Esben and the Witch
Taking their name from a Danish fairy tale, this Brighton-based trio will soon release their spellbindingly beautiful debut album, Violet Cries. It’s full of spooky, sinister songs that creep up the back of your neck with a feverish intensity and which are dominated by the haunting vocals of singer Rachel Davies. Otherworldly and ghostly, yet incredibly evocative and moving, and there’s always something new to discover within the depths of their songs.
Post-rock is a curious beast. When it’s good, it can be fantastic. But such is the nature of the genre – much like reggae, I suppose – that a lot of it treads the wasteland of mediocrity. Not so this Leeds-based five-piece, however. Adding their own spectral twist to post-rock’s brooding, atmospheric formula, they’ve created something hushed and majestic – slow-motion lullabies that soothe and caress you on dark, lonely, rainy nights.
This four-piece from Reading began life simply out of boredom, but, in channelling the spirit of shoegaze heroes such as Ride and Slowdive, the band are starting to attract a great deal of attention. Shimmering walls of sound and disembodied, echoing vocals are the name of the game here, and if their early songs are anything to go by, this band could certainly go places. They might not be reinventing the wheel, but they’re retreading the tyres with a fiery zeal.
If you like your soul music, then Manchester’s Daley could well be your thing. And even if you don’t – it’s certainly not my favourite genre of music – you should still give him a spin. Because while Daley looks more like he should be in an indie guitar band, his chilling voice is more akin to Prince, and he uses it in an effective and appropriate way – by singing smooth and sultry songs about life and love that are full of a genuine tender passion. An incredibly talented singer who deserves to do well.
Dry the River
While this lot might be following in the footsteps of hoedown-loving folkies Mumford & Sons, they also offer their own angle to the pastoral and bucolic music that the former did so much to popularise last year. Hailing from East London, they blend traditional English folk with a hint of Americana. Some songs are much better than others, but everyone who sees them seems to rave about them, so it’s likely we’ll be hearing much more from them in the near future.
Mischa Pearlman is a music journalist living in London, who writes for a bunch of music magazines such as The Fly, Kerrang!, Clash, Record Collector and Alternative Press. He does this purely for the love and less frequently for the money, and is always hoping to fall in love with his next favourite band so he can tell you about it.