Hello! I am back!
Okay – before you all go up in arms, this title must be viewed subjectively. There are, shock horror (!) many festivals of various sizes and genres that offer something for everyone (Eaux Claires, Governor’s Ball, Firefly, Reading, T in the Park, Sweet Life). This post is meant to shed light on the 10 musicians/bands that I really vibe to and ones I think you might too – one’s that don’t really get the recognition they deserve, whether that be solely outside of their home country or in general.
Open those ears mateys – I think you’ll find some (dope) shit.
1. Tash Sultana
My fucking girl. I am madly in love with Tash and am very open about it. I think she plays every instrument but the harp and maybe a kazoo, I don’t really know – jury’s out. Mark my words -she is going to be the next superstar of our generation. The same feeling I had when I heard James Bay for the first time about 4 years ago, is the one that rose up again when I heard ‘Jungle’ for the first time (and every time since). Check to see if she’s performing near you next year – it’s worth it to clear your schedule for her. It’s not every day you get to hear a genius at work.
2. Animal Flag
Now, I truly don’t understand how anyone who’s been to an Animal Flag show and heard ‘Angels’ live hasn’t told 15 people about them. When I heard them I immediately booked them for the show I put on with my sorority to raise money for PCAA. They owned every inch of the stage – Matt propelled his body around and flung his neck in directions that made me slightly concerned – and it was fucking amazing. Alex, their spirited drummer, books gigs at Middle East and does a banging job. I also love to watch Alex perform. Drummers often end up overshadowed by the lead singer and bassist/guitarist, but he really stands on his own and is mesmerizing as he constructs the beat to tunes that are heavily dependent on his direction and obvious passion.
3. Cub Sport
Ever since I heard ‘Come On Mess Me Up’ I haven’t been able to stop thinking about that song and this band. When I feel like there’s “nothing to listen to” (we’ve all been there) I tend to just play this track. On my radio show (Thursdays 10-12 *plug*), I play it almost every week and am instantly put at ease. There’s something so special about this group and it’s not often that you can say a band enchants you. Cub Sport does.
I would like to see Gleemer live — no I’d REALLY LOVE TO SEE THEM LIVE. I listen to ‘Gauze’ once a day at least and when I played it during the backline shift at our BU Central show, each artist performing asked me who the hell made the song.
Duh, it’s Gleemer guys – hop on board.
I have a strange love affair with ‘Dinosaur Bones’ in particular. Lead singer/songwriter John adds an (ironically) crystal clear twist to his scruffy, endearing tone with every passionate yelp. Each vocal thrust intertwines perfectly with the mesmerizing guitar line that starts the track off and if this perfect live performance is any indication – this South Carolina stationed band will have a hard time staying rooted. The sound’s just too, too sweet not to tour extensively with.
Good Lord. Tyler, a promoter from co-sign, actually sent me Tender’s EP III and I was so shocked I hadn’t stumbled upon it independently (and also a little bitter that I hadn’t; I would have loved to have listened to the duo sooner). The whole EP is lovely but ‘Outside’ has stuck out to me as a particular favorite. My mind immediately wandered to all that their live show could offer and be – the songs they’ve constructed ooze with limitless opportunities to play around with alluring, haunting lighting and create a transcendental vibe that’s so specifically rooted in their modern production’s sound. You take the person you love to a Tender show – or the one you want to love that night. This London-based duo have taken up shop in my mind and are slowly making way to my heart – I really love what they’re doing and more importantly – how they’ve been making me feel.
7. Yoke Lore
Ah, good ol’ Yoke Lore. My friend Arzu brought me to see him at Café 939 a couple of months ago and ever since, I was hooked. MIND YOU – I have mentioned this before because he played a track that ruined me – one that I only got a 10 second clip of, but that was enough to warrant responses from my instagram followers who are also musicians in the UK. “Who is that?” they urged. IT’S M***** F****** YOKE LORE FAM – and that’s all I have to stay.
The brainchild of Aussie singer/songwriter Tim Bettinson – I got to interview these guys ahead of their opening slot for Daughter at Royale last month and they were absolutely lovely. It was cool to hear that Tim saw Daughter a couple of years ago at a festival in Australia and it was one that really inspired him to get serious about creating moving music the way that he does today. Fast forward to today – opening for the group across the US and sharing their unique sound with thousands of new fans – eager for something to get lost in again. Their new track ‘Someone to Stay’ is out now, but ‘Killing Me To Love You’ is the track that introduced me to these boys and it’s worth having a listen.
LAWD. Seeing Slothrust live at The Sinclair was really amazing, mostly due to the sheer skill of lead singer/guitarist Leah. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say I probably stared from the balcony and drooled the whole set. There are great guitarists sprinkled around here and there but Leah is exceptional. The instrument is another limb; a natural progression from the rest of her body – and it shows. The band combines a gritty finesse, strange, yet inherently poetic lyrics and a raw ‘This is what we fucking are’ vibe that makes their music incredibly inclusive to the lost toys wandering into a venue or to the kids who’s minds can digest lines like “I wish that I was a baby, sucking on myself”. Intrigued yet? Have a listen.
10. Little Comets
For my UK readers this is the most confusing (a.k.a. dumb) addition to this list; Little Comets has been on the scene over there for years and have an extremely loyal following. Over HERE, however, they’re virtually unknown. ‘One Night In October’ is a tune and a half and if I mentioned it in the middle of Manchester, twelve people would sing along with me and tell me how the Coles brothers took them to dinner and came to their family party. That’s just the kind of guys they’re known to be. Sadly, in Boston I’d play this tune and nary a soul would rise, arms in the air and belt it out with me. Scratch that — it’s not really sad, is it? I bet some Brits are pissed that we get the luxury of hearing them for the first time – kind of like how you wish you could read the Harry Potter books again as if you never had before. We have the pleasure of getting to know the band from the beginning – what lucky, lucky listeners we are.
Don’t forget to connect with these bands on social media and interact! Tell them how you feel, check out their merch or go see them live! If they’re in Boston at any point I’ll share the dates + places on my twitter @lotusplaybeats.