The Top 20 Most Underrated Artists Of Glastonbury Festival 2015
Who doesn’t love a music festival, right? It’s all the best parts of a concert–music, friends, alcohol and drugs…just lots and lots more of them! Each year, more and more of them are popping up all over the place. As you probably already know, one of the biggest, baddest and longest running is the Glastonbury Festival Of Contemporary Performing Arts. The annual fest is to be one of the most incredible line ups this year. We’re talking about Kanye West, Foo Fighters, Lionel Richie, Florence + the Machine, Pharrell Williams, Alabama Shakes, Mark Ronson, Mary J. Blige, Flying Lotus, alt-J and tons more! Is it just us, or does it seem like the year that each fest is trying to out do and top each other?
A few larger music websites will publish guides which present a good summary to the impressive bill, but who doesn’t already know about most of these celebrity performers? Yet one of the best reasons to go is to discover new music! For each of these well known artists, there are a ton of massively talented, vastly underrated ones they don’t get the attention they deserve. Anyone who has ever been or considered going to experience a massive event like this knows what it feels like when looking towards the bottom of the schedule. It can almost feel like reading a foreign language, seeing bands listed that you have never heard of. Almost everyone will want to watch performers like Hozier, Caribou, Future Islands, Hot Chip, Death Cab for Cutie, Father John Misty, The Chemical Brothers, Deadmau5 and Rudimental. That’s why we want to draw your attention to this list.
That’s where we come in to help. Live music festivals are still, despite all the advanced technology of 2015, one of the best methods of discovering new music. What happens if you don’t have time to catch an artist you wanted to see, or if it’s too crowded? And everyone loves an underdog! Besides, these some artists that could very well be at the top of the lineup next year or the year after.
These are artists that are already turning up everywhere this year, and others we expect to follow them very soon. The list includes everything from pop to hip-hop to EDM to metal to folk. So in our best and on going effort to cover the best in up and coming music, we present our picks for The Top 20 Most Underrated Artists Of Glastonbury Festival 2015. The list is not presented in any logical or sequential order whatsoever.
For Fans Of: Tei Shi, HAERTS, FKA twigs, Lo-Fang, Kelela, Glass Animals
Ibeyi are 19 year old French Cuban twins, Naomi and Lisa-Kainde Diaz. They are daughters of the late Cuban percussion Anga Diaz. Naomi plays percussive instruments, the Cajon and the Batas whilst Lisa plays piano. Together the twins have learned the songs of their father’s culture, Yoruba.
Yoruba travelled from West Africa to Cuba with slavery in the 1700s. The Yoruba people have the highest twinning rate in the World, and twins occupy an important position within Yoruba culture. Ibeyi is pronounced “ee-bey-ee” and translates as “Twins” in Yoruba. Ibeyi sing in English and Yoruba, and have created a minimalist sound that merges elements of their heritage with their natural love of modern music as teenagers grown up in Paris, citing artists such as James Blake and King Krule amongst their wide range of influences. Ibeyi recently released their debut album for XL, with Richard Russell on production.
Ibeyi’s eponymous debut combines a love of two very different worlds – the Yoruba chants of their ancestors and the electronic, hip hop and jazz influences of growing up in the city.
We placed them in our list of picks for The 50 Best Bets Of SXSW 2015 (see here).
2. Catfish and The Bottlemen
For Fans Of: Royal Blood, Dog Is Dead, Saint Raymond, Peace, Little Comets, Wolf Alice
Catfish and the Bottlemen’s debut LP The Balcony was released January 6 via Communion Records. The breakout band’s lyric video for the album’s single “Kathleen” premiered at The Wall Street Journal‘s Speakeasy blog.
To celebrate the U.S. release of The Balcony the band made their late night television debut performing “Kathleen” on “Late Show with David Letterman”. “Kathleen” reached #1 on Sirius XM’s Alt Nation and also charted in the top 20 on Alternative radio chart. In addition, the band won the Introducing Award for “Best New Act” at this year’s BBC Music Awards.
The Balcony was produced by Jim Abbiss (Arctic Monkeys, Adele) and includes tracks off the band’s acclaimed EP Kathleen and the Other Three as well as new, never-before recorded songs. The record was released in 2014 in the U.K. and Europe and charted in the top 10 on the official U.K. albums chart.
The release The Balcony followed a year of extensive touring for the British rockers. They played to massive crowds at over 30 festivals including Reading and Leeds, Latitude, Ibiza Rocks, Austin City Limits, Governors Ball and Life is Beautiful.
Catfish and the Bottlemen are Van McCann (lead vocals, guitar), Johnny Bond (lead guitar), Benji Blakeway (bass) and Bob Hall (drums). Hailing from North Wales, the band signed to Communion Records in 2013 and made a splash onto the London music scene soon after, playing over 100 shows in 2014 alone.
“Some of the Strokes’ tautness and new-wave underpinnings in crisply told
tales of romantic friction.”—The New York Times
“Combining the garage-pop-disco sensibilities of bands like The Strokes and Phoenix with narrative hip-hop-esque lyrics inspired by The Streets.”—NYLON
“A force to be reckoned with.”—Noisey
“Intoxicating drums and mesmerizing guitar solos.”—MTV
“You feel this lot could do something pretty big.”—NME
Photo by Martine Carlson
For Fans Of: Doldrums, Majical Cloudz, Lower Dens, Darkside, Nightlands, Javelin
The project Mean Love of multi-instrumentalist Ahmed Gallab, Sinkane was recently called an “electro funk maestro” by NPR, who love his “fantastic mix of electronics and funk and rock” on newest track, “How We Be.” The FADER wrote, “it’s a lazy-river-raft-ride of a track featuring synth sparkles, digital claps, and some emotive flute flourishes. Gallab’s voice, per usual, sounds smooth as hell.” Meanwhile Stereogum noted “everything we’ve heard from Mean Love further establishes Gallab as a true polyglot, an artist capable of working in a ton of different styles without losing what’s distinctive about himself” and called “How We Be” a “beautifully produced song with a sublime groove.”Consequence of Sound loved the “funk-laden concoction” whose “subtle electronic blips keep the timeless vibes relevant for the 21st century dance floor,” while Complex have noted “you’ll want to familiarize yourself with Sinkane as quickly as possible.” Further exemplifying the success of the record, The New Yorker has already included Mean Love on its Best Albums of 2014 list.
