The ICM Awards have done it again… the public have spoken and the victorious have been crowned. Seeing Russian Hospital take on Fidlar, Sophie and the Giants put up a good fight and Blackwaters take on Wolf Alice, we certainly have seen how 2018 has resonated within the indie music scene.
As we come to the end of the year we take a look back at all of our amazing winners!
GREATEST DISCOVERY – GAFFA TAPE SANDY
Formed in 2015 by three friends with a desire to do something loud and exciting, Gaffa Tape Sandy’s popularity quickly escalated thanks to a series of incendiary live shows and a seemingly endless succession of instantly memorable garage-punk/rock tunes.
The Brighton/Bury St Edmunds outfit’s brand of giddily frantic, high-octane hyper rock‘n’roll has already landed them support slots with acts including IDLES, Peace, SuperGlu, Bloody Knees and Indoor Pets.
Their debut EP ‘Spring Killing’ led to them performing at Glastonbury Festival, with their next single ‘Beehive’ gaining much support including Huw Stephens’ BBC Radio 1 Tip Of The Week before being included in NME’s 100 Essential Acts for 2018. This year has seen them hopping all over the festival circuit, from Live At Leeds & Liverpool Sound City to The Great Escape & Latitude Festival, as well as their first international performance at Germany’s Waldstock Festival.
BEST INTERNATIONAL ACT – HOSPITAL
Formed in 2011 by members of several Russian indie rock bands, Hospital was the ambitious vision of talented lead vocalist Egor Berdnikov and realised by additional band members, Andrey Tsvetkov, lead guitar and backing vocals, Alexey Shorin, bass guitar and Vladimir Balovnev on drums.
Now with two successful albums under their belt, having supported the Moscow legs of huge international tours, including Lana Del Ray, The Neighbourhood and The Kooks, Hospital are ready to release their third album.
Since conception, the band has developed a heightened depth of sound, adding a hefty measure of electronica to their infectious indie tracks. Their sound is littered with iconic 80’s influence, from Bands such as New Order, Tears for Fears and INXS. The Cure has also been a continuous inspiration throughout the quartet’s discography.
Hospital’s story to date, is testament to the bands huge popularity in their home country, but we should expect the appeal of this energetic fourpiece to be far wider reaching in 2018.
ICM FILM OF THE YEAR – BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY
It should come as little surprise that Bohemian Rhapsody won our film of the year accolade. A picture focused around one of the greatest frontmen in music should win on a music platform with you, the biggest fans of music.
But that’s not the only reason Freddy Mercury’s biopic was so well received, not only by music fans, but by the cinematic world. The performance from Malek transforms this film into an experience that you have a front row seat for.
Freddie Mercury was one in a million, truly larger than life, so I can only imagine the pressure must have been crippling for Malek to fill these shoes. He admirably rises to the challenge and suddenly it seems absurd to think that he wasn’t actually the first choice to play this role. Initially, comedy star Sacha Baron Cohen was said to be the man for the job and granted he does bear a remarkable resemblance to Freddie, but that’s where the buck stops. In terms of actually delivering a solid performance, I’m not convinced his portrayal of Freddie would have been anywhere near as good and I know a lot of people have said the same.
Bohemian Rhapsody is definitely worth you checking out. It is partly a deep and heartfelt biopic of Freddie’s life, but it’s also a journey through Queen’s discography, charting how some of their most popular tracks came to be. The final scene depicts Queen’s legendary appearance at Live Aid back in 1985 and every major hit that hasn’t already been featured in the film beforehand.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR – TOM GRENNAN’S ‘LIGHTING MATCHES’
Tom Grennan as risen through the ranks at an alarming rate. And this debut album just highlights his brilliance. ‘Lightning Matches’ has all the elements of a great Indie Rock musician. From ‘Royal Highness’ to ‘Lucky Ones’, the LP shows exactly what he can do – which is pretty much anything.
His voice powerful voice and bold guitar rock is confident, energetic and genuine. Grennan has gone from strength to strength and has produced something truly marvellous.
BEST LIVE PERFORMANCE – BLACKWATERS’ YARD PARTY
Formed in Guildford by four students at The Academy of Contemporary music, BlackWaters are equal parts adolescent angst and masculine bravado, channelling John Cooper Clark’s ruminations on the absurdity of modern life whilst paying homage to West Coast garage kings FIDLAR. In all their resplendent and anarchic glory this band managed to dodge the “indie pop” bullet and instead pledged to uphold the glorious tradition of “I don’t give a fuck” music, a mantle they wear proudly.
Humble beginnings on the notorious London gig circuit honed this tight fit unit into a powerful live force and secured them support slots with The Libertines, Killing Joke, DMAs, Marmozets, Barns Courtney and SWMRS. Chaotic performances at Download Festival, Reading & Leeds, TRNSMT and Isle Of White amongst others swelled the ranks of their dedicated fan base and established the band as festival favourites.
TRACK OF THE YEAR – ARCTIC MONKEYS’ ‘FOUR OUT OF FIVE’
Taken from Arctic’s latest release, ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’, ‘Four Out Of Five’, although not the title track, is certainly the establishing shot. Six songs in and it’s still the scene-setter – the sort of track that makes people say this…
“AM paints a picture of a dilapidated motel and satin robes; toothless hookers and flares in a camcorder production of the worst type of sleazy pornography.”. – George (Senior Editor)
Instigated with an infectious riff and the bellowing acoustics of Alex Turner’s vocals, ‘Four Out Of Five’ is by far the greatest offering from the band’s latest LP. ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ is certainly one to spark controversy, but if you forget about the LP as a whole for a second and just immerse yourself in the 5-minute ensemble, letting your imagination wander on the picturesque landscape that Alex paints, you’ll understand why this track is simply divine.
ICM AWARDS 2018
And that’s all for this year. Join us in December 2019 to celebrate what we anticipate to be an absolute corker of a year!
ONES TO WATCH 2019
Come back every day of January 2019 to discover a new artist that we expect to take the next year by storm! In the past we tipped Tom walker 8 months before his BBC debut, Rag’n’Bone man 6 months before he released ‘Human’ and Sam fender, 12 months before he was picked as the Brits Critic Choice.