Back in the early 2000s, a time when the Strokes started reintroducing hip kids and students to rock again, London and the UK had a lot to offer musically. Incited by their New York counterparts, British bands took to their guitars and remembered the great heritage in British music. Gang of Four, Joy Division and the Smiths were back on everybodies lips again. Bands like Maximo Park, Arctic Monkeys, the Futureheads or the Libertines were filling bigger and bigger venues even outside of their home country. Then it seemed as if everyone was fed up of guitars. It turned into a two horse race, spearheaded by singer-songwriter or electronic music. Hip-hop also made a strong return. I had lost focus a bit. Scottland did a great job of producing rock bands during that time – just think of Biffy Clyro, We Were Promised Jetpacks or Frightened Rabbit. But what about England?
Over the last few weeks and months I stumbled across a great big bunch of really good guitar bands. If you take time and look beyond London, you’ll find what you are looking for!
Bayoné from Sheffield recently toured with Sport in the UK. And when you listen to their last EP Bloodhound it’s easy to see why. Great intense drumming, half screamed, half sung vocals and twinkle, twinkle, twinkle! Amazing to think that this is a two-piece. But the songs are great, melodies can be found in plenty and the surprise breaks and rhythm changes are keeping your ears peeled.
More twinkly emo music from the UK. LSP from Accrington sound like a mixture of American Football and Rites of Spring. Very classic emo blended with throat cutting screams. Another great sign that Emo is and never was just an American thing. I obviously noticed this band because of the cover. A rough British town covered in snow – I definitely feel that in their sound!
Keeping up with new emo and post hardcore releases has been an interesting but very time consuming pastime. Luckily there are groups and boards on the internet that gather people from all around the globe to talk about and share their discoveries with you. Oh, sure thing, there are blogs as well. So I think it was in one of those groups that someone posted the debut by this midlands band. And it’s albums like this that make you value all the effort and time you spent scouring the internet. Human Hands play a very emotional, waving and open sort of post hardcore. There are twangy and twinkly guitars, lofty drums and voices that change between screaming and talking. Always close to breaking when they are reaching for heights. They take their time to breathe and grow, and to fall down. It’s a great ride and probably my surprise pick for this year already!
Another great band from the midlands – this time Nottingham. Their four song EP sounds fantastic. Energetic screamo infused melodies meet clean(-ish) guitars. The driving drums and gnarly vocals add to the sound like a fist in a jock’s face! Be sure to look out for them in the coming months and years. This is a very promising band!
I think you can’t look beyond this band when talking about the UK and EMO or twinkly. Their first LP was amazing but last year’s “Knots” managed to top it. It’s a real shame they called it a day recently because they received a lot of positive reviews and I’m sure they would have grown a lot with this album. But sometimes it’s out of our hands, out of the fans’ hands and out of the hands of the bands themselves. It’s also the band that introduced me to the great Big Scary Monsters label. It shouldn’t come as a surprise by now, that they also hail from the midlands – Derby, to be precise.
666 words – oh man, a little diabolical. But thank you for reading! Check these bands out!