Another year of eclectic music has come to an end, the last twelve months tracing out the story of something very special within the music industry, particularly the blossoming strand of it which is the DIY circuit. The development and growth of new bands like Happy Hour, Legss and The Howlers has unveiled a perplexing and intriguing branch of the industry’s psych rock artists, and it has also been a pleasure to follow the growth of bands whom we tipped as ‘Bands Of 2018’ back at the end of last year, such as Calva Louise, Strange Bones, The Blinders, and Yonaka. 2019 promises a lot for new music; the next few months are poised to make their mark in music as tantalising and hedonistic months of growth, as new bands have a breathtaking foundation to build upon, one of abrasive creativity, and unorthodox flare. The new wave is coming, and you best be prepared. Here are our top Ten New Artists to watch in the New Year
Fulfilling a murky, post punk attitude of brash uncaring rock, The Howlers embody a raw, vividly angry rejection for mainstream convention in their music. Full of snarls and spits, the band use distorted grungy guitar riffs in a psychedelic twisted hallucination to build up a feel of darkness and savage rawness. Their sound has remained scathing and twisted, both the lyrics and riffs building up hyper, erratic stoner-rock balladry
Clearly vibing of an influence from the South London artsy prog-rock scene, Jerry are an immense thrill to watch on stage. They have a feral roughness to them, blistering, incisive, fuzzy punk played in a meticulous yet wild manner. Full of unhinged surprises, their tracks take many twists and turns, leading you on a winding, sonic trip of a journey
A nod to the groovy elegance and spirit of 70s indie pop, FUR are a retro masterpiece. They bind sublime mellow pop with a modernised indie edge, infusing their sound with something old school and vintage, richly combining Magic Gang style lyricism with vibrant neo-psychedelic old school pop riffs. Their entire essence is charming; a pure delight to listen to
Fronted by the ever so bad-ass lead vocalist Lia, The Mysterines are a forceful punch of new wave furore, hailing from Liverpool. Their psych-rock grit is intense, especially in a close knit live atmosphere, where their deep riffs and rich bass lines bounce shakily from wall to wall – The Mysterines possess a hunger, a vivid passion, and are naturally extraordinary live
An 80s style art-pop ensemble who experiment with synths and post punk influences, Milk Disco mix the bleakness of punk with the ambiguity and brightness of 80s pop synthetics. The clever usage of disco distortions and elusive post punk riffs takes you right back to an underground warehouse rave in 1984
Sonically eluding you into a kaleidoscopic daydream, Gently Tender are one of the purest, most interesting bands to have emerged this year. They use choirs and a series of string instruments alongside soft harmonies and vocal layering, building up an almost holy image of the band. The psychedelia nods to a warming 60s-esque hypnosis, fuelled by an evocative and overpowering presence on record
A dynamic four piece who formed in the scene in and around New Cross’ notorious Five Bells, Happy Hour are an artsy concoction of post punk and creative psych indie. They blend garage and punk in a very clever way, creating something that writhes with chaos and disorder. Rather than musing on the past, Happy Hour are building upon the foundations of old school punk to create something fresh and eclectic
Brooding and scathing, Uncle Tesco emit a perplexing scarring broodiness through their moody, abrasive lyrically witty pieces of music. Their dynamic is controlled, and very blunt and straightforward, the band using a careless vocal to add a brooding layer to their sound. Speaking rather than singing gives them an interesting edge, built up by the chanting of riffs (most notably in stellar track Meal Deal)
Witty and compelling, Legss produce with ease an eclectic fusion of so many different sounds and emotions, creating a vivid, sonic sound. They are overpoweringly good, a fuzzy authentic punk sound rippled through their sharp goriness. I particularly enjoy the well balanced combination of indie punk with a more mellow shoegaze element – they are immense live, and I would strongly suggest getting out to see them in the New Year
Melodic and enticing, Pip Blom are an Amsterdam based four piece who have a glowingly addictive sound, one which resonates with you in a really special, impactful way. There’s a scuzzy swagger to their music; as a band they are keeping something fresh and revitalised in their strand of the industry, and it’s refreshing to see a young band recklessly making these steps
Indie Underground’s further picks for 2019 …
Projector, Haze, Phobophobes, Haze, Blue Bendy, Lumer, Luxury Apartments, Mice Ön Mars, Serene, Forever Cult, Squid, & Sorry
Top Ten Albums of 2018
Acts Of Fear And Love – Slaves
Tranquility Base Hotel And Casino – Arctic Monkeys
You Say I’m Too Much, I Say You’re Not Enough – Estrons
Joy As An Act Of Resistance – IDLES
Songs Of Praise – Shame
Friendship Music – Surfbort
Columbia – The Blinders
Coup De Grace – Miles Kane
A Better Life – Spring King
Black Honey – Black Honey
Top Five EPs of 2018
Less Is Better – False Heads
People Street – BlackWaters
Hate Music Last Time Delete – HMLTD
Blood On Suits – LUMER
Teach Me To Fight – Yonaka
Highlights of 2018…
Some Might Say ran launch parties this year for Issues Two, Three, Four and Five, as well as celebrating our One Year Birthday, and we were lucky enough to have the following bands play; Strange Bones, Arcades, Mummy, Calva Louise, Dirty Orange, Concrete Caverns, The Surrenders, The Americas, Monarchs, False Heads, Nana White Pepper, SONS, Freakouts, The Strawberries, The Wholls, Mice Ön Mars, Leggs, Happy Hour, & Luxury Apartments
All five issues of the Zine have sold out, and in 2018 we released three issues; Issue Three had Strange Bones on the cover, Issue Four had three split covers with The Scruff, Avalanche Party and The Surrenders, and Issue Four launched as the new square A5 edition, with Haze on the cover
