In some respects, it’s a difficult position we find ourselves in at this early stage of the year, every year. How do we decide on who we think will flourish over the next 12 months? Who is on the cusp of blowing up, but is still fresh enough to warrant inclusion? These are the questions that inevitably, and ever so reliably, crop up. But we end up having the same discussion. We ask ourselves, what does it really matter?

In the end, if an up and coming band or artist has moved us in some way, or excited us, or shocked, thrilled, or surprised us, they need to be on the list. It’s simple. And moved us they have, these Faces of 2018 - these handpicked acts you’ll be seeing and hearing big things from in 2018. As ever, we’ve tirelessly and hungrily scoured the land to try and bring to you, dear reader (and listener), as musically and geographically diverse a selection as possible.

Given the sheer quality of artistry contained in these pages, you’ll agree that our task was fairly straightforward. We have high hopes for these homegrown heroes, and can only wish them the best as they develop over the next year - there are new releases to look forward to, gigs to prepare for, and all manner of plans in place. But for now, it all boils down to 20 amazing bands, a collection of original, incredible photography, and the chance to get in on the action and see our Faces of 2018, live and loud at Whelan’s Ones to Watch this weekend.

Happy listening, folks.

Aaron, Phil, and Simon.