Alternative Friday

helping to spread the word about impressive new & under the radar musicians

The Evolving Tunes playlist has done exactly that again in 2019, so as the year draws to a close here’s an eclectic playlist with 25 of the best tracks to have appeared since January. It contains a wide array of genres, so dive in, enjoy, and keep an eye on the main Spotify playlist during 2020 for more exceptional new, emerging, and under the radar musicians.

The exceptional standard of new and emerging musicians never surprises me, and I’m confident that 2019 has been another great year for new music. So as it draws to a close we reveal our annual Alternative Friday Awards… so who are the winners?

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Of the 1000s of songs I’ve heard this year via Fresh on the Net and elsewhere, the 100 that have been in my monthly Mixtapes have reminded me how much amazing new music is constantly being made by new and emerging artists. To whittle that list down to these 20 tracks was therefore quite a challenge!

It’s an eclectic mix too, with not just alt rock & indie, but also soulful RnB, psychedelic folk, Afro-Latin, art pop, and more, so I hope you enjoy it, and next year do browse the monthly mixtapes and Spotify Evolving Tunes for more impressive new music.


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Photograph by Sequoia Ziff

Gizmo Varillas is a Spanish-Basque songwriter, musician and record producer, who was raised both in the UK and Spain. His music is a wonderfully colourful mix of tropical Latin, funky Afrobeat, and acoustic folk, which has seen him appear here in numerous mixtapes over the past couple of years. Ahead of his first London headline show of 2019 on November 26th at the Camden Assembly, and forthcoming third album, he takes part in this Q&A – so read on to find out more about his music, the new album, indigenous Pygmy flutes, and the legendary drummer Tony Allen.

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Liverpool band The Cheap Thrills have made a large and enjoyable impression on me in the past couple of years, from their first appearance here in the Feb 17 mixtape, as well as to appear in my last two Fresh on the Net School’s Out (best of) lists. It has also led to me seeing them live more than once! Their indie, synth, rock, & pop affair has resulted in some infectious and singalong tunes, and they’ve now packaged them superbly in their new 6-track Vue Du Monde EP.

From the rock led opener Codependence to the dance-floor filling Smile When You Sleep, plus the more mellow closing track Keep Me In Check, you can’t fail to be drawn to the rousing guitars and floor filling partnership of percussion and synths. The mix of personal and observational lyrics, as well as top notch vocals, also means you’re singing as much as foot tapping or dancing, and all this is topped with polished production too. At twenty minutes, the six songs don’t hang around more than is needed, and all together it’s a wonderfully energetic and hook laden feast of tunes.

You can find out more about the band in a Q & A I did with them earlier this year.


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I could have posted this months ago, such has been the impact of this five-piece band from the Isle of Wight on my ears this year. I decided to wait until I’d seen them though, as I was intrigued to see if their live performance could match the stunning array of sounds on their debut album – Suddenly Everyone Explodes. I’ve now had that experience as I caught the final date of their recent UK tour in London, when five became fifteen, with brass, strings, & choral support. And wow, just WOW!!
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Getting this month’s mixtape down to just 10 tracks was an even bigger challenge than usual, which is always a great sign that new and under the radar artists are continuing to create some amazing music. So dive in and enjoy an impressive array of tracks, which take in not just alt rock & indie, but also tropical pop, soulful RnB, folk, blues, and more. Enjoy…


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If we generally assume that music releases go a little quiet in the summer holiday season, then we probably need to have a rethink as the past month or two hasn’t seen a let-up in impressive new tracks. So press play, and take in the regular blast of alt rock & indie, plus some dream pop, baggy surf, psychedelic synth, & more. Enjoy…


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The Fresh on the Net school year has come to an end again and we’re now on our summer break, however I’ve been through my little black book for the past 11 months and, as always, there’s been a huge array of excellent music submitted to us during that time.

So, from the 5,000 – 6,000 tracks I’ve personally heard, I’ve created a playlist with 10 of my favourites for you to browse. So press play, and take in some alt rock & indie, troubadour rap, electronica, drum ‘n’ bass, and more. Enjoy…


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