It has also been a very proud year – artists we tipped last year have been making waves in the music industry; Strange Bones, False Heads, Anteros, Yonaka, Hotel Lux and The Blinders have been killing it this year, to name but a few, both in terms of album and single releases, and playing live all over the world
& MASSIVE love to fellow zines – Denim & Leather / Live Circuit
Despite the age of digital and online media being the generation we are in, there is a generation of under the radar bands taking the industry back to the scatty DIY nature of 70s punk and 90s grunge, creating an immersive and exciting reputation for themselves, and the DIY scene in turn. The growth of self made zines, as well as a rise in DIY rock promoters and club nights around the UK, has helped fuel the DIY element of the rock industry, and many psych rock, grunge, and punk bands are putting releases out on vinyl now, as well as via online platforms. The remarkable thing about the shiny 7″ disc is the immense nostalgia and history that comes with it; the modernism, the romanticism, the authenticity. DIY labels like Flying Vinyl and Vallance Records are pushing more and more new bands into scratching their music into physical wax copies, whilst underground bands are working with smaller producers and studios to recreate their scatty, punk grit on record. I’ve picked out some of my favourite DIY labels within the industry, including my top releases from a few of these labels
Confidence/ Water – Dead Pretties – Big Score Records
Released as the band’s last 7″ before splitting up, Dead Pretties released Confidence and Water as a split A-side last year on Big Score Records. The label has an impeccable reputation regarding their work with smaller, grungier bands who bring an element of shouty 70s punk to their abrasive, sweaty tracks. Bands like Yowl, Gently Tender and Hotel Lux have put out releases on the label, as well as Crewel Intentions who signed to the label last November
My Obsession/ Cheap Date Expensive Drugs/ Piece of Strange – Table Scraps/ Black Mekon – self released
Of all the records I own, this 7″ is definitely my favourite aesthetically speaking. The artwork is blurred with red and blue lines and comes with a pair of 3D glasses, giving the split front and back covers a 3D look. This is such a unique and intriguing thing for a band to do, yet not something unsurprising as Table Scraps have always managed to shock and excite with their music. My Obsession is the raw, scatty single from Table Scraps, with the b-side of the vinyl playing Cheap Date Expensive Drugs & Piece Of Strange from fellow Birmingham band Black Mekon
Swine/ Ramona Flowers – The Blinders – Rockart Records
Despite now being signed to the more mainstream label Modern Sky, 2016 saw the release of Swine and Ramona Flowers by three piece The Blinders. The abrasive social commentary and intelligent view of politics projected in their music has always been a point of discussion and at times, controversy. The DIY rawness to the band was matched perfectly by Rockart Records who released the 7″, working alongside Art Beat Promo (run by Caffy St Luce, who is one of the most perfect examples of a media visionary who cares about new bands, currently working alongside 485C and The Velvet Hands)
I’m Gonna Do Well/ Getting Closer – Calva Louise – Flying Vinyl
Released on limited edition pink vinyl, Calva Louise released their debut single I’m Gonna Do Well and follow-up single Getting Closer through Flying Vinyl. Flying Vinyl apply the old school ethic of releasing physical music by picking out five new singles each month and pressing them into 5 individual 7″ records which then get boxed up and posted to subscribers. The two Calva Louise singles were recorded by Margo Broom who runs Margo’s Living Room (perfect for new music exposure) and released by Craig Evans who runs Flying Vinyl. Through his company, I am also lucky enough to own limited edition records from artists like Estrons, Free Money, and Willie J Healey
Retina/ Said and Done – False Heads – Vallance Records
Elliott Hale runs one of my favourite DIY labels, Vallance Records. Sisteray and Strange Cages are signed up to his roster, but he also releases singles from other bands, including False Heads who released Retina at the start of the year on red wax. He also works as an A&R for 1234 Records, who have put on bands like Thee MVPs, Frauds, Table Scraps, Haze, and Milk Disco at live events. Based in East London, the label rarely puts out standard black 7″ records; more so, they release coloured discs, splatter vinyl and tapes, bringing a proper old school authenticity to his releases
A few of the best DIY Labels:
1234 Records – Scab Hans, AKA Matador, Factotum
The label also runs free entry showcase events in South London and East London, with some intensely hedonistic and exciting live bands playing for them over the next month
29/8/2018- Artificially Yours / Italia 90 / Scab Hand / CXR @ The Old Blue Last, Shoreditch
Rough Trade Records – Goat Girl, Sleaford Mods, Starcrawler
Fat Possum Records – Yak, Fat White Family, YUCK
Clue Records – Avalanche Party, Forever Cult
Roadkill Records – Projector, The Sly Persuaders, Weird Sex
Roadkill Records are run by Josh Cooper, and put on some of the best live events. Very scatty and fuzzy in nature, the nights are purely DIY, with an abrasive fun feel to them. There’s a focus on grunge and psych surf rock with the artists signed up to Roadkill, and live nights and weekender events are put on in London regularly
24/8/2018 – Muertos / Déjà Vega / Never Never Man / Something Leather @ The Shacklewell Arms, Dalston
Unveiling a brand new logo, False Heads have released a new range of merch to tie in with festival season, their upcoming tour, and release of the Less Is Better EP. The band have worked with the Nick Alexander Memorial Trust in the past, and £3 from every sale made from the new line of merch will be donated to the foundation.
