The best new bands to check out
Hear and now
In an effort to take the stress out of deciding what new live music to savour this autumn, The List’s team of crack music hacks pick out some of the season’s highlights
Signed to Michael Gira’s Young God Records in the US – one-time home of such fellow avant-folk weirdos as Devendra Banhart – New York quartet Akron/Family are probably strange enough to even freak out their own stable mates, prone as they are to quasi-religious chanting, lengthy bongo workouts, trippy, loved-up psychedelia and occasional heavy blues jams. Sometimes all in the space of one song. Don’t say you weren’t warned. (MJa)
Beat Club, Glasgow, 28 Nov.
The Twilight Sad
This young Glasgow indie outfit seem to be channelling the best of all their predecessors. On their thrilling debut, Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters, the foursome create a sound which manages to blend the sublime melancholy of Arab Strap with the epic soundscapes of Mogwai and the orchestral ambitions of The Delgados. Chuck in some guitar noise apocalypse and lo-fi folky accordion and you’ve got an extraordinarily ambitious and exciting crew. (DJ)
Barrowland, Glasgow, 21 Oct; Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, 3 Nov (both with Idlewild); Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh, 18 Nov.
The New Pornographers
Any band that borrows their sound from Cheap Trick can be forgiven the unwieldy name. The nine-piece Canadian supergroup is comprised of various members of the Vancouver indie fraternity including the delightful Neko Case and Carl Newman of Superconductor and Zumpano fame. Logistically a nightmare, and not quite the sum of their parts, but the New Pornographers know a harmony when they hear it. Latest album Challengers is a mellow slice of cinematic power pop. (RD)
Oran Mor, Glasgow, 18 Nov.
Comprising two parts electro terrorists Motormark to one part prog wrecking machine Lapsus Linguae, there’s more of the former in this band’s electrifying live sets. Expect high theatrics and lashings of eyeliner as well as a barrage of machine gun-drilled three-minute pop hooks delivered with punk rock attitude. Fake? No, very much for real. (SMcH)
The Admiral, Glasgow, 8 Nov.
Amiina are the yin to Sigur Rós’ yang. Having toured the world as their fellow Icelanders’ string section, this all-female foursome struck out on their own, creating an astonishing sound from a mind-boggling array of instruments, from saws to harps to metalophones. There are no indulgent soundscapes here, though, instead the ladies make remarkably beautiful tunes which veer from lullabies to anthems, always rooted in a deep sense of wondrous melody. (DJ)
King Tut’s, Glasgow, 1 Nov.
Crash My Model Car
‘Admirers of strange ways and kindness. Admirers of the sea. Admirers of each other’s fashion sense, gatemakers, old bicycles and people who like to stay up chatting late into the night.’ Hailing from Lewis, CMMC are attracting admirers of their own with their formidable live reputation and, conversely, soporific epic rock, earning them this support slot with The Thrills and their single ‘In Dreams’ a place on The OC. (EN)
Oran Mor, Glasgow, 16 Oct.
Although their sound necessitates a full band performance, Maps is essentially the solo creative project of Northampton’s James Chapman. In many respects they fit in with the style of early Radiohead, but there’s a shoegaze element to their floaty vocals and multi-layered guitar tracks too, with snatches of Ride and My Bloody Valentine to be heard on their Mercury-nominated debut album We Can Create. (DP)
King Tut’s, Glasgow, 19 Oct.
Many solo singer-songwriters perfect an air of mournful tragedy, but Elvis Perkins certainly has an air of unwelcome authenticity to his own. His father, the actor Anthony ‘Norman Bates’ Perkins died of AIDS in 1992, while his mother Berry Berenson was onboard a flight which hit the World Trade Centre on September 11. It’s this latter event which largely informs his debut album Ash Wednesday, a record which allows a degree of hope to penetrate the sadness. (DP)
Nice’n’Sleazy, Glasgow, 4 Nov.