With an aim to “create truly universal music,” Sinkane has expanded on his experiences and background to create a multifaceted, eclectic and purely modern record with intensely poetic lyrics. He notes that Sudanese music itself is a hodgepodge of influences, and “it’s very dramatic, very romantic, and very groovy at the same time.” Listeners will surely find Mean Love to be the same.
Mean Love arrived September 2nd, 2014 on DFA Records and City Slang worldwide.
It’s soul music! And truly universal; uniting rhythm and styles from our world over to help you move, relate and be, Sinkane’s Mean Love rolls like an emotional, existential history of the artist. Co-produced with long-time Sinkane collaborator and childhood friend Greg Lofaro, Ahmed Gallab has created an altogether unique compound of sound, stylistically nostalgic and ultramodern at the same time. From Gallab’s childhood in Sudan there is a Pan-African influence of popular Sudanese music and haqibah, as well as distinct horn and synth arrangements more common to East Africa. This background merges with the lessons learned from Ahmed‘s stints with obsessive craftsmen such as Caribou, Yeasayer and Of Montreal, and especially the monumental task he underwent as musical director of ‘ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor.’ Gallab excavated and arranged a treasure trove of lost classics from the West African synth-pioneer to put together a now legendary series of performances. Alongside his band-mates in Sinkane (jaytram on drums, Ish Montgomery on bass, Jonny Lam on guitar), he also brought on guests Damon Albarn, David Byrne, The Lijadu Sisters, Money Mark and members of Hot Chip, LCD Soundsystem, The Rapture, and Blood Orange.
The experiences from this on-going endeavor contribute to the collective feel of the record and attest to his uncanny ability to embrace and assemble a huge history as pure and generous modern-musical expressions. Employing the architecture of pop, and a forward-thinking approach to its classic instrumentation, the vibes of Sinkane’s deep-groove past remain intact, in full force. There are doses of West African funk slow-burners, a noir blaxploitation cool, and a more afro-centric Curtis Mayfield is present, specifically in album standout “Hold Tight.” A surprising country soul rising is detectable in the title track, “Mean Love,” and also in the hauntingly beautiful slide guitar work of “Galley Boys” a la such soul heavyweights as James Carr and Solomon Burke.
It takes a disciplined mind as well as an artistic heart to curate so many influences and disseminate them wisely. A longing and verve for his African origins emanates from the album in a particularly poignant sequence of songs. When “Son” undulates with the mantra, “I will not forget where I came from” and segues into the Sudanese Pop melody of “Omdurman,” (Gallab’s hometown in Sudan) it is the romantic recapturing of a lost childhood memory, and a jolt to the listener’s solar plexus. Says lyricist Greg Lofaro, “I think, to a lot of secular folks, the most compelling argument for heaven is the thought of seeing loved ones. In this case, the melody informed the content very specifically and I knew I wanted to speak graciously, not bitterly, about that. Ahmed typically names sketches for what they’re inspired by or remind him of. Often, that’s something Sudanese (‘Warm Spell’ had been called ‘Kurdufan’ for awhile). So, it was fitting and we kept the title ‘Omdurman.’ This song also has a live quality – when you hear in on record, it precipitates the image of a live hymn, a promise that begs for an audience call and response, ‘Where, if I should settle down, will I finally settle?’”
Paul Gilroy, the path-breaking scholar and historian of the music of the Black Atlantic diaspora, once wrote that a primary characteristic of black cross-Atlantic creativity is a “desire to transcend both the structures of the nation state and constraints of ethnicity and national particularity.” Nothing could be more precise about the cross-disciplined, multifaceted second album by Ahmed Abdullahi Gallab, aka Sinkane: Mean Love.
“‘Hold Tight’—the record’s groovy and soulful first single—is a sleepily wrought ballad featuring Gallab’s satin falsetto (You want me/ you call me/ you want me for reaaaal) over warm, liquid guitars and a smartly simple, gloriously funky bassline.” The FADER
For Fans Of: Panama Wedding, Saint Raymond, Magic Man, The Griswolds, Smallpools, Grizfolk
The Bristol 5-piece Coasts are proving to be a band constantly on the up, owing to a growing catalogue of music that’s earning praise amongst the online community & beyond, including “Oceans” which is on over 4 million plays on the their Soundcloud alone. Nonstop touring, including a smash set at Radio 1’s Big Weekend, has built a quickly growing group of fans across the country with Heaven in London already booked for their next London show in November – their biggest venue to date. They have toured as the opening support for Bad Suns.
“A Rush of Blood”, lead track from EP of the same name, was premiered as Zane Lowe’s Hottest Record on Radio 1 with Zane calling it “absolutely huge”. It has since had widespread R1 support from the likes of Greg James and Huw Stephens, who recently had them in for a Maida Vale session, as well as further Zane spins.
Fresh off the back of being chosen as one of iTunes’ bands to watch, next year is set to be a big one for Coasts, with an extensive U.S. tour and two renowned festivals already confirmed, their debut record is set to come out in the summer 2015 and their new self-titled EP just dropped June 1st. They will also be performing later this summer at the Lollapalooza festival in Chicago.
5. Wolf Alice
Photo by Emily Cheng for Impose Mag
For Fans Of: Skaters, Bad Suns, Peace, Drenge, Palma Violets, Splashh
In order for art to honestly reflect life, the mirror should be multi-dimensional. That’s the way the looking glass works for Wolf Alice.
“You go through every single day feeling different things all the time,” asserts vocalist and guitarist Ellie Rowsell. “So, if an album reflects life, shouldn’t it mirror all of those extremes? If you read a collection of short stories, you don’t want them to be simply about the same people or topics. You want to follow sadness with happiness to feel better. It should be the same for music.”
