Sounds of the Summer
THE TAB reveals the 6 artists you should discover this summer.
It’s that time of year again, when the festival of fun and sun that we call “Summer” strikes back with promises of heatwaves, great tans and exotic holidays, all of which is guaranteed to be the summer you’ll never forget. Granted that it rarely pans out that way, and more often than not that dream trip to foreign lands ends up in a visit to A&E at some point, but the anticipation and excitement tends to be as much of the fun as the vague disappointment/epic failure of it all. Much of the same can be said of the build up of bands before the festival season hits. The tips for the great tunes of the summer generally get ignored in favour of the dross that generally tops the chart, such as Rihanna’s Umbrella which delighted in the irony of being released in the wettest summer on record. Sometimes the terrible music is much more depressing than the rainy days playing monopoly with relatives, and that is pretty damn bad as any properly developed person knows.
But at THE TAB, we hope to end all that. We give no guarantees that these bands will go “massive” but if they do it’ll be because they all ruddy deserve to, and if they don’t pity the fools who aren’t listening to them. Some of them have albums coming out soon, some are on tour and a few have had the album out already, but all of them are bloody perfect for the coming months to laze around to or to stomp your feet to at a festival. So without further ado, bring on the list.
The Leisure Society
Sounds like: The Shins and Elbow creating lullabies on a cloudless day.
It has been a long time since a band has actually sent shivers down my spine on the first time I listen. The last time was Bon Iver’s fantastic “For Emma, Forever Ago”, but the Leisure Society have the same ability to delight and amaze in equal measure that is so rare from a band. An 8 piece from around Brighton, the band create truly wonderful folk ballads, with Nick Hemming’s vocals crooning subtly with carefully harmonies over beautifully uplifting backing music, violins carefully dancing around delicate guitar riffs. Their first single “Last of the Melting Snow” was released just before Christmas last year to critical acclaim (it received an Ivor Novello nomination this year), while their album “The Sleeper” was released at the end of March to wide applause and general happiness. While they seem unlikely to break through into the charts any time soon (their debut album the Sleeper didn’t make a huge impact on release), a packed festival programme including performances at the Big Chill, Green Man and End of the Road Festivals ensure that the band should be the perfect act to chill to on a blazing summer’s day.
Songs to Download:
Last of the Melting Snow
A Short Weekend Begins with Longing
Empire of the Sun
Sounds like: An electro acoustic Gary Numan.
Some have compared Empire of the Sun to MGMT. That’s just silly: they are far, far better. The brain child of Aussie popsters, Sleepy Jackson frontman Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore of Pnau, Empire of the Sun are glamorous, poppy and damn fine to listen to. Their album “Walking on a Dream” feels like a broadcast from a futuristic planet pop, broadcasting beams of light back to Earth and it is a pulsating listen. Admittedly, there lingers a sneaky suspicion that the album is merely another Sleepy Jackson in electro clothing but considering how amazingly good they are this reviewer is hardly going to quibble about that. At the moment, there are no tour dates announced for the apparently studio only project but popular demand down under has seen a promise to tour from the pair and we can only hope that they grace our presence with their barmy brand of brilliant music. Keep an eye out for them, and at the very least get hold of the album
Songs to Download:
Walking on a dream
We are the People
Sounds Like: The Go! Team released into the jungle.
Another set of Aussies, but instead of space, glamour jams they deliver some truly epic beat driven dancetastic music for the world to salivate over. They are so unbelievably good that this entire tip is written on the basis of a vague hint that they have finished recording their new album, and the quality of their debut album released all the way back in 2001. While some may question the wisdom of following this vagueness, they are a band that cannot be missed. Their 8 year old debut album, “Since I left you”, sounds completely fresh even today, crossing Massive Attack beats with the pure childish delight of the Go! Team before throwing it into Beck’s brand of white boy rap. It results in a mix that is nuttier than your average bird feeder, but there are few albums out there able to match it on continuity, quality and ability to repeatedly get you up on your feet. Pray to the gods that they release the new album before the summer is out and if they don’t, make sure you get “Since I left you” and feel the beat of the jungle run through your veins.
Songs to Download:
Since I left you
The Boxer Rebellion
Sounds Like: A complete tribute to all the best brooding, moody rock out there.
So far, all the music has definitely been geared towards providing you with those happy summery moments in the course of the next few months. But when the rainy day hits, a dose of introspective, soaring rock is required and the Boxer Rebellion do this fantastically well. Still remaining unsigned even though they have two brilliant albums under their belt, with Union released in January of this year, the band manage to create a sound that is definitely unique but clearly registers numerous references knowingly or not: a dab of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club here, a bit of My Morning Jacket there and a little bit of Joy Division to round the whole thing up in a densely beautiful, but hauntingly dark package. “Lay me down” is such an example, with a shimmering wall of noise pierced by drumbeats, before melting into a truly wondrous ending, while “Flashing Red Light Means Go” echoes the melodic, elegiac drama found in The National’s studio albums. The Boxer Rebellion are a truly sensational band and, with an upcoming performance at Glastonbury on June 28th, they are a prospect that only the most foolish will miss out on.
Songs to Download:
Flashing Red Light Means Go
Lay me Down
Sounds like: A Fleet Foxes and Belle and Sebastian hosted tea party.
It takes only one listen of their first single ‘Zorbing’ to realise what great potential this band has. A beautiful slice of pop/folk, it is such a delightfully happy listen that it will melt the heart of even the most cynical critic for sure. The mixture of the Shins style pop, Liam Frost’s shimmering Folk sound and harmonies to embarrass the Beach Boys is enchanting, creating shimmering pastoral landscapes with consummate ease. They haven’t got an album out yet, but when they do buying it is not an option but a must. They are quite frankly brilliant, and well worth tracking down.
Song to Download:
Sounds like: Justice and Sebastian Tellier creating an electro love child.
After featuring on the NME Radar Tour, italo-pop duo Heartbreak certainly have a lot of backing behind them. Creating music that is summed up on their last fm page as that which "will make the world dance with tears in their eyes, like bi-polar maniacs on the brink of an ecstatic panic attack!", Heartbreak have an ear for writing under the skin dance music that will get toes tapping. ‘Akin to dancing’ is a seven minute long driving slice of euphoric pop, building up steadily to give a perfectly measured rush while still retaining a beat capable of keeping people dancing, while ‘Deadly Pong’ creates an electro landscape that feels claustrophobic while still retaining a danceability to it. The skill of Ali Renault in building up the backdrops for Sebastian Muravchix’s talented vocals to thrive in is the key to Heartbreak’s success. Their first album, ‘Lies’, maintains an exceptionally high standard throughout providing a rare example of a dance album that doesn’t degenerate into a singles vs filler divide and this strength should see Heartbreak become a force on the dance scene.
Songs to Download:
Akin to Dancing