Set up by Zoe Alexander, the Trust is a memorial foundation for her brother Nick, who lost his life in the callous and tragic terror attack at the Bataclan in 2015. He was working for Eagles Of Death Metal at the time, and died aged just 35. I’ve met Zoe before, and what I respect the most about her is her upmost strength and courage in the face of adversity; the memorial trust works in Nick’s honour, with donations raised being used to fund charities and grassroots community groups across the UK, providing them with grants for instruments and equipment. Last November, the charity ran A Peaceful Noise where Band Of Skulls and Josh Homme played, the gig opening with a set from False Heads and ending with a Libertines DJ set. Over £14,500 was raised for the Trust, and it’s heartwarming to see the band continue their support for Zoe’s work.
“Throughout the career that he loved, Nick saw people of all ages and backgrounds, all over the world, brought together through a love of music. The Nick Alexander Memorial Trust aims to continue to use music to contribute positively to people’s lives.”
Aaaand another bonus is this; upon pre-ordering, your name will be put into a prize draw where you can win half of Luke’s guitar, hand signed by the band (half of it being the neck as he smashed the body on stage at Isle of Wight festival last summer)
I would strongly encourage you to take a look at Zoe’s work as well as buying one (or two, or three) of the shirts. Please visit the website here
In terms of new music, it’s easy for one to get stuck in a rut of repeating the same bands on a loop, getting sucked into a vacuum of bland, same old music with no real grit or bite. Indie Underground has always focused on promoting the best of new new NEW music, with a core focus on the grittiest, roughest DIY bands who are new to the scene and creating their own unique sound. There’s a plethora of intensely good new talent at the moment, and the scene underneath the underground is thriving with raw new music.
Here’s 50 hot new bands you need to get on your radar now. Go dig
Enigmatic raw grunge is a force and a half in Brainglue’s music. There’s a sense of perplexing broodiness to their sound, with scarring vocals and reverb, distorted effects used to amplify their authentic feel of garage muck
Top track: Hyperventilate
Visceral and scathing, PROJECTOR blend grunge with stabbing pop menace, lyrically and riff wise an ode to post shoegaze punk. Their sound packs an authentically 90s sound (think Pixies meet Hole), yet the grunge rawness blends in with revitalised rock’n’roll, producing an air of meticulous complexity
Top track: Break Your Own Heart
With a rough FIDLAR-esque sound, FREAKOUTS are an angry, vibrantly impassioned punk band with an insatiable sense of outlandish chaos rippled through their music. Aggressively riotous and disordered, the heavy pounding riffs set a solid gritty foundation for the band’s sound
Top track: Panic Room
4) Stray Scene
Intertwining a sultry Britpop sound with groovy 60s-esque rock’n’roll, Stray Scene have a dynamic energy which is bold and refined, trippy riffs and thudding guitar solos a key element to their music. Their sound is akin to old school retro rock music, with an authentic air of nostalgia rippled in their boldly impassioned music
Top track: You’ve Got The Clap
A whirlwind of punk vivacity, SCRUBS have an old school DIY feel of gritty garage rock, scratchy home recorded demos and an abrasively confident lack of respect for the mainstream enhancing this. As a band, they’re still new enough to have a fun, experimental sound which is unrefined and scathing
A DIY assault of brash riffs and a nastily menacing guitar, this three piece messily blend garage rock with bluesy indie rock, a fast paced bite of dark grungy energy layered over their sound. They have a thunderous sound, one which is a uniquely eclectic fusion of genres
Top track: Wide Awake
7) Dirty Laces
Thriving and raucous, Dirty Laces have a vibrant rowdiness to them, powerful Mancunian rock’n’roll with a dirty garage edge embedded within. The thudding nature to their music is ferocious, mosh pit worthy hectic riffs fundamentally part of their sound
Top track: Get Out
8) BAD LUNGS
A North London quintet pushed by Charlie from Thee MVPs, BAD LUNGS sound like Table Scraps , The Buzzcocks and The Slumdogs all in one messy, alien like musical body. Head-banging thrashing electricity is generated in their music, distorted vocals and trippy riffs creating the spark needed to create the hectic explosion the band seem to conjure with ease
Top track: The DT’s
Bands like YOWL and The Starlight Magic Hour are part of an immensely exciting and intriguing new sound, one of carelessly speaking, almost spitting lyrics over heavy riffs and pounding guitar lines. Hooking and sonically gripping, Haze’s sound is full of controlled dynamism, their lyricism just as quirky and interesting as their sound is bold and entrancing. Far from contemporary, Haze exist in their own little bubble of brutally abrasive post punk, tortured shoegaze
Top track: Piochitas
A sharp, intimidating carousel of witty raw rock, Phobophobes are a kaleidoscope of apocalyptic post punk, their sound authentically punk with a fuzzy, fresh charisma drowned in it. The use of dark and hauntingly brooding vocals contrasts the sharpness of the grating yet soothing guitar riffs, an integral aggression and pain taking over every inch of your soul; deafening and brutal in nature, this impact is one bands rarely make, a long lasting impact inevitable
Top track: Naked Rambler
11) Lady Bird
A Wonk Unit-esque, early Slaves sound obvious (early Slaves as in pre-Sugar Coated Bitter Truth, i.e. How’s Amelia?), Lady Bird are forcing a spotlight, dimmed as it may be, onto raw, classically British DIY. Signed to a DIY label and writing about pubs and hanging, there’s an instant youthful connection the band are making with people, their funky bass lines and shouty vocals something that could have jumped out of a punk club in 1970s London
Top track: Spoons
12) Blue Bendy
