With July nearly upon us, this is in no way an ordinary or sensical time to do a half-of-year thing. Oh well.
Anyway, it’s been a funny old 6-7 months for music. In terms of Music ‘news’ (clickbait), it’s been largely dominated by large personalities – Kanye West and Beyoncé I’m looking right at you. Although Beyonce’s album was great, West’s wasn’t, providing Exhibit A for the case stating that bluster does not always equal good music. Similarly, Radiohead’s now infamous almost anti-marketing (featuring Thom Yorke, PR darling) accompanied one of the year’s best releases so far.
Alongside these huge releases, though, a few more new artists have emerged from the woodwork.
U need to hear these guyz:
Let’s Eat Grandma are 16 and 17 respectively, and have just released their first album, which they wrote when they were 13 and 14. What’s more, this is no tween-pop marketing dream but rather an emotionally and musically complex piece of work. The two girls employ brass, synths, percussion and just straight out noise to provide various weird and wonderful takes on themes of childhood. It’s all a bit kitsch until you remember that they are actually children, and the melodies hit; they’re so well placed that all questions of age and theme melt away.
VANT and The Hunna share something rather major large; they’re pretty much straight out indie guitar bands. Unlike most other hype acts, they are both looking back (albeit only as far as 2005) rather than forward. The Hunna do as much as they can to mitigate this, though – The Hunna’s grasp of the power of a carefully controlled guitar crunch, a whiney, earnest male vocal and a thousand teenage fans means that if anyone succeeds in this apocalyptic guitar wasteland it’ll be them. It’ll be sad but not unexpected if they simply end up as ‘best in class’.
VANT, meanwhile, fight against samedom by being a bit different – not too much, mind you. The band’s frontman Mattie Vant (who, judging by his interviews, seems to regard himself as the first person to discover left wing politics) is open about his employment of rather unfashionable Punk to give a bit of snarl to his indie. The band is at its best where this is strongest, the band no longer forced to disguise their energy.
Bad Sounds are hardly a million miles away from their (slightly landfill) indie ancestors. Containing not only the obvious, bouncing melodies and occasional flirtations with electronica of The Wombats, Swim Deep et al but also those bands’ sense of super-duper irony, Bad Sounds are hardly going to start a revolution in your ear. But their aforementioned melodies are combined with just enough LCD Soundsystem-esque weirdness (check out those oh so electronic notes heading wonderfully off track) to keep it interesting.
Daniel Wilson has neurotica seeping through his lyrics like a Buzzfeed personal experience article. It pays off, though, giving his electronica meets chamber music meets indie rock songs a feeling of nowness. That neurotica extends further than his lyrics, though, with his music contrasting repetitive patterns of notes with grandiose strings sections so that those patterns are amplified throughout. It’s all very earnest, but his dynamic voice prevents it from becoming staid. Think Bipolar Sunshine singing over Adele’s music, with the lyrics penned by a millennial.
And just keep an eye on:
Nao does what she likes, when she likes. Her twisty RnB grooves, luckily, match her on-stage confidence, totalling up to a live package more than worth the admission. But despite a changing music industry it is still the studio where an artist’s name is made, and here it could still go either way. Although she appears 5000% capable of employing texture and rhythm to build up a solid, noddable, danceable and yet still a little bit tense groove, there’s simply not enough melody where there maybe needs to be – yet.
And, as always, check out what Dutch Criminal Record are up to… https://play.spotify.com/artist/5h6KJPKB8cSVJTWZhKAZoT