Groningen is set to welcome international talent...

For anyone that considers January to be dark, wet and unpleasant, the good news is that live music – the festival season in particular - never really stops and Eurosonic Noorderslag opens next week.

One of mainland Europe’s biggest, most influential new music showcases, the programme offers a superb and diverse line-up from across the continent and beyond. It is an exclusive opportunity to catch your new favourite bands and artists before they reach wider audiences. A place where the concept of genre becomes expansive and open and an array of new names is unleashed. From ambient, hip hop and jazz to R&B, pop, electronica, post-punk and indie, there is something to satisfy the taste palette of any music fan.

The beautiful and charming city of Groningen provides the ideal scenery for the Dutch music extravaganza. Be prepared for milder weather as temperatures look set to average 10 degree Celsius, which could make the action of getting from to venue more smooth and easy.

Clash has picked five top acts to look out for at ESNS this year.

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Inhaler

2019 became the year when Dublin earned its status as the new – unofficial - home of authentic and edgy rock and roll. Destined for big things, pop and roll four piece Inhaler insist on wanting to succeed on their own terms and let their music speak for itself. Having toured North America with Blossoms for a decent chunk of last year, they continue to build their growing international fanbase.

Infectiously melodic song material just like ‘Ice Cream Sundae’, ‘My Honest Face’ and ‘It Won’t Always Be Like This’ increase the hunger for more. Make sure you check them out. The sooner the better.

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Sorry

If or when when the future of guitar music is ever thrown into doubt again, Sorry ought to form part of the discussion and any creative solution. Focused around North London childhood best friends Asha Louis and Lincoln Patrick, they are one of the most innovative UK guitar acts on the underground scene.

Having established a desirable reputation initiated by their authentic, fiercely raw sound, they were first spotted by Domino who recognised their rare gift. The combined benefit of releasing their debut album this spring and the nature of their forceful and unique live sound makes their ESNS appearance unmissable.

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Novaa

The crisp, clean and playful vocals meld with the sound of otherworldly electronica. Berlin based singer songwriter and producer Novaa – whose real name is Antonia Rug – knows and understands the secret to creating sweet, mesmerising indie soundscapes.

First emerging in 2016, her collaborations with producer Moglii followed by her debut album ‘Stolen Peaches’ from 2019 launched her onto the scene. The discovery of Ableton software is pivotal in her music as she learnt how to make full use of it, experiment and develop her songs.

Scooping the German public radio stations’ New Music Award, she supported Mighty Oaks on their European tour and has since wowed crowds at Melt! and Reeperbahn festivals.

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The Homesick

Eclectic post-punk outfit The Homesick - Jaap van der Velde, Erik Woudwijk and Elias Elgersma - hailing from the Dokkum in the north of the Netherlands. Initially playing each other tracks over Skype while bonding over the likes of Mac DeMarco and Ariel Pink set off a prolific period of writing.

Signing to Sub Pop, the release of their ambitious album ‘The Big Exercise’ followed, an album that seeks to combine artful sentiments and indie guitars. There is loads more to come from the eccentric Dutch trio, and now is the time to get in and have fun with them.

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Rev Rev Rev

Hailed as one of Italy’s most promising new bands, Rev Rev Rev’s brand of idiosyncratic noise and psychedelic rock has been gaining influence across Europe. Loud, woozy and fuzz driven, the quality of their sound has earned them critical acclaim and praise from radio networks as well as press.

Two albums in - ‘Des Fleurs Magiques Bourdonnaient’ from 2016 and ‘Kykeon’ from 2019 – it is obvious that they have done the ground work and find themselves in a good position to build on what they have and take things further.

But where is 2020 going to take them? Their appearance at ESNS will give you a pretty good idea!

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Eurosonic runs between January 15th - 17th.

Words: Susan Hansen

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