Tenderly vehement, Blue Bendy have a controlled ferocity to them, their music emitting a violent anger in a harrowing, raw tone. The construction of their tracks is so well thought out, composition being what gives their sound that air of delicate fragility, sharply angry and an ode to pure, genuine punk. Think a trippy mix of Hotel Lux, Black Midi and Sistertalk, with an overwhelmingly immersive quality
Top track: Common Joy
Vivaciously blending gory guitar rock with soothing drumming to produce hazy punk psychedelia, Riches get in your head with ease, spinning and twisting their sound to entice you as the listener. The vocals go from trippy and psychedelically soft to harrowingly scarring and grating, punk goriness embedded in their sound. More so than just being a band, Riches emit something completely unique; to me, they are more so an experience
Top track: Late To The Party
14) Dead Coast
Inducing bluesy psychosis with a weirdly intricate indie rock edge, Dead Coast have an Avalanche Party/ Thee MVPs sound to them. More thudding and constructed than some of the other bands on this list, Dead Coast’s music is very brooding and intense, a raw dash of psychedelia sieved into the already hefty mix of bluesy shoegaze rock riffs
Top track: Liar Song
A harrowing feel of frustration and angst rippled through their music, Lumer use keyboard synthetics with gritty, gripping guitar riffs to build up this frustrated feel, transforming an energy and attitude into a gratingly powerful sound. It grates away at you, the guitar riffs scathing and distorted which act as the perfect base for the shouting, powerful vocals
Top track: Blood On The Street
16) Luxury Apartments
Mercilessly brooding and full of compelling narcissism, Luxury Apartments have a secluded rawness to their sound, one which is untamed and impassioned. There’s a feel of manic boldness to their music, one of messy, kaleidoscopic vivacity. Building on word of mouth hype and a stunning live reputation, this band are one to keep a close eye on gig wise
17) Cannibal Animal
A wildly thrilling sound immerses you with Cannibal Animal’s thudding, Tarantino-esque sound. The bass lines set raw foundations for their tracks, distorted guitar riffs shaking through the music. There’s a manic air of violence ingrained in the post punk sound the band elude, lightning bolt riffs electrifying their music
Top track: Simply Sinking
Abstract and vaguely disturbing, MOLD sound like a shrieking mix of Nirvana, The Starlight Magic Hour and HMLTD, stunningly vibrant guitar riffs used to entice their audiences. It’s brooding and melancholy, setting a tone of misery which those sharp guitar notes and riffs slice through menacingly. The shouting nature of the brutal vocals have a tenacious intimidation to them, something bold and brutal to their sound
Top track: The Puppet Master
Having featured on here back in 2016 under their old name FISH, Sorry have had a stunning re brand in terms of sound. Grungier and more harrowing, yet also coldly soft at the same time, they have an immersive quality of eclectic indie, something mildly shoegaze to their sound. Their light harmonies are brooding and afflicted, something wonderfully 90s sounding to the band
Top tracks: Drag King & Stunner
Fusing alternative rock with gritty DIY punk, Mōnk play in a dark, vibrant jazz style, a cocktail of heavy riffs, softly raw bass lines, and dark vocals. There’s a dirty nasty sharpness to the band, the vocals reminiscent of bands like shame and Dead Pretties. The sombre eerie quality they invoke is what makes their sound so powerful and evocative, their music like a calming, distorted sedative
Fusing messy post punk with hazy shoegaze psychedelia, Gaygirl epitomise brilliantly the concept of ‘guitar rock.’ The looped rolling riffs are amplified by the gory ballsy bass, further amped up by the carelessly raw vocals. Their sound is dark and full of punk undertones, whilst at the same time retaining a trippy pop element
Top track: Paralydise
22) Mystic Peach
Their sound emblazoned with eerie romanticism, shoegaze indie, and hazy psychedelia, Mystic Peach have a raw Palm Honey-esque sound to them. Their tracks are like a day dreamy haven of surf indie and melodic indie pop, something they create meticulously well; yet this sound is firmly doused in a concoction of punk psychedelia which gives them an ample grit
Top track: I’ve Got Nothing To Say
23) The Garden Party
Rap-rock is a genre which the DIY UK scene has dipped in and out of over the last year, and The Garden Party are a band full of heavy electric vivacity, bringing a newly spirited vitality to the genre. With an almost grime sound subtly infusing their music, rapper Kenan’s lyrics add an element of relatability to their music, a raw honesty rippled into the heaviness and aggression of their sound
Top track: What We Gonna Do About This?
24) Bad Girlfriend
Grungy and scatty, Bad Girlfriend have a screwy punk edge, very messy and dirty in essence. It’s brain explosive, mosh pit inducing powerful rock music, with a sound integrally heavy and borderline grungy. Reminiscent of bands like God Damn and Led Zeppelin (the latter in terms of riffs), Bad Girlfriend epitomise the heaviness and darkness of rough punk music brilliantly
Top track: The Royals
25) Ulysses Wells
What is so enticing and intriguing about Ulysses Wells is the purity of their DIY nature, with the band playing gigs on boats and in derelict pubs, bringing a dirty old school nostalgia to their pure punk gigs. Their sound is experimental which is in turn exciting, their tracks very much formulated around the gripping bass lines and sharp snappy riffs. The use of vocal distortions and twisted mic effects makes listening to the band a vividly vivacious experience
One of the most stunningly sentimental and emotionally evocative releases of last year was Her from The Scruff, a touching and poignant track written about, quite simply, your mum. Honest and raw, the track is very different from the usual rowdy raucousness the band tend to encompass in their music; there’s a rippled delicate fragility to it, and the lyrical openness and relatable nature made it a stand out track from the off.
