Each month we’ll bring you three of the freshest acts to catch our ears. Headed by New Music Editor Christian Northwood, check out what’s been spinning on the Bristol Live Magazine stereo for the month of August.
North London three-piece Girl Ray seem to have an ear for the retro. Not to say they’re endlessly rehashing the past, but instead the band, who formed aged 16, seem to be able to select some of the best parts of past pop music, remould them, and deliver them in wistful, delicate packages.
Their first single, ‘Trouble’, was recorded on Poppy Hankin, Iris McConnell and Sophie Moss’ last day of school, and so unsurprisingly, their music is full of the stresses of adolescence, portrayed through a far wryer and wittier lens than most teenagers can muster. Their debut album Earl Grey is a perfect, timeless capsule of the period of uncertainty we all experience between childhood and adulthood. Full of lush, three-part harmonies, a mix of 50s and 60s pop melodies, and a charming naivety, the record showcases a unique sound. There are too many wonderful moments to count, but single ‘Don’t Go Back At Ten’ might be the best, the wonderfully-catchy chorus and shimmering guitars perfectly summing up the band as a charming, inventive pop outfit.
Chest Pains are the latest exciting band to come out of Leeds. Dark and brooding, the four-piece combine a gnarly Ian Curtis-like vocal with gritty, spikey post-punk guitars to create a unhinged sound. First single ‘Petrified’ will stun you, but its follow-up track ‘Shame’ that seriously impresses. Over a slow, hypnotic bassline, vocalist Sam Robinson laments “Nothing ever changes in the place that I call home” before the drums suddenly kick up three gears, making way for a punch of a chorus. With songs this enticing, Chest Pains could be your new favourite band to rage with.
To be honest, I don’t hear music from Singapore very often. Sobs, a trio from that area of the world, have made me reassess that. Their debut EP, Catflap is a wonderful collection of charming, uplifting dream pop, filled with bubblegum guitars and breathy vocals. Released through Middle Class Cigars, Catflap is like being invited into someone else’s head; it feels cosy, colourful and intensely personal while also coming across as familiar and comforting. The songs are short, intimate snapshots – barely ever passing the two-minute mark – but they’re the kind of tasters that will leave you excited to hear more.