musicOMH New Music Guide: 4

How many of us grew up with dreams of rock stardom? I’d wager quite a few. How many of us ever really did anything about it? I’d wager a very few. I grudgingly gave up the dream a while ago – I will never headline Glastonbury, or be afforded the opportunity to do copious amounts of drink, drugs and groupies before, during and after ‘work’.

So therefore, sighing audibly and preparing to dive the fourth musicOMH New Music Guide, it is time to take stock. What is becoming clear is the sheer volume of people out there still keeping the dream alive. More power to them all, but perhaps the following five acts have maybe more chance than most of turning the dream into the reality.

tapes ‘n tapes

Every once in a while in this line of work you come across a band that simply beggars belief. The fact that tapes ‘n tapes are unsigned is an absolute travesty, because by God, they’re absolutely brilliant – they’d be on my record label that’s for sure. This Minnesota four-piece could, at the risk of sensationalising, really be a ‘next big thing’.

They sound a bit like Pixies, but have the brittle, modern edge of Battle and Bloc Party. Their finest track Insistor is a tour-de-force of sharp, nervy drumming, rolling bass and vocals spat violently at the microphone -tempo is masterfully altered, atmosphere built and torn down. From the looks of things they’re great live as well. I’m absolutely mystified that this band isn’t signed, on heavy rotation at MTV2 and high on a festival bill, because it’s plain to see that they really, really should be.


Likewise is the story with Voxtrot, who have supported tapes ‘n tapes live in the past – now that’s one show I’d love to have been at. Voxtrot are a bit of a different proposition though, vaunting as they do a Smiths-esque summery jangle in their prime slices of pop majesty.

Their best song is utterly beautiful. It’s not unlike Death Cab For Cutie in its light, airy feel, with lead singer Ramesh Srivastava’s delicate vocals, the close of the song is startlingly poignant – the whole thing begs to be used as exit music for a film. Oh, and it’s called The Start Of Something. Let’s hope it is – something big.

Karva Checkpoint

Music is perhaps one of the only businesses where talent is not directly proportional to success. If it were, Karva Checkpoint would be topping the charts and James Blunt would be playing dingy unsigned nights inManchester. The talent in this band is obvious, even if you’re not into the generally ‘prog’ vibe that this talent results in on this occasion.

I am rather into it though. Vocalist Kate Mellors has a sweet, idiosyncratic voice which lays atop beautiful, warm guitar tone and expertly wielded bass guitar and drumsticks. As with all things ‘prog’ though, it’s not really easy to categorise their music, or find comparable bands, which as far as I’m concerned is a wonderful thing – you’ll just have to have a listen for yourself.

Emma York and Galactica

Sticking with female vocalists and the more experimental side of things,Emma York and Galactica are a duo making music that, as the title of their album suggests, is Far From the Quotidian. Beatbox, acoustic guitar and vocals isn’t a particularly common combination but, like cheese and chocolate, is one that works very nicely.

Their chosen tools of the trade add up to sound that’s like Joni Mitchell collaborating with Lamb. Priceless, my favourite of their tracks, is stunningly atmospheric and the lyrics are somehow apt: “How nice it is to hear your voices / how nice it is to see your faces,” sings Ms York, as Galactica adds rhythmic beatbox that the guy from Police Academy would be proud of.


Regular readers of this guide will be becoming aware of my penchant for post rock, and this edition’s instalment comes courtesy of Ireland’s 66e.There’s so much brilliant music coming out of the emerald isle at the moment, not least Hybrasil, and 66e whose sprawling, cinematic sound is a treat for the ears.

The five-piece create musical melancholia that’s not dissimilar to Radiohead (OK Computer era) or Mogwai‘s more downbeat moments, to which vocal harmonies are carefully and sparingly added. 66e are home is a fine track -restful and relaxing, it could pave the way for a breakthrough that is just waiting to happen.

So there we go, another trawl round the internet is complete, and never have I wanted to own a record label so much. Perhaps the above five bands are a step closer to the dream, or perhaps not, either way I hope you enjoy listening to them.

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