Discussing the single, Adam explained ‘I mean you can write songs all day about doing drugs and how fucking rock’n’roll you are like heavy nights out etc, but every now and then it’s nice to do something about like being nice to people,’ Omar adding ‘It was written shortly after I lost my Mum at the beginning of last year, and it’s quite fucking hard hitting to be honest, it’s not really like anything we’ve done before’
In honour of the nature of the single, The Scruff have launched a competition for their fans this Mother’s Day, where you could win the opportunity for the band to come to your living room and perform an acoustic version of Her for you and your mum, now how lovely is that? All you need to do to win this is like and share the Facebook post attached below, and tag a friend in the comments
2017, you’ve been killer. An insanely good year for unearthing new talent, the array of new bands on the scene has been astonishing. From bluesy post grunge music to raw gritty punk, the underground rock’n’roll scene is thriving and alive, full to the brim with raw new talent. Some bands I’ve been blown away by this year are brand new discoveries, such as SHEAFS and White Room; others are bands I fell in love with last year who have used the past 12 months to consolidate and reaffirm their impeccable skill, False Heads and Calva Louise being perfect examples of this.
Here are Indie Underground’s Bands to Watch in 2018
A nod to retro 60s music with a groovy elegance, White Room are injecting a spirited vitality into old rock’n’roll with their fresh and vibrant burst of energy. Their sound is wonderfully 60s, with a heavy Sgt. Pepper’s tone running throughout. Infused with a neo-psychedelic 90s rock sound, the band bring a shoegaze post psychedelic aura to their music, using soft sitar-esque guitar riffs and a thudding tambourine to infuse their sound with rich authenticity.
Wonderfully fun and energetic on stage, Anteros are a fiery band full of artistic glamour and a fashionable elegance both live and on record. Laura’s voice is powerful and deep, but also soft and delicate when it needs to be, bringing together indie rock with a warm, mellow pop aura. The band blur the boundaries between indie and pop, their careless arrogance and elegance allowing them to pull off such an interesting fusion of genres. Artistically and fashionably, the band capture an aesthetically vivid elegance which makes for a raw hypnotic feel unique to an Anteros gig.
Full of harrowing power and a richly vivid darkness (both lyrically and through their deafening riffs), Yonaka have used the past 12 months to prove themselves as one of the UK’s best live bands. Theresa’s voice brims with an aptitude for power, and her vocal naturally flows from sensually soft, light whispers to richly intense bursts of power, gliding with ease over the ear-splittingly heavy riffs. Lyrically evocative, the poetic cynicism embedded in Yonaka’s tracks make for truly spectacular pieces of music.
Brooding, moody and carelessly arrogant, Hotel Lux are a dark five piece sticking to raw underground DIY roots, which are slowly making them the faces of London’s post punk subculture. Their sound has a deranged mysticism to it, very unique and intensely curated, which is immense live to say the least. As a five piece, they use grungy bass lines and raw riffs to build up a punk aura, but also entwining synth keyboard sounds into their music to blur the raw post punk sound with an 80s/90s feel.
Inspiring a feel of vivacious grungy punk, LIFE are an abrasively messy in your face punk four piece hailing from the streets of Hull. Their music is gritty, thrashing punk which makes no attempt to hide the hectic wild thrill which LIFE encapsulate so well. Lyrically, they refuse to shy away from a politically crass stance, and make direct digs at the USA on its gun laws & race laws in Euromillions. The stance they take is a refreshing and invigorating one, giving British punk a kick up the arse.
One of London’s most intriguing and captivating live bands, 485C capture the essence of neo shoegaze indie rock perfectly. A stunning five piece, they are a guitar rock band, playing elegantly delicate riffs perfectly in sync to build up a very refined, articulately contained sound. Adam’s voice has the brooding grit and rawness of a post-punk poet, and his controlled screams over the sharp guitar are musically audacious. This indie psych-rock vibe 485C have going on is delicately old school, with their unique sound and set up refreshingly modern, a thought provoking contrast.
They’re viewed by many as the faces of London’s rock’n’roll scene, bringing classic indie rock to the forefront with their immense guitar rock sound; and after seeing them live it’s hard to see why anyone would disagree with this reputation. Their sound is richly infused with sharp riffs and tight as hell vocals, with Luke’s rough gritty lead vocal backed up stunningly by the soft harmonies from bassist Perry. Guitarist Mike plays riffs to a delicate perfection, with a really natural sense to the way he plays, enhancing the feel of honesty to their sound. It’s class rock’n’roll, with a beautiful feel of rich romanticism to Luke’s vocals and lyrics.
An immense force from the bubbling scene which is London’s underground punk scene, Calva Louise are revitalising what punk can sound like, giving it a lick of pop with immaculate riffs and lyrics. Jess is an incredible frontwoman; as lead guitarist, her riffs and the natural way she plays guitar is mind-blowing, her approach to playing the guitar on stage coming of as it being second nature to her. Her sharp screams and screeches can instantly change to soft whispers and a pop-esque delivery, backed up beautifully by sharp drumming and a raw, tight bass guitar which is hooking and gripping, hence why they go down a riot live.
The Velvet Hands
60s rock’n’roll was revolutionary, an integral era for what rock music of today is, so modern day bands who encompass that authentic 60s sound are always an exciting band on the circuit. The Velvet Hands merge 60s and 70s elements, creating a really vibrant, fun sound. There’s a certain confidence to them, their overall sound and look definitively similar to The Rolling Stones, or Squeeze. It would be obtuse though to compare them directly to these bands, as the four piece have a really fresh youthful vibrancy which makes them exciting and modern, rather than cliché or seemingly stuck in another era. Their sound is brilliant too, very fun and groovy which is an absolute belter live on stage.
