Later this month, Europe’s largest new music showcase returns to Brighton and Hove: The Great Escape. Now in its twelfth year, the festival will run from 18th to 20th May and will play host to over 450 bands across 30 stages. As ever, the festival brings together bands from across the world, and this year Switzerland was announced as its leading international partner, featuring several of the country’s most prominent rising stars. The artists featured in the 2017 spotlight shows are Slaves, Rag ‘n’ Bone Man and Kano. God Is In The TV will be present at this year’s bash, bringing the best coverage of the hottest bands playing across the weekend. Here, Jo Southerd and Max Pilley single out ten bands to watch out for at the 2017 Great Escape Festival.
Me+Marie are Maria de Val and Roland Scandella. It’s easy to see why their debut album, One Eyed Love (2016), has got them a dedicated following in Germany, Austria and their native Switzerland – it’s a ten-track wonder filled with dark, melancholic love songs and memorable melodies. The duo’s voices blend together with so much feeling, it brings to mind the emotional quality of The XX – and yet is nothing like them. While some songs come supercharged by bluesy guitar riffs and sexy, lilting drums, others take a more minimalist or altogether more folky instrumentation. All are utterly stunning, and I hear their live set is equally arresting.
Catch them on Friday, either at 2.30pm in the Komedia Studio or later at 1am (technically Saturday morning!) at Latest Music Bar.
Monico Blonde exploded onto the scene late last year, and with just two hard-hitting singles under their belt, the four-piece are already making waves with national radio play, a string of festival dates to their name, and a sold out hometown show in Cardiff. Debut single ‘Bad Thoughts’ is a hotbed of lust and paranoia – signature synths underpinned by filthy chugging bass, with lyrics that are part Alex Turner, part John Cooper-Clarke. Live, they are a force to be reckoned with – the childhood friends have a natural chemistry, and as a band they ooze charisma from every pore.
They play two shows on Thursday: Latest Music Bar at 1.30pm followed by Queens Hotel at 6.30pm.
Trancepop. Prekraut. Postdisco. Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of Hyperculte. Hailing from Geneva, the duo create hypnotic, experimental jams with an irresistible sprinkling of French-Swiss sophistication. Their eponymous debut LP is a thing of real beauty, all tribal beats, percussive patterns, jagged effects and wobbly earworms. This is trance, house, techno, for a post-apocalyptic world. Gritty but ethereal, stubborn yet fluid. But don’t take my word for it…
See them on Thursday at Green Door Store, at 8.15pm.
Easily one of the most exciting things to come out of Wales of late, Estrons have released a flurry of high-octane singles to widespread acclaim. On record, Kallstrom is all raw vocals and no-bullshit lyrics; live, she’s nothing short of ferocious. Paired with Daniel’s relentless riffs, they make a truly unstoppable pair. 2017 has seen Estrons touring with The Amazons and Honeyblood, whipping crowds into a frenzy up and down the UK.
They play two shows on Friday: Bleach at 3.15pm and Green Door Store 11.15pm.
With a new album on the horizon, H Hawkline‘s recent releases suggest that the follow-up to 2015’s In The Pink Of Condition (recorded in LA and produced by Cate Le Bon) will be just as endearing as its predecessor. Having found a home for himself at Heavenly Recordings, the Welsh heartthrob has a knack for creating twinkly, slightly surreal psych-pop gems. He’s put together a quartet with Le Bon, Stella Mozgawa (from Warpaint) and the composer Josiah Steinbrick for the new record, I Romanticize, which is co-produced by Samur Khouja, and drops early next month. And we can’t wait.
Huw plays at the Unitarian Church at 10.30pm on Thursday night.
The Scottish independent music scene has always been a tightly knit spider’s web of overlapping, like-minded figures, and the most recent sparkling gem that it has thrown up is Glasgow quartet Spinning Coin. With the fingerprints of indie royalty already all over their career – they’ve released singles on Domino’s Geographic imprint, run by Stephen McRobbie and Katrina Mitchell from The Pastels, as well as have a video directed by Veronica Falls vocalist Roxanne Clifford – every indication that Spinning Coin are on a path with destiny. The watercolour melancholy in their music is offset by a no-BS directness that so many others strive for, but it can’t be faked. Spinning Coin are the real thing.
Catch Spinning Coin at the Brighthelm Centre on Friday at 3:15pm, and later on Friday at Jubilee Square at 9:30pm.
Earlier this year, Klangstof became the first Dutch band ever to play Coachella, a stunning fact that should leave you in no doubt about the special qualities of this 4-piece. Their 2016 debut album, Close Eyes to Exit on LA’s Mind of a Genius Records, is mature beyond its years, a simmering cauldron of emotion with a permanent threat of eruption. When the moments of release arrive, they are richly intense but without a hint of emo indulgence or cliché, an increasingly rare achievement for a young band. Frontman Koen van de Wardt, originally from Norway and relocated to Amsterdam in 2013, knows that an element of control is essential in music and Klangstof are becoming masters in how to execute it.
Klangstof will be playing at Coalition at 9:00pm on Thursday, and at 3:30pm on Friday at Komedia.
Everybody knows that trapping an artist’s music into a genre box is limiting and reductive, but TVAM’s Joe Oxley own description of his music might avoid such problems: “post-internet, motivational slime-punk” is the type of music he says he makes, a genre tag sure to be wheeling its way to your local record store shortly, presuming you still have one. He also names Boards of Canada and Thee Oh Sees as primary influences, giving you some indication of the breadth and originality of combinations and collisions that lie at the heart of this Wigan musician’s records. Singles such as ‘Porsche Majeure’ and ‘Gas & Air’ have given us delicious tastes of TVAM, but it’s the debut album that we impatiently wait for.
Catch TVAM on Friday at 1:30pm Upstairs at Patterns, and again at 12:00am Friday night at Latest Music Bar.
The Goon Sax
The music of Brisbane, Australian trio The Goon Sax is not defined by mind-scrambling experimentation or difficult jazz time signatures – they, in fact, write disarmingly simple songs. What sets them apart is their uncanny ability to distill everyday confusion into something direct and addictive. Their debut album Up To Anything was released on Chapter Music in 2016 when all band members were still teenagers, which will either make you numb with respect or sick with envy, or more reasonably, both. Frontman Louis Forster is the son of The Go-Betweens’ Robert, a lineage that bestows almighty pressure in Australian alternative music, but one that does not appear to have dawned on him yet. If their early songs are an indication, Louis may soon grow to the stage where his heritage needs no mention.
The Goon Sax are playing Komedia twice on Thursday, at 2:10pm and 8:15 pm.
Francobollo may have started life in Sweden, but they have decamped to London and are making use of their newfound contact base – their breakout single ‘Kinky Lola’ was produced by Mercury and Brit Award winning producer Charlie Andrew, and they are signed to his label Square Leg Records. They are also fresh off a nationwide tour with The Big Moon and are readying their hotly anticipated debut album for release later this year. Their woozy guitars, off-kilter melodies and playful, irreverent disposition are an enchanting recipe, perhaps explaining how the pieces fell into place so quickly for them upon arrival in the UK. Few who come into contact with them leave without wanting a quick return to Francobollo world.
Francobollo are playing at Bleach on Friday at 7:30pm.