Queen Zee may have only just released their debut album but they’ve already garnered a cult-like fanbase through their influential activism and raucous live shows. Named “The Rocky Horror Picture Show on steroids” by BBC Radio 1’s Phil Taggart, and “Strange, weird & crazy” by Iggy Pop, the five Liverpudlians combine pop melodies with a punk attitude that bring in an eclectic audience.
Queen Zee claim to be an alien concept. Not much is known about their origins other than Davine began as a solo artist but used the name “and the Sasstones” to give the impression it was a full band project and confuse listeners. Queen Zee pride themselves on their diversity of topics, touching on serious issues such as homophobia and transphobia. They released their debut self-titled album which has been praised.
22-year-old Amsterdam-based Pip Blom started writing, recording and releasing her own indie-pop tunes with a twist in 2016. Early songs, which were simply uploaded to the internet, quickly amassed thousands and thousands of plays – prompting Pip to recruit a band and start playing them live. The band’s energetic live show quickly pricked the ears of press and radio – with Vice’s music channel hailing Pip as ‘ready to join the ranks of 2018’s rising guitar acts’, and BBC 6 Music DJ Marc Riley hailing them as ‘perfect pop’. Not bad going for someone whose early ambitions were to write a few songs and upload them to the internet in case people wanted to hear them.
9Bach have been commissioned to create a genre-defying piece that will explore miscommunication and misinformation in a bilingual, multimedia age. The piece will be a collaboration between the band and acclaimed drummer Andy Gangadeen (Massive Attack, Jeff Beck, amongst others) who will add an electronic slant to the band’s distinctive sound. The composition will contain words sung in the Welsh language by Lisa Jên, with actor Maxine Peake voicing a spoken word piece in English, which will be an interpretation or feel of the Welsh lyric’s meaning.
Four years after their debut ‘Heads of Woe’, Geppetto & Co. travelled from Antwerp to Wisconsin, USA to record their next album ‘Passages’. Under the wings of the great Brian Joseph, the producer of Bon Iver and Sufjan Stevens.
The very first full album by Geppetto & the Whales came out early 2014. This beautifully crafted debut, from this Belgian indie band, sounds mature and young at the same time. It blends beautiful little melodies with overwhelming soundscapes. Geppetto & The Whales have a sound that is both classic and endlessly refreshing. New album ‘Passages’ is out now.
In the style of Bon Jovi, the New York band Barrie are an outfit named after their lead singer Barrie, but who also include Noah, Sabine, Dom and someone called Spurge.
In short-hand, Barrie make ambient dream pop. Their debut song Canyons encapsulates their style of drawing on retro synths sounds, modern pop production and melodic sweetness. Fans of Beach House may find Tal Uno right up their street while Michigan comes across like a poppier take on the slow disco atmosphere of the Chromatics.
They’ve just release ‘Saturated’ which is featured on the group’s forthcoming debut ‘Happy To Be Here’, set for release on 3rd May.
Surfing the tsunami of therapy often means realising that the simplest answers are the right ones. “Write, write, it’s therapeutic”, say the couch professors. But whilst most people would do it in a small notebook that lives on their bedside table, Adrianne Lenker cures her insomnia, her ghosts of the past and present, the names in her life (Haley, Mary, Paul, Lorraine, Randy)… through songs. For the album covers of Masterpiece (2016) and Capacity (2017) Big Thief steals the most sacred memories, family snaps that show strange moments caught just a second after saying “cheese”, just when they let their guard down. That is what her songs are like too, sung with echoes of both Hope Sadoval and Joni Mitchell: comforting and strange, beautiful even though they thresh out childhood accidents and traumas (Mythological Beauty), and are recognisable as we recognise ourselves in our mothers and fathers, and they in us. Because often, not only are the simplest answers the right ones, but they are usually the same for everyone.
Alternative dream-pop band Vaarwell consisting of Margarida Falcão, Ricardo Nagy, and Luís Monteiro. The Lisbon, Portugal trio blend brightly cinematic bursts of sonic color through a familiar base of guitars, vocals and drums – adding in the production studio as a fifth and powerfully manipulative instrument. The band’s 2017 debut album HOMEBOUND 456 is a must-listen, pulsing with touching melodies and intimate lyrics that cut both band and listeners to their core.
Having established themselves as a formidable talent, Vaarwell return triumphantly in 2018 with ‘Stay’ and in 2019 with ‘Money.’