The best live band around now, no doubt of that, False Heads are an insanely riotous raucous three piece heading up a revolution in what DIY post punk guitar rock really is. Luke’s snarly spitting vocals are harsh and raw, and his riffs are insane, particularly the solo riffs in Retina and Slew. The thrashing aggression from Jake’s bass guitar and Barney’s drumming sets the tone for a rough, gritty punk edge, and all their tracks are packed with this abrasive grit. Lyrically punchy and focused on nuances, Luke Griffiths is genius in his lyricism. Witnessing the three piece live is always an experience and a half, and if you crave a dose of real punk then look no further than East London’s finest.
Messy, rowdy, ferocious. Strange Bones encompass so much in their music, both on and off stage, and are one of the best bands to see live. Mosh pits and crowd surfing are natural at a Strange Bones gig, their rowdy punk sound and the rigidity of their music always making them a mind-blowing band to see live. Their riffs are deranged and manic, and the political lyricism and sharp vocals from Bobby amplify this punk boldness even more so. There’s an insatiable chaotic sense of madness to their sets, fuelled by the purest taste of punk aggression and angst, which is authentic and real. Only Strange Bones could pull off rat masks, balaclavas, and band merch emblazoned with the slogan ‘Theresa is a Terrorist.’
One of the coolest bands around right now, four piece BREED are building up an untouchable reputation for themselves, with rowdy crowds and killer riffs integral to their live sets. It’s indie rock/ post punk, bringing raucous riffs to the face of their music, tracks like Gimme More and Get With It having an anthemic feel to them. Jake’s voice is particularly standout, as it’s packed to the brim with grit and gravel, his voice tearing ever so slightly as he pushes it which makes for an intense post punk vibe. The guitar riffs are looped and repeated, which builds up a thrashing rock’n’roll sound, which would help explain why they’re such an exciting, popular live band in London at the moment.
Dark, brooding and controversial to a degree, The Blinders are brash and crassly uncaring which gives them an immense sense of intrigue. Johnny Dream & His Codeine Scene are the alter ego band, otherwise known as Tom, Charlie and Matty. The stunning, filthy lyricism is hauntingly vibrant, tracks like Ramona Flowers being cuttingly sensual, with tracks like ICB Blues nodding a head to more socially and politically aware controversy. They’re riotous and uncaring in nature, and are complex in sound, bringing a post psychedelic/ punk sound to their stages (psychedelic in essence and performance rather than sound), theatrical immensity rippled into their gigs. From Tom’s smudged black eyeliner covering half his face, to the controversial messages smeared across his chest (such as Fuckin’ Vote Labour! and Fuck The NME), The Blinders are a theatrical riot on stage, dramatic, raw, and intense as hell.
Imagine a blistering combination of dirty riffs, garage-esque lyrics, and a dark and deep vocal delivery, fuelled by a gritty brutality howling through the music; that’s Peckham based five piece YOWL for you. Their sound is a bitter, miserably pure London one, their music capturing the harrowing essence of the city. Alike to bands like Dead Pretties or LIFE, the discontent and pain that comes through in YOWL’s music is gripping, with a raw relatability. Something snarling and almost sad behind their music gives their tracks an element of emotional resonance, YOWL gripping their listeners in a way only musicians completely honest and open (vulnerable, in a sense, through their lyricism at least) could be able to.
Authentically British in sound, LICE have that dirty pure punk sound, with nasty riffs and snarling bass lines tearing through their tracks. Built on foundations of hectic abrasive riffs and unusual, unorthodox beats and grooves, LICE have an artsy aura to them, very unconventional and avant-garde and subsequently thrilling. Their sound is riddled with satire and a dark gritty garage edge, and LICE sound like they’ve stepped out of a post punk subculture which is slowly starting to take over the UK, city by city. The thrilling rawness of the guitar, played alongside the casual vocals which come across as careless and moody, give the band something so incredibly special. I’ve extremely excited by this underground upcoming subculture made up of bands like Hotel Lux, YOWL, HMLTD, shame, LIFE, The Moonlandingz, Goat Girl, and LICE…maybe the most exciting scene going on right now.
A disordered four piece whose sound brims with outlandish punk vitality, The Slumdogs are a snarling force of chaos and immensity hailing from Blackpool/ Leeds. The faces of the dark grungy punk scene bursting with new talent, The Slumdogs’ sound is a chaotic mess of riotous, distorted punk. The thrashing aggression and insatiable energy in recent single Nightmare is immense, the track and video alike a homage to the roots of DIY punk.
Sheffield’s finest band at the moment, SHEAFS are a vividly vibrant indie rock band with a punchy post new wave bite to their music. Beautifully astute and elegant live, the band have a Shimmer Band/ White Room feel, and there’s an integrally raw feel good beat to their music. Their classic guitar rock sound is inherently infused with gritty vocals and sharp riffs which draws a similarity to post Britpop music, akin to the early 2000s indie rock/ post punk scene. Live, SHEAFS have an impeccable presence too, always going down a riot with their audiences at small and large venues alike.
