There are a few better ways of finding out about new bands and artist than by personal recommendation, and there’s no better recommendation than from those who really know their onions- successful artists and musicians themselves. A&M asked seven leading lights from the UK’s art and music scenes to name up-and coming star who they think is destined for greatness. If they don’t recognise talent, who does, right? You heard it here first!
Everett True, publisher Plan B magazine
The Wave Pictures
In grave danger of being taken for granted round these parts, the way they knock out classic, literate, oven-ready (post Hefner/Herman Dune/Jonathan Richman) song after song, filled with delightful and intricate musical and lyrical twists and turns. Like I’ve said before, they remind me of The Only Ones minus the leather and the drugs- i.e: The Only Ones with all the good bits (the romanticism, the comfort levels, the plaintive voice) left in.
Peggy Sue and the Pirates
They sit down to play. They stutter. They tell self-deprecating and nervous jokes, and pass a guitar between them. They care enough to make up stage names. they act flustered on stage, and, when questioned, run. they’re girly, but not in an annoying sixth form diaries way- more in a (Slits) ‘Typical Girls’ way. Their voices are quite something: jazz-flecked (you can hear traces of women who grew up digging Billie Holiday and Regina Spektor) and warm and mischievous and way more in control than their on-stage personas would have you believe. They’ve just released their debut single, a seven-inch- the frantic, acoustic, derogatory hymn to addiction ‘Television’, backed with ‘New Single’, which charms and cheers despite its tendency to go ‘aa-ow’ every two lines like the pair have been mainlining Kate Nash B-sides. Oh, and they’re been supporting Kate Nash pretty much everywhere you look.
Galia Durant, musician (Psapp)
My favourite new band at the moment has got to be No Kids. Newly signed to the brilliant Tomlab label (home of Deerhoof and Final Fantasy), No Kids remind me of a more gentle and cuddly Of Montreal, but with some great use of found sounds and string arrangements not a million miles away from the US duo The Books. I’ve only heard a few tracks, which are all very playful with beautiful, memorable melodies that go all over the place and jump from idea to idea in an almost proggy way – but don’t let that put you off, it’s really engaging stuff. Their first album is out in February of this year.
Dan Treacy, musician (Television Personalities)
If ever the word ‘cult’ described a band then its Athens duo The Callas. When I say duo I mean brothers Aris and Kalis, dressed in ill-fitting Superman outfits and bashing on toy instruments. It would send many running for the hills, but there’s much more to them than this. Doyens of the Greek underground, they spread their thing over music, art and the unexpected, making a mighty noise for two Portly chaps who have raided the Chad Valley music shop. Just the right side of ‘arty’, they invariably evoke smiling faces. Last time I saw them it was completely different – five amazing looka-like guys taking turns to run on stage and strike poses. They have a terrific MySpace page – I urge you to have a peek at it, and to catch them next time they play on these shores.
Harland Miller, artist and author
Spittin Blood are a Manchester band that, in the tradition of other Manc bands such as The Happy Mondays, are more simply referred to as Spit. However, they don’t sound much like the Mondays. Among bands with abbreviated names, they are more like The xxxxx xxx Mary Chain, but a closer musical comparison would, I guess, be very early Birthday Party but with- out any of the Australian sunshine about them. Perhaps like Australian goth bands, who must have to rehearse in cellars to escape the cheer- ing solar influence. Spit also rehearse in a cellar in Prestwich, for more Practical reasons – this is where I went to hear them. Like a lot of early Cave Music – Nick Cave, that is – you can’t really make out what the lead singer is singing about, but that’s OK because he uses his voice to make good noises with – he might be look- ing for a new throat in a few years, but at the moment it’s perfect. Actually, they do a great version of ‘Stagger Lee’, but there are other influences: a touch of Joy Division – inevitable perhaps – but also, and more surprisingly, Gun Club, who I loved and … actually, what happened to Gun Club? I don’t know. Perhaps their spirit has been reborn in Manchester- the new Gun Club of the North. From his hair, the lead singer is obviously a fan of Harpo Marx. You can regularly see him and his Afro live at Jabez Clegg near Manchester University.
Client are a three piece electro band, kind of like Kraftwerk. Except Client aren’t men. They have the same dress sense, however, in that they all wear the same thing. They sort of remind me of air hostesses from the early eighties – if air hostesses provided electro music as part of the on-board entertainment, this could be them.
Tracey Emin, artist
The hip and the classical. If I am talking about the hip, it would be the Australian artist Shaun Gladwell. In 2007’s Venice Biennale he showed a mesmerising film of himself perilously skateboarding in tight tilt-tacky circles on the edge of a sea wall, as giant waves crashed a fraction away from him. And for the classical, it would be the abstract paintings of Vincent Hawkins. They are gestural and dynamic, and every time I look at them I don’t see the abstraction. I see a positive attempt at communication. It’s something that I am just on the edge of understanding which draws me in. I could live with these paintings very easily. I’m also looking forward to Harper Simon’s first album and Malcolm Venville’s feature film-starring Ray Winstone.
Gavin Turk, artist
Following on from a rather curious PR extravaganza in Dalston, what seemed like an old pub across three floors was taken over for a kind of house party which included live music sets. The Sugar Hill Gang and Dizzie Rascal played.
Upstairs I saw the two-piece band Florence and the Machine, who I thought were great. Florence’s voice, attitude, energy and occasional bashing on a drum had a compulsive attraction. The machine was a bit of a red herring. It seemed to be a real person strumming an acoustic guitar (not very mechanically). The music is a hybrid – simple folky structures with randomness thrown in to keep the interest bubbling. Definitely an act to watch out for in the coming year.
Eva Rothschild, artist
All summer while I was working I was listening to Alela Dianes’s album The Pirates Gospel and her EP Songs Whistled through White Teeth. Both were actually released in 2006, so I guess they aren’t that new – l just came across them now. The EP in particular has this really raw, direct sound, which I love. I am looking forward to seeing her live soon.