Ones to Watch: Splashh to Divine Fits
Music hating Blue Meanies are beaten by Opossum’s vintage beats and Divine Fits prove supergroups are not always ego trip follies, while Jessie Ware becomes your new favourite popstar.
Reverb and fuzz boxes make guitars sound awesome. Add some phased vocals and duffle coat drums and you have pure aural joy. Ok, there may be a twinge of 90’s nostalgia with that, but Splashh (pictured, right) take this spirit of Lee Ranaldo’s shred-gaze and reimagine it as a truly contemporary sound. The Hackney quartet, bash Hüsker Dü’s lo-fi attitudes into the second summer of love for an invigorating psych-fuzz, like Candy Flip with a homemade firecracker. They are the British Wavves, not just in spelling styles but in their ability to build a guitar amp out of sand and get feedback from the beach while maintaining a slew of lo-fi bedroom releases.
Recreating the sound of a nihilistic Velvet Underground playing Slint covers are this Deptford trio who work to a Junk Jazz manifesto, which involves recycling and reorganising music in a cauldron of Buffy and Thelonious Monk to apparently ‘fix’ it. The results are an abrasive and ethereal art grunge, laden with phased guitars, intricate tempo changes and thinly disguised drug ballads. On stage vocalist Iva Moskovich is captivatingly intense, wide-eyed and precisely articulate with her mouth as she judders around the stage like a jittery Wilko Johnson. Their records are delicately subversive, but their achingly exciting live shows are a pure aural assault of counterpointed effects and jarring guitars.
Chances are you’re already familiar with Ware’s lush poptronica if you’ve been anywhere near 6Music, but her sheer brilliance cannot be ignored. Her single ‘110%’ is layered with serene vocals and raw drum loops which are stunningly simple. Then there’s the understated bassline which is aural popping candy. Ware brings lo-fi-post-post-step to the pop world, having earned her stripes with SBTRKT and becoming underground dub’s vocalist of choice. Although unashamedly in the shadow of Katy B, Ware’s exudes an integrity laced coolness which isn’t giving in too much to the T4 crew. She’s seems somewhat Nordic in her electro demeanour but embodies the vigorous excitement of Britain’s underground.
Not many acts come from New Zealand but Auckland trio Opossum make the North Island seem like Portland. Their retro psych-pop is laced with trippy RnB beats and sci-fi vocals which make the Flaming Lips appear subtle. As an occasional touring member of his brother’s band, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Kody Neilson has seen the world through the bottom of a Beefheart bottle and dragged this otherworldliness to a new astral plane. Debut single ‘Blue Meanies’ contracts its music hating namesake with blissed out harmonies and infectious garage bass line which would subdue the fiercest Snapping Turtle Turk. They able to create aural odysseys filled with vintage beats and sparkling synths.
Supergroups are bizarre follies. They lurk between ego and boredom, rarely surpassing their parent groups. But when Wolf Parade’s Dan Boeckner found himself bandless a jam with Spoon’s Britt Daniel and Sam Brown from New Bomb Turks seemed a decent pass time. The resultant cascading sythns, compressed beats and gnashing guitar crunches embody the power of an electro Gang Of Four playing a sleazy high school prom. Lead single ‘My Love Is Real’ is a discordant 80’s swoon of ‘Talk Talk’ baladeering while B-side ‘Would That Not Be Nice’ could be early Liars, had they been garage rock slackers.
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