West London's Metropolis Studios is one of the capital's most sought after studio spaces, an audiophiles paradise adored by everyone from Kendrick Lamar to Manic Street Preachers.
For the past 12 months (and a bit longer, if anyone's counting) Clash Live and Metropolis Studios have partnered to host a series of stellar live shows, showcasing some of the best talent in the land.
It's been quite a trip. IAMDDB played Metropolis Studios a matter of weeks before her BBC Sound Of 2018 nomination, while the full list of artists taking part veers from feral South London grunge to St. Lucian production and back again.
Renowned for their high-end audio fixation, Metropolis recorded each set, and it's built up into a library of some of the best breaking artists in the country.
Clash writer Holly Ismail was let loose in the archive - here are some of her top picks...
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Hailing from Manchester, the 21-year-old artist, IAMDBB is already making her name with her self-described “urban jazz” sound. IAMDBB has already got attention from the likes of Bryson Tiller and Jorja Smith following the release of ‘Vibe’ and ‘Shade’.
After performing ‘Shade’ and ‘Lim Print 02’ at Metropolis Live x Clash Magazine, it is safe to say that we can expect great things from IAMDBB in the New Year.
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London born and bred singer and producer Leks Rivers has already impressed with his soulful tones and eclectic range of sounds with his 2015 release, ‘Project Nomad’.
Since then, the artist has gone on to distinguish his own sound which is clear is his new track ‘Cassanova’, which is a thoughtful dialogue of a relationship and his own personal flaws and imperfections.
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To Kill A King
To Kill A King have been compared to the likes of The National, Grizzly Bear and Frightened Rabbit, however they have undoubtedly stepped out of the shadows with the ‘Spiritual Dark Age’, set for release early next year. The upbeat melody and the dark lyrics show the mastery behind the songwriting and their evolution as a band.
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Piano Wire, formed from the wreckage that was Eighties Matchbox, a Brighton based five-piece. Rising from the ashes of a much-loved guitar band, Piano Wire captures the same essence that can be heard in the music from their predecessor. The tracks ‘Cherry Coma’ and ‘Get A Life’, released in 2017, feature the same aggressive guitar riffs, moody lyrics and vocals and punch that can be heard in Eighties Matchbox records.
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Saint Leonard’s Horses
Saint Leonard’s Horses, A.K.A. Kieran Leonard has evolved his musical style with his unique return from his travels which took him across the moors of Yorkshire, to the Hollywood Hills and then the legendary film director, Stanley Kubrick’s estate.
This inspiration for his music material, released in 2016, has added another sensory layer to his eclectic sound, which can be heard in the track ‘Long John Silver’.
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London based electronic group Nimmo capture the musical essence of The xx, Alison Moyet and New Order, all in one, but still manage to create a unique sound of their own. Since their releases, ‘My Only Friend’ and ‘Dancing Makes Us Brave’, Sarah Nimmo and Reva Gauntlett have continued to create a fusion of sinister lyrics and thumping synths.
With clever lyrics, musical talent and having fans in high places, most notably Agyness Deyn, who directed a music video for their track ‘Change’, it’s only a matter of time before Nimmo find themselves sell out many more live shows, as they did at their first London show last year.
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Ten Fé -
The London duo Ten Fe, which means “have faith” in Spanish are still riding on the wave of their impressive debut release ‘Hit the Light’ . The track, ‘Elodie’ is a nod to the duo’s musical inspiration, including the bands of the Madchester movement to the sound of Bruce Springsteen’s Americana. The dreamy, nostalgic harmonies throughout the track almost sounds like something straight from Springsteen’s ‘The River’ album.
Recorded in Berlin, the duo consisting of Ben Moorhouse and Leo Duncan captured a wistful sound with their album ‘Hit the Light’ and embody the perfect blend between classic Americana balllads and a dreamy soft-rock record.
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The Brighton trio Our Girl, have already impressed with their garage-rock sound and gritty lyrics. Talking about their musical style, frontwoman and guitarist Soph Nathan says; “Lots of the songs are about emotional distance - not knowing what someone else is thinking, and how that can make you feel crazy. It can cloud my judgement to the point that shrugging it off as indifference is the easiest thing to do”.
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The indie pop quartet, High Tyde released their latest EP, ‘Keep On’ earlier this year and have been on the rise ever since. After playing at festivals including Reading, Boardmasters, and Dot 2 Dot as well as supporting the likes of Peace, Little Comets and Young Kato their stage performances have evolved. The Brighton born and bred band have also been featured on BBC Radio 1 and have supported acts at larger venues including Shepherds Bush Empire this year.
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The Nashville based alt-rock quartet, Future Thieves have had a busy year with the release of ‘Lim Ref 01’ and ‘Sucker’, as well as going on an international tour, playing at the Surya, London, the Castle Hotel in Manchester and nights in Bristol and Nottingham.
After a break following the release of their live album ‘Live At Blue Rock’ in 2015, the band consisting of singer Elliot Collett, guitarist Austin McCool, bassist Nick Goss and drummer Gianni Gibson, have returned to the studio and created material with electro - pop grooves and alternative-indie sounds, which the band refer to as “ a driving soundtrack with a bitter sweet story”.
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The King’s Parade
Famously dubbed as London’s best buskers by Boris Johnson back in 2014, the band The King’s Parade, from Cricklewood have come a long way since then. After releasing the EP ‘Vagabond’ in 2015 and the single ‘Clover’ last year, the band have released the EP ‘Haze’ this year. The four track EP features the track ‘Not Yet’, with strong, natural vocals and elegant guitar riffs. Speaking about the track ‘Haze’, the band say “Haze’ describes the feeling of helplessness when you fall hard for someone”.
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The Orwells’ latest album ‘Terrible Human Beings’, released this year, features strong elements of garage-rock and sinister melancholy as Mario Cuomo professes; “ My friends are dead ends / Where did they go?/ They’re spread out and broken/ And laying in the road”.
The success story of the Orwells started before they turned 21 as they were quickly signed to a major label, thrust upon many festival line-ups and performed on the Late Show with David Letterman, which propelled them into the consciousness of a vast audience and has since helped to define their success.
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After touring across the UK earlier this year, the Canadian trio Bad Pop, have made an name for themselves and their raucous live shows. Consisting of Chris Connelly, Catherine Hiltz and Aaron Klassen, the witty, tongue-in-cheek punk band have released ‘Other Spooky’, paired as double A-side with the single ‘Bad Pop’. The release builds up to a frenzied climax of synth vocals and stomping drums. Of the track, frontman Chris Connelly says “It always felt like a big, bold, ridiculous statement…the kind of thing that you’ll either love or hate”.
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Photography: Jim Eyre
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