Ten years, 101 bands, Getintothis presents a run down of the artists that have made Liverpool the new music capital of the world.
We’ve come a long, long way together…
Ten years is a mighty long time to do anything these days. And running a music website, particularly in the current climate when people’s attention spans barely manage to cope with 240 characters, is a tricky undertaking.
That said, we love what we do. And it’s made all the more easier with a network of artists, bands and creative people who have made our home of Liverpool such a vibrant place to discover new music for more than a decade. Of course, Getintothis is very much a new music site and we thrive on uncovering new sounds, however, with ten years under our belt we thought it timely to have a look back and salute 101 of the musicians and bands that have sustained Merseyside and make it such a vital place in UK music.
The list was devised by raking through our archives right back to May 2007 when we formed and assessing which musicians or bands began and how they blossomed. Almost all on the list released EPs or albums of note while several have evolved into other bands or musical vehicles achieving a greater musical pedigree – in this case we listed them all under the same umbrella and explained their transformation. It’s also key to point out this is a subjective list, and there may be artists or bands we’ve missed out which are worthy of mention – in that case please do list them in the comment section below. The 101 are also listed in rough alphabetical order – not in musical preference.
What we do stand by, is that every artist listed in the 101 has made, in their own indelible fashion, a statement which has, be it small or large, shaped Merseyside music. They will have turned new listeners on to some fine new sounds, have performed on stage something special which lasts a lifetime or created a record which is still being spun somewhere today.
We’ve loved being part of that sonic adventure. And we’ll continue to do. – Peter Guy
DROP The Dumbells had its home on Slater Street in Liverpool’s Ropewalks area when, new to Liverpool, artist Adam Rowley aka Afternaut was painting experimental electronica soundscapes in there with his cinematic sci-fi trip-hop.
One could argue that Afternaut arrived at the right time in the city as the electronic music scene had just started to gel into a thing with regular nights like Emotion Wave (thanks to the laudable contemporary Lo Five) promoting the best of local electronic artists. Afternaut became one of the prime faces of the scene.
The local electronic scene might have shifted since then and it might be argued that it’s perhaps lost some of the form it had during the first half of the decade although the last time we saw Rowley, as he soundtracked the celebration of an Emotional Wave release in 2016 it is still vibrant and pumping. And this is just like its poster child Afternaut who’s similarly releasing music of a more danceable nature than when we first found him. – Amaan Khan
AGP / WYWH
Imagine if you will an image in wide focus, being cropped again and again until just the most aesthetically pleasing aspect of it remains. That’s a lot like the process local songsmith Andrew Gordon Parry‘s AGP (see what he did there?) project has gone through. Its past incarnations WYWH and Where We’re West were both very different beasts, the former funky, goofy and beat driven, the latter loose and fuzzy. Never mind the fact that Parry, while these two germinating projects were ongoing, was putting out dark ambient tracks under his own name.
No, AGP has matured from that frenetic burst of activity where seemingly every possibility was explored, until what remained was what we have today. Smart, scuzzy, shoegazing dreampop with noisy edges, addictive lead guitar lines and comfortingly wafty chord changes. AGP has a sound which is still evolving and sees Parry right on the cutting edge of the Merseyside music scene, having scored support slots for the likes of Happyness and Genghar. – David Hall
All We Are
Few bands define these pages more than All We Are.
When they surfaced in 2012 with debut EP, Cardhouse via Liverpool based DIY label Payper Tiger, few would have perceived where there journey would take them.
Comprising Richard O’Flynn (a devilishly handsome Irish drummer with an acute metronomic rhythm), Guro Gikling (a swaggering bass player armed with profoundly emotional lyricism) and Luis Santos (a sensitive yet masterful Brazilian guitar player unafraid to show off his dexterous skill), All We Are made their first tentative steps with understated folk. It didn’t take long for them to blossom into a bubbling cauldron of funk-pop proving to be at the epicentre of much of Merseyside’s vital new music happenings.
