It’s hard to ignore the classics, but it’s worse to overlook the rising stars. Each month, we pick five artists worth lending your ears to. July’s selections highlight a few up-and-coming acts changing punk and folk rock, indie and garage alternative.
PAUL THOMAS SAUNDERS
NOTES: Emerging from comparisons to Fleet Foxes and Radiohead, Brit Paul Thomas Saunders is slowly reinventing the basics of melodic pop, which Bon Iver has come to master and Coldplay has stretched to touch. His wordplay, accompanied by an entrancing voice, never fails to lock your attention and make you anticipate every syllable and startling melody while he reinforces a mix of folk that meets delay and reverb. Simple and lush? In some ways, yes. Another product of synthesizer drab? Far from it.
NOW PLAYING: Lilac And Wisteria EP (July 4th – RT60 Records)
NOTES: Britpop meets shoegaze – we know what you’re thinking, just another group trying to capture the essence of The Velvet Underground and bring it to life through modern tones. Though they use the latter and classify it as “anti-recession music”, West London’s Born Blondes play with sound in a way that can only be traced to instrumentalists Jonny Greenwood and Ed O’Brien. Living proof: fresh single “Solar” (found below) that speeds through atmospherics, drops into a clean riff and grabs you by the collar for another go-round.
NOW PLAYING: “Solar” 7-inch (Self-Released)
NOTES: The New York outfit’s music is the equivalent of punk falling head over heels over rock to the tune of Cursive and At The Drive-In records playing in the background. A welcome addition to the No Sleep family, the seven-piece formulate an unusual blend of guitar riffs, grimy bass thumps, flutes, keys and dual he/she vocals that take flight without any fear of falling. That creativity and courageous attitude is why their brand of post-punk is quite attractive. It’s also why people are already talking about their upcoming self-titled debut.
NOW PLAYING: Aficionado (July 2011 – No Sleep Records)
NOTES: Just when the duo shtick is perceived to be an overplayed aspect of music, London’s 2:54 – Hannah and Colette Thurlow – throw in sibling rivalry and love for Queens Of The Stone Age to make it new again. The Melvins inspired name and references to indie darlings Warpaint have created a buzz but barely give insight into the group’s sound. Patching hazy, seductive vocal chords into drug-inducing garage beats, the Thurlow sisters have captivated audiences opening for the likes of Blood Red Shoes and Melissa Auf der Maur and reinforcing their ideals of “a new dawn for more subtle sounds”.
NOW PLAYING: “On A Wire” 7-inch (Self-released)
DRY THE RIVER
NOTES: Dripping from the same semi-folk flesh wound as Mumford & Sons and Titus Andronicus, English five-piece Dry The River don’t just write songs, they pen stories. The collective’s live performances and acoustic sets in backdrops like the canals of Amsterdam are divine, riveting and heartfelt. Partly due to vocalist Peter Liddle and the skill he sets in comforting delicate strings and the heartbeat of rhythms with his words. “My prison kiss, my dying wish / I know I had a message at the start,” he explains on “New Ceremony”, making a clamorous chorus that much more resounding and profound.
NOW PLAYING: Bible Belt EP (Self-Released)
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