They might have supersized the site this year, but Sound City are retaining their love for homegrown talent, Getintothis’ Matthew Wood picks out his top ten Merseyside acts that play this year.
While it’s a city that’s never been short of opportunities, perhaps Liverpool’s greatest platform for emerging acts to exhibit their talent is Sound City, also a perfect opportunity for more established acts to pay homage to their home, performing alongside some of the biggest names in music. 2015 is set to be the biggest bash yet, revealing the most remarkable emergence of homegrown gems to date.
Among the established talent are the ever endearing Stealing Sheep and their neat collection of otherworldly-infused pop, lined up on Saturday’s Atlantic Stage with The Thurston Moore Band and The Flaming Lips, the trio will bring an undoubtedly elegant, vibrant set.
All We Are are already forming an alliance with success, snatching top honours at the GIT Award 2015 and securing a spot on the Reading and Leeds Festival lineup. Already adored by all who’ve had as much as a glimpse at the Liverpool scene, their self-defined ‘psychedelic boogie’ recalls Metronomy and Beach House forming an ethereal funk that utilises the male/female vocal fantastically.
Similarly adored on Merseyside are the Tea Street Band, who arrive with shimmering anthems that present a new wave of acid house; an exquisite layering of influence made up of the most sun-drenched guitar, pulsating beats and vocals that float around intangible and effortless.
Controversial character who gave birth to what is arguably one of the most successful pop songs in a long time: Valerie, Dave McCabe and the Ramifications are the former Zutons frontman’s latest project that seeks to provide music of the future. While at times is sounds as though it could accompany a scene from TRON, heavily charged with vocoder, McCabe’s familiar twang brings you back down to the streets of futuristic Liverpool. Time and Place is an original combination of influence and quite the journey in itself.
Also among the veterans returning to Merseyside, former member of The Coral, Bill Ryder Jones. Since leaving the band in 2008, Jones has taken the reins of orchestral composer on his album If… inspired by an Italo Calvino novel which is rudimentary yet profoundly mesmerising and emotionally evocative. His follow up album A Bad Wind Blows In My Heart demonstrates Jones‘ adept craftsmanship of songs which seems inspired by his time working with Alex Turner; amiable, piano driven tales of youth, love and loss.
Serpent Power adds two more veterans to the line up, Ian Skelly (The Coral) and Paul Molloy (The Zutons) will also be gracing us with a performance of their bizarre psychedelia that jangles, fuzzes and captivates using established methods, as well as those thrown in for experimental purposes that demonstrate the ample talent of these guys.
Also among those with the Liver bird stamped on their name are a host of former GIT Award nominees, from perennial crowd-floorers Barberos to the North-West’s newly-crowned Queen of psych Jane Weaver (who’s also speaking at the Conference); Kanye-collaborator Evian Christ to sumptuous slack-rockers Hooton Tennis Club.
Also among the GIT Award alumni are rapid-rising kaleido-poppers Gulf, a couple more Skellys for good measure in the colossal rock of The Sundowners, as well as a long-awaited resurgence from VEYU. With such an eclectic mix of bands you’d hardly believe they all began in the same city.
But you’re probably well versed in that lot, so here’s ten new, hot or emerging artists at this year’s Sound City you really should get to know – remember to tweet us your tips.
10. Cavalry at The North on Saturday May 23
Five-piece Cavalry formed only 2 years ago but their alternative folk that infuses wistful acoustics with the epic traits of bands such as The National has earned them support slots for the likes of The Antlers and Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks. Eerie, melodic and powerful, Cavalry can strike a chord in just about anyone.
9. Tabitha Jade at Conference Outdoor Acoustic Stage on Friday May 22
At only fourteen years of age, Tabitha Jade is an act full of promise. Boasting a vocal range beyond her years as well as a neat combination of Pop and R’n’B genres her career is almost certainly bound to materialise into something much, much bigger.
8. KOF at Cargo on Friday May 22
If any act is going to fit the term ‘genre-blending’ then it’s KOF. A voice sweet and soulful provides the strongest of back bones for a project that dips into the raciest of trap beats, chilled, smooth guitar licks and the slow burning RnB echoing the likes of Frank Ocean. He may have been on our radar for a good while, but with new material in the offing we’re more than enthused by his glorious return.
7. The Probes at Mail Chimp Record Fair on Saturday May 23
Recently supporting Liverpool legends Echo and the Bunnymen and signing to Porcupine Records, The Probes are establishing themselves as one of the most potentially influential bands coming out of Liverpool at this point. Their boundless creativity and their ability to explore and experiment with genres creates soundscapes where you’ll find dark melodies and slick transitions echoing the more sinister side of Interpol not to mention the omnipresent ghost of Ian Curtis.
6. Bad Meds at Baltic on Friday May 22
Asking fans to write your lyrics for you is certainly an unorthodox approach, but Bad Meds are not an orthodox band and handed out flyers for fans to write the lyrics for a song during their live performance. Upon hearing the lyrics to Grim Up North you’ll note that a road map was used for lyrical source so this may not be such a bad idea. The three-piece however are a breath of fresh, albeit blustery, air in-twining trashy, doom infused punk that will rattle your ear drums in the most Northern way possible.
5. LIVES at Baltic on Saturday May 23
LIVES, having been tipped for big things by the likes of NME, are a band making explosive, sonic tunes pulled together neatly by off beat snare hits and vintage-indie tropical riffs. With a sound that recalls Bombay Bicycle Club shaking loose their blues and B-Town favourites JAWS, accompanied by vocal resonance of Van McCann (Catfish and The Bottlemen), the quintet appear to have the makings of a winning formula, particularly one that comes into its own during live performance.
4. Strange Collective at Baltic on Saturday May 23
A take on garage rock that siphons all the convivial aspects of Thee Oh Sees and the rip-roaring solos and lo-fi fuzz vocals of Ty Segall; four piece Strange Collective have earned themselves a rightful spot on the Baltic Stage. These guys are out to have fun with their music, supporting the Black Lips, infamous for the their live show antics as well as the ever enchanting King Khan and the Shrines, they’ve proven that they can cook up a most welcomed storm.
3. The Floormen at Mail Chimp Record Fair on Saturday May 23
Another take on the psych rock influence, The Floormen are perhaps the most traditional of the lot, a seriously inventive influx of some of rock’s greats. Their debut EP Back to Obscurity exhibits the free-loving feel of a Hendrix jam, scaling bass grooves of Dead Meadow and the polished, sophisticated writing of Echo and The Bunnymen.
2. The Vryll Society at Atlantic Stage on Saturday May 23
Following a barnstorming set at the GIT Award, emerging quintet The Vryll Society seem to have captured the essence of the resurgence of kraut-rock infused psychedelia, floating around in similar realms as TOY and Temples channeling an admirable confidence as front man Michael Ellis struts and swaggers rivaling that of Cage The Elephant front man Matt Shultz. Their latest single is refined and full of promise- a must see.
1. Moats at Baltic on Saturday May 23
Ubiquitous of the Liverpool scene, Moats are gathering undeniable momentum, entering every show having lit the shortest of fuses, erupting instantly into cataclysmic sets for both mind and body. Laying their foundations in math-rock, building around angular beats with shimmering as well as dark, sinister riffs that hail to later Foals records, topped of with raw, angst-y vocal delivery. Offering an unmissable live performance, Moats will be flying a torn and tattered flag for the scouse scene, albeit a most favoured flag.