18 Sep 2014

7 bands around the Southampton/Portsmouth area to get excited about

Growing up, I've always felt like there is a real shortage of talent where I live. As a resident of Southampton, with Portsmouth, Bournemouth and Winchester all close by, there hasn't really been many bands to get that excited about. Although, despite this, recent times have seen a bit of a surge of new bands from all around the area, which is something I'd never have expected a few years back. Although, I was reminded daily that the secondary school I went to was the same one that Craig David went to. Wow. Music heritage right there, eh.

DOLOMITE MINOR
Furious two-piece Dolomite Minor are quite possibly the best known band coming through right now. A couple of people I know from the internet (that aren't from Southampton) are fans, and that's quite an achievement. Their music consists of lots a fuzzy riffs, and drumming that allows them to produce a sound that's not unlike Queens of The Stone Age, but not in a bad way. Their latest release Talk Like An Aztec combines the sludge-fuelled riffs of Mudhoney with tired Julian Casablanacas-esque voice. Listen to Talk Like An Aztec here.

NEW DESERT BLUES
One of the slickest looking bands on the scene, if you're from Southampton you'll recognise them instantly as the band that supported Peace, Swim Deep and Wolf Alice. In three piece suits. They're more interesting than most, because they write their songs based on old Western movies, but naturally, they're Westerns that didn't happen. Hailing from Portsmouth, they're a Noir-Americana five piece that have just announced a debut album via Kickstarter, and their unique sound could probably be described as a cross between Sean Lennon's The Goastt and the first Kings of Leon album. What is a shame, however is that they've seemingly forgotten about Daniel, one of my favourite songs of recent times. Listen to The Devil's Rope EP here.


PALE SEAS
Another southern band with enough notoriety for people that live outside of Southampton to recognise the name, this band are one of the best upcoming indie bands on the circuit, full stop. Their music is sun-drenched, and their debut EP Place To Haunt is just the perfect example of their thirst-quenching sound. Whilst the EP might jump out at you because it has some of the better cover art seen this year, it also features some of the best indie music consigned to vinyl recently. Their zenith comes from the EP, and it's a 7-minute long track of dreamy summer pop - listen to it here.

THE PRETTY VISITORS
Another band that support just about everyone at Southampton's best venue, The Joiners, this band are so much better than their name might imply. Whilst they take their name from an Arctic Monkeys song, they bear more musical similarities with The Hives than they do with NME's finest pseudo-yanks. Whilst they have one song on YouTube, the dashing Comedown Machine, (Yeah, they're a lot like The Strokes too) their energetic live shows - which routinely feature a cover of Jerk It Out by The Caesars - more than make up for what they lack in originality, they're a very tight outfit. Listen to Comedown Machine here.

RICKYFITTS
There's a lot to love about Rickyfitts. Firstly, they take their name straight from a character in American Beauty, one of my favourite films. Secondly, they're from down the road, in Portsmouth. And thirdly, they're a self-confessed "greebo two-piece", which is exactly what you want in a band. Like the Pale Seas and New Desert Blues, they're one of the most exciting bands around for me, with the only drawback being that their last two shows have A) clashed with Hookworms in Brighton and B) at an eighteen plus venue. Fuckers. Whilst you can't find any of their stuff on YouTube, their Soundcloud is well worth checking out because it features the excellent Common Way EP and a free download of a pretty damn good track (Awakening). And, and, and, it features this ten minute masterclass, Bone Palace Ballet which you can hear here.

BATTERY HENS
With The Wytches everyone's favourite band at the moment, it would make sense for everyone to check out this band of grunge-revivalists. Whilst the singer lacks Kristian Bell's voice, fantastic riffs make Battery Hens a fantastic Mudhoney throwback. Like Rickyfitts, their only failing was that they played their last show on the same night Hookworms played Brighton, so I've not actually seen them yet, but that's something I can't wait for. The most essential track from their, so far, limited output that will only grow is Bad Science, which you can hear here.  

THE CARTELS
A four-piece who bear much similarities to Bombay Bicycle Club circa album number one, The Cartels are, I think, the youngest band on the list. Since their formation they've played acclaimed gigs all around Southampton and Portsmouth to rack up a reputation as an impressive live band. In January of this year they brought out their debut EP, which was every bit as energetic as you'd expect it to be, and very soon they're bringing out a new single Nevermore... (spoiler alert: it's fantastic) Listen and download the Cartels EP here for free.

(written by calum cashin)