I’m a sucker for bands that make me feel like it’s summer. It could be dead winter, rain whipping down outside, but there are certain bands – and as you may have guessed, Why Bonnie are one – that can make me feel like it’s 30 degrees outside, all the time. Maybe it’s Why Bonnie’s lush harmonies. Maybe it’s because they reside in the considerably hotter climes of Texas. But let’s be honest, the best music is never completely sunny. The best music has a touch of darkness, and Why Bonnie find that balance perfectly.
The four-piece released their debut EP In Water via Sports Day Records, and it’s a beautiful, immersive journey. While the shiny exterior evokes the blissful summer we all crave in these dark months, underneath, particularly on songs like ‘Practice’ and ‘Bright Boy’, there is a sadness that haunts behind the glittering guitars. Longing and heartbreak haunt Blair Howerton’s vocals, but the cinematic swirl created by the guitars, synths and splashing cymbals give everything a shoegaze-like sheen. Truly, Why Bonnie are a band for all seasons.
A lot of music gets made here in the Southwest, but folk has always been one of the area’s strongest suits. Nicholson Heal originate from here in Bristol, and though folk remains at the root of their sound, it’s much bigger than that. Led by singer Nicholson Heal (who lends his name to the band), the six-piece blend crushing lyrics with warm, swelling brass, making the kind of music that is simultaneously uplifting and heartbreaking. On single ‘Sullen Comfort’, out via Breakfast Records, the group push this sound to its full potential, creating a beautifully rich yet raw sound. Euphoric and heartfelt, Nicholson Heal are here to make everything better.
This Brighton three-piece have already kicked off 2018 pretty well. At the beginning of the year the band announced that they had signed to Big Scary Monsters – a label where their fuzzy yet fragile punk will find itself right at home. Newest single ‘About Her’ embodies their sound and mixes big guitar licks with expressive lyricism. The song’s measured verses break into a torrent of guitar come the chorus and the yell of “let’s go somewhere quiet and I’ll tell you what I think about her” will run around your head for a week. With an impressive live show under their belts as well, 2018 looks set for Gender Roles.