2015’s Must-Hear Bands & Artists

Festivals are one of the highlights of the summer, and as the sun starts to make an appearance after a particularly grey winter, our thoughts are quickly turning to this year’s line-ups.

Last year was a good year for music: BBC’s Sound of 2014 predicted Sam Smith’s global dominance while the most diverse array of new artists we’ve seen in a long time propelled into 2015, including Cuban soul sisters Ibeyi, London rapper George the Poet, and grunge-pop Camdenites Wolf Alice.

A good festival season can instantly launch a new band into the mainstream – see Fleetwood Mac-inspired sisters Haim.

So with this in mind, here are five new bands and artists to you should be keeping your eye on this summer.

1. Benjamin Booker

New Orleans-based blues-rock peddler Benjamin Booker is an artist wise beyond his years. At just 22, he sings with the raspy world-weariness and guttural pain instinctive to stalwarts such as Blind Willie Johnson and Otis Redding. Not to mention crafting epic songs laced with pathos.

That’s not to say his style is forlorn – far from it: roaring, stomping single Violent Shiver is sure to make an impact on this summer’s festival stages.

2. Years & Years

Fronted by the magnetic Olly Alexander, synth-pop trio Years & Years are tipped for big things in 2015, with their distinct take on 1990s house music tapping directly into the zeitgeist.

They’ve been skirting around the scene for a couple of years now, but it wasn’t until anthemic single Desire dropped that their ascent truly began. Be sure to catch them before they inevitably hit the mainstream.

3. Ryn Weaver

Seemingly arriving out of nowhere, Ryn Weaver’s OctaHate burned up the internet last summer, going viral within days of landing.

Her deft pop touch has since led to comparisons with Ellie Goulding, and that’s not too far wide of the mark. Less ethereal and dreamy, and more straight-up party pop, Weaver is set to be a crossover hit.

4. Alvvays

If summer could be distilled into music form, it would sound like Toronto indie-poppers Alvvays.

They released their self-titled debut album in July 2014 to critical acclaim, but this festival season looks set to push them into wider consciousness.

Think all sweet sounds, lazy vocals and spidery guitars.

5. Shamir

Musician, singer, comedian, rapper, twerker. Five words Nevadan Shamir Bailey uses to describe himself – and his breakout single On the Regular sees this androgynous wunderkind nod to all sides of his multi-faceted persona.

Blending R&B, pop and even country (see his cover of Mary Lambert’s The House That Built Me), Shamir is a true original.

Expect a candy-coloured, cowbell-fronted, pop-tastic live performance.