Now in its second edition, ILMC’s central London showcase spreads across five Soho venues
An integral part of the International Live Music Conference (ILMC), London Calling returns to the capital on Wednesday 28th February 2024 to throw a spotlight on the best new music from across the UK, and beyond.
Straddling genres and cultures, emerging artists as diverse as Nxdia, freekind. and Babymorocco promise a night of smooth, neo-soul introspection and no-holds-barred hyperpop. Take a look at a few of our favourite acts taking over 21Soho (in collaboration with Ticketmaster), The 100 Club, The Lower Third, Phoenix Arts Club and The Spice of Life at this year’s festival.
Cairo-born, Manchester-based musician Nxdia has turned navigating the often uncertain space between two cultures into their superpower. Crafting resonant, endearingly unfiltered songs that seamlessly shift between English and Arabic, they channel inner monologues about identity and the queer experience into blasts of catchy, genre-bending alt-pop. Both in their music and immensely popular videos on socials, Nxdia airs desires and frustrations with honesty and humour, powered by emotion-laden vocals and agile production touches. They come to London Calling this year armed with their viral recent track ‘She Likes a Boy’.
The New Eves
Creatively embracing the laissez-faire attitude and DIY spirit of their hometown of Brighton, budding quartet The New Eves merge lilting harmonies, gritty guitar riffs and moody strings into ripples of uncompromising rebel folk. With their 2023 debut single ‘Original Sin / Mother’ in hand, they get onto the 21Soho stage to give a tantalising taste of the incisive, nature-loving melodies soon to follow. After all, live shows are the free-spirited foursome’s strong suit.
Blendering familiar hip-hop, pop, R&B and jazz ingredients, Croatian-Slovenian duo freekind. find fresh ways to push the envelope. Their luminous, groove-laden brand of neo-soul is generous and open-hearted, yet lyrically sharp and self-assured, giving in to reverie without losing sight of the world they want to be part of. The duo released their rap-centric debut album Since Always And Forever in 2023, while this year started on a high note, as they were named winners of a Music Moves Europe Award (MME). Driven by poignant, contemporary stories invoking hope and kindness, their bracing rhythmic blend is good vibes all around.
Blending vintage notes with forward-looking takes on R&B, pop and jazz, August Charles makes music at the crossroads of his rich roots. Hailing from Ndola, Zambia, he grew up in South Yorkshire, shaping his alt-soul sound through his experiences in his high-school choir and his love of Frank Ocean and Amy Winehouse. Singles like 2020’s heart-breaking, piano-laden ‘Take Me Away’ paved the way for performances in renowned festivals like Love Supreme and BST Hyde Park. During his appearance on the intimate, underground stage of The 100 Club, Charles is expected to delve deeper with low-lit, R&B-inflected sizzlers like the recent ‘In My Head’, revealing a profoundly expressive storyteller gifted with crisp, nimble vocals and talent to spare.
Forgetting The Future
Despite their young age and remote location, nothing can get in the way of ambitious indie rockers Forgetting the Future. Descending to the capital from windswept Thurso, the only town for miles on the north coast of Scotland, the band are geared to stir things up at this year’s festival. Now counting a decade together and having a recording session with Sir Edwin Collins under their belt, they unleashed Broken Phones & Hormones in 2020, a debut album packed with energy-pumping, pop-punk and Arctic Monkeys-influenced riffs. Hear authentic stories from far-flung indie-rock corners of the UK in restless bangers such as ‘Small Town Syndrome’. If anything, the Scottish foursome know how to let it rip.
Unlike the archetypal depiction of a singer-songwriter painfully wearing their heart on their sleeve, Gia Ford (a.k.a Molly McCormick), prefers to distance herself from her nocturnal, powerfully emotive narratives. Embodying fascinating dramatic personas going about their lives in a brooding haze of Americana and alternative pop, she presents an enigma for music fans to slowly unravel. Known for her stylistic explorations between releases, she’s recently swapped the horror-inspired sounds of 2020 EP Murder In The Dark for more luscious, sophisticated shades of midnight blue. A Londoner by choice —she originally comes from Sheffield— she’s eagerly awaited as one of this year’s highlights, thanks to wildly cinematic recent singles such as the slow-burning ‘Alligator’ and the piano-laden ‘Falling In Love Again’.
Fearless, playful and brazenly creative, London-based singer, producer and all-round provocateur Babymorocco invariably turns Europop into an art form. Passionately inhabiting his bare-chested, larger-than-life music identity, he throws blippy, glitzy, dauntlessly dissonant digicore, electro, hyperpop and other club-bound experiments into an ear-grabbing mix peppered with sensuous vocals, which takes a whole new dimension on stage. From Zante to California, it’s all “Sun Sex Party” brimming with irrepressible bounce and a bottomless pit of irony. If you’re out for a blazing new talent turning naughties’ nostalgia on its head, Babymorocco is ready to take the second edition of London Calling by storm.