Despite some significant cause for concern in the wider world, and generally a whole lot of shit hitting a whole lot of fans, 2015 hasn’t been all bad. For one thing, it’s been a cracking year for new music, and we’ve been doing our bit to get that new music right up in your grill. Music is the best medicine and we are positively pharmacists here at Cultured Vultures. You know, because we’re legit about this, we’re no pushers. Though, I really think that’s kind of a grey area to be honest.
However, we can’t take all of the credit here, because we’re just offering up options at the end of the day, it’s really you lot that has the final say. You are the tastemakers, and exquisite taste you have too, if you don’t mind my saying. Over this past year, New Band of the Month has been in your hands, and you’ve come out in droves to let it be known who makes the grade in your eyes, or ears.
Now, with the year wrapping up, what better way to look back on the 2015 than confronting you with your new favourite bands and cruelly make you choose between them. Yup, this time it’s New Band of the Year. You’ve awarded months before, but now you’ve got a whole year to give out. It’s a tough call, but somebody’s gotta make it. Who is your New Band of 2015?
Though their moniker may conjure up pretty pictures of Bambi and all those adorable dots that adorn him, this trio are far from a group of furry woodland friends on a family friendly adventure with songs of their friends of the forest in their hearts. The band do have songs in their hearts, but they’re the highly combustible kind that leak out and ignite instantaneously on the fire in their bellies. They may just burn the forest down with their explosive post-punk concoction; taking in the likes of Husker Dü, Fugazi, Joy Division, and Rites of Spring.
What’s in a name? Paves have gone through their fair share; when they made New Band of the Month they were going by Thieves, not long after that it was Smokey Taboo, and since then they’ve changed again. What’s in a name? Not a whole lot, really, because they may be going by Paves now and they may have gone other things in the past, but what does a name matter when the songs remain the same? When the quality of music doesn’t change. Indebted to early 00s indie and channelling classic 60s guitar pop, with licks upon smoky licks of melodic blues guitar; songs and quality music is what this four-piece have, whatever they’re called.
Dead Shed Jokers
Dead Shed Jokers are a surrealist’s dream, or at the very least the inevitable end result of one too many magic mushrooms ingested on the lush green mountainsides of the Welsh valleys. It’s quite probably the latter, and is there really such a thing as one too many magic mushrooms? Yes, with a ‘but’, and yet, no with an ‘if’. Whether it’s the low-budget insanity of their absurdist comic strip come to life music videos or, more importantly, their tightrope walking between eccentric and unhinged riffery that good trip/bad trips its way through psychedelia, stoner, garage, noise rock, and even some funk and prog. Roll up with some Queens of the Stone Age, some Eighties Matchbox B-line Disaster, some King Crimson, and enjoy.
If you came across a chainsaw capable of cutting down trees grown of steel, were you to crank it, you would find that it sounded exactly like the south Yorkshire three-piece whom take their name from the those very Steel Trees you’d be cutting down. The band come in thick and fast on heavy track with relentless buzzsaw riffs, crushing grooves, lacerating wires of feedback laden licks, feral and ferocious vocal hooks, as well as the kind of fuzz that swallows up all sound around you and fizzes through your senses usually associated with a cocktail of stimulants and dissociatives kicking in. Punk, grunge, metal, whatever, the band call it best themselves; pure fuckin’ fuzz filth.
It takes less than two minutes to catch V.D. Which stands for Van Dammes on this occasion, not venereal disease. Equally as infectious mind, but I wouldn’t get the two mixed up. Especially not in conversation with sexual partners. It’d be on a par, but maybe not as bad as, Chief Wiggum confusing DWI and DOA in The Simpsons. Plus, Van Dammes attest to being Better Than Sex, so whilst VD is gross but is sure fun to contract, Van Dammes aren’t close to gross and are even more fun to infected by, and in under two minutes it’d have to be good. Which it is. And I say under two minutes because that is all Van Dammes need to successfully thrash out precision garage rock, lo-fi punk, and power pop earworm anthems that will bed-down in your brain and not leave your mindless singing for days.
Sam Green & the Midnight Heist
Sam Green is Sam Green, the Midnight Heist are Joe James, Matt Cooke, and James Cameron, and Same Green & the Midnight Heist are the soundtrack to the road movie you’ve dreamed up in your head and wished was your life. Taking in all sorts of roots music, touching upon blues, country, folk, rock n roll, and your more soulful contemporary indie, Sam Green & the Midnight Heist provide the sounds to the sights of your cross country adventure. Whether it be a high speed pursuit through the deep south, a bar room brawl, outback partying moongazing, romancing, and dancing, these four are the perfect fit. Not to mention that Green’s finger picking and lap steel playing is sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads good.
Battersea-based four piece Nolita View play things pretty close to the chest – aside from an exceptionally informative and in-depth Q&A with yours truly. They’re a band who primarily let the funky music do the talking, and talk it does, and funky isn’t it just. Nolita View shake up the best of indie and post-punk from the 70s through to today and pour it out over straight up pop ice cubes, resulting in a sound that feels classic and contemporary simultaneously. There’s an edge and a grit to this quartet, to keep the alt kid in you happy, but the band have such a knack for catchy choruses and funky hooks that your inner chart-botherer be just as chipper.
Do you like your jingle to jangle? Would you generally prefer your jangle be preceded by jingle? If so, you’re certainly in luck with Honey Radar; dishing out both jingle and jangle in that order. The DIYchedelic foursome magic out a colourful – if grainy and distorted like a worn out VHS – blend of old school lo-fi, indie, and subdued garage rock that sound vintage and contemporary all at once. If you’re looking for a band that right straight to the point guitar pop with a rock n roll heart, these catchy and melodic jams with their distant vocals, fuzz, barely held together guitars are going to be just what you need. Coming from the some plains as The Velvet Undeground, Syd Barrett, and Guided By Voices.
This Cape Town trio create a sound that really does require you take a dip with it. Not just dipping toes though, or sitting and hanging legs up to below the knee. No, you need to dive right in for a full immersion. Sink or swim, you have to go all the way under. Then again though, you won’t really have much of a say in the matter to be honest. Mind Pool’s swirling current of psychedelia, shoegaze, space rock, and blues will pull you in quicker than you’re able to think ‘shit, that’s a sweet guitar lick’, and before you know it you’re drowning in the best possible way. Awash with wah pedal, fuzz, reverb, and unable to fight back against the groove.
Inspired by the idea that the Earth’s moon once had itself a twin that orbited the planet at the same distance and speed for a few million years, before eventually being swallowed up by what today is our one and only moon. Lunar Twin are suitably nocturnal and ethereal in sound; the music of a lost celestial body – albeit it one that loves old school synths. The duo, comprised of Chris Murphy and Bryce Boudreau, create an atmospheric and ambient backing allowing for their pulsating, minimalist house inspired rhythms and melancholy piano progressions to drift along, lost in space. Atop this spacious and astronomical sombre synthscape, sit brooding and considered vocals akin to a more contemplative Mark Lanegan.