That’s a mindset she shares with her bandmates Joff Oddie [guitar], Joel Amey [drums], and Theo Ellis [bass]. The group’s multi-page musical palette embraces everything from ethereal electronics and lithe, lush melodies to buzzing distortion and towering feedback, reaching from the heart to the heavens. It’s a striking sonic patchwork that’s quickly established the London quartet as a vibrant voice.
Back home, they achieved Best Breakthrough Artists at the UK Festival Awards, landed on the coveted “long list” for BBC Sound of 2015, were pegged as one of iTunes’ “Artists For 2014,” and reached “#4 most blogged artist on Hype Machine” in the same year. Stateside, in addition to selling out their first 2015 shows in L.A. and New York, early support arrived with enthusiasm from KCRW, The Fader, and Billboard who dubbed them an “Artist to Watch” for 2015.
However, the band’s full-length debut, My Love Is Cool [Dirty Hit/RCA Records], formally opens up the Wolf Alice world. It was just released June 23rd.
“When we first met, all of us were doing different musical things, but they were nothing like this band,” explains Joel. “We all wanted to do something like this. It wasn’t anything we ever overtly discussed though. It came out quite organically by working on each song individually. We ran with whatever excited us.”
In order to capture that excitement, the group tapped the talents of producer Mike Crossey [Arctic Monkeys, Foals, Black Keys] at Livingston Recording Studios in the Wood Green area of North London. Surrounded by the old decaying buildings, the musicians dove headfirst into properly communicating their musical vision over the course of just thirty days.
“We had a pretty good idea of what we wanted,” admits Ellie. “We weren’t looking for a producer to tell us what to do, but a producer who could draw out the ideas we already had and contribute experience and knowledge in different areas. Mike was perfect for that. He’s been doing it a long time, has worked with many guitar bands, and possesses this almost scientific knowledge of how to achieve sound.”
As a result, the first single “Moaning Lisa Smile,” which enjoyed a high-profile sync on HBO’s The Leftovers, climaxes on a dramatic guitar hum and hypnotic refrain. “It’s got this almost metal riff,” laughs Ellie. “It’s funny because we all love The Simpsons and we based it on Lisa Simpson.”
Songs like “Bros” temper divine harmonies with cinematic guitars and bristling textures. The youthful energy transfers to the lyrics which Ellie describes as a story of “being a kid and hanging out with your friends.”
The spacey fuzz of “Giant Peach” evokes shoegaze elegance before veering into a driving stomp. She continues, “That’s an amalgamation of loads of ideas we had. It’s long and jamming, and it’s loosely based on living in the same place your whole life and your love-hate relationship with that.”
“The songs are like these mini stories,” adds Joel. “They really paint a picture of various phases and moments, never repeating. That was important to us.” Not surprisingly, Wolf Alice’s moniker comes right from the pages of an Angela Carter short story from the collection The Bloody Chamber.
Ellie goes on, “She writes these dark, twisted adult fairytales. The story was a coming-of-age piece about a girl who was raised by wolves. I liked the contrast. Upon reflection, it subconsciously makes sense that we chose that name as the sound is its own juxtaposition.” Ultimately, that push-and-pull makes Wolf Alice the wonderful enigma that they are.
“I have a quite romantic idea for the album in my head,” smiles Joel. “I’d love for it to inspire somebody to pick up an instrument and be around long after we fade away.”
“It’s the same for me really,” agrees Ellie. “I like the idea that you can’t pin it down. If you can’t describe something, it’s doing something to you.”
6. Ibibio Sound Machine
For Fans Of: Sinkane, Neneh Cherry, Matthew E. White, East India Youth, Nick Waterhouse, Public Service Broadcasting
Fronted by Nigerian singer Eno Williams, Ibibio Sound Machine is a clash of African and electronic elements inspired in equal measure by the golden era of West-African funk & disco and modern post-punk & electro.
Weird and wonderful folk stories, recounted to Eno by her family as a child in her mother’s Ibibio tongue, form the creative fabric from which the band’s unique musical tapestry is woven. Evocative Nigerian poetic imagery set against an edgy Afro-Electro soundscape by producers Max Grunhard, Leon Brichard & Benji Bouton give the band a unique space within the current wave of modern Afrocentric sounds sweeping across the globe.
The full lineup of the band consists of Eno Williams (vocals), Alfred Bannerman (guitar), Anselmo Netto (percussion), Leon Brichard (bass/synth), Benji Bouton (Drums, Keyboard / Album), Jose Joyette (Drums / Live ) Max Grunhard (alto sax), Tony Hayden (trombone/synth), Scott Baylis (trumpet) and Ben Hadwen (baritone sax).
For Fans Of: HAERTS, Foxygen, Hospitality, BRONCHO, Mikal Cronin, Broods
Alvvays (ȯl-wēz) can be found under the overpass, jingle-jangling sun-splashed fuzz pop. Molly Rankin (lead vocals/guitar) and Kerri Maclellan (keyboards) grew up as next-door neighbours in Cape Breton, lifting fiddles and singing folk-songs. Different kinds of heartbreaks soon came calling: as teens they discovered Teenage Fanclub and the Jesus & Mary Chain, Dolly Mixture and Belle & Sebastian. The same noisy melancholy wafted over to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, finding Alec O’Hanley (guitar), Brian Murphy (bass) and Phil MacIsaac (drums).
Their music is fully grown, muscular and hides surprising grit in its bittersweet lilt. Rankin’s melancholic melodies are framed by meticulous arrangement, needlepoint guitar and an unwavering voice.
Alvvays are two women, three men, a crate of C-86 tapes and a love of jingle-jangle.
Convening in Toronto, the group have been making music since since dusk or maybe dawn, when stars were appearing or fading off. As a result, their debut self-titled album is both sun-splashed and twilit — nine songs concealing drunkenness, defeat and death in tungsten-tinted pop that glitters like sea glass.