A key band amid The Kazimier, MelloMello and Wolstenholme Creative Space dynamic in the mid 2000s, they blitzed the North West festival circuit proving a must-see live draw before signing to Domino, releasing their critically acclaimed self-titled debut and winning the GIT Award 2015. Touring the world followed and a second LP, Sunny Hills showed the band’s creative ambitions displaying a steely, rock and roll punk fury. Where they go next is anyone’s guess but we’ll be following them all the way. – Peter Guy
Alpha Male Tea Party
There are few body shattering sounds than that produced by metal math rock behemoths Alpha Male Tea Party. They first obliterated our senses in the much missed confines of Mello Mello as their energetic personas hooked us instantly.
Their feral eponymous debut album serves as an opening tasty gambit but to see them in the live arena is where it’s at as they unleash primal ferocity – as anyone who witnessed their conquering Sound City set back in 2013 will attest.
Complex and awe inspiring in equal measure, their recent return to the fold with this year’s wondrous album Health, has also come with a fitting set planned for next year’s alt Mecca Wrong Festival as they further cement their place as stalwarts in Liverpool’s bustling freak scene. – Craig MacDonald
Although Amique claims to be tired of comparisons to Prince, it is perhaps that style and influence that has propelled him from former LIMF most ready to one of Liverpool’s most popular soul acts, so it is churlish to ignore. And much better than being compared to Jamiroquai.
The singer’s vocal range is exasperating and his stage presence hypnotic. There are a fair few Merseyside soul acts at the moment but Amique is indeed the most original and away from obvious comparisons, he has the ability to create a summer mood on the coldest of nights.
A regular at the annual LIMF festival which has almost become his playground, a perfect backdrop for his Stateside style delivery and smooth-as-silk vocals. Moving around the tent like a panther and hitting notes you can only dream of. Regardless of your tastes, Amique is difficult to dislike, he has a strange presence which elevates him above others
Amique’s recorded output has included the funk-laden Oh! The Ecstasy’s Emancipator E.P and The Intimate Divine, a track that blew Getintothis away on its release in 2015. 2016’s We Don’t Do Things Like You Do (We Do Things As They Should Be Done) featured Irresistable Divinity, a track that truly cemented his reputation as a serious player in the British funk scene.
The recent Thunder in the Desert E,P contains five of the most luscious tunes around and will surely bring Amique the recognition he deserves. – Del Pike
Coming in directly from the Livepool’s leftist of fields, if a single word describes a.P.a.t.T., it has to be enigmatic.
We’ve followed their somewhat bizarre but upward career with interest and occasional bewilderment. Musically they’re impossible to categorise, occasionally flipping genres (from bleeps, to electronic funk, to classical, to avant garde, to disco, and more) sometimes radically within a single track. Musical deconstruction at its most extreme seems to be the band’s raison d’être.
The only predictable thing about the band is that they have a fondness for wearing white onstage, but even then the band member’s names are shrouded in mystery – that is unless we are meant to believe that General MIDI, Field Marshall Stack, Dorothy Wave, Master Fader and The Researcher are their bona fide names.
Ever busy, they have to date released five albums, three EPs, and several singles. Their last album, 2015’s Fun With Music (on Pickled Egg), was described as their most accessible yet by the BBC’s Stuart Maconie. Their live sets are wonders to behold and they became regulars at The Kazimier and other local venues. We reported on them playing Hungary in 2016, and they’ve been all over Europe, sometimes with highly esteemed artists such as Faust, Gong, and Acid Mothers Temple. They occasionally perform with their very own orchestra and are responsible for art installations in places as prestigious as the Southbank.
In many respects, they, more than anyone on this 100 represent everything we aspire to do: being true to oneself, exploring the new and always pushing the boundaries. Sometimes we fail, but where’s the fun in trying.
What will they get up to in 2018? Whatever it will be don’t expect it to be in the least bit ordinary. That is the only thing this band is incapable of doing. – Andy Holland
Still riding on the wave of their third album, 2016’s The Dear One, Baltic Fleet find themselves once more bathing in the golden light of praise from musos far and wide.
