Phil did mention a while ago that it would be good for us to tip bands that we think are going to make it in the future. A few months ago I would have said Peace, but hopefully they have now arrived (see album review in this issue), so the next big thing is undoubtedly going to be Haim. This American trio, made up of three sisters, produce some of the best indie rock around. Apparently heavily influenced by the Buckingham/Nicks version of Fleetwood Mac (although I canít hear it myself) - I hear more of a Kate Bush vibe circa ĎHounds Of Loveí. They have been slipping regular demos out on Youtube, which are all well worth checking out, and their ĎForeverí three track EP is a good starting point if you want to investigate the band. All their songs are excellent, but tracks like ĎThe Wireí, ĎGo Slowí and ĎLet Me Goí stand out even amongst the high quality of the rest of their material. Proving they have a sense of humour, they did cover a Fleetwood Mac song in their live set, but they went for one of Peter Greenís, and delivered a killer version of ĎOh Wellí! When the album arrives they are going to be massive.
A band that I have already championed is Factory Floor. Their debut EP was astounding, and since then they have let out a 50 minute live recording titled ĎLive In The Boiler Roomí, and a new single in ĎFall Backí. The album canít be far away, and fans of Throbbing Gristle and their various offshoots will love it.
There are a number of indie bands around at the moment producing great Ďpopí songs. Temples, The Sundowners and Childhood are all making music that owes a debt to classic 60ís pop, with catchy tunes, sunshine harmonies, and a great retro vibe. Templesí ĎShelterí is pure late 60ís psyche with an opening Byrdsian riff and a naggingly catchy tune, while ĎPrismsí is more of the same with a smooth, laid-back groove. Childhoodís ĎBlue Velvetí is a more 60ís influenced pop sound, welded neatly to an 80ís Madchester feel around the time of The Stone Roses first album, and ĎBond Girlsí rocks out like itís trying to restart the Paisley Underground all on its own. The Sundownders have a sunshine pop feel to them, mostly down to the dual female vocals which bring to mind the groups like Mamas And The Papas. They are a five-piece from The Wirral, and ĎHummingbirdí is the sort of catchy pop song you only need to hear once to be humming for the rest of the day. ĎGone Into The Suní and ĎNo Goiní Backí are another brace of great songs, and while I would happily listen to an albums worth of this sort of thing, I canít help feeling that, as good as they are, they will struggle to find a wider audience in todayís indie-rock market.
Chvrches are a Scottish electro-pop band with a great singer in Lauren Mayberry. Their 2012 single ĎThe Mother We Shareí is a superb song, and they have just released their ĎRecoverí EP, which will hopefully bring them a new set of converts. Iím not normally a fan of electro-pop, but Chvrches write some fine songs, and Lauren has the voice to carry them off, so in this case I am making an exception.
Pavlovís Children are another band in the Factory Floor mould, and while ĎLittle Douglasí and ĎRepeat Prescriptioní do have a certain something, at the moment they are missing that edge that will take them to the next level. I have high hopes, and will keep an eye out for any future releases.
The Strypes are getting something of a reputation as a band to watch, with their authentic take on 60ís rhythm and blues. The thing to remember about these kids is that they are just that Ė the average age is 16 and yet they are producing note-perfect renditions of these old RíníB standards. They have an EP out called ĎYoung Gifted And Blueí which you really need to check out, and now that they have started writing their own songs we will have to wait and see if they can become more than just an exceptional wedding band.
Savages are a female four-piece post-punk band who released the brilliant single ĎFlying To Berliní/ĎHusbandsí last year, and we have been waiting with bated breath ever since for more from the band. There are a few live tracks on Youtube which hint at how good they can be, especially French singer Jehnny Beth who is a great front-person, but for the moment we will have to be patient until some new material appears.
Swim Deep are contemporaries of Peace, both hailing from Birmingham, but their music is quite different, with Swim Deep aiming more for the pop end of the market rather than the rock that Peace produce. They have had a couple of singles out, of which ĎHoneyí is a nice little indie rocker, and ĎKing Cityís chiming guitars give it a summery, upbeat feel. ĎOrange Countyí highlights Austin Williamsí laconic vocal style, and although ĎBeach Justiceí speeds things up slightly it seems the band never really break a sweat. To be honest, I am keeping an eye on Swim Deep mainly because they tend to be lumped in with Peace, Haim etc as bands to watch out for, but I canít shake the feeling that they are an identikit indie band, and they need a bit more of an edge to win me round.
Welsh band Deaf Club have been likened to The Cure fronted by Judy Collins, and while I guess I can hear echoes of ĎPornographyí era Cure in the brooding atmospherics of the music, the vocals are a little more modern, and donít sound as out of place as a 60ís folkie singing with a bunch of 80ís goths. ĎIt/Sheí pretty much sums up the bandís style, with its echoey drum sound and chiming guitars, and Polly Mackey doing her best Nico impression. The band have released one EP, ĎLullí, and a couple of singles so far, with EP track ĎForest Ė Shoreí in particular having a certain something. ĎPostcardí is another stunner, stretching out to over seven minutes and taken at a funereal pace, it has a beautifully forlorn atmosphere, and Pollyís vocals just add to the despondency of the music. Their more recent music has progressed nicely, with last yearís ĎBreak It Slowí having decidedly more power than some of their earlier work, and ĎSundayí surges forward with tribal drums and another good performance from Polly. There is a market for this style of music, and with the right push Deaf Club could fill that gap.
Charles Boyer & The Voyeurs sound like they will be absolute rubbish, but donít judge a book by its cover Ė or a band by itís name Ė as their modern take on a wirey Velvet Underground sound really works. ĎI Watch Youí starts out like ĎIím Waiting For The Maní, with a vocal style indebted to Television/Talking Heads, and while this may sound like itís all been done before Ė well, yes it has, but no-one else is doing it right now, and thatís why itís so great to hear a new band utilising this style. They even push the song on two minutes longer than they needed to, just so that they can have extended organ/guitar duel, and who is doing that these days? ĎBe Niceí canít really match up to ĎI Watch Youí, but it tries its best and comes over as a slightly commercial version of the sound, with a more defined chorus and some nice pop hooks Ė and I havenít heard a false ending for so long that it really took me back to the 70ís. ĎDucks/You Havenít Got A Chanceí are more Charles Boyer solo tracks than band efforts, and their sparser instrumentation doesnít really lend itself to the strained vocals, so not as good as the other two songs, but if he does more stuff with the band than I will definitely be interested.
YOU HEARD THEM HERE FIRST