With needlepoint melody and verse, Rankin and O’Hanley’s songs were recorded at Chad VanGaalen’s Yoko Eno studio and mixed by Graham Walsh (Holy Fuck) and John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., Kurt Vile).
The resultant album is loud and clear and sure. Flood your ears. The self-titled record was released on July 22nd, 2014 on Polyvinyl Records in the USA and on Royal Mountain Records in Canada. In Europe, the record was released on Transgressive Records.
We placed them in our list of picks for The 50 Best Bets Of SXSW 2015 (see here).
8. Young Fathers
For Fans Of: Kilo Kish, Evian Christ, Mount Kimbie, Ratking, Amen Dunes, Raury
If you’re not familiar, Young Fathers are an alternative hip-hop group out of Edinburgh, Scotland. (Yes, there’s a hip-hop scene in Edinburgh!) This past fall, they won the 2014 Mercury Prize for their debut DEAD (an award they won over FKA twigs and Damon Albarn, by the way), a record that’s a chaotic and complicated blend of hip-hop, pop, and R&B. The group is made up of three dudes: ‘G’ Hastings from Drylaw, Edinburgh, Alloysious Massaquoi—originally from Liberia via Ghana—and Kayus Bankole, born in Edinburgh to Nigerian parents but partially raised in Maryland. Fun fact: the band members are named after their respective fathers (hence the name). And they actually met when they were teenagers. And their dads hung out together back in the day!
After being the winners one of the biggest music awards you can receive in the UK and one that’s pretty indicative of success to come (previous winners include James Blake, PJ Harvey, The xx, Pulp, and more), the trio is back with their follow-up record White Men Are Black Men Too.
It’s an album that takes the work of DEAD and doubles down, putting the listener on a rollercoaster, embracing the experimental side of hip-hop and pushing its sound into weirder, jazzier elements. Thematically, each band member is 27 years old, so the album deals with the emotional struggles of being a young adult in the year 2015—not sure how to handle what life swerves in your direction, whether that’s challenges of romance, race, or the monotony of daily existence. It’s a big album—one that requires time to unpack and understand—which might seem surprising, considering WMABMT is only a quick 12-tracks long. But it is something.
Here is what the band themselves have to say about it:
“Yes, you are on your way to work. Yes, you are late but you don’t give a fuck. That’s not why you’re flat-footing it up the concrete steps, feeling that rough corner burn on the palm of your hand. That’s not why you’re sweating (on the inside! The inside!) or why tendons are twitching and flicking the ends of your toes while you wait, tapping, for the gap in the revolving door to swing too slowly your way.
It’s not because you did something wrong and now there are people, the police, sending sirens, howling like dogs after your heels. They won’t catch you, not worried. Fuck ‘em.
It’s not because you’re running from school, from the sight of your face in the steamy glass as you arrive for another day of drear, running towards unknown fields.
It’s because… this prodding, insistent (move it! Pick up! Come on!) this audio whip, this escalator gone mad in your ears and then that slow down and the choir (TheLeith Congregational Choir no less) and what does it take to feel better? When will you be happy again? Who cares. Keep moving and then, a moment and you realise, hey I’m happy, just now, right now and it comes home and you feel no shame. No. Shame.
Take a breath.
(Perfectly audio-tuned for tinny ear phones)”
9. Circa Waves
For Fans Of: Palma Violets, Wolf Alice, Catfish and The Bottlemen, Peace, Everything Everything, The Vaccines
Circa Waves, one of the breakthrough acts of the year, have announced details of their biggest headline UK tour to date. The shows in October, which include an appearance at London’s prestigious Brixton Academy, follow their recent sold-out headline UK tour, which culminated in a breathtaking gig at Shepherd’s Bush Empire.
The band also release a new single, the live favourite ‘Stuck In My Teeth’, on Monday June 8th 2015 on Virgin.
The single, taken from their recent top 10 debut album, Young Chasers which was released in March, is accompanied by a video shot in Austin, Texas following their appearance at this year’s SXSW Festival.
Currently in Europe on a headline tour, the band are set for a busy summer playing festivals around the globe, including appearances at Glastonbury, T in the Park and Reading /Leeds in the UK, Splendour In The Grass in Australia and Lollapalooza in the US.
“A band who knows their time has come” – 9/10 NME
“Festival Rousing Choruses” – The Guardian
Photo by Elle Hardwick
For Fans Of: Dustin Wong, Fat White Family, Prince Rama, Hookworms, Forest Swords, Amen Dunes
Flamingods announce the release of their second album Hyperborea to be released through Shape Records on the 21st of July.
The album was written after new Visa laws forced founding member Kamal out of the UK. The album deals with themes of identity, belonging and alienation whilst also day dreaming of leaving to foreign far away lands such as the mythical island of Hyperborea. The album was made with none of the band members in the same room, sending audio files back and forth across the internet.
“Kamal from Flamingods got in touch with my band, Islet a few years back to ask if they could support us. We listened to their music & all loved it so asked them to play with us in London, we all loved them even more after watching them play! I’m delighted we’re releasing them on Shape” Mark from Shape on releasing Flamingods.
Flamingods is a five piece multi-instrumental experimental band originally started by Kamal Rasool in late 2009 as a bedroom project, now comprising of Kamal, Charles Prest, Sam Rowe, Karthik Poduval and Craig Doporto. Their sound has been described as ethnic pop, with elements of noise, tribal and freaked folk. They use a number of percussion instruments, some of which were collected during Rasool’s travels to places like Tanzania and the Amazon. Their debut album Sun came out in 2013 via Art is Hard Records and last summer they were picked to play Festivals like Latitude, Green Man, and Knee Deep.
“African rhythms and soundscapes cirbbed from across the world music remit“ 8/10NME
“The London/Dubai soundclashers create global-minded psychedelia with their dance-party-ready new album Hyperborea” DAZED
“A record of superb scope, vision and energy” 8/10 Loud & Quiet
“An eclectic mix of tribal-esque chants and hypnotic harmonies” The Line Of Best Fit
“…fusing together Asian polyphonic textures, African rhythms, and the occasional pop sensibility into something of a freak-folk blush.” The 405
“Based in Brixton, formed in Bahrain and heavily influenced by African dance music and tribal freakouts, Flamingods are on something of a cultural quest that knows no rules. Their first gig – 8 hours long, aided by strangers playing saucepans and in a Butlin’s chalet at Animal Collective’s ATP – pointed toward a disregard for contemporary structures, methods and plain editing..” Loud & Quiet
“Not many bands these days can claim that they are truly unique. However if you walked in on a Flamingods live show or heard one of their recordings you’d be very quick to conclude how different they are to most bands filling the ones to watch columns. In fact, the closest resemblance to Flamingods that you might have encountered would most likely be some kind of carnival ensemble dancing their way down dusty cobbled streets in a tropical country.” This Is Fake DIY
11. Fat White Family
For Fans Of: Drenge, Happyness, Eagulls, Hookworms, Parquet Courts, Allah-Las
Fat White Family are the greatest young rock band in the UK and this probably extends to the rest of the world as well. What’s that? You want to know more? Christ on callipers, ok, let’s see what we’ve got here then…
It won’t come as news to anyone who has been to one of their regular Slide-In nights at their local pub and HQ, The Queens Head in Brixton, South London but for a band that only really coalesced as the Fat White Family in 2011, the six piece have already got several once-in-a-lifetime/ ‘OMG – were you there?’ gigs under their belt. On December 10th 2013 they rattled the walls of the legendary 100 Club, thus aligning themselves with the numerous legends who have trod the very same stage. The band summoned up the feral electric skronk blues of The Magic Band and The Birthday Party, the proto-punk pummelling of The Monks and The Modern Lovers and the twisted folk of Charles Manson and The Country Teasers. And as singer Lias Saoudi, clad in nothing but a pair of back to front, skin tight rubber trousers, was carried at head height off stage by a crowd of howling devotees, it was clear that something special had just happened.
However, it’s not all been plain sailing. When confronted by London’s pay to play, indie toilet circuit, the Fat Whites aren’t known for toeing the line. They’re already adept at sniffing out bullshit. At a recent gig in a down at heel dive that shall remain nameless it took less than three songs for the train to come screaming off the tracks.
Nathan Saoudi, Lias’ young brother and the group’s raven haired organist, says: “It was more of a fight than a gig. It was promoted by these guys who weren’t in it for the right reasons. They were just dodgy businessmen. They wouldn’t let us play. They cut the microphones. They put bouncers on stage with us. So we just started smashing the equipment up. I remember looking round and my brother Lias was naked and masturbating and it was kicking off everywhere. I was laughing my head off, ‘Oh my god what the hell’s happening?’”
Saul Adamczewski, the gap-toothed musical director of the group adds: “Literally one minute I was on stage and the next I was outside on the pavement. One by one everyone came flying out of the same door. Then some locals came steaming out and there was a brawl in the middle of the road which only stopped when the police turned up…” He pauses and continues: “But it’s not really about the venue or what kind of night it is. I think how good the show is has got a lot to do with how we react off each other. Unless you can go in fearless it doesn’t really happen. It doesn’t matter how many people are there. The best gig we ever played was to two people. We played for five hours. And it was great that Halloween in Hastings when Lias got naked and painted his cock black so it looked like he had no genitals…”
Fat White Family were formed out of the ashes of two bands. In 2006 the 17-year-old Saul’s band The Metros were signed to a major deal and touted as the next Libertines. However it was the classic case of too much too young and the band never lived up to their initial promise, fizzling out by 2009. (Saul says: “It was sickening really – telling us we’re going to be the next Arctic Monkeys! [laughs] I was just completely lost. I went from having pocket money to having a really big record deal. In the long run it was good though because I became sufficiently jaded. And that’s how that became this.”) The second was a South London pub rock band called The Saudis, featuring brothers Nathan and Lias. (Lias says: “We were the worst band in London. Always third on the bill at the New Cross Inn on a Tuesday.” Although it should be noted that good or not, they still managed to complete a three month tour of Algeria.) They would attend each others gigs but it was a meeting of minds that almost never happened.
Saul explains: “Yeah, the first time I met Lias was at a Metros gig. He was wearing a gold sequined vest and ended up getting off with this girl that I came with and really fancied. I remember saying to her afterwards: ‘I can’t believe you got off with that guy… did you not see he had a massive nose! He looked like a prick!’”
But despite this setback the trio moved into a house together with drummer Dan Lyons. (Dan describes the song-writing partnership of Lias and Saul as being like that of a blackbird and a boa constrictor, however he’d like to leave it to your imagination to work out which one is which.) The line-up has since been augmented by the mysterious guitarist Adam J Harmer who looks like a hungover hit man and the bassist Joe Pancucci who is so insouciant that he actually fell asleep on stage during his first ever gig with the Fat Whites.
The group played their first open mic night in 2009 and honed their sound at Hank Dog’s Easycome, a regular South London folk event but by the time of their first headline gig under their current name in 2011, they’d added a heavier, more psychedelic and electric element to the music. An early fan of these shows was Liam from Trashmouth Records who would eventually put out their awesome Champagne Holocaust album in 2013. This LP – a mix of class war, Communist themed surrealism, odes to auto sex and to sex in autos, calls for full scale insurrection, unabashed sleaze and grooves that will just not fucking let up – has become that old fashioned thing:a word of mouth success. Their second release, the Wet Hot Beef EP (a split with Taman Shud) was released on Xmas day and points towards a viciously bright future for the group.