Between elfin electro-bods Múm and otherworldly etherealists Sigur Rós, Iceland has staked the firmest claim to chilly, gorgeous post-rock, but Efterklang prove it isn’t a monopoly. Hailing from Copenhagen, they invoke the spectral weirdness and haunting orchestration of the aforementioned pair respectively, coloured with a dash of surging euphoria Sufjan Stevens style. (MJa)
Arches, Glasgow, 27 Nov.
A ‘high class six-piece indie rock band’ from Cumbernauld, The Zico’s cite their influences as The Stone Roses and Richard Ashcroft – and frontman ‘mighty’ Mickey McQueen could certainly give the latter a run for his money on single ‘Green Screen’. Emerging from the ashes of Dirty Kicks, the band claim they’ve been given a new lease of life, and promise to ‘ruffle more than a few feathers with the unmistakable Zico genius’. (EN)
Box, Glasgow, 19 Oct.
It takes mettle to launch a music career at the age of 35 but after her early years were spent in a cycle of drug rehabilitation, halfway houses and friend’s couches – she spent her 18th birthday in jail – and the next ten years as a restaurateur, Mary Gauthier’s musical fodder is nothing if not extensive. Making up for lost time, the New Orleans native has released five albums in ten years including her most recent effort Between Daylight and Dark, a gorgeous slice of brooding folk/Americana sparked by a shot of Southern gothic. (RD)
The Pleasance, Edinburgh, 6 Oct.
It’s often said that video games rot the brains of young tots. For Canadian girl/boy duo Crystal Castles, those merry hours of frantic button bashing have inspired a fizzling sonic cocktail of beeps and screaming. Having had their UK releases put out by London’s Merok Records – the same chaps who discovered Klaxons – CC are also supporting the recent Mercury Prize winners on their national tour. (MJo)
Corn Exchange, Edinburgh, 27 Nov (supporting Klaxons).
We Were Promised Jetpacks
The phrase ‘guitar band’ covers a multitude of sinners in the pop battleground. We Were Promised Jetpacks, apart from having the best name in showbiz, meet all other requirements necessary to lift them above their peers. Their live sets rip along at breakneck pace but somehow deliver a mini-anthem in every tune, merging Postcard and C86 jangle with full-on alt.rock. (SMcH)
Accies Club, Glasgow, 27 Oct; The Beat Club, Glasgow, 9 Nov.
There are simply not enough superlatives in the lexicon to describe this San Francisco duo’s talents. Adam Stephens on guitar and vocals and Tyson Vogel on drums and vocals create murder ballads and narrative epics of vicious beauty that recall the best of delta blues and add an important footnote to folk-punk. (RD)
Classic Grand, Glasgow, 8 Nov.
After the deadpan rambling ‘anti-folk’ of The Moldy Peaches, who burst giggling from their bedroom back in 2001, the stage was set for their even weirder musical cousin Jeffrey Lewis to stumble into the outside world. Since his debut Last Time I Did Acid I Went Insane, Lewis has served up two other albums of oddities alongside his brother Jack. (MJo)
Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh, Sun 21 Oct.
As a founding member of Napalm Death and Godflesh, Justin Broadrick gave birth to grindcore, death metal, industrial and nu-metal. Now we can add metalgaze to that list, as he merges My Bloody Valentine-esque swathes of guitars and his trademark wall of sound with atmospheric electronica in a style that is sure to spawn even more imitators. (AB)
Oran Mor, Glasgow, 16 Nov.
A name like theirs might be a marketing nightmare, but you suspect that Canadian freeform noise assailants Holy Fuck probably couldn’t give much of a, um, fuck. For one thing, they make acerbic, danceable and stringently modern electronic dance music that’s probably too dangerous for mass consumption anyway. And, besides, they own their label, Dependent Music, so they’ve only got themselves to blame. (MJa)
Sub Club, Glasgow, Sun 11 Nov.
Compiled by Andrew Borthwick, Rachel Devine, Malcolm Jack, Miles Johnson, Doug Johnstone, Stuart McHugh, Emma Newlands, David Pollock and Mark Robertson.