A cocktail of deep riffs, gritty tough vocals and a dirty sense of mysticism rippled through their lyrics, The Wholls are an immense four piece with an insatiable appetite for edgy lyricism and hooking, gripping riffs. Each track by The Wholls is special and unique in its own little way, all of their music though being built on the same foundations which are tough and gravely vocals, fuelled by heavy guitar and pounding, thudding rich loops and riffs from the drums and guitar, both lead and bass. Arturo’s voice has the glass shard quality; it’s sharp and cutting, refined on the edges but scratchy and grating when he pushes it. A stunning live band, the abrasive approach to The Wholls and carelessly reckless attitude they possess turns their music from sharply written delicate rock tracks to blistering, blazingly hot guitar rock anthems.
Thinking back to the roots of punk, the really genuine roots of honest 70s punk music, politics jumps out at you straight away. Politically crass and uncaring bands have always fuelled punk music, and Naked Six are a band hanging around the DIY scene right now, pushing their angst and infuriation into their music. A two piece from York, think fat riffs and scratchy vocals which transmit a feel of pain and anger, frustration almost. There’s a militant feel to the duo, the hectic chaos to their sound being gripping and meticulously put across on stage.
A frenzied mess of theatrically dramatic chaos, Avalanche Party are a harrowingly brooding, beautiful mess of a band. Their uncaring nature comes through in their abrupt and unorthodox style, a darkly intimidating yet at the same time intriguingly inviting aura being produced. There’s a feel of brooding intimidation, with lead vocalist Jordan almost coming across as possessed, and the frantic post punk nature to Avalanche Party intertwines with their brooding garage rock sound, a lethal combination which they pull off with a natural flair and ease.
A boozy sound infused with a dark post grunge rawness, Dirty Orange inject a fresh vitality into classic rock’n’roll, using rich bass lines and gritty sensually projected lyricism to capture and entice their audiences. It’s a raw and sexy sound, with a deeply pure element of Americanised nostalgia to it. Debut EP XXX is intensely impassioned, packed with filthy riffs and a raw spitting vocal throughout. The three piece are delicate and meticulous in their sound too, blending a variety of sub-genres and influences together to generate a uniquely idiosyncratic aura.
Fuelled by thudding bass lines and a vivacious beat, Thee MVPs have a cutting edge sense of pop grit to their music, with a vividly immense rock sound. Tracks like Funeral pack a nasty raucous punch, a deep groovy aura to their sound. An astonishing live set up too, the band throw out a refined cocktail of indie rock, grunge, and pop, which is hell raising and stunning to listen to.
A spirited four piece from Bedford who have a gritty edge rippled through their music, The Scruff have been one of 2017’s most exciting band. Developing from a band who were well known and popular but on a local level, The Scruff have developed hugely over the course of the year, gaining immense recognition from rock’s biggest names, such as BBC Radio One, This Feeling, and Radio X to name but a few. Their humour and cheek is infectious, their spirit and personality firmly embedded in their music. Their tracks can go from being raucous anthemic rock’n’roll tracks, to more subtle, stunningly emotive pieces of music, most notably Her which features emotional and harrowing lyricism.
Safe to say 2017 has been incredible, promising a lot for the new year. Thanks to the love and support for new music bubbling in the underground scene, new music seems to be thriving more than ever before. The work promoters like This Feeling, Pink Rabbit Events and Double Denim do is amazing, backed up by an emerging scene of writers, photographers and bloggers, like Sophie Arnold, Arianne Jessop, The Zine UK, Northern Exposure and more. Photographers in 2017 have fuelled the music scene immensely too, big shout out to Alan Wells, Mollie Yates, Lindsay Melbourne, Annie Warner, Luke Jones and Lewis Evans for their spectacular work.
2018, get ready
Some Might Say is a DIY zine for upcoming post punk, indie rock and grunge bands; Issue Two is a ‘Bands to Watch in 2018’ special, featuring the majority of bands on this list plus more. With exclusive features and photos, you can grab a print copy now for just £4. Buy here
Check out Indie Underground’s Big in 2018 playlist here
So I am extremely lucky to have The Horn as my local venue; the home to some of the most insane bands I’ve seen, giving new bands and upcoming talent a platform to play
on long before anyone else, The Horn has a stunning reputation for unearthing new talent before most people have got their heads round the last wave of artists introduced by the venue. Working with Juicebox Live, the venue has put on some incredible gigs, and I’ve been a regular at Juicebox gigs since last September, having first done a gig there in 2015. This week celebrated a very special landmark in Juicebox’s history; 10 years since Luke Hinton started up the promotion company. In these ten years, bands like Slaves, Sundara Karma, VANT, The Magic Gang and Yonaka have played the venue…some big names to say the very least. But what I love the most is the finesse Juicebox have in giving tiny upcoming DIY bands a stage to play on.
Last night was the Juicebox Live 10th birthday party, with five acts taking to The Horn to play all night long. Rather than doing a standard gig review, I wanted to do a piece exploring the top bands I’ve seen at The Horn, and the top live acts I’ve discovered thanks to Luke and the Juicebox team.
A rowdy four piece band, I first saw Concrete Caverns playing Independent Venue Week in January. Since then, the band have become far more gritty and raw with their bold
riffs and politicised lyrics, epitomising the attitude and pure essence of punk music perfectly. Joe’s vocal is incredibly gritty and gravely, which is just what I like in indie rock/ post punk music. Always a hectic force on stage, the band’s sets are always packed with loud blaring riffs from Zach and Joe, tied together brilliantly by the finessed meticulous riffs from Liam. Last night I got to see the band play again, and the riffs and loops from drummer Adam were amazing too, packed with energy and power. Never shying away from a politicised message either, the band are proudly left wing with their powerful lyrics. They released debut single Unforgivable a couple days ago, and it’s a riotous political track with raw riffs and killer vocals giving it that post punk bite.
