracks like 7 and Porcelain

One of the most scarring and exciting sets of the weekend came from Hull’s LIFE, a politically angry and vivacious life band, who are no strangers to rowdy crowds and mosh pits. Only a few tracks in, lead vocalist Mez was out in the crowd, dancing, jumping and screaming into the mic with them. Dedicating the politically brilliant track Euromillions to “Brexit and the new government,” LIFE also played tracks like Ba Ba Ba, Popular Music, Moral Fibre and In Your Hands


Always a  favourite band of ours to catch live, JW Paris packed out the Bella’s Tent on Friday evening, their sound deafening and a lot heavier than previous times I’ve seen them. They have a very unique and eclectic sound, elements of blues and a more classic rock’n’roll vibe intertwined with a grungy post punk foundation. They played tracks like Radio, Rapture, Darker Side Of Paradise, and That’s Why, much of the energy of their set matched by audience members dancing and singing lyrics and riffs back at the band. Their riffs are incredibly catchy, a vehement angst ingrained in their sound, both guitarist Dan and bassist Aaron 100% in sync as they played together – an absolute beauty on stage


We also had the pleasure of catching Fiende Fatale, whose messy scatty post punk sound has improved so much since we discovered them in 2016. Lead guitarist and vocalist Matt ended up with blood pouring down his head at one point, their entire set rough, intense and incredibly charismatic; they have so much energy and power on stage, and the way guitarist Rolph played alongside drummer Dom was insatiable. Zen were another highlight, bringing their quirky post punk vibes to Bella’s Stage, and Caretta also packed out their set, with a fiery grungy set, their sound much heavier and enticing with their new tracks. One of the best bands from Sunday were FRAMATICS, who completely exceeded my expectations. A similar vocal style to Sophie from Sophie & The Giants or Yonaka’s Theresa, lead singer Maddie had a new powerful confidence, her voice really strong and intense. This power was matched perfectly by the force of the rest of the band; Liam on bass and Zach on lead guitar have a really strong fire between them when they play, their deafening heavy riffs an explosive eruption, backed up brilliantly by drummer Adam


Until next summer Wilkestock!!

©All photos by Sahera Walker

“Society Is Sick”; Dutch Mustard Obliterate Convention with their Brand New Single

Familiarise yourself with the hottest new band in London…distorted reverb, grungy prowess and cynical  lyrics are what makes Dutch Mustard, and in turn their new single Society Is Sick, so captivating. It’s a brooding and scathing piece of dirty powerful grunge music, the London based four piece blending screechy vocals with experimental riffs, layered over intricate and distinctive chord progressions

Dutch Mustard, by Keira-Anee 

Dutch Mustard are one of London’s most exciting new bands, cultivating a formidable reputation around the UK as a dynamic live presence, their sets known for capturing an energy and force unique to their shows alone; they released their debut single, Weeping Willow, back in March, and new release Society is Sick is the perfect follow up. It’s far more scatty and nasty, a heavy element of recklessness adding an air of 90s vivacity to the single. What Dutch Mustard do so well is they create a unique aura by mixing together an array of different immersive qualities; the bass from Alex and lead guitar from Neyl have an air of meticulous articulacy to them, whilst drummer Arlen and lead singer Sarah-Jayne have a more thrashing sense of aggression; combined into just one single, you feel a wave of fiery passion and angst, as well as a clear understanding of the art and creation that has gone into creating and producing Society Is Sick. Bringing back a feel of 90s grunge, yet nodding their head to a more refreshed and nuanced modernised sound, Dutch Mustard have triumphed with this release. Listen here

Single rating: ★★★★☆

Catch them live for Indie Underground with MUMMY, Scary Lemons, & Priestgate this Thursday 13th at Cafe 1001 on Brick Lane (free entry!)

A Hallucinogenic night of Kaleidoscopic Lights & Immersive Psychedelia; Tame Impala make a stunning return to London

A night of pure euphoria, immersive psychedelia, and a trippy feel of love glowing around the O2 Arena, Saturday night saw psychedelic royalty Tame Impala grace London for the first time since last summer


The project is led by Kevin Parker, who creates, records and produces every piece of Tame Impala music; translated on stage, he uses an immense band who mix guitars with dreamy synthetics to create a subtle psychedelic pop aura. The meticulous tightness of the way Tame Impala play is astounding; every last note played in perfect synchronicity, which creates a strange and weird bubble of glowing synths, the music alone giving audience members a definite high feeling. Swirling his day dream vocals through each track, Kevin Parker performs like a true creator and artist; quite shy and reserved in his playing, yet the daring confidence and vibrancy of his music glowing around the entirety of the sold out arena

What was most mesmerising about the performance was the light show Tame Impala put on; in the backdrop of the stage, a psychedelic arts screen was playing, filming the band in motion, whilst distorting it into an array of vibrant rainbow colours. The first time I saw Tame Impala, it was supporting Arctic Monkeys in 2015, and on the stage-screens they had a more realistic image, projecting surreal images up, such as a skull being used as a fruit bowl, and so on. The current backdrop they have is just as surreal and psychedelic, but far more immersive and stunning. This was accompanied by a magnificent laser light show, each piercing light beaming out into the arena in exact sync with the music. It was reminiscent of a shower of shooting stars, each laser beam glimmering through the venue like fairy dust. As hazy and lucid as the set was, amplified by the consistent use of reverb and fuzz effects, the sharpness and brightness of the lasers pulled the entire audience into their light; the feeling from this was just one of pure magical euphoria, their set one cosmic explosion. The most spectacular part of the performance for me was the last six songs, where the lights and music seemed to hit in a different way, a wave of complete euphoria splashing over the crowd as they played Eventually, It Is Not Meant To Be, Borderline, Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind?, Feels Like We Only Go Backwards, and finally ending their stunning set with New Person, Same Old Mistakes; to me, this last fraction of the show was the most breathtaking and magical part of the night

Tame Impala also played tracks like Elephant, The Moment and Apocalypse Dreams, opening with the famed crowd pleaser Let It Happen

The whole night was full of precious vibes, and my memory of the gig still feels like a euphoric high. Bands like Tame Impala really make you believe that magic is real

Gig rating: ★★★★★


Photo: Ethan Weatherby (Gigwise)