A wise man recently said to me that acts are ‘unsigned’ for a reason:the vast majority are dreadful. Since the first edition of the musicOMH New Music Guide, our inbox has swollen tobursting with review requests. The majority can’t be met, and a sizeable chunk we wouldn’t dream of inflicting on you, dear reader.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t the occasional jewel amongstthe proverbial rough. All artists (aside from the pre-fab pop types ofcourse) were, after all, without a record deal at some time or other.
With this encouragement, we strive on. And once again we have succeeded in finding hope among the hopeless.
Tell us what you think of this edition’s featured artists, or, if you are anunsigned or own label artist and would like to appear in future editions ofthe New Music Guide, please write to us at[email protected]
First up this edition are Manchester’s 52 Teenagers and whilst they couldprobably be classed as emo, they represent its rather acceptable face. Oldersongs like You Said No recall Jimmy Eat World, whilst material fromtheir latest single moves into a darker, more tightly instrumentaldirection.
Part of what really stands out about 52 Teenagers’ work is its productionquality. Whilst the production on many unsigned bands’ demos can bescratchier and more intrusive than a sandpaper thong, 52 Teenagers’ materialsparkles with professionalism. The talent of this band is not to beunderestimated though: instrumentally, vocally and lyrically, 52 Teenagersare at least the match of many signed and successful bands.
At Sea have perhaps the shortest name in post-rock. It’s no A SilverMount Zion Memorial Chorus and Tra-La-La Band With Choir for example,but what they may lack in moniker length, they make up with the ‘epic’nature of their music. Drawing their cue from 65daysofstatic, At Seamake music that is at once violent and somehow beautiful.
Songs like Film Script build from humble beginnings into monstrous beastsof contorted noise that wears the name ‘prog’ with style and vigour. At Seaare a young band too, and whilst superstardom doesn’t exactly await (it’snot exactly radio-friendly this stuff), I think we can expect much more fromsuch promising beginnings
Long journeys in France with only a radio for company have left me with adeep mistrust of any sort of music vaguely associated with the place.William Besson is, I am pleased to say, slowly undoing the musical havocwreaked by president Jacques Chirac’s airtime for French artists laws.
Besson was born in France but now works in London and sings in English.He produces what he calls “electri-pop” – a fusion of electro, trip-hop andpop. The result comes close to Portishead, but Besson adds a lyricaldexterity that’s reminiscent of Morrissey. All in all, it’s certainlystrange, but it’s innovative and interesting and not without a certain je nesais quoi, you might say.
The ColdNews is Chris Blundell, who has split his personality into fourband members: Chi, Jude, Aaron and Gideon, thus making The ColdNews “theworld’s only four piece solo project”. As you might perhaps expect, themusic he produces is as confusingly innovative as the back story.
It is attracting quite a buzz though and rightly so, The ColdNews producemusic that is strikingly different to anything else around. It’s an insightinto the very unique mind of its architect, over an arrangement of guitar,drums, bass and voice that you’d never have imagined before. This is one particular bandwagon thateveryone should jump onto.
If that’s all a little bit too experimental for you, perhaps the simple,acoustic style of Paul Wilkes will be a bit more up your street. Irish born,and not lacking a resemblance to the late George Best, Paul Wilkes’ musichas received praise from no less a figure than Paul McCartney.
This is gently meandering acoustic music that trickles like cream out ofthe speakers. Relentlessly warm, comforting and easy to listen to, thissurpasses David Gray and Damien Rice by a mile, and whilstobviously solo acoustic acts can descend into tiresome drudgery, this isjust too damn lovely to grow weary of.
The Pitchfork Disney
I have to come clean and say that I know members of this band, but evenif I didn’t, I’d still be a big fan. The four-piece from the Lake District(now operating mostly from Manchester) find their closest comparison intheir Lakes neighbours British Sea Power and Mancunian giants, NewOrder.
Which is not to say that their music is derivative in the least. ThePitchfork Disney are very definitely their own band with rumbling bass shotthrough by sharp guitar and with the ability, like Editors say, topick up the tempo or slow it right down. They’re great live performers too,and even though I am, admittedly, a tad biased toward them, they’re one ofmy favourite bands.
So draws to an end the second instalment of our unsigned guide, taking some of the time, effort and aural abuse out of finding great new music.