We take a look at some of the top independent artists in the USA and UK in association with Labelled Independent, the new music podcast.

With 2012 a fading memory, we here at Skope Magazine/Labelled Independent are now looking ahead to just who might make the musical grade in 2013. Naturally, we don’t have a crystal ball and there’s no way of predicting success, but here are just a few of the artists that have got our attention going into the New Year.

Top of our lists are Royal Hoax, an alternative pop-rock group based in Detroit, Michigan. Their self-titled debut album (currently available in the US, out February in the UK) is a superbly catchy collection of upbeat songs, typified by the infectious ‘Shiver Shake’ ( which has a fantastic video with a sense of humour to match.

From the other end of the pop spectrum comes electronica artist Our Ghosts (aka James Gray). Based in Boston, Gray’s debut album ‘A Brand New Mouth Full of Razor Sharp Teeth’ brings together ominous electronic samples with intriguing rhythms and occasional voice clips. Not for the faint of heart but well worth your time.

Meanwhile, from the UK, David Migden & The Dirty Words bring together a truly staggering number of genres — from jazz and blues to country and Americana via funk and soul — while all the while retaining a distinct sound of their very own. Their debut album ‘Killing It’ is getting rave reviews wherever it goes — 2013 could be a big year for this talented 5 piece.

Last but certainly not least come two South East UK based rock bands currently fighting for our attention. Den Haag’s EP ‘Trials & Tributes’ (out now on digital) calls on post-punk influences such as The Cure & Joy Division with a DIY feel. On the other hand Emperor The Stag have a pristine indie sound that calls to mind some top 21st century artists. The production on their ‘Speedwell Drive’ EP is top drawer, with sings that range from the short and shifty to the sprawling and epic. Both these Brit Rock bands are well worth your time. &

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Photo: Royal Hoax

By: Steve Boniface –

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