10 great new acts you need to hear right now
The finest and freshest indie acts kicking around in Blighty as selected by GARETH WARE who has spend the best part of the last decade writing for UK outlets including MusicOMH, DIY and London In Stereo.
Hailing from the fantastically named Pity-Me-Durham and having used a 1915 rail disaster as a storytelling framework for an early love song, Martha continue the enviable run of potent bands from the British North East that has previously brought us Kenickie, The Futureheads and Field Music. Akin to a sonic sour Skittle, their début full-length took a bittersweet, whipsmart core of recollection of formative years past and wrapped it in infectious, singalong scuzzpop with brilliant results. With a follow-up due later this year, there’s no better time to get to know Durham’s finest.
The Spook School
Taking LGBT issues to the masses via the brilliant/unlikely one-two punch of discourse and dance parties, The Spook School were rightfully marked as ones to watch in the lead-up to this year’s SXSW and lauded upon its conclusion. Recent album Try To Be Hopeful saw singer Nye Todd facing the flaws of his chosen sexual identity (‘Burn Masculinity’) and railing against narrow-minded gender labels (‘Binary’) in an accessible and utterly riotous way. As much a challenge as a reassurance, Todd closes the album with the at-once moving and inspiring title track and its claim that “I’ll try to be hopeful if you try to be hopeful”. With their music in the world, our part of the bargain has been made a whole lot easier to uphold.
Built on a foundation of deceptive simplicity and unabashed joyousness, Grubs seem to be on a Jonathan Richman-esque mission to ensure every living being has aching facial muscles from prolonged smiling. Amid its wonderment and insatiable knockabout fun – distilled perfectly in early single ‘Dec 15’ – lies deep-rooted songwriting chops thanks to the involvement of Two White Cranes and Joanna Gruesome members, culminating in their staggeringly efficient début (not keen on a song? Wait 90 seconds and a fresh one will be along), It Must Be Grubs. Bright, honest and never trying to be anything it isn’t, it perfectly captures the band’s spirit.
Formerly of soaring pop-rockers Race Horses, Meilyr Jones has opted to take the plunge and step out on his own, and if that wasn’t enough elected to reinvent himself along the way. The recently-released 2013 is awash with ambitious, sweeping and lush baroque-pop which, far from being a cheap musical Instagram filter instead gives the album a healthy sense of conviction and individuality. With such an accomplished body of work as an opening salvo, you get the impression Jones is only just getting started – in every sense of the phrase.
Like Meilyr Jones, Jackson has a musical history – in her case via the much-loved, fiery and impossibly stylish critical darlings The Long Blondes. Following their dissolution in 2008 she forewent music, moved to Rome and took up painting instead. The fact she’s now been able to effortlessly slide back into the musical sphere so effortless can only be seen as a testament to her underlying talents. British Road Movies, as the title suggests, collects a series of big sounds, big ideas and rich storytelling framed through the British byways, flyovers and suburbs, as evidenced by glorious teaser track ‘Metropolis’.