The Fat White Family then: sharp as knives, thick as thieves, completely moral when it counts, completely immoral when it doesn’t. They’re the best young rock band in the world. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
For Fans Of: Dirty Beaches, Moon Duo, Savages, Psychic Ills, Woods, Dead Meadow
Goat are a collective who hail from a small and very remote village called Korpolombolo in deepest darkest Sweden. Legend has it that for centuries, the inhabitants of the village of Korpolombolo were dedicated to the worship and practices of Voodoo. This strange and seemingly unlikely activity was apparently introduced into the area after a travelling witch doctor and a handful of her disciples were led to Korpolombolo by following a cipher hidden within their most sacred of ancient scriptures. The reason it led them there is unknown, but their Voodoo influence quickly took hold over the whole village and so they made it their home – there, they were able to practice their craft unnoticed and unbothered for several centuries. This was until their non-Christian ways were discovered by the Church and they were burned out by the crusaders, the survivors cursing the village over their shoulders as they fled. To this day, the now picturesque village of Korpolombolo is still haunted by this Voodoo curse; the power of the curse can be felt throughout the grooves of the Goat records.
We placed them in our list of picks for The Top 20 Most Underrated Artists Of Coachella 2014 (see here).
13. Vintage Trouble
For Fans Of: ZZ Ward, Gary Clark Jr., Black Joe Lewis, Grace Potter, Joss Stone, Gomez
Vintage Trouble formed in 2010 out of the ashes of a few other bands, and not by chance, Ty Taylor (vocal) and Nalle Colt (guitar) teamed up with drummer Richard Danielson and bassist Rick Barrio Dill. They entered The Bomb Shelter Studio, recorded an album’s worth of material in three days, which was intended to be demos and ended up being pressed into CDs. The Bomb Shelter Sessions became Vintage Trouble’s first album. Selling it at their gigs was easy and not surprisingly so were the calls to feature their music in several commercial media.
With a unified decision to stay in Los Angeles to build their musical foundation as a band, weekly residences in the area lead to a large assembly of fans in a short amount of time. These fans became known as the “TroubleMakers.” It was that underground buzz that lead to legendary manager Doc McGhee taking notice and signing Vintage Trouble to his roster after hearing only a single chorus. Doc’s first order of business became breaking the band in England, right away. Their first venture overseas resulted in a similar groundswell with Music Weekly naming them 2011 Breakout Artist of the Year and HMV hailing them as their “Next Big Thing.”
Their return to the U.S. and Harvelle’s was nothing short of epic, with a line forming down the block before the club even opened. Vintage Trouble felt the homecoming as a true testament to their fans’ dedication at spreading the word and sharing their music. The crowd inside was just as amped; young and old, newbies and old faithful, all anticipating the transference of energy from the band to their soles. Vintage Trouble didn’t disappoint. The next day the band would be on a plane back to London to appear on Later… with Jools Holland. This performance was one of the most talked about of the year, blowing up Twitter as the 6th most tweeted topic worldwide just hours after the show. The very next day, their self-released debut, The Bomb Shelter Sessions entered the charts, becoming the No. 1 “R&B Album” and No. 2 “Rock Album” on Amazon UK—No. 6 on Amazon overall and No. 13 on iTunes, charting in the “UK Top 40″ by the time it was officially released in July.
The band went on to play 80 shows in 100 days in front of an estimated 400,000 people throughout the UK and Germany. The next three months brought them an opportunity playing theaters, opening for Brian May’s Anthems Tour, and then as the support for Bon Jovi in stadiums and arenas on the UK, Ireland and German legs of the tour, playing to over 200,000 people in just under two weeks—all the while headlining smaller venues, after-hours clubs, and pubs. Guitarist Magazine ran a feature about Nalle, and The Bomb Shelter Sessions was named one of the “Top 25 Guitar Albums of the Year” by Total Guitar Magazine. They won the Classic Rock Award for “Best New Band of 2011″—an honor that German Music Magazine would also bestow upon them.
Things exploded around their penultimate show in Glasgow. The demand for tickets was so great that they were bumped up from a 500 seat venue to play for over 800 freshly converted “TroubleMakers.” Ty was invited to front Queen for Freddie Mercury’s 65th birthday celebration in London, setting the stage for Vintage Trouble to embark on their third overseas tour, with destinations including Italy, Germany, Paris, Belgium, and the Netherlands. They played Hyde Park Main Stage twice in eight days (The Wireless Festival and Hard Rock Calling). They were featured on Sky News, recorded an MTV The Studio Sessions with Tony Visconti, in addition to 17 live radio sessions throughout the tour, including Radio 2- Janice Long, 6 Music With Craig Charles, Q Radio, BBC Radio London and BBC Radio Scotland.
2012 proved to be just as busy. The band sold out The Troubadour in Los Angeles and took up residencies at both The Cosmopolitan and Hard Rock Hotels in Las Vegas. Their first video “Nancy Lee,” filmed entirely with an iPhone, won at the Original iPhone Film Fest, not just taking the Music Video category, but the festival’s grand prize as well. In February, Google Music selected Vintage Trouble as the featured artist at Sundance where their live performance rocked the film community and they made their first appearance in Rolling Stone. Their too-brief Australian tour included the Sydney Festival and the Australian Film Awards and was met with such an overwhelming response that a return trip is guaranteed sooner rather than later. Vintage Trouble’s SXSW showcase in Austin was named “the fourth best live performance of the festival” by Paste Magazine (only behind The Jesus and Mary Chain, Jack White and Bruce Springsteen). In celebration of the official U.S. release of The Bomb Shelter Sessions, Best Buy also featured Vintage Trouble on their TV screens in stores nationwide.
The release of The Bomb Shelter Sessions, combined with their electric live show has catapulted Vintage Trouble into the U.S. limelight, earning them a sponsorship by Supercuts, an iTunes rock download of the week for new song “Pelvis Pusher,” along with praise from NPR, Rolling Stone, The Wall Street Journal and Billboard for what The New York Times raves, “Like Otis Redding, Vintage Trouble makes music that is a little bit of everything … You can slow dance, groove, rock and let it all go.”
Following unforgettable TV performances on The Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Conan and Jimmy Kimmel Live, Vintage Trouble recently wowed audiences at this year’s SXSW festival, capturing the attention of Yahoo Music who raves, “Imagine James Brown singing lead for Led Zeppelin, and you’ll get an idea of Vintage Trouble’s muscular, in-the-pocket sound.”
