Last Friday (April 11), much of Liverpool’s burgeoning new music scene united as the winner of the third annual Get Into This Award was announced. Here, event organiser Peter Guy explains what’s so special about the city right now. Furthermore, listen to 13 of the city’s best new acts in our playlist below.
It seems somewhat crass repeatedly bleating on about how good the music is in your own city. It kinda feels like you’re back in the playground shouting ‘my dad’s better than your dad’.
However, there’s been something special in the Mersey musical waters for sometime now, and it’s not just Scousers shouting about the rich new music that’s emanating from Liverpool’s recording studios and practise rooms.
In what seems like a refreshing twist of irony, the well-worn stereotypes associated with Scouse music – and indeed Scouse culture – have been flipped entirely on their head and disparate collectives are setting a new Liverpool music agenda. One that’s fiercely independent, revels in spirited invention and is passionate to the core.
Yet, perhaps the most intriguing element of Liverpool’s new music breed is the lack of scene or consistent thread – the current crop of artists simply make awesome sounds.
You’re no doubt aware of all the key artists – Forest Swords, Bill Ryder-Jones, Stealing Sheep, Evian Christ, Outfit, Circa Waves and Dan Croll – but did you know they’re from Merseyside?
Each have achieved global press – yet all are in their infancy.
And this is the mere tip of the musical Liverbird.
You should get know Ex-Easter Island Head – a band who lie their guitars flat and beat them with mallets making a droning Eno-meets-Sunn O))) choral ambience. There’s Ninetails – a trio who make splice textured loops, guitar hooks, mangled vocals into a dystopian beauty – so good Talk Talk’s manager, Keith Aspden has started up his label for them. There’s Mad Brains, a young hip hop kid who reimagines Jurassic 5’s dusty hip hop and injects it with a large gargle of rum and various hallucinogenics. Or The Tea Street Band – a five-pronged gang of Adidas-sporting lads who tear up illegal raves with their Balearic guitar-infused beats.
There’s Bird, who marry Pendle Witch tales with post-punk and VEYU, a dream-rock quintet with soaring harmonies aligned to ridiculously catchy hooks. New Domino imprint signings All We Are peddle textured funk and massive choruses, while Toxteth superstar-in-waiting Jetta has a lions roar of a vocal that has lit up everywhere from Sundance to SXSW – despite her having not yet released a debut EP. Elsewhere, Liverpool’s brightest new diamond arrives almost fully cut in the form of Holly Fletcher – or Lapsley as she’s known around here (her real middle name). A fusion of multi-tracked vocals set adrift on gorgeous exotic electronica, her calling card ‘Station’ has clocked up 300,000 hits on SoundCloud despite only being uploaded from her bedroom in Formby just a few months ago.
And there’s a multitude of others breaking through – teen soul sensation Taylor Fowlis, garage beatmaker GhostChant, electronica from Kalax, guitar pop perfection from Soho Riots, Sugarmen and Vandettes. Plus, horror punks Salem Rages and Mind Mountain, who are a space-rock riff machine that’ll shake your senses.
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Enough already? Ok here’s a few others: Glossom, who are like a rotating door of brass and soaring harmonies revisiting early Wild Beasts; WYWH, D R O H N E and NIGHTS – three enigmatic electronic artists making drone dissonance seem dangerous, Merki Waters – a multi-stylistics producer who runs his own hip hop internet YV station, Etches – a five-piece who trade gloom pop and buzzsaw guitars, Broken Men – a ballsy garage band who roll out brass and rotating guest lists given the chance plus emerging solo pop talents Natalie McCool and Ady Suleiman. I could go on…
Last Friday twelve of these artists – All We Are, Evian Christ, Circa Waves, Dan Croll, Ex-Easter Island Head, Forest Swords, Mad Brains, Ninetails, Outfit, Bill Ryder-Jones, Tea Street Band and VEYU – were represented at the third annual GIT Award (named after my Merseyside-focussed music blog Getintothis) at the Kazimier in Wolstenholme Square.
Selected by a judging panel including NME Radar, 6 Music, The Quietus, XFM and more they represented the heartbeat of new Merseyside music.
The GIT Award has always aimed to shed light on Liverpool’s best new music offerings. Think of it as a manic Jools Holland minus the honky tonk piano but with better guests. Most bands played, while Forest Swords picked up the £1000 prize. It was a way of uniting Merseyside music’s sprawling scene so we can celebrate what is a very special time for the city.