Ones to Watch: Palma Violets to Spaceghostpurrp
Just when you think it has all been done before, a crop of amazing new bands drop in the inbox. Whether it’s four boys in sharp suits restoring faith in guitars, or rappers creating no-fi bleak hip-hop, the onslaught of fresh talent is gratefully relentless.
If Savages did not exist then Palma Violets would be the mayor of buzzband Foursquare. Normally four boys with guitars induce feelings of dread, but these four London thrift suit chaps may just have it. Eschewing the new band dogma of bombarding through social media, they have earned their knee trembling status through low key secret gigs and an air of anonymity. It is a back to basics attitude to dreamy-psych rock n roll, with shabby venues, gritty garage guitars and a word of mouth build up paving the way to Valhalla. As with all ‘next big thing’ tags, there is an air of nervousness as to what they can really achieve, But as soon as you seem them one’s faith as assured.
Each year there is a summer sunshine band, usually with handclaps and girl backing vocals, and always from California. This year it is Family Of The Year, whose chant riddled single, The Stairs, sounds as if the cast of Pretty In Pink joined Polyphonic Spree for a hipster campfire. Ben Folds is a fan of FOTY’s psych-pop smiles and sandal harmonies which could be Best Coast if they were not so damn cool. There are unashamedly camped in the pop field, the spacious one with tents already pitched for you, but they are not producing advert music, like Foster The People, nor are they simply Len-esque one hit wonders. Forthcoming album Loma Vista is the musical Instagram for 20 something buddies reading Kindles in a park.
He may be another heartfelt singer songwriter with an acoustic guitar and pain beyond his years, but bear with me. Before he has even released a single Kumra has a number one record, having co-written Wretch 32’s smash hit Don’t Go, just as Jessie J was an accomplished hit writer before her own pop career. This was the green light for appearances at Glastonbury and on Jools Holland, and to be embraced by the grime world, so he is more than an open mic’ busker done good. Kumra’s bittersweet urban acoustica’s natural home is the Live Lounge, whether that’s a good or bad thing is up to you, but his Ray Lamontagne husk on his debut disc, Helicopters and Planes, ensures there is a healthy muso edge.
With Viva Brother’s reinvention as electro-troupe Lovelife it is tempting to immediately black list all synth-pop. In a Cardiff crevice, however, this duo created punchy pop laced with pulsing grandeur which elevates you to the clouds. Much of their debut album, ‘Foe’, captures the anthemic necessities of a stadium show while remaining intimately ghostly. In many ways they are the anti-Hurts, opting for driving rhythms and contemporary effects rather than polished moodiness, and as such achieve an almost prog rock feel. The idea of synth pop merely being the playground of moody duos is shattered, and Man Without Country lead the way in carving an genre which is ambitious yet humble in its aural assaults.
Spaceghostpurrp’s debut album, ‘Mysterious Phonk’, is too damn clever to be mere hip hop. He has seemingly remodelled rap into a post-trip hop world of no-fi claustrophobia. There is none of the sun ‘n’ jet skis of his Miami home; rather he exudes a sinister k-hole bleakness of a never ending night. His lyrics cite the lord of the underworld and are riddled with shadowy spirituality creating the kind of dystopian metaphors associated with Wu-Tang and Tricky. The fact he signed with 4AD is testament to his leftfield approach and invigorating sound. Whereas most rappers loiter with crews, Spaceghostpurrp is a one man show, crafting his own beats and being the sole voice, allowing his gripping and deeply personal post drug use songs to thrive.Tagged in: Family Of The Year, Josh Kumra, Man Without Country, music, Palma Violets, Spaceghostpurrp
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