Our Favourite New Bands

Our Favourite New Bands

Radkey

There are few new bands who play as fast, or as hard, as these three brothers from St. Joseph, Missouri. The Radke brothers, aged 15 to 19, have kicked up a storm with their own brand of fast-paced punk rock. Their first single, Cat and Mouse, begins with an aggressive fuzz riff, more infectious as anything else we’ve heard this year, before breaking into a Ramones-esque power-chord chorus. The feel is direct and forceful, overwhelmingly 70’s punk, but there’s something more sinister here too. Dee Radke, vocalist and guitarist, makes ominous threats throughout (‘you better run, he’s coming for you, nowhere to hide, he’s gonna take your life’) in what can only be described as a baritone croon. Radkey’s blend of portent and punk makes for an exciting listen and it is this that has seen them grab Guitar Lessons London’s attention.

The Wytches

Me and Guitar Lessons London’s head-honcho, Matt, discovered Brighton-based Wytches by accident on going to see Drenge at The Louisiana in Bristol a couple of weeks ago. As much as we enjoyed Drenge’s show, both of us were taken aback by their support act, The Wytches, so much so that I had to go and see them again in Leeds the next week. It’s rare that I get so excited about a new band that I’ll see them twice in two weeks, but I think my curiosity is fuelled by the fact that The Wytches sound completely different to anything I’ve ever really heard before. There’s certainly an element of Seattle alt-rock thrown in there and many of their melodies seem to draw their inspiration from doom metal bands such as Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard and Pentagram.

But underpinning the whole thing is an ever-present tremolo, which adds a psychedelic, ethereal surf vibe. And then there’s lead singer Kristian Bell’s voice. He sings as if someone’s thrust a knife into his very soul with a howl that resonates both anger and pain, but also an endearing frailty. They have released a couple of brilliant EPs but so far ‘Beehive Queen’ stands out for me because it features some of the most inspired lyrics I’ve heard in a very long time: the line ‘She shouts “killjoy” because the sound of my voice, made it hard for her to tell if I’m a girl or a boy’ is a personal favourite. I would highly recommend that any fans of grunge, metal, goth rock or punk take a listen: they transcend so many genres so efficaciously that it’s impossible to pin down them completely. I for one will certainly be on the watch for future releases and tour dates.

GRMLN

GRMLN came to my attention via DIY’s monthly free mixtape (which coincidentally featured a Wytches track, only a week or so after I had seen them in Bristol). I actually know very little about the band other than that it is a Yoodoo Park side project and that their album Empire came out only this month. However, what I do know is that lead single ‘Teenage Rhythm’ is a brilliant pop release. Uncompromisingly energetic and unashamedly catchy, ‘Teenage Rhythm’ is sure to make many summer playlists, even if the low-fi production (which I happen to love) might put some off. Earlier release ‘Coral’ is also worth a mention, with a teetering guitar melody taking centre stage over a simple rhythm section and minimal vocal contribution. Interesting name aside, GRMLN aren’t the most ground-breaking band we’ve stumbled upon this year, but you can’t go far wrong with good guitar pop. 

Childhood

Again, I stumbled upon Childhood in Bristol when going to see rock-and-rollers Palma Violets last autumn. Newly based in London, the two frontmen Leo-Dobson and Ben Romans-Hopcraft met at Nottingham University in 2011, after only a year and a half of playing together, they’ve already showed much promise. They’ve been hotly tipped by NME and rightly so because they’ve turned out a couple of certified bangers in the last 12 months or so. The first track that caused a stir was ‘Blue Velvet’; its reverberating melodies and tremolo underlay have drawn a few comparisons with The Smiths but personally, the guitar interplay reminds of the ‘art of weaving’ rhythm and lead lines, as famously practiced by Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood, at least in style if not sound. However, their most recent release, ‘Solemn skies’ has seen them up their game, in both musical and lyrical content. It is a good-old-fashioned love song (‘does it reach your heart when I touch you that way, ‘cos I find it hard that you’ve got nothing to say’) with a sing-your-heart out chorus, fittingly furnished with a tune that seems to soar as high as its name might suggest. It is not so trippy as euphoric, almost a celebration, maybe of youth, although I’m not sure even the band themselves are sure of what. The song does have a smack of youth about it, not that it lacks sophistication or substance; there is nothing childish about Childhood. But they do genuinely sound like they’re enjoying themselves and I certainly think that this certainly comes across.   

Adam Sumnall - @adam_sumnall

Student at the University of Exeter and resident Smiths enthusiast.

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