Vintage Trouble is currently on a world tour that has already seen them open for Lenny Kravitz, The Cranberries, Joss Stone and recently, The Who. Their world tour continues in 2013 with performances at Coachella, Glastonbury and Rock In Rio, a Japanese headlining run and The Who’s European Tour. The band will open for The Rolling Stones at Hyde Park in London this July, and will return to the US for a headlining tour in August.
Vintage Trouble’s Ty Taylor, Nalle Colt, Richard Danielson and Rick Barrio Dill together form a quartet of sincere musicians whose combination of hard work, talent, and luck are undoubtedly going to take them right where they deserve to be: on our radios, in our cars, our headphones, our televisions, at the venues where we go to see our favorite bands and on the soundtrack of our favorite moments in life.
We placed them in our list of picks for The Top 20 Most Underrated Artists Of ACL Fest 2013 (see here).
14. Hiatus Kaiyote
Photo by Wilk
For Fans Of: Thundercat, The Internet, Robert Glasper, D’Angelo, THEESatisfaction, Snarky Puppy
Grammy nominated Melbourne contemporary soul outfit, Hiatus Kaiyote, is a collaboration between four individuals (Nai Palm/singer-guitarist, Paul Bender/bass-production, Simon Mavin/keys-synths, Perrin Moss/drums-production). Their sound references a swathe of influences – electric, acoustic, futuristic, psychedelic, progressive, soothing and urgent – slipping in and out genre and defying definition.
Signed to Salaam Remi’s Sony imprint Flying Buddha, the past 12 months has seen them make a rapid trajectory from share-house studios to sell out shows around the world after releasing their debut self-produced album Tawk Tomahawk.
With a swag of awards in 2013 including Best Breakthrough Artist at Giles Peterson’s Worldwide Awards and The Age Music Victoria Best Emerging Artist, as well as nods from soul royalty (Prince, Pharrell Williams, Erykah Badu, Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson, Common, DJ Jazzy Jeff), it was a collaboration on a new version of “Nakamarra” with A Tribe Called Quest legend Q-Tip on their re-release of Tawk Tomahawk which earned them a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Performance, making Australian history as the first band to be nominated for any R&B category.
15. Rae Morris
For Fans Of: Daughter, James Bay, Say Lou Lou, Jake Bugg, Vaults, Låpsley
Rae Morris has had a rollercoaster couple of years – signing to Atlantic fresh out of college at the age of 18, putting out 3 EPs and touring with the likes of Bombay Bicycle Club, Lianne La Havas, Noah and The Whale (including a huge show at Royal Albert Hall) and Tom Odell. Her previous EPs saw her work with Charlie Fink of Noah and The Whale, and Benjamin Garrett AKA Fryars – her effort with Garrett saw the video for her track “Grow” gather over 600k views. She was also picked up for some significant early sessions with Watch Listen Tell and Burberry (Back To Front and Walls), with her track “Walls” played over Burberry’s London Fashion Week show in Feb 2012. Furthermore, her track “Don’t Go” was chosen to close the final ever episode of hit TV show Skins.
Rae Morris is a singer-songwriter from Blackpool. Embarking on an exciting career into music led Rae to like-minded individuals such as Charlie Fink from Noah & The Whale, Ben Garrett (aka Fryars) who produced her first two EP’s, and Lucy Rose. Rae also co-wrote and features on the Clean Bandit track “Up Again”. Another close friend and sounding board now is Jack Steadman of Bombay Bicycle Club, who invited her to record some backing vocals on his band’s material. Rae has supported Bombay Bicycle Club at their live shows, taking the spotlight for one of their lead tracks, Luna. She features on three of the tracks from their latest, Mercury Prize nominated and number 1 album, So Long See You Tomorrow. Rae has also supported another of her close musical friends on tour, playing with George Ezra across the UK and Europe in late 2014.
Rae’s debut album Unguarded was released on Atlantic Records on the 26th January. Regarding her debut album, Rae has said: “I’ve always liked to visualise things in circular patterns in my mind. A full circle journey, a complete tale and a finished story. I see my album as a coming-of-age tale, from start to finish, from then to now. I guess it’s a series of diary entries documenting these important years of growing up and learning. I’m not trying to be cryptic. It’s really simple. That’s just how I see it. I’m just being completely myself.”
To promote and support the release of her album, Rae will be playing her biggest UK headline tour to date. The tour starts on the 1st of February and there are currently twelve dates announced.
“She is a performer that we should all keep our eyes on”– The Independent
“A truly gifted songwriter”– NME Magazine
“A rare refined talent”– Sunday Times Culture
16. Leon Bridges
For Fans Of: Charles Bradley, Son Little, Sharon Jones, Tobias Jesso Jr., Alabama Shakes, Benjamin Booker
Fort Worth-based artist Leon Bridges has announced that his debut album Coming Home will be released via Columbia Records on June 23rd, 2015. Produced by Austin Jenkins and Josh Block of White Denim, and featuring Leon’s existing three tracks “Better Man”, “Coming Home” and “Lisa Sawyer”, Coming Home is Leon’s debut album and first full length effort.
Bridges first gained fan and critic popularity in the U.S. with his single “Coming Home”. An auspicious debut, the song premiered this past October on the venerable music site Gorilla-Vs-Bear before garnering early radio support from SiriusXM. “Coming Home” recently debuted on the Triple A charts and has been singled out by NPR, as well as WXPN as Gotta Hear Song Of The Week. Additionally, the track has been on Spotify’s Global, U.S. and UK Viral Charts for over five consecutive weeks.
