I've been keeping tabs on Canadian songsmith Tobias Jesso Jr ever since I first heard his amazing debut track 'Just A Dream' some 12 months ago. I'm a sucker for all those John Lennon Dakota piano demos from the late 70s, which is probably why I connected with it so heartily from the off. Since then, we've had a couple of further tracks to contend with, and a few rumours about the record he's been making.
Deers mini tour last week caused a fair stir in London - the Spanish fourpiece packed out Corsica Studios with eager industry folk, as well as a sizable number of already-converted fans. Not half bad for a band who've only played in London once before, and who didn't even really exist until a few months ago.
How long has it been since we've had a genuinely thrilling guitarist to contend with? Yeah, you can certainly get into what Royal Blood, Peace and The Orwells are doing, but there's always that nagging feeling that they wouldn't be able to come up with something Graham Coxon, for instance, would be too proud of. As anyone who's seen Gengahr will attest, their guitarist John Victor is something of a virtuoso at his instrument.
It takes most bands three or four albums to pluck up the sort of courage and experimentalism Cloud Castle Lake's debut EP 'Dandelion' seeps from every pore. One for fans of Atoms For Peace, Max Richter and Wild Beasts, the Dublin trio's first release is a heart-bruising ballet of monochrome guitars and sophisticated electronic fizz that marks Daniel McAuley, Brendan Jenkinson and Rory O'Connor as future trail-blazers. Don't believe us? Try the brilliant 'A Wolf Howling' on for size.
Protomartyr's second record 'Under Color of Official Right' was released earlier this year, and is already a strong contender for the title of album of the year. On it, the Detroit punk band tell tales of dodgy low-life's and the inner city turmoil that's rife in their poverty-stricken home, all with reference points that range from The Fall to James Joyce. I caught up with frontman Joe Casey recently, as he arrived in Baltimore for a live show on the band's last US tour.