As it gets warmer, and we all start venturing outside again, our minds are filled with the promise of our exams ending, holidays and festivals. Here at Thank Folk For New Bands, the freedom of summer means just one thing: the chance to create a great playlist of new music for you to star enjoying yourself to… and here is a selection of some of the best new bands out there.
Fresh from their debut EP, released on April 10th, Gymnast have already proved themselves as a quite sought after new band. The Manchester-based duo have been playing live together for a year, during which they have enjoyed great local support as well as national radio play, and have, of course, managed to establish a truly established and distinctive sound. Cathy Wilcock and Chris Lyon make music that hovers in the shimmering space between folk and electro, and mix cello and synth like it’s the most natural thing in the world. If you imagine a world where the Wild Beasts frontman were born a woman, it may sound something like this; but it’s safe to say that the electro-folk duo are really, and successfully, making their own unique sound in an already eclectic genre.
Based – Manchester
Find them at – www.gymnastband.com
Listen to – Sirens
Amongst all the stomping, Glasto-headlining, electro-fused folk going on today, it is easy to overlook certain bands who stay true to a more traditional kind of music. Arlet are a six-piece folk ensemble who, in their debut EP, make the kind of music that could soundtrack anything from a country fete, to a midsummer party in the woods, to a dream about flying. What drew me to Arlet was the organic talent and feeling that bursts through with each track, because they make the kind of wonderful, stirring, instrumental, orchestral music that not just folk music, but music in general, is founded. Like Yann Tiersen injected with a good English country spirit, Arlet – with violins, clarinets, accordions and more – make music with a wide and very natural appeal.
Based – Canterbury
Find them at – www.arlet.co.uk
Listen to – Edinburgh Fringe
More often than not, the way to a folk fan’s heart is through beautiful harmonies, and if we go by that logic, then the girls of ForgetMeKnot are set to make quite a few fans when their Dust EP is launched on May 4th. When listening to the EP, it is like hearing their voices weave in and out of each other, creating perfect, sugar-coated harmonies that feel like something between a passionate, three-way war-cry and a warm bath. And it is not just harmonies that this band offer, but carefully constructed instrumentation that teases you along and creates a calming atmosphere that the girls then walk us through with their voices. ForgetMeKnot seem like a band who would blow you away live, and, with their tight, sweet vocal work and captivating lyrics, could force any crowd into silence.
Based – Bristol
Find them at – facebook.com/forgetmeknotmusic
Listen to – Monsters
Oh So Quiet
Originally from Argentina, Lucas and Malena moved to England and, after gathering musicians and honing their sound, have created some truly vibrant, passionate and Latin-infused indie-folk on their first release, the Oh So Quiet EP, out on April 29th. The thoughts that crop up when we think of Latin folk music may involve mariachi bands and Spanish guitars, but Oh So Quiet have managed to merge the two musical cultures into one beautiful musical force, ranging from soaring vocals that seem to float on the wind, to good old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll guitar. After listening to it, my knowledge of Latin folk has been thrown out the window and replaced with this intelligently crafted, culture-breaking music. Oh So Quiet are a band who can make strong, soul-searching music fit for a fiesta in any part of the world.
Based – Guildford
Find them at – www.ohsoquiet.com
Listen to – Motorcycle Journey
Some music grabs you straight away, and has you swaying side to side in your chair as you sift through your emails; and Specs is one of those musicians. Kieran Gallimore, AKA Specs, is a multi-instrumentalist playing in the same vein of cheery folk-pop as the likes of Sweet Baboo and The Voluntary Butler Scheme, and mixes joyful, bouncy pop with his deep, dulcet voice to perfection, keeping his sound on the right side of the twee line. That said, there is a deep-rooted musical intelligence hidden in his eep EP, and with each listen you can hear more worldly influences crop up, and with the masterful merging of mandolins, recorders and FM synths, he sure knows how to get the best from his instruments. If you’re planning any garden parties this summer, then Specs is a good option if you want to get people dancing.
Based – Warrington
Find him here – specsweb.co.uk
Listen to – Figure It
Words by New Bands Editor – Josh King