Gimme Five

I love writing about music. It plays such an important part in my life I really don’t know where I would be without it. My opinions are not definitive obviously but I listen to and see live many bands. Two or three bands that have been fantastic live this year are not mentioned in this article. Not because they are not good but its that they have not caught me like these bands. You know that feeling when you hear a piece of music and feel trapped by its sound. You search it out and play it repeatedly.
I do periodic music reviews, often focusing on established artists. I do mention new material I have come across but have not dedicated a post to new bands until now! I truly believe the best music is now or yet to come. You cannot dismiss new material because all music was new once. Imagine in the 1960’s, the electricity of hearing Jimi Hendrix for the first time or the intro to ‘You Really Got Me’ by the Kinks. That personal excitement of discovering a new sound to you is hard to beat. I often hear bands 18 months or so after they emerge, therefore in truth, most of these artists will have been around a while already. I have chosen five acts that you should check out as I feel they are interesting and innovative in their style. Don’t let any old cynic suggest that it has all been done before or these bands are just copies of a previous act from a previous age.

My new find of the last few days are a three piece band from New York City called We Are Augustines. Their debut album ‘Rise Ye Sunken Ships’ was independently released in 2011 but worldwide in March this year. They are very hard to describe. The songs are incredibly strong musically with very impassioned vocals of Billy McCarthy. For me the stand out songs on the album are ‘Headlong Into The Abyss’, ‘Book Of James’, ‘Juarez’ and ‘Chapel Song’. It is a strong uncompromising debut album that I think promises great things. They are playing at the Reading and Leeds Festivals this year so check them out if you’re going.

They have had decent air time on the champion of new talent that is BBC6Music. 

I tend to get introduced to new material via BBC 6 Music but the next band I have stumbled upon from being around the Leeds music scene for the last year or so. They were formed in 2009 whilst they were students at Leeds University. To Kill a King are a five piece band fronted by vocalist Ralph Pelleymounter. I had the pleasure of seeing them play outside Jumbo Records in Leeds this year as part of Record Store Day. I was there to watch Dodgy but was lucky enough to catch much of their set beforehand. They have released two EP’s (My Crooked Saint and Word Of Mouth) and two singles. Their music has fabulous harmonies and a mix of acoustic and electric instrumentation. My particular favourite track from the My Crooked Saint EP is ‘Bloody Shirt’. I urge you to give them a listen, they are very addictive. Their latest EP – Word Of Mouth is available free as a download from their website http://www.tokillaking.co.uk. They are on tour this autumn and should be in a town near you.

The next act were heavily played last year on BBC 6 Music and even Radio 1. I had the dilemma of celebrating my dad’s 80th birthday or seeing this band for free in Leeds. Family loyalites won out on that occasion which sadly denied me the opportunity to watch Cashier No9 live. They are a band from Belfast that released their debut album ‘To the Death of Fun’ in 2011. Their sound is astonishing at times with harmonies not dissimilar to Simon and Garfunkel or the Byrds. Their sound is almost plucked from Laurel Canyon of the late 60’s. The Album had two quite successful singles ‘Goldstar’ and ‘Oh Pity’. The album is absolutely enchanting with my favourite track being ‘Lost At Sea’.

The next band have hovered under the radar and gone largely unseen since their self titled album was released last year. Danish four piece Treefight For Sunlight produced a wonderfully sunny debut album that sounds beautiful but has not enjoyed any degree of commercial or public success. The main single off the album ‘Facing The Sun’ is great as is ‘What Became of You and I’ but my favourite track has to be ‘Riddles and Rhymes’. I urge you to check them out. They will brighten your day! I hope they persist and produce more wonderful cheery tunes.

The final recommendation is a group that will possibly turn out to be the most commercially successful of all these bands. I was very lucky to see them live at the Cockpit in Leeds recently and they were very good live. Their style is a mix of dance rhythms, electronica and rock. Django Django are a four piece band formed in art school in Edinburgh. Their self titled debut album is really captivating heavily led by the drums and synth patterns. They have had much critical acclaim with singles ‘Default’ and ‘Waveforms’ getting much air time. The live show was to a packed venue that responded very favourably. They are doing the festivals this summer and are supporting Hot Chip this autumn. I would highly recommend you check out their album and better still see them live.

These five artists come highly recommended. I do feel strongly that supporting these artists particularly by spreading the word and seeing them live will bring their corner of creativity to a wider commercial and critical audience. There are many DJ’s on radio that will promote and plug these up and coming bands but its often the average punter that pays the money to support them.

Remember this five:

We Are Augustines
To Kill a King
Cashier No 9
Treefight for Sunlight
Django Django

Now go and listen to them. Go on, do as you are told. Trust me.

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