It may be because it’s nearing Christmas, but this month’s new bands boasts not just one, but two great new musical treats from Scandinavia, a couple of Canadians, and of course, a home-grown favourite. This is truly the Thank Folk For New Bands for a merry worldly Christmas, and so here is a selection of the best new bands around to get some festive cheer in you!
It may be the sort of gruff timbre of the Swedish accent, and the idyllic scenery that comes to mind when you think of Scandinavia (or that may be my uninformed stereotypes, but anyway), but it seems that the Swedes have a knack for marrying together rock and folk, with great results. Stockholm based band The Glade are a great example of this, and as well as defying genres, they create a brand of folk so different from the type we are used to here in Britain. The mood they make with their darkly laced lyricism and trill melodies becomes something as stirring and wonderful as a fairytale. Their new album What Turns On The Lights is released in February, and is certainly a great opportunity to begin your new year with a much needed dark Scandanavian twist.
Based – Stockholm, Sweden
Find them at – thegladeonline.com
Listen to – Come Running
Edd Donovan & The Wandering Moles
Having recorded, toured and written his music since 2006, Edd Donovan returned to the scene earlier this year with more songs and more musicians. They came in the form of The Wandering Moles, and not only gave Donovan a powerful, fuller sound, but also a wonderfully catchy name. The music that they make, whilst being effortlessly uplifting, has a great feeling of British carelessness about it. Like a walk down a country road, or a rainy day out to the beach, Edd Donovan has a tenacity, a faultless brightness and a warming rural feeling that makes his music seem not only personal to him, but to you as well. His debut album Something To Take The Edge Off comes out early next year, and it is the perfect metaphorical fireside to warm yourself by this winter.
Based – Cheltenham
Find them at – edddonovan.co.uk
Listen to – House On Fire
Slack Bird’s Bandcamp page boasts some of the best tagging I have ever come across. By just typing the likes of ‘clawhammer’, ‘beards’, ‘punk’, ‘old time Finland’ and, of course, ‘folk’, then this is the band you will get, and there certainly hasn’t been any false advertising. This self-proclaimed ‘one man supergroup’ is predominantly a solo project, but the line-up can grow to four people if needs be, and this malleability gives the new EP Turvallisuuden Onnettomuus (The Unhappiness Of Safety) a great feeling of freedom. Each song, brimming with joyous banjo and singing violin melodies, is not so much folk as a showcase of Finnish punk passion, with banjos. Slack Bird is a great mixture of emotive power and musical talent, two great things which translate into any language.
Based – Jyväskylä, Finland
Find him at – slackbird.bandcamp.com
Listen to – I Used To Be In A Band Too
There is something that makes Celtic music seem like such a relief from the ‘regular’ music you hear every day, and bands like NUA make that all more true. Rather than simply being an energetic collection of folk-type instruments, as you would expect, NUA’s back-catalogue is a whole collection of twists and turns, managing to capture an adventurous atmosphere with such ease that listening to them is like experiencing an aural film, with emotive music keeping you gripped from start to finish. Their debut album BOLD is out now, and has that rare power that is beyond most forms of music: it can lift a good mood, soothe a bad one and incite an eager excitement in the listener. NUA specialise in genre-defying, empathising music that you just long to be the soundtrack to your own adventure.
Based – Toronto, Canada
Find them at – trionua.com
Listen to – Fizzbuzz
From the off it is obvious that Gena Perala has a certain thing about her, an eccentric poetic mind, a tinge of something strange, and a great uncontrollable creative streak. Having grown up travelling the carnival circuit, there’s no shortage of explanation for this character, but, as I didn’t know this previously, it was the sheer frank sincerity of her lyricism that made her stand out to me. She is obviously unafraid to share her feelings, and unlike many musicians, she does it believably. With songs like Hip Hop and Cartoons, Superstar Supernova and Life Is Hard, she is like the bridge between anti-folk and pop, like a Canadian Emmy The Great, or Rae Morris with a bit of punk spirit in her. Basically, Gena is someone you want to be your friend, but you’ll have to settle for her great music.
Based – Vancouver, Canada
Find her at – genaperala.com
Listen to – Tell It To The Stars