Anyone who knows me knows I don’t get excited easily. But at the moment I’m precisely that. Why? Because I keep finding great music from bands that haven’t yet released an album. I have a theory that music culture swings around on a ten year cycle. It’s roughly once a decade that we get an absolutely knock out band that redefines what alternative music can be, and ushers in a new period of innovation and creativity. Admittedly, this only usually lasts a few years before we sink back into a bit of a fallow period. But not only is it roughly about time that this happens again, I’m also seeing signs of it everywhere. I don’t yet know who will be the central point of this latest development, maybe there won’t be just one this time but several. In any case, I thought I’d share some of the bands I’m keeping a close eye on. None of these have yet released a full album. Some of them are undoubtedly closer to doing so than others. But all of them are pretty great and have gone straight onto my sinister sounding but actually just naively enthusiastic ‘watch-list’.
Adamant that they’re not a punk band, but a ‘heavy pop band’, Estrons are a Welsh group who remind me of a cross between the Ting Tings and The Buzzcocks. Yeah, I know, one of them is a punk band. Bad Schiller. Elastica spring to mind as well, although they’re a bit more melodic and less angular than they were.
‘Estrons’ is apparently a Welsh word for Misfits. Check out their single ‘Strobe Lights’ below.
Another Welsh band, Pretty Vicious have been knocking around since 2014 and have a few singles and EPs available. No full album as of yet, but it’s been about a year since their last release so fingers crossed this is on its way pretty soon. They’re a pretty full on rock band that seem to me to combine the melodies and song structures of Britpop with the volume and attitude of alternative rock in the vein of Queens of the Stone Age and the 90’s Seattle sound. ‘Blister’ was their last single and it’s pretty impressive.
Who knows, maybe Wales is going to be the new Seattle. That would be pretty cool wouldn’t it?
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Bolton isn’t too far away from Wales right? The Sherlocks have more of a classic indie sound than the two bands above. They hark back to the uplifting jangly guitar sounds of the 80’s. I guess Echo and the Bunnymen are what they remind me of most. But they have more than just nostalgia appeal – listen to ‘Chasing Shadows’ which is a pretty accomplished future stadium anthem.
Their album is pencilled in for release on 18th August. Look out for it, I will be.
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I’ve been following this guy since he stole the show on Jools Holland a year or two back. He was easily the most talented 17 year old I’d ever seen. I obviously wasn’t alone in thinking that, as he won the Glastonbury Festival’s Emerging Talent Competition in 2015. He’s a bit more electronic, in parts, than I usually go for, but unquestionably great. Think New Order/Joy Division but less gloomy.
It’s been a bit of a wait but his full length debut is out on 21st July. If it’s as good as I’m expecting it to be, I’ll probably review it then.
Follow Declan McKenna: