Since founding Dinosaur Jr over 25 years ago, J Mascis created his own brand of punk-infused slacker-rock. Then his 2011 solo album, Several Shades of Why, offered a new side to his personality. A collection of beautiful and delicate songs, it was worlds away from his normal thrash and roar.
This acoustic adventure fits well for Mascis. While these indie-folk tunes lack the previous instant power and pure emotion. It’s quirky and adventurous, only now with restraint. Compelling and bluesy, here’s an artist that’s gracefully come of age.
Based in Hastings, The Moors have been together since 2009. Their folk-rock music is influenced by Jewish diaspora, Balkan gypsy dance bands, with North African, Middle Eastern and Cuban rhythms and melodies creeping in.
The band draw together manic rhythms, 2,000-year-old dance tunes and Spanish folk meddles. With a unique combination of technical brilliance, The Moors’ vibrant brand foot-stomping energy always lights up the audience when they play. Celebrated on the scene for their amazing performances, they offer a musical trip around the world.
Brighton’s Slum of Legs spent ages with only three recorded songs, archaically released on cassette. This was a source of annoyance for anyone convinced of their brilliance and wanting more (or just something they could listen to!) But this year they got it together and put out a début single.
They’re cute and fiery, punky and poppy, melodic and aggressive… it’s very complicated. Just when they establish their rock credentials, they’ll play something completely new wave and melodic. It’s indie noise-pop magnificence, but pin them down at your own risk.
Taking nearly 100 years of bluegrass tradition, and turning it on its head, this band could start a party anywhere. AC/DC, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, Motörhead and Neil Young are just a few of the artists finding their songs given the Hayseed Dixie treatment.
Their new album ‘Hair Down To My Grass’ comes out this month, showing their own compositions are just as impressive; each song detailing the search for spirituality accompanying hillside life. They might be laughing at themselves, but make no mistake, this is a talented and versatile group of musicians.
The 12th annual Poets vs Mcs returns to brighten up the winter. Eight representatives from each side showcase their skills, next they all throw down for a 20 minute hip-hop freestyle. Then the real battle commences. Featuring loads of familiar faces from the local MC and poetry scenes, this offers a great opportunity to hear some of the best local spoken word around.
Springing from two legendary nights, Slip- Jam B and Hammer & Tongue, they might pretend they are opposing sides but the boundaries between these art-forms are becoming increasingly blurred.
Once there was two, then they became four. So now Deers sound even more expansive and incredible. These Spanish lo-fi wonders skilfully blend garage rocker with 60s girlgroup pop aesthetics. As a result they’re a cool bunch of ladies.
Some of the recordings sound like they were recorded in a metal box, at the bottom of a pond, on an old Nokia… but these ramshackle songs are simply infectious. So mix fuzzy guitars, plenty of raw enthusiasm and a ton of charisma. Now you’re on the road to creating a band like Deers.
Canadian singer, songwriter and synth enthusiast, Lights Poxleitner, brings her tuneful brand of expansive pop to Brighton. This one-woman operation always brings a great live performance, passionately connecting with the fans at her shows.
Musically inventive, each album displays a progression from the last. This year’s release, Machines, was a ground-breaking offering of bright 21st-century pop. Expect glittering riffs countered by grimy beats and bass, as retro analogue synths dirty up the perky melodies. Light’s music is emotion soaked and occasionally quirky, but utterly beguiling.
Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg have honed their lush arrangements, and blossomed as vivid storytellers, creating the ten-song Columbia Records début album ‘Stay Gold’. Hailing from Stockholm, they went viral with a YouTube performance of Fleet Foxes’ “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song”.
‘Stay Gold’ mirrors their meteoric growth as performers, by using the 13-piece Omaha Symphony Orchestra to give the band a bigger, more fulfilling sound. However they still retain the soaring vocal harmonies which made the sisters and their country-tinged folk-rock tunes global stars.
Renowned for their exciting live shows, Porchlight Smoker blend old-time bluegrass and roots, laced with their unique take on folk and country. Guitar, banjo, lap steel, mandolin and upright bass are all beautifully used to accompany old-school bluesy vocals. It’s gutsy, punchy and warm.
Their new album ‘Water Into Sand’ is out via Dead Reckoning on 26 Jan, and has already received airplay on Radio 2 and Radio 6. So these fellas will be in a jubilant mood. Soaring harmonies and foot-stomping rhythms collide; all performed by a band which lights up any venue they visit.
They’re sporting the best name in showbusiness. Taking the fast and furious lo-fi sounds of punk, Meat Wave produce something both awe-inspiring and pounding. Too nasty for hipsters, too talented for the DIY punk scene, they’re challenging the concept that punk has to be crap.
With songs that pack more punch than your usual three-piece can manage, these Chicago rockers turn it up all the way to ‘full power’. With heavy, pounding rhythms and manic guitar riffs, it’s exigent, inimitable and vibrant. Punk wasn’t meant to sound this epic… was it?
Nearly 20 years after forming, Iceland’s Sólstafir are set to release their fifth fulllength ‘Ótta’. Following one of their most ambitious releases with the double-album ‘Svartir Sandar’, the new release endeavours to balance the band’s sonic breadth.
With a compositional approach that’s both orchestral and commandingly heavy at the same time, this metal band’s music has greatly evolved since the early days. Their sound is becoming less an echo of inspirations and more a distinctive sonic exploration which is wholly their own.
Beginning his career playing with hardcore punk band The Nerve Agents, Tim Presley has released music as White Fence since 2010. Since then he’s released six studio albums, two live albums, and a collaborative album with Ty Segall.
This American singer/songwriter is extremely prolific, endlessly recording tracks in his bedroom. Whilst these might have a certain DIY sound, it’s when he plays them live with a full band you realise how good he really is. What first sounded wobbly and plain odd, suddenly becomes almost expansive, tight and energetic.