The album announcement comes on the heels of Bridges’s first ever SXSW in which the 25 year-old artist had a bounteous presence, performing to at capacity crowds at A-level events including Heartbreaker at Willie Nelson’s ranch, the Gorilla-vs-Bear HypeHotel showcase, Spotify House and Saint David’s Church. His soulful, movement based performances and adept backing band garnered strong reviews from a variety of top-level media including the New York Times, Billboard and Grantland amongst many others. So successful was Bridges’s festival experience, he was awarded the prestigious 2015 Grulke Prize for Developing U.S. Act. Writes Linda Park for SXSW, “Watching Leon Bridges’ trajectory through the festival was a supersonic experience… Bridges’ charismatic fusion of soul…made him one of the must-see acts this year.”
We placed him in our list of picks for The 50 Best Bets Of SXSW 2015 (see here).
Not one to rest on his laurels, Bridges immediately followed up SXSW by making his debut network television appearance on the Late Late Show With James Corden.
Bridges, a trained choreographer and dancer, is celebrated for his strong live presence. Fans have shown up in droves for his solo concerts; his New York City show at Mercury Lounge sold out in exactly one minute, followed by another sold-out show at Troubadour in Los Angeles. Leon will return to New York City for a Bowery Ballroom show on June 23rd which sold out in six minutes flat and a show at Music Hall of Williamsburg, also sold out. He has also toured as opening support to Lord Huron.
17. Kate Tempest
For Fans Of: Ibeyi, Young Fathers, East India Youth, The Districts, Courtney Barnett, Matthew E. White
Kate Tempest released Everybody Down in 2014 on seminal British record label, Big Dada, receiving a Mercury Prize nomination and critical acclaim. The album is a narrative driven electronic hip-hop record produced by legendary alternative producer Dan Carey (Bat for Lashes,MIA, Hot Chip, Santigold, Dizzee Rascal).
Kate Tempest plays the album live with her band.
“A fully skilled rapper with vehement momentum and an intense rhythmic drive” -NY Times
“She rap[s] her ideas with a punch that when intertwined with her musicians created something epic” -LA Times
18. Sunset Sons
For Fans Of: WATERS, Circa Waves, Bad Suns, Hunter Hunted, PAPA, Royal Blood
Indie rockers Sunset Sons are a quartet of British and Australian surfers based in the French coastal city of Hossegor. Drawn to the legendary surf locale for its waves and laid-back culture, the four musicians came together at a local hangout called Le Surfing which was owned by the cousin of bassist Pete Harper. One night in 2013 after working a shift at Le Surfing, singer/pianist Rory Williams drunkenly pounded out a set of cover songs on the bar piano while future drummer Jed Laidlaw watched in fascination. The two met and decided to form a band to play the city’s nightclub scene. After recruiting Harper and guitarist Robin Windram, Sunset Sons were born. Surfing by day, gigging by night, they built up a regional fan base slowly turning their covers set into an originals set. Recorded in just four days, their aptly titled Le Surfing EP made a strong showing on the iTunes rock chart in early 2014 and prompted immediate interest among several labels. With their gritty yet laid-back sound they fall somewhere between the pop-Americana of Tom Petty, the rock heft of Kings of Leon, and the beachy alt-rock of Red Hot Chili Peppers. After signing with Vagrant Records, they released their second EP later that year, which was packaged together with Le Surfing under the new title No Bad Days.
Sunset Sons make anthemic, propulsive indie-rock and are fast becoming one of this year’s breakout acts. Their single “Medicine” received radio support across the board including A list at Absolute, Daytime XFM and C list at Radio One. The band are confirmed for a summer of festival appearances including T in the Park, The Great Escape and Boardmasters with more to be announced shortly.
They have signed to Polydor and will be opening support for Imagine Dragons on their European Arena tour later this year. “She Wants” is the latest track to drop from the indie-rockers’ forthcoming debut album, which the band are currently finishing in Nashville under the guidance of producer Jacquire King (Kings of Leon, Of Monsters And Men).
Photo by Elizabeth Weinberg
For Fans Of: Girlpool, Chastity Belt, Alvvays, Bully, Happyness, Broncho
Deers have now changed their name to Hinds.
One fairly average Madrid afternoon in March, pals Ana Garcia Perrote and Carlotta Cosials disappeared into their rehearsal studio, and stepped out clutching two of the most perfectly ramshackle pop songs you will ever hear.
‘Bamboo’ flies like an arrow to the heart: pure ’60’s pop sounds, cantering rhythm and guitars twanging with tremelo, feeling effortless as the pair interpolate each other’s lyrics instinctively. “I need you to feel like a man when I give you all I am. I know you re not hungover today, you are classifying your cassettes”.
As it’s title suggests, “Trippy Gum” offers a more psyche edge, with a gloriously extended fuzz-solo, and at least two massive songs crammed into it’s four and a half minute duration. It s bottled magic and leaves our glasses nearly full with anticipation of a Deers – filled vision of the future.
One month after recording the single, bass player Ade Martinand drummer Amber Grimbergen joined Ana and Carlotta for their first live show, to a sold out Madrileos crowd.
“Deers are mischievous, volatile, deliberately ramshackle and a breath of fresh air” — NME
20. Jack Garratt
Photo by Daniel Alexander Harris
For Fans Of: Fyfe, Zella Day, Raury, George Maple, Oh Wonder, Låpsley
Jack Garratt is a 23 year old singer and multi-instrumentalist who started his musical career in Buckinghamshire. He’s enjoyed support from BBC Introducing in Beds, Herts & Bucks and BBC Introducing in London.
His powerful song writing and incredible vocals have set blogs around the world alight with excitement. Leading him to a number of festival appearances this summer, alongside sold out London headline shows of his own. Jack has crafted a mesmerizing live show, triggering samples, throwing out guitar solos and delivering spellbinding vocals.
The hotly tipped young British artist-producer has been riding the crest of acclaim since the release of his debut EP last year. Performing solo and surrounded by a wealth of instrumentation, it’s the beats and rawness of Jack’s measured vocal that have reaped the recent acclaim. A firm favourite on Zane Lowe’s Radio 1 Show, Jack was part of the station’s Future 15 for 2015 at the start of the year, and having signed to Island Records, he arrives in Brighton on the back of support slots with Jessie Ware and Ben Howard for a stand-out Great Escape festival performance.