Paul Fleming, sometime keyboard man for the Bunnymen, has created a predominantly instrumental outfit that is not a million miles away from Bunnymen off-shoot Poltergeist, but ultimately more prolific. Apart from naming themselves after one of Liverpool’s best pubs, Baltic Fleet exhume cool and their tunes often avoid pigeonholing, not quite dance, not quite trance, not quite jazz, just Baltic Fleet.
Their eponymous first album was something of a landmark on the Liverpool scene and was quickly recognised as such by us who happily decorated them with the GIT Award 2013. That same year Baltic Fleet played a landmark set at Liverpool’s Haus as part of an event organised by ourselves and Liverpool X. A Kazimier date the same year and an appearance at LIMF the following summer proved their worth as a must see act.
Live appearances are not too common so be sure to make every opportunity to catch them when they are around.
Unique is a word you can politely use to describe Baltic Fleet – Del Pike
Enigma, machine-gun MC and Tuebrook’s finest, Bang On aka Elliot Egerton burst out of the city and into national consciousness with 2012’s debut album [sic] on Big Dada records.
Bagging a GIT Award 2012 nomination, this protégé of Merseyside hip hop Godfather, Tony Lawson aka Tony Broke, Bang On proved the natural heir to telling it how it is on the streets of Liverpool. – Peter Guy
Noise-rock outfit Barberos are a band that really scar the consciousness, in the best of senses. The poly-rhythmic trio offer something very few bands can and have subsequently contributed to the Liverpool avant-garde scene with their unique fusion of genres.
Psychedelic, often inaudible yelps curdle from their Lycra-hooded faces as the rumbling percussive duo dabble in multiple tempos, while the third party transmits swathes of progressive synth into the madness.
It’s a triumphant blending of math, prog and noise rock, nodding to the likes of chaotic noise-duo, Lightning Bolt.
Their thrilling on-stage performances which include original visual compositions like ‘living cinema’, earned them a GIT Award Nomination in 2013, as well as formidable sets alongside Gnod and Clinic, plus a spot on our very own Albums Club following the release of their self-titled debut on Dream Machine Records.
Where they are now remains conveniently shrouded in mystery, perhaps they walk among us mere mortals living their day to day lives? That is, of course, until they put back on the masks… – Matthew Wood
Starting life as a noisy outfit compared by the Liverpool ECHO to ‘a cat having its tail stood on while simultaneously dragging it’s finely manicured paws down a particularly chalky blackboard’, three piece Beach Skulls soon found a more distinguished musical identity.
Writing songs that would suit being described as noir, it is easy to imagine Dreamin’ Blue or Santa Fe soundtracking a David Lynch film.
An inauspicious start had Getintothis tag them as ‘badly played blues’, our opinion remaining largely unchanged the following year. But Beach Skulls soon found their groove and were soon being described in these pages as sounding like ‘idyllic day at the seaside’ complete with ‘the woozy heat, the sunspots, the blissed-out glisten of the horizon‘.
Beach Skulls have tapped into a rich vein of fifties influenced rock n roll viewed through a cracked mirror so that things sound slightly askew. Whether this adds a sinister or contemporary edge is open to interpretation, but it does help them stand out from the pack – Banjo
‘I like to voice my opposition. I hold very strong beliefs. I feel like music these days is very cheap, very bland. For me it’s to try and put a bit of life and meaning into it. Some depth,’ Louis Berry told us in 2015, after winning the GIT Award One to Watch.
Louis’ first recorded song .45 was named Radio 1’s Hottest Record in the World. He signed a publishing contract at his ever first gig, a BBC Introducing showcase, and a record deal after playing his second live outing, at Liverpool’s Arts Club.
When the Kirkby rock n roller returned for a homecoming show at O2 Academy in the spring after a time in Nashville recording his debut album, we described Berry belters like 25 Reasons and .45 as ‘musical Viagra’. He’s subsequently toured the world – not bad, eh?
