Ones To Watch: Among Brothers to Zebra and Snake
From pagan-electro to lolloping psychedelia, the barrage of new, genre defying, bands is relentless. Bandcamp, Hype Machine and buzz blogs bombard you with music, much of which is instantly forgettable.
Picking which bright young things to follow, and be able to name drop in a few years -boasting you preferred their early EPs, actually- is tricky, but this week’s five choices should ensure your gamble works.
Although this Cardiff six piece’s likeness to Los Campesinos, with violins swooning next to chanting multi-vocals, is unavoidable, their world view is much more serene and experimental. They fuse electronic samples and fluttering synths with a form of disjointed cyber folk which sounds like Kraftwerk after a few years in a Trappist monastery. Treating twee-pop as a base for building challenging instrumental layers, means they avoid whimsy, and create a gentle take on Animal Collectives ambition. They have already received backing from BBC Introducing, and Jen Long and Huw Stephens off of the wireless are fans. Now it is time for your pop hearts to be swooned with new single ‘Keep’.
Sweden churns out electro-pop singers quicker than Government u-turn. But like an audience’s cheer at cuddly toy’s appearance on the Generation Game, a true Swedish gem has emerged from the conveyor-belt of synth mediocrity. Faye, pictured top right, has already played the pop game; as a teenager she sold millions of records and toured with Destiny’s Child as part of girl-group Play. Now, freed form The Man’s puppet strings, she’s become a formidable creative force, crafting gently euphoric singles Come To Me and Water Against The Rocks. There’s an obtuse slickness to her pop which captures the heart while retaining a vibrant edginess. Ditching her birth name, Fanny, for her career is a wise move; Googling Fanny+Sweden, isn’t recommended.
Catching this London five piece at The Great Escape was a revelation. They seemed to be a female fronted rock band, before morphing into a neo-rave act with a frontman straddling the PA system, it was brilliant. The punctuation in their name says it all; they’re a bold statement, a Tannoy calling society to arms against banal indiepop. Citizens!’s debut album, Here We Are, is the kind of record The Kinks would have made if they had bolder riffs and modern synths. It is excitable pop with a classic indie undercurrent which leans towards Hot Chip and Friendly Fires, with the right of carefree angst.
Rebekah Wood and John Rigard formed coves a mere year ago, and have already self-released a record and toured with Echo And The Bunnymen. Not bad for a baggy indie-psych duo from Leamington Spa. Their beats lollop over pneumatic riffs and awkward samples, which could be 80’s shoegazers Ultra Vivid Scene gone glam rock, while exuding a DIY charm. They’ve avoided the ethereal drone of so many currents bands by adopting an ethnic mysticism during ‘No Ladder’ and a slacker grittiness on the magnificent ‘Cast A Shadow’. So early in their career they’re not yet ready to change the world, but with A&R guru James Endeacott on the case, it’s only a matter of time.
This Finnish trio are wrong. They look like a Scorpions cover band from 1987 with sweaty blonde hair and leather jackets, yet they make brooding Bratpack electro with driving beats. They’re synthpop without the pop; instead reliant on sombre soundscapes to recreate the detachment of their rural upbringing and the brightness of the aurora borealis. Their debut album, Healing Music, aches with tragedy and euphoria, as though The National were covering Duran Duran. Latest single ‘Money in Heaven’, bombards you with OMD’s bleak charm then rewards your emotional strength with heart breaking honesty. Zebra and Snake may be an awful name, and a secret death metal past is surely lurking somewhere, but their pulsating pagan-synth easily forgives such foibles.Tagged in: Among Brothers, Citizens!, Coves, Faye, Los CampesinosKraftwerk, new bands, new music, ones to watch, Scorpions, Swedish electro-pop, Zebra and Snake
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