Strange Bones… so much to say about this band. Aggressive raucous punk, with a pure
70s bite. Their music is full of so much power and intensity, heavy riffs and thrashing screaming vocals from Bobby giving them an authentic punk edge. Tracks like Snakepit and Spitfire always get insane reactions from the crowd, with mosh pits, crowd surfing, and inevitable beer chucking and falling over just a natural part of their gigs. I’ve seen the band seven times now since January (where they played IVW at The Horn), and two of these times have been at The Horn. They always deliver an insane set, with thrashing drumming and rich heavy basslines from Will matching the screaming riffs from Jack and Bobby perfectly. What I love about Strange Bones too is the powerful lyricism embedded in their music; Big Sister Is Watching is a vivid political dig at the right wing media, a ‘toxic press’ as Bobby described it to me. The message behind their lyrics is fuelled with anger and aggression, creating an intimidating and moody aura. The band don’t shy away from controversy or in your face punk vivacity either, Bobby often chucking a balaclava over his face and referring to the Tories and The Sun as ‘scum.’
An artsy group full of spirited ambience, 485C embody beautifully the meaning of shoe gaze indie rock, bringing back an old school 80s sound with modern twists and unique
riffs rippled through. It’s indie with a psych-rock twist, very unique and cleverly written. Adam’s voice is beautiful too; it has a certain grit to it, an underlying element of rawness, but with this gorgeous quality of power and fullness to it, especially on tracks like She’ll Lie and Manic Filters. I love the unorthodox Avant-garde nature to the band, and the meticulous rawness of the riffs makes their sound even more intense. A five piece, Adam sometimes picks up guitar, meaning there are always 3/4 guitars playing at the same time. Rather than this being loud and heavy though, Dom and Rory almost intertwine their guitar riffs so they’re each playing something more delicate and finessed. Sam is a wonderful bassist too, and I love the way him and Dom play together (often standing next to one another on stage). What makes 485C so unique is the abrasive attitude and confidence to them, incredibly mesmerising to watch. Adam is a wonderful frontman too, embodying the carelessness and class of iconic front-men such as Morrissey or Ian Curtis. This neo-psych flow of indie rock mystery and romanticism makes 485C an absolute pleasure to see live; of the 4 times I’ve seen them, 3 have been thanks to Juicebox Live.
I’ve been lucky enough to see J.W. Paris live three times now, each time at The Horn. Playing with bands like The Amazons and Yonaka, the three piece are always a stand out act for me and I love them to pieces. A raw gritty rock band, J.W. Paris are made up of Aaron, Josh and Dan. Aaron and Dan take turns on lead and back up vocals, taking it in turns on each track and harmonising beautifully throughout their sets. Aaron’s voice is packed with this dark grit, a gravely undertone matching the breezy rawness of Dan’s voice perfectly. Dan on lead guitar and Aaron on bass is a lethal combination too, and tracks like Berlin, Wanted More, and Darker Side of Paradise have brilliantly polished tight riffs layered over Josh’s impassioned aggressive drumming. Josh is a fantastic drummer, his little loops and drum rolls just as refined and delicate as they are powerful and raw. There’s a seductive blues infused grunge edge to their music too, and they always tear the stage to pieces when they play. Slowly growing in popularity, not just around the local area but in London too, you can catch the band at Nambucca in a couple of weeks for the Some Might Say launch party. Buy tickets here.
One of the best live discoveries I’ve made this year, BlackWaters played at The Horn in January for IVW on their co-headline tour with Strange Bones, and I was blown away by their set. A young band, they have this youthful rowdiness to their sets, an exciting indie punk edge giving them a very FIDLAR/ Shame/ Arctic Monkeys edge. Max’s vocal is gritty
and rough and raw, with a really careless punk edge to it which I love. David is a wonderful guitarist too, backed up perfectly by the raucousness of Ollie on bass and James on drums. What makes BlackWaters so special live is their energy and no-shit approach. Tracks like Help Me, So Far Out, and Let The Good Times Roll always go down a storm, fuelled by the vigorous bite and energetic grit they have. Having toured with bands like Strange Bones, Carl Barât & The Jackals, and Marmozets this year alone, there’s something veryyy special going on with these lads. The group feature as the cover band for Issue One of Some Might Say, which you can buy here. BIG up.
Of the three times I’ve been lucky enough to see October Drift, each one has been thanks to Juicebox. One of the most insane bands I’ve ever seen live, there’s this manic deranged intensity to the four piece, their sets full of hectic aggression and abrasiveness. Kiran’s
voice is calming and soft, gliding perfectly over the amped up distorted guitar riffs; the way they all play is mesmerising on stage, with this air of being in a whole other world on stage. There’s a feel of darkness and boldness to them, completely uncaring and unaware of anything other than the music. Tracks like Cherry Red and Losing My Touch are phenomenal, the guitar simply being out of this world. To create such a blurry distorted mess with this underlying feel of delicacy really demonstrates the immense skill and talent to the band. The band are wonderful on record, but the spirit and unique rawness to October Drift comes across perfectly in its most pure form when the band play live. Their sets are manic and frenzied with a sense of unhinged immensity, and every single October Drift gig I’ve been to has been a stunning experience, it being an absolute honour to witness these four lads play.
Supporting your local scene is so important, I can’t stress how crucial it is. Keeping the scene alive and thriving starts with going to see local bands at your small grassroots venues, and I’m beyond lucky that The Horn is my local. For full listings and future gigs at the venue, head to their website here. Happy 10th birthday Juicebox!
Here’s some more snaps I’ve taken of bands playing Juicebox gigs (at The Horn and Wilkestock festival)