Drama, punk and mystery

It’s incredible to think how many
bands – new and otherwise – are out there in 2010. I spent last weekend at a
festival in Hamburg, Germany, and there were so many bands playing I’d never
heard of it was quite ridiculous. Most of them were from countries other than
Britain, but it nevertheless got me thinking about the steady stream of bands
forming and how hard it must be to stand out from the crowd, especially when
bands are so often judged by their success, not their talent. That said, it’s
always great to see bands who are able to break through that gray mist and
emerge into some sort of limelight. Here are some who deserve it.

 

Frank Turner

Three albums into his solo career,
Frank Turner has well and truly established himself, but as the only British
artist I saw in Hamburg, I thought he was deserving of a special shout out. His
punk-inspired, folksy yet anthemic rock combines the political with the
personal to create some truly rousing sing-alongs that are infused with intelligence
and a social conscience. He’s also one of the nicest guys in rock’n’roll around
today.

http://www.myspace.com/frankturner

 

Wu Lyf

A mysterious Manchester-based
four-piece (I think!), very little is known about this band, but I heard them
for the first time the other day and it really grabbed me. Imagine a teenage
Tom Waits agonising over a sound collage of catchy, dancey, angular guitar
music that sounds simultaneously sad and jubilant. Incredibly intriguing stuff
– just like the band themselves. It’ll be interesting to see where they go from
here.

http://wulyf.org

 

Broken Records

This Scottish seven-piece were
greatly hyped when they released their first single in 2008, but it died down
fairly soon after. Two years on, however, their second album is about to come
out. Full of haunting, dramatic, orchestral compositions – think Beirut crossed
with Arcade Fire – it’s slightly pompous, but not pretentious, and their
grandiose, ambitious songs are so full of heart and soul it’s impossible not to
be swept away by them.

http://www.myspace.com/brokenrecordsedinburgh

 

Straight Lines

I saw this Welsh four-piece play in
London last night at the small but well-known Camden Barfly (a venue in Camden,
funnily enough), which is the umpteenth time I’ve seen them live. Their spiky,
sparky, high-energy rock is poppy and punky and incredibly catchy. They’ve
already supported some big names like Motorhead and Kids in Glass Houses and
have exactly the right attitude they need to succeed. I hope they do – they
really deserve it. http://www.myspace.com/straightlines

 

Summer Camp

Given their fascination with the
aesthetics of American nostalgia, it’s surprising that this duo are English. A
collaboration between Jeremy Warmsley – who previously had success as a solo
artist  – and Elizabeth Sankey, Summer
Camp create sublime, gorgeous songs that – somehow –  sound like they’re simultaneously from a bygone
era and the future. The result is a soundtrack to a life you never lived and
for memories you’ve never had.

http://www.myspace.com/summercampmusic

 

MISCHA PEARLMAN is a music
journalist living in London who writes for top UK music magazines such as The
Fly, Kerrang!, Clash, Record Collector, Alternative Press – and the Caymanian
Compass. He is always hoping to fall in love with his next favourite band so he
can tell you about it. You can contact him at [email protected]

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Frank Turner’s rousing folk-punk merges political and personal.
Photo: File