At Liverpool Music Week later in the year we predicted, ‘If you haven’t heard of Berry somehow, you need to get on this.’.
In 2017, Louis was nominated for a GIT Award. His debut album produced by Jacquire King (Kings of Leon, Tom Waits, Norah Jones) is set to be released in 2018. – Cath Bore
In a city notorious for its melodic guitars and psychedelia, hip hop and Scouse trap are fast becoming the vital musical force emanating from Liverpool’s musical terrain – and Beyond Average are leading the charge.
Melding deft lyricism, weighty bars, a fearsome live dynamic and laced with characteristic hometown wit, Beyond Average comprise MCs Jeopardy and B O. Their CV speaks for itself having supported hip hop titans Ghostface Killah, Dead Prez, Redman and Method Man while also sharing stage with Stormzy and Skepta at the Southport Weekender. There’s barely a venue on Merseyside Beyond Average haven’t graced, while their travels have seen them play Europe’s biggest hip hop festival, Boom Bap and represent Liverpool in London in Redbull’s 2017 Grime Aside.
With their self-released debut Great Minds Think Alike receiving acclaim in the Liverpool ECHO, it was stand out tracks Scouse Ebonics and No More which catapulted them on to the national radar with plays on BBC 1Xtra. Next up is a 2018 EP and headline shows with Scouse contemporaries Rico Don and Aydoe. Beyond Average are just getting started – Peter Guy
Sadly no longer with us, Bicycle Thieves were, perhaps unfairly, put into a group with Editors and White Lies and, definitely unfairly, labelled as Joy Division copyists. Shame, as their Stop to Start single revealed them to be makers of epic songs that deserved more attention than they actually got.
Of their sound, guitarist Ash Hopkins told Getintothis ‘We never set out to achieve any kind of authenticity, this is just the result of all us together in a practice room’, indicating a band wisely guided by their own sense of self rather than following any fashion.
Their enduring image against a sun-kissed sky was the defining moment at Dubai Sound City.
And as we all know, the thing about being in fashion is that eventually you will be out of fashion and out of favour. It can be a risky path to tread, intentionally or otherwise. Their latest exploits can be found in rising band LUNGS. – Banjo
Bird / St Jude the Obscure
In 2014, the future looked dazzling for tribal goth four piece Bird. They released an album, My Fear And Me, toured Europe and hit major festivals Festival No 6, the 6 Music Festival and others. Critical acclaim poured in from all quarters, but that same year Bird came to an abrupt end for legal and personal reasons.
Singer Adele Emmas and Christian Sandford on guitar and synths dusted themselves off, determined to carry on, and formed Feral Love. The introduction of a drum machine and samples led them down a different creative path, and they released single Like the Wind on Edge Hill University’s The Label Recordings.
Yet the duo were unhappy with the new name, so changed it to St Jude The Obscure, a pun in part after Thomas Hardy’s classic novel Jude the Obscure.
St. Jude The Obscure have released three songs so far, Wonders of Youth, Wreckage and Ruins. The continuation on from Feral Love is obvious, with the use of electronic instrumentation, samples and a definite pop sensibility, especially evident in Wreckage.
This summer they released a 30 minute mix tape, Singles And Obscurities. They’ve played a scattering of gigs including Liverpool Music Week under the new moniker and promise further expansion of their sound, using real drums, fewer vocal layers and concentrating on the main vocal melody. – Cath Bore
Bonnacons of Doom
Conjurers of ghoulish experiments, freaky noise sextet Bonnacons of Doom really live up to their name.
Their stage presence is one of a spliced past and future; band-leader Kate Smith flaunts her caped body ritualistically to the perilous productions of her fellow band mates, who stand anonymous with silver disks shimmering in the darkness over their faces.
It’s like Tron meets a Gothic branch of Paganism, and a guaranteed experience unlike any other.
