Editor’s Note: Lallie Doyle is Alt Citizen’s new European Features Editor! We asked her to compile a list of British bands and musical projects that she thinks are need-to-know. See below for her picks and stay tuned for more.
1. Babe Heaven
You’ve all seen Notting Hill right? Well, Babe heaven represent that perfect West London charm and community spirit seen in the iconic film – less floppy haired Hugh Grant, and more his sister’s cool kids with Rhys Ifans if they were to grow up in the area now. The tight knit five-piece create warm mellow music, whose lyrics build an intimate relationship with the listener. Songs such as “Your Love” and “It’s Not Easy,” released earlier this year, mesh soul and alt-pop, sending a tingle down your spine; they are the songs you want to listen to as you sit on the subway after a really great first date (or, after a really bad date when you just want to sit and get stoned).
2. Goat Girl
Last year, Goat Girl were tapped as the band helping to rebuild the UK’s indie scene. The gentrification of East London has seen a lot of venues shut over the last decade and it’s been bands such as Goat Girl and HMLTD that have sought to create new spaces for rock music to flourish in London, the group claimed: “there’s a lot of hostility in London – it’s nice to be able to just show up at a place and feel safe and know you’ll quickly make a friend.” Their music is darker than I initially expected, rough gritty vocals from lead singer Lottie “Clottie Cream” pervade the melodies, which are overlaid with provocative and unapologetic lyrics. Four badass girls for anyone looking for a modern day Patti Smith or Blondie lyrical equivalent.
Klein’s Nigerian roots have held a heavy weight on the creation of her latest EP, Lagata. Born and now residing in London, but having grown up between Lagos and Los Angeles, the artist sights regular Church visits during her child as an inspiration behind her innovative take on music production. Klein’s music challenges the traditional narrative and form of a song, and her music often seems like more of an audio-visual union than a regular tune. She is wholly modern, and her collaged compositions single her out as an exciting chapter in the development of music in South London.
The video for Sorry’s “Drag King” depicts close up smart phone footage of what appears kids getting fucked up at a party – as the lead singer Asha Lorenz makes synthesized statements on gender conformity. A little grungier and electronic than the glorious early 2000s indie rock, but they do evoke a sense of nostalgia for the Nu Rave scene and the days of my shiny American Apparel legging. Lorenz and bandmate Louis O’Bryen, who is responsible for most of the music production, have known each other since their young school days. They evolved their music taste together, where influences come off a wide spectrum, from punk to 90’s hip-hop. They are currently recording their first album, but it might be harder to secure than you imagine: “I feel like some bands don’t keep that special relationship to their work and to their fans – having limited edition things is important. I admire how Dean Blunt or someone releases their music and you have to go out of your way to get it,” explained Asha in a recent interview.
5. Nautilis Rising
Not a band per-say, but Nautilis Rising are a young record label operating out of the legendary Sub Club, Glasgow’s office. Launched in 2015, the label released their first sampler two years ago this week which feature Lord of the Isle, Alex Smoke, Stephen Lopkin and Vince Watson. For those that are unaffiliated with the legendary Glaswegian club, this has been a long-time safe spot for DJs all around the world; the dark smoky club has been a favorite venue for icons such as Moodyman, Giles Peterson and Jackmaster to play. What excited me about Nautilis Rising in particular was their video release of V’s Faux Pas. Shot in Glasgow’s Barrowlands area, the video hoped to challenge the exhausted tropes of overly polished and produced young women generated for the male gaze. Don’t miss their latest releases from Scotland’s most established musical hub.