As we slowly reacquaint ourselves with normal life after two weeks of liquid merriment, we're very grateful to the people behind the London-based music collective Artrocker. This month sees the return of their New Blood Festival, beginning tonight (7 January), at a time when life's not so much about long-term planning as realising that January is heinous and there's no point staying in moping so you might as well get out and see a gig.
The New Blood Festival takes place at the Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen and involves eight nights of some of the UK's most swiftly rising stars. As you'd be entitled to expect a good number of these are London artists, so it's only right we have a delve into what the good folk of Artrocker think will be big in London's scene over 2015.
We'd be foolish not to begin with CuT, since we've been banging the band's drum since last April. Our north and north-east London heroes play the festival on Thursday 15 January, ably supported by Asylums and Taman Shud. The latter band are named after an unexplained death of a chap in Australia in 1948, though there's already been another band by that name so let's hope there are no lawsuits ahead. At any rate, this Artrocking Taman Shud are also from London so let's have a bit of them — here's The Ziggurat, A Mirage, a track we can be fairly sure is by this band and not the ropey Aussie one.
There are plenty of other highlights before and after the CuT/Taman Shud gig. On Thursday 8 January the fesival is taken over by London's Marshall Teller Records, a label that has released music by the likes of Cheatahs and The History of Apple Pie. Their three acts will be Great Ytene, Psychic Markers and Joya — each, marvellously, from this fine city of ours.
On Tuesday 13 January another London band top the bill in Hoxton, the forcefully named Beasts. They originate from Twickenham, and they're still in that glorious land between debut single and realisation that fame is not instantaneous, but perhaps it'll be a little easier for this lot given even the Kaiser Chiefs got famous somehow. Here is their bloody marvellous recent single Annie.
Another London act to look out for on the Artrocker bill are Death and the Penguin, named after a 1996 novel by Ukrainian author Andrey Kurkov, unless the book's named after something else of course. This is a band we've been meaning to cover for a while now but you know how these things are, life takes over, some things happen and others don't, and so on. So to remedy that a little, here's a track from their debut EP, entitled Strange Times, which they'll doubtless hammer through at the Bar & Kitchen on Wednesday 14 January (when they support Max Raptor).
Four more London bands pepper the line-up: Saint Agnes (tonight, 7 January), Habitats (20 January), Netil (22 January) and Electric Child House (21 January), because in the startling pre-apocalyptic times we live in your really can call a band Electric Child House and get away with it.
Help shed the despondency of a grim January with a spot of live music supporting a bit of local talent while you're at it. Or just stay home. That's sure to be fun.
Artrocker's New Blood Festival takes place from 7-22 January at the Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen. Tickets priced £6 plus fees are available from Gigantic.