2016 saw them join forces with fellow mask-clad force, GOAT, the ever-inspiring, transcendental Swedish collective who astounded many of us with their visually vibrant and sonically stupefying sets. They released a split 7″ on God Unknown Records titled Plantae the Swedes and it was indeed a collaboration to remember.
A full-length album is on the horizon for the Bonnacons with superlative sounds Rocket Recordings lending their might – until next year! – Matthew Wood
Broken Men/ Lying Bastards/ Shy Billy
If you have never seen feral Michael Bennett glaring menacingly into the distance in his various groups, then you know nothing of the Liverpool music scene.
Our first encounter with his musical malevolence was as drummer-come-vocalist in the burgeoning garage rockers Broken Men, as they decimated a bewildered FestEvol audience. Flickering between five and, at some points, ten band members, the group’s next evolution gave birth to the group dubbed “Liverpool’s most dangerous” or as we know them, Lying Bastards.
Their ferocious live presence and knack for an infectious melody soon saw their stock rise, with supporting duties on Clean Cut Kid‘s UK tour, a record deal signed and jetting off to Japan. All this on top of packing out Liverpool’s venues and reeking havoc on its festivals.
With their current guise proving to be a stumbling block in their progression, the group took stock and came back reinvented and reinvigorated as Shy Billy. A full throttle, rock and roll machine that plays loud, fast and with all their might. With Europe now waking up to their noise and crowning performances at the likes of Liverpool Music Week, it won’t be long till the world has its head kicked in by this ferocious band. – Craig MacDonald
By The Sea
Their early gigs were always busy with Merseyside’s finest, with our earliest memories stretching back to 2011 at The Bluecoat, a modest show that saw Power as a timid performer, telling the crowd that they can go to the bar if they were bored.
Another that lives long in the memory was their headline show at the Epstein Theatre, a strong homecoming gig that pinpointed what this band are about and the class they’re capable of creating.
That modesty has progressed throughout the band’s career, while their performances developed into an encapsulating immersion into the many tastes of the Merseyside sea air, shot through with classic sounds but pioneering something largely of their own.
Since their genesis they’ve released two studio albums, their first eponymous and their second, Endless Days, Crystal Sky as well as undergoing multiple line up alterations.
2017 sees Nick Power with Steven Campbell on guitar, Andrew Royden on drums, and Christopher Pickering on bass, preparing for their collaboration with author Austin Collings as Blade Jogger; a unique project of film, spoken word and music. – Matthew Wood
Circa Waves / Fly With Vampires
Of all the bands on this list, there’s few who have broken through on such a national commercial scale. Circa Waves was born from Young Chasers – a bedroom demo of lead singer and guitarist Keiran Shudall; all dirty Strokes rock and roll vigour with a ridiculously infectious nous for melodies and hooks.
The seeds had already been planted with his first outfit Fly With Vampires – a keyboard-driven pop-rock band who set tongues wagging in 2009 with superlative support slots with Tribes and Cloud Control before bagging high profile billings at Sound City and Liverpool Music Week. Lead singer Phil Styles would branch off to form Loveless with Shudall retreating to carve out his next big move.
When Circa Waves signed to Virgin EMI it was hard to see anything other than big stages following. They did. SXSW showcases, tours across the globe and cover features in the national music press saw the album chart high and a GIT Award nod was a shoe-in. Fast forward to 2017, and they’ve a second album, Different Creatures, under their belt and continue to be huge live draw. With Shudall‘s songwriting prowess where they head next (let’s hope for something even more expansive and intriguing) will be worthy of anyone’s attention. – Peter Guy
Clean Cut Kid
Though Clean Cut Kid’s success appeared to spring out of nowhere, the reality is quite the opposite. Performing and writing under a number of guises, husband and wife duo Mike and Evelyn Halls finally found the winning formula with bandmates Saul Godman and Ross Higginson and released the soulful pop infused Vitamin C and Twenty Years From Now to rapturous reception.
