Recommendations – Rock bands you might not have heard of – part 1

I’ve been stuck in a bit of a slump with articles. I like talking about Dota but, even with the myriad of things that have happened recently, I feel like everything I have to say has been said before, and I want to keep at least a spark of originality in what I put out. I don’t do personal things on this blog and the news, both in the UK and abroad, has been very melancholy and, quite often, sensationalised, so I though I’d do something a bit more fun. I have been listening to a lot of new music recently as I’ve grown bored of the bands and artists who have a constant slot on my iPod. I’ll do 5 I think, and if I have some more I’ll do another 5 tomorrow.

1. Slaves

To me, Slaves are a cross between Metallica and The White Stripes with a British accent thrown in. Their music is quite aggressive. With only two members of the band they rely on a very strong guitar piece with pounding drums to bring things together. I first saw them when I watched the Reading festival on TV (I only went on Friday and they performed on Saturday) They sound like they would be better live than on their album but, with an album and 2 EPs, there is a lot to choose from when you look at their music. If I had to criticise, and I do, I would say that when they try and do upbeat songs it can feel very jarring, like the tone of the song is working against their style, however, they are number 1 on this list and I can heartily recommend them if you like The White Stripes, Arctic Monkeys or Royal Blood. Try listening to The Hunter or Sockets.

2. Wolf Alice

Wolf Alice is a band I want to like more than I actually do. They’ve been around for a few years, with 2 EPs and an album, they have a sound that makes me think specifically of the film/book “The Perks of being a Wallflower.” They’ve taken a lot of influence from 90s rock and mixed it with a soft sound. They use the Pixies’ “loud-quiet-loud” idea and their music has a very powerful sound to it. I think their drawback is maybe that their songs sound very similar but you could say that about most bands. However, despite this, I can’t pin down any one or two bands that they sound like. While they are definitely in the “rock” category they take a lot of inspiration from different genres; a fusion of pop and metal, of slow-dances and headbanging. Try Blush and You’re a Germ.

3. Baby Strange

Not much to say about this one to be honest, just good, heavy, loud rock music with some grunge thrown in here and that and with a singer that has a really punky/classic rock voice. NME describes them as sounding like early The Jesus and Mary Chain and Black Rebel Motor Cycle Club but I’d probably go closer to home and say they take a bit from the Kaiser Chiefs and Franz Ferdinand while dabbling with the Foo Fighters most recent albums. I don’t think they are going to change the face of rock but they take established patterns and do them really well, so I think they’re worth listening to if you call yourself a fan of rock. Personally I would recommend Trouble and Pure Evil as one shows how original the band can be and the other shows how well they perform using established techniques, sounds and hooks.

4. The Bulletproof Bomb

I saw these guys at Reading. They were the first act of the day and, when the gates opened and their audience flooded in not knowing what to expect but eager for some good music; these guys delivered. There was crowd surfing, headbanging, loud music and a fantastic time was had by everyone in the packed out tent. It’s a shame that they don’t have much of an online presence that I can direct you to because, if you’re a fan of The Arctic Monkeys, particularly their early stuff, or Franz Ferdinand then you should definitely look these guys up. Siege is their newest track and Suitcase is their most popular. However, their lead singer’s accent is likely to split opinions. I really like it when I hear people singing in their own accent, but it is a lot better if I like the accent in question. His voice is very rough and ready, and they come from Reading so half the people I know talk the same way as him, and it suits the sound that they’re trying to put out very well.

5. VANT

Lastly VANT are another band that I saw at the Reading Festival and are fairly similar to The Bulletproof Bomb. While I don’t think this list is meant to rank bands, I don’t expect people to read the whole article and so, if VANT is missed by some people because it’s at the bottom, then it isn’t the worst thing that could have happened. Their heavy rock, once again, with a sound that is somewhat similar to Wolf Alive but a few problems that makes me prefer the others on this list. I really like the heavy guitar, the aggressive drums and the bass guitar that I find myself unconsciously nodding my head to, but, in a couple of their songs, they run the risk of sounding very boring. Every band in the world struggles to make a sound that is original but I think VANT needs a bit more time to develop their sound because, despite the fact that they only have a handful of songs available online, some sound very similar and kind of boring. I also think that their lyricist needs to stay focused on what the song is about because a lot of his lyrics feel somewhat all over the place. Despite this I do think they are worth listening to and maybe one you should check out if you’re in Reading. In the tradition of recommending two songs from each band, The Answer is probably my favourite of theirs and Parking Lot is probably their most original. I feel like I have been overly harsh to VANT, especially since Parking Lot, their newest song, is probably their most original song and their most developed. They are definitely improving and I think it’s worth subscribing to their youtube channel, even if you just forget about it for 6 months and then go back, because you might find that you like them.

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