The British have spawned many of the greatest bands of all-time and acts that would go on to define eras. This includes The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd and David Bowie. These British acts all weaved their way into American culture and changed the face of music, and we could now be on the brink of yet another British invasion. Thanks to the internet, it is now easier than ever for bands to break through and find fans all around the world. Here are 10 bands who will lead this new British charge.
Out of a small village in Derbyshire, England, Drenge are a key act in bringing the UK rock scene back to life. The band was originally comprised of two brothers, Eoin Loveless and his younger brother Rory (they have since added a bassist). They first came to prominence in the UK thanks to an endorsement from a politician. Tom Watson, the former Labour MP, recommended the band upon his resignation, and this helped the band to develop a large following in the UK. After releasing a self-titled debut album in 2013, Drenge have toured extensively including appearances at all the major festivals. Their highly anticipated second album, Undertow, dropped in April 2015 and debuted at #14 on the UK Albums Chart. This has been hailed by critics and their fanbase continues to grow at an alarming rate.
Hailing from Blackpool, England, this three-piece started by 20-year old Nathan Day is currently taking the UK by storm. The band exploded onto the scene in 2013 with their debut E.P. titled Knock, Knock, and they then went on to tour frantically whilst continuing to release singles. The band drew immediate comparisons to Nirvana and other classic grunge acts from the 90s, sparking a grunge revival whilst injecting their own unique sound to create their own distinctive style. After playing at all the large UK festivals last summer, Darlia released their first mini album earlier this year titled Petals. With a legion of new and old grunge fans behind them, heavy praise from the top UK critics, a ferocious live show, and a growing back catalogue – the future looks very bright for this young up and coming act.
Kent based duo Slaves are currently breaking out in Britain and bringing punk back to the airwaves. The duo formed in 2012 and feature Laurie Vincent on guitar and vocals, and Isaac Holman on drums and vocals. They have clear punk influences, and their jokey lyrics and stripped down set-up give them a unique and distinctive style which is particularly British. It has been a whirlwind few years for the duo, who have developed a reputation for their formidable, high energy live shows which are not to be missed. After a string of singles and an appearance on Jools Holland, Slaves were nominated for the BBC Sound of 2015. Their highly anticipated debut album, Are You Satisfied?, came out in June 2015 and reached #8 in its first week. Punk is very much alive and it looks set to be a big year for this noisy and talented duo.
Peace are perhaps the best new indie band to emerge from the UK in the last few years, with the four-piece drawing comparisons to other huge indie acts including Vampire Weekend, The Maccabees, and Foals. Their debut E.P. titled EP Delicious dropped in 2012 and was heavily praised by critics, and their first full length effort arrived shortly after, In Love. This debuted at #16 on the UK charts and then they set out on tour to continue to grow their fanbase. This included supporting legendary act The Libertines for their reunion show, helping to boost Peace’s reputation as an up-and-coming act. The lead single from their sophomore effort gave fans a taste of what was to come, and after huge shows at Reading and Leeds in the summer of 2014, their 2nd album Happy People was released in 2015.
6. Wolf Alice
North London’s alternative rock act Wolf Alice first formed in 2010, and in five years they have risen to become one of the top rock acts in the UK with an instantly recognizable sound that has been described as “the lovechild of folk and grunge.” After releasing a flurry of singles and getting airplay on UK radio, Wolf Alice released their first E.P. in 2013, titled Blush. This was positively received and developed their fanbase, but it was their follow up E.P. in 2014 that saw them emerge as one of the hottest prospects in Britain. This E.P., titled Creature Songs, saw them named the Best Breakthrough Artist at the UK Festival Awards. They have since released their debut album, My Love Is Cool, which has been met with universal acclaim and is considered to be one of the top releases of 2015.
5. Palma Violets
Combining a healthy dose of indie, garage rock, and psychedelic styles, Palma Violets have gained a huge following since forming in 2011. Much of this following came before the band had even released their first single, and this is thanks to their chaotic live performances around London and their online presence. In 2012, Palma Violets premiered the track “Step Up for the Cool Cats” on BBC Radio 1, and this would go on to be a huge hit that was named Zane Lowe’s Hottest Record in the World. Their debut single “Best of Friends” was named the NME’s Track of the Year as hype began to grow. Their debut album, titled 180, dropped in 2013 and they then toured extensively. With a huge following now behind them, their second album came out earlier this year and is titled Danger in the Club. Having conquered the UK, North America could be next.
This self described “crunchpop” duo from Glasgow first formed in 2012, and it did not take them long to get noticed. The original duo included Stina Marie Claire Tweeddale on guitar and vocals and Shona McVicar on drums, but McVicar has since been replaced by Cat Myers. They soon had a growing fanbase and found themselves performing at a number of festivals around the UK. They were signed in 2013 and immediately got to work on their debut album, which was recorded in Connecticut in just 10 days. This album arrived in 2014 and expanded on their dreamy, lo-fi garage rock sound, and despite a change in drummer they continued to expand their fanbase and tour. This includes a U.S. tour and appearance at South by Southwest 2015, resulting in their popularity currently sharply rising on both sides of the Atlantic.
3. George Ezra
George Ezra has become one of the most prominent new UK acts, with his powerful and compelling voice captivating audiences and making his live show a must see. The 22-year old is heavily inspired by the likes of Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie, and this is notable in his folk and blues brand of music. The song “Budapest” from his debut E.P. Did You Hear the Rain became a huge hit not just in the UK, but also around the world, with it topping the Austrian and New Zealand charts. His debut album, Wanted on Voyage, came in 2014 at entered the UK charts at #3 and performed well around Europe. Ezra supported Sam Smith and later Hozier on tour around North America at the start of 2015, and he has since made appearances on Saturday Night Live and The Late Late Show with James Corden.
2. James Bay
It has been an extraordinary few years for 24-year old James Bay, who has gone from performing at open mic nights to an international star seemingly overnight. After a fan uploaded a video of Bay performing at one of these sessions in 2012, he was quickly noticed and signed to Republic Records just a week later. 2013 saw the release of his debut E.P., The Dark of Morning, and shortly after he was performing sold-out shows around the UK. His second E.P. followed in 2014 and saw him achieve chart success, before his highly anticipated debut album arrived in 2015, titled Chaos and the Calm. This peaked at #1 in the UK charts, #15 in the US charts, and #3 in the Australian and German charts. Bay’s popularity in the U.S. continued to grow with American tour dates, including a performance at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.
1. Royal Blood
Royal Blood have conquered the world despite having just one album and only forming in 2013. The Brighton based duo have brought hard rock back to the forefront of music, and they will be the band that leads the latest British invasion. They have clear influences in hard rock acts including Queens of the Stone Age and Led Zeppelin, with Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page stating that they are taking rock into a new realm. They rapidly rose to fame through hit singles “Out of the Black” and “Little Monster,” as well as monstrous live shows which see the band make an enormous sound for just two people. The eponymous self-titled debut album came in 2014 and became a gigantic success, seeing the band go on to sell-out shows all around the world and bring their loud, riff heavy and pulsating brand of music to the masses.