Life & Culture

Five New Indie Bands to Put on Your Radar

From south London talent Jerkcurb to Peckham-formed YOWL, we select five new acts emerging from the capital

  • TextJamie Milton

Guitars never died, but the last decade has seen more than enough young upstarts ride the nostalgia train, relying on half-baked ideas. Thankfully those acts have pretty much fizzled out, and in 2017, there are countless new faces reinventing the wheel. Whether it’s the glam-meets-punk of HMLTD, leaders of south London’s cooperative scene like Goat Girl and Sorry, or rough-edged Bandcamp finds like Lomelda and Big Thief, bands have found a freedom in no longer being a commercial concern. Here, we select five new acts emerging from the capital and they introduce themselves in their own (very imaginative) words.

1. Jerkcurb

As Jerkcurb, south London talent Jacob Read settles his wild imagination into jazz-inflected sleepiness. He has several other projects on the go: the more loose-footed band Horsey, work as a cartoonist and illustrator, and the occasional project or collaboration with King Krule’s Archy Marshall, his best friend growing up.

“Jerkcurb is where the chicken sauce meets the pavement edge. It’s not a baby feline, like some have incorrectly stated. It’s more like Larry David’s hit TV show, but without any enthusiasm. I can describe it however I want because I am the CEO of Jerkcurb and its sole member, Jacob Read. It’s an umbrella term for my art and music outputs. It’s sort of cartoonish, quite sad, a bit fun. A one-man band. It covers a spectrum of emotions: ‘doo-wop-weep’ for those who can’t sleep. It’s an extension of my inner turmoils and tribulations. It’s my shell.”

Listen to Jerkcurb here.

2. MMODE

Though grew up in Belfast, sibling duo MMODE aka Lucy and Thomas Gaffney have more in tune with sunset boulevard than grey days in Northern Ireland. They serve their escapism in sweet, plentiful portions; all emphasis on bright, major key guitars and galloping percussion. Think early Tame Impala meets the nostalgic headrush of The Cardigans.

“We’re very influenced by trip-hop and shoegaze bands. We don’t necessarily sound like them, but there’s definitely hints of it thrown into the mix. We consider our debut album to be alternative dream pop, but I think people will take from it what they want, to find some sort of a common ground.”

Listen to MMODE here.

3. FEET

FEET are a self-described “bunch of wronguns from Coventry”. They reawaken old-school, jerky indie, thanks to a healthy dose of wit. Debut track Petty Thieving is a tense, frustrated tale about spending “all my loan on beer and biscuits”, something every tired and bloated millennial can relate to.

“Our sound comes from the chopping up of different musical influences, much like making pasta. Joe provides the proteins. Oli provides the saucy baselines and George stops Harry from putting in too many onions.”

Listen to FEET here.

4. Scent

Scent arrived at the turn of October with Kim, a full EP of strange, progressive noise. With one flick of a switch, they can go from an Animal Collective-like mushroom trip to power-driven 80s pomp. The mysterious trio describe themselves as “three mammals in a basement lounge”, and they’re just the second band to ever sign to Wichita (The Cribs, Bloc Party) on the back of an unsolicited demo email.

“The television blasts static because you lost your Blu-Ray of Krokodil Dundee. You’re outside painting dicks on the floor of your infinity pool and the light beyond the skyscrapers is milk and sulphur. You check your phone. He’s pregnant.”

Listen to Scent here.

5. YOWL

Nobody’s happy putting up with poor job prospects and a city pricing out the poorest, but the Peckham-formed YOWL capture a frustration of the 9-to-5 London grind like few others. And in frontman Gabriel Byrde, they have someone who can spin poetry on songs about alienation and exhaustion. YOWL are often viciously loud, but Byrde’s fanciful delivery gives them an edge.

“We take the introspective, worried aspects of our characters and try to write about them in a way that sounds self-assured. This is a means of speaking boldly about the things that scare us and bore us, a way to take to the piss out those things and to rage against them with others.”

Listen to YOWL here.