Ones To Watch: Clean Bandit to Pawws

David Newbury

Ones To Watch returns with Clean Bandit and Johnny Lucas providing the soundtrack to summer, while Pawws adds cool beauty to the barmy heat-wave.

Clean Bandit

Let’s face it, the heat-wave has turned the country into a sea of sweaty arm pits, and Clean Bandit are not doing anything to stop it. Rather than battle against the onset of BO, the London via Cambridge University quartet are intent on forcing summer revellers to wave their arms in the air to bombastic string fuelled electro. Their classical melodies chaperone pounding bass to create eclectic dance floor anthems to rival Basement Jaxx. A revolving line-up of guest vocalists allows the electronica of Jack Paterson, and Grace Chatto’s arrangements, to veer between the vocal house-step of Dust Clears to the grime flecked Mozart’s House while maintaining a throbbing dance floor. Clean Bandit had been bubbling under the radar of the past year with minor hits, but a relentless schedule of festival appearances and sell out shows has carved them into an exciting prospect for flagging mainstream dance music scene.


“We all know it’s hard being a Londoner these days.” True, rents are exploitative and the clubs are dismal. Luckily sharply dressed duo T.W.i.N.S are taking on unscrupulous landlords and promoters’ snake-oil hustling with self-deprecating Diplo beats over kitchen sink dramas. Debut single Found A Flat nuzzles the outsider story telling of Lawrence with a bass squawk to rival Mr Oizo, while Ride The Horsey’s phlat-horns promise a refreshing pint of aural IPA after a night of dance hall riddim. Producers Hugo and Laurence may tickle the wry pretentiousness of London’s Trendy East but real-life stories have rarely been so catchy.

Johnny Lucas
During these carefree summer days we need unashamed pop thrills filtering out of our iPhone speakers while sitting in the park, something Johnny Lucas is fully aware of. The shameless acoustic-pop of this Warrington songwriter has created the recipe for a catchy-as-hell summer smash without anyone noticing. New single Lilo is perfectly timed and so achingly infectious that even a stone cold The XX fan would reach out for the beach towel and head to Torremolinos for a week. Lilo sounds as though Jack Johnson and Len rewrote Boys of Summer in the style of forgotten britpoppers The Supernaturals, yes that it’s that catchy.

It had to happen at some point. Grebo is back, well almost. Birmingham isn’t renowned for its music, other than Black Sabbath and Johnny Foreigner, but Peace, Swim Deep and now slacker quartet Dumb  are waving flags proclaiming: “It’s ok to have scruffy hair and play guitars, in fact it’s rad dude,” in homage to the Neds’ and PWEIs which made the west midland a focus 25 years ago. Although Dumb’s debut single Retina is more in-line with 90s American college slackers Swell than Grebo’s undercuts, it proves the cool kids have reclaimed the band practice room from the maths geeks crying over their homework, *cough, Alt-J*.


Despite only having five or so songs to play live north London’s Pawws is proving to be very special indeed. Lucy Taylor, the mesmerising voice behind the Pawws moniker, takes the simplicity of 80s pop melodies and drives a dance-floor stake though its luscious heart. Her debut single Time To Say Goodbye, drips with an energised beauty rarely seen in today’s Scandinavian tinged electro-pop. Although Pawws’ profile was undoubtedly helped by touring with MGMT and Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke – a bit of insider networking is always handy – the sheer magic of Taylor’s presence proves she is a star in her own right.

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