With Sound City returning to the docks soon, Getintothis’ Craig MacDonald and Jake Marley pick their top ten Merseyside acts to catch this year.
As hundreds of artists, industry heads and music lovers look set to return to Bramley-Moore Dock this month, Sound City continues to bring a golden opportunity for Merseyside artists to shine on perhaps Liverpool’s biggest platform for music.
Under the new banner of Sound City+, the festival will continue its much celebrated conference element as it helps emerging artists gain exposure to some of the key players from all areas within the music industry.
Although the festival may be renowned for bringing major overseas and UK talent to our shores, it has always maintained its ethos of helping some of the area’s finest talent play alongside some of the industry biggest acts.
One such artist to benefit from such chances is the electro pop maestro Johnny Sands. Having long been a stalwart of Sound City, the bespectacled songwriter has seen his stock continue to rise with the likes of Arno Arno and Das Pop helping him to win many fans across the nation and overseas.
Another much loved group on Merseyside will be returning to the docks this May. Having been one of our tips from last year’s bash, Cavalry will be looking to build upon their return having released their double A-side Everything/Lucerne last month.
Fast becoming Mr Merseyside, GIT Award 2016 nominee Bill Ryder-Jones will be hitting the Atlantic Stage having established himself firmly as an exceptional solo artist. Following the release of his latest album, the critically acclaimed West Kirby County Primary, the Wirral troubadour will be offering another chance to see why he is rightfully being held in such high esteem.
Speaking of former GIT Award nominees, Circa Waves will be bound to bring in the numbers when they return to Sound City this year having been a last minute bonus addition on last year’s bill. With their debut album Young Chasers propelling them into the the high reaches of the charts, the group are currently busy beavering away on their sophomore album and could well debut some new cuts at this year’s event.
As always with Sound City, it’s not just about the big names on offer though, with plenty of quality to be seen in and around the various stages over the weekend from some of the best up and coming talent in Merseyside.
Fast becoming a major player in the city’s growing spoken word and hip hop scenes, Blue Saint will be displaying the impressive talents that make him a former Merseyrail Soundstation winner while the garage rock fuzz of Shrinking Minds is bound to be a wake up call to all that manage to catch them over the weekend.
Also on offer will be the atmospheric indie delights of Weekend Wars and the addictive psych of Irene & The Disappointments. With the insatiable sounds of Sugarmen, the exhilarating Red Rum Club and the raucous rock and roll of Little Triggers also making an appearance, it illustrates just how vast the array of talent in the city is at present.
You would be right in thinking that we had some task on our hands trying to pick ten Merseyside acts that you should see at this year’s festival, but here we have (in no particular order). But remember, you can tweet us your tips too.
10. Feral Love: The Cavern, Sunday May 29
Having wowed the crowds that gathered to watch them at FestEvol earlier in the month, the dynamic duo of Feral Love will be bringing their thumping brand of electro pop to the docks. Proving themselves a favourite of the likes of BBC Introducing and BBC Radio 1, the group are being tipped for big things this year.
9. The Night Cafe: The North, Sunday May 29
Filled with joyous indie pop tunes like Addicted that will shimmer in the riverside sunshine, The Night Cafe are quickly becoming one of the most vital bands to have come out of the city in a good while. Having been mates since school days, the quartet of teenagers may have a crap name, but more than make up for it with their tunes.
8. The Stamp: The Tall Ship, Sunday May 29
Having personally been invited to support The View on their recent European and UK tours, The Stamp are another group of youngsters that are seeing their stock rise at a rate of knots with their take on the modern day Mersey sound. With the lads set to hit the road on their first UK tour, we would advise you go and see what all the fuss is about.
7. Youth Hostel: The Cavern, Saturday May 28
Another product of the Edge Hill University based record label The Label Recordings, Ormskirk four piece Youth Hostel play infectiously catchy cuts that are bound to get plenty of heads bobbing down at the docks. With comparisons to the likes of Two Door Cinema Club, the group’s catchy melodies will hook you in from the off.
6. XamVolo: The North, Saturday May 28
Former GIT Award nominee and one of Merseyside’s most imaginative artists, XamVolo has been described as having “raw, dark jazz grooves with gospel-infused sophistication”, which should be enough to tell you that this is one act you really should not miss over the weekend. With The Closing Scene proving that he is more than living up to the hype that surrounds him, this is one artist destined for greater things.
5. Trudy and The Romance: The North, Sunday May 29
They may have a new name, but don’t let that put you off. Trudy and The Romance will be demonstrating why their mutant 50s pop and jangly melodies like Behave, have earned them a nomination for this year’s GIT Award as well as endearing them to many people’s hearts.
4. Tom Low: The Tall Ship, Saturday May 28
The visionary delights of Tom Low are easily one of the most intriguing offerings to have come out of Merseyside in recent times, with his uniquely expansive debut Phone proving both surreal and catchy in equal measure. If any one was lucky enough to catch him support C Duncan, you will know this is one to make sure you get a spec for.
3. She Drew The Gun: The Tall Ship, Sunday May 29
Having recently been announced as the winners of Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent Competition and released their debut album Memories Of The Future to a wave of plaudits, the scene is set for She Drew The Gun to take Sound City by storm. The hype surrounding the group may be as large as the Mersey but with songs like Poem they are more than living up to it.
2. Pink Kink: The Cavern, Sunday May 29
If there is one band that has been on the tip of everyone’s tongue over the last 12 months, it’s Pink Kink. From cementing their name into Kazimier folklore to wowing the crowd at the GIT Award launch party, the quartet are a hip shaking, glitter spewing mass of energy that will well and truly get the party started. If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing them yet, then miss them at your peril.
1.The Coral: The Atlantic, Sunday May 29
It’s pretty hard to ignore the fact that this year’s festival heralds the comeback of one of Merseyside’s most iconic bands after a five year break as The Coral return as one of this year’s headliners.
Having released their first new material in nearly six years with their superb album Distance Inbetween, there has been an astronomical appetite for their homecoming show having sold out venues up and down the land on their recent UK tour. We fully expect arms aloft and voices at full volume during mass sing alongs at this one.