The Best New Music, Artists and Bands for 2020
6 January 2020, 19:00 | Updated: 3 January 2021, 17:09
Which new artists should you be streaming or buying tickets to see live over the next twelve months? Here's Radio X's pick of the very best new music for 2020 with Great X-Pectations...
Radio X has the perfect playlist for 2020 with Great X-Pectations. Every year, we hand-pick a carefully-curated selection of the bands, artists and singer-songwriters that we're sure you’ll be hearing more of over the next twelve months.
In previous years, Radio X has tipped Sam Fender, Royal Blood, Pale Waves, Catfish And The Bottlemen, CHVRCHES, Blossoms, Wolf Alice and more.
Who's going to be breaking through into the mainstream in 2020? Which artists will be smashing it at the festivals this summer? Here are our tips for 2020...
Find out more about the best new music for 2020, plus listen to our pick of the acts right here…
Charlie Brown and Jules Konieczny met at a chess club in Ealing, West London and their collaboration started out as a side project for two busy musicians, before they decided to focus on APRE. outing themselves as intelligent, alternative pop, the duo spent 2019 heading to America and playing Glastonbury for the first time. Following a support slot with Inhaler, the duos have a headline tour lined up for February 2020, climaxing with a show at London's Scala on the 27th.
AKA Bea Kristi, a 19 year old singer-songwriter born in the Phillipines but raised in London. After teaching herself to play via YouTube tutorials, her first song Coffee brought her to the attention of the label Dirty Hit, home to Wolf Alice and The 1975. 2019 has seen her release four EPs - Lice, Patched Up, Loveworm and Space Cadet - and her uniquely ethereal dreampop has notched up over 30 million streams on Spotify.
2019 ended with her being nominated for the BRIT Rising Star Award, and Bea will kick off what's undoubtedly going to be a huge 2020 with a support slot on The 1975's February tour. Take a listen to Sun More Often from the Space Cadet EP below.
Beautifully honest lyrics and laid-back beats are the speciality of this Leicester collective, fronted by Murray, whose freewheeling vocals recall Jamie T. Formed in late 2017, the band have toured heavily across the past year, while issuing four singles: Houseplants, Earth, Nice Guys and Sangria.
2020 will see them open the year with the "Meal Deal" tour in support of their Junk Food mixtape (due 10 January), with shows at Kingston's New Slang, Leicester, Nottingham, Southampton, London and Brighton, a quick jaunt to the US, then a huge show at London's Roundhouse on 26 March.
Signed to the impeccable Domino Records, Londoner Georgia Barnes swapped being scouted for professional football teams for music, drumming for Kate Tempest for a time. She released her self-titled debut in 2015 and its blend of punk-influenced electronica gained many admirers.
Her second album Seeking Thrills drops on 10 January and live dates that month include Rough Trade East London, Nottingham and Bristol, The Fighting Cocks in Kingston and then some European shows. More UK tour dates follow in March.
You must surely know by now that Elijah Hewson, frontman with Inhaler, is Bono's son. But don't let the family connection get in the way of the Dublin band's accomplished post-punk tinged guitar rock, which taps into Joy Division, Interpol, The Strokes and more. Alongside Hewson are Josh Jenkinson on guitar, Rob Keating on bass and Ryan McMahon on drums
“I’m just trying to write about the joy of being alive," says Elijah, and fair play to him, it comes across in the songs. Inhaler have announced details of UK and European headline dates in early 2020, including a show at London’s Heaven on 20 February.
The daughter of the late Gary Moore, guitarist legend with Thin Lizzy, Lily Moore hasn't used her connections to get a leg-up in the business - she began busking in Brighton, before getting a slot at The Great Escape. A record deal led to her EPs Not That Special and I Will Never Be gaining a lot of attention for her take on jazzy, modern soul that recalls early Amy Winehouse and Adele.
Her More Moore Mixtape released in the summer featured a collaboration with Maverick Sabre and the year has seen support slots with George Ezra and James Bay. She plays London's Village Underground on 20 May.
Having gained a reputation for their frantic live performances and epic guitar rock sound, Sea Girls have been plying their trade throughout 2019, leading to an album deal with Polydor. The singles Damage Done, Closer and Radio X favourite Violet are tasters for new EP Under Exit Lights, which is due on 6 March 2020.
A European tour in January leads to dates in Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and a huge date at the Roundhouse in London in April 2020. Frontman Henry Camamile says: ”We’ve worked so hard to get here. We’re so clear-headed about where we want to go, where we want to be and what we want to say. I don’t want to let anything knock us off track."
Official website: www.seagirls.net
Harlsden’s Sports Team released their debut EP Winter Nets in January 2018 and have since been building up a word-of-mouth buzz over their idiosyncratic indie guitar rock across the past two years. Their 2019 single Kutcher has a chorus that goes "I just wanted to be your mid-Noughties MTV star", which gives you some idea where they're coming from.
The year ended up with Sports Team headlining the O2 Kentish Town Forum and they've already lined up Neighbourhood Weekender (Warrington) and Mad Cool Festival (Madrid) for 2020.
He's 16, he's from Bedfordshire, this is Alfie Templeman. He played all the instruments on his debut EP Like An Animal, which as released on the respected label Chess Club in October 2018 and he's been working on his craft for the past year.
The Sunday Morning Cereal EP arrived in June 2019, boasting a darker, slyer sound, but the recent Who I Am single (from the Don't Go Wasting Time EP) is as joyous as it gets.
Alfie plays The Lexington in London on 13 January and is on the bill at this year's Neighbourhood Weekender festival.
This Liverpool singer is also a producer, director, actor and comic book illustrator - and her anthemic songwriting got her a support slot on Courteeners’ UK tour at the tail end of 2018.
2019 has seen ZuZu support the likes of Gerry Cinnamon, Yonaka and Catfish And The Bottlemen, alongside her own sold-out UK tour, while releasing some massive tracks in the shape of Get Off and What You Want. February 2020 sees a stack of unmissable live shows - see her as soon as you can.