Grabbing the attention of Radio 1, they were quickly snapped up by Polydor Records before going on to summer performances at Latitude Festival, Secret Garden Party plus headlining the BBC Introducing Stage at Reading Festival as well as support slots with the likes of Years and Years, Shura and Rat Boy. Having played New York’s CMJ and SXSW in Austin, Texas they’re ready to make the summer festival season their own.
Clinic have been around much longer than Getintothis so can easily teach us all a thing or two about longevity and originality. In a career that involves providing music for both movies and TV ads, an appearance on the Letterman Show and an untimely New York date on 9/11/01, Clinic’s career has been adventurous to say the least. Not bad for a band who started life on the Crosby pub circuit.
In the decade that we have known them they have released a string of equally mesmerising albums; 2008’s Quirky Do it!, the jazzy as hell Bubble Gum (2010) and 2012’s possible career best, Free Reign, so addictive it spawned a limited edition remix album.
We have seen them literally set the stage alight at the Bandstand at LIMF in 2015, storm FestEvol alongside The Buzzcocks and Poltergeist last year and joined John Cale at this summer’s Sound City. Cale announced the following day that it was like playing with The Velvets back in the day.
Clinic spin off Lost Tapes Record Club launched in 2015, continued the mystical journey bringing in further elements of magic and witchcraft. Clinic are very much a part of our musical landscape now and we hope will continue to reign supreme. – Del Pike
Liverpool isn’t particularly associated with metal bands, even though the city has long been a stronghold of the hard rock scene. Conan epitomise the city’s affinity for the music.
A titanically noisy three-piece, Conan ooze thick, down-tuned, heavily distorted guitar and bass sounds, with urgent, shouted vocals. Key members of the band are Jon Davis on guitar and vocals and Chris Fielding on bass. Various drummers have played in the band, most recently Johnny King. Hearing a Conan song for the first time has been compared to being transported into a muddy, Viking battlefield during an apocalyptic, electric thunder-storm. This is one seriously heavy band who specialise in Doom Metal but have been gradually absorbing other facets of the broader metal scene into their style.
Conan have been active since 2006, but their first official releases began with an EP, Horseback Battle Hammer released on Throne Records in 2010. They have to date released three albums, Monnos (2012, Burning World Records), Blood Eagle (2014, Napalm Records – reviewed by us at the time), and Reveangence (2016 – Napalm Records), two EPs, two split-EPs, and two live albums.
The band are a remarkable live experience and have gone onto play many gigs in the US and Europe, as well as here at home. Their success has helped them build their own Skyhammer Studios and launch their own record label (Black Bow Records).
What will Conan do in 2018? Play in their home city once more? We can only hope. – Andy Holland
By the time we arrived The Coral had already established themselves as a bonafide global pop act, with steady radio play and TV appearances.
2007’s Roots and Echoes, their fifth album for Deltasonic took a melodic folky approach, followed by the more psychedelic Butterfly House in 2010. The departure of Bill Ryder Jones in 2008 did nothing to quell their creativity and opened the door for his own successful solo career.
A less than typical long break, interrupted by just The Curse of Love (2014), an album of lost tracks led to their most ambitious album to date, 2016’s Distance Inbetween. A rich, mature piece that almost reinvented the band as a rock outfit to be reckoned with.
Recorded in their hometown base, Parr Street Studios, the album peaked at number 13 in the UK charts and garnered high praise in the national press including a 10/10 review in The Independent and inclusion in Rough Trade‘s album of the year list. The band, James Skelly, Ian Skelly, Paul Duffy, Nick Power and Paul Molloy returned to the live arena with a nationwide tour in the spring, an appearance on Later… with Jools Holland, a high profile slot supporting The Stone Roses at Manchester’s Etihad Stadium and an unforgettable set to close out Liverpool’s Sound City festival at Bramley Moore Dock alongside a string of other festival appearances in the UK and beyond.
Those two most recent albums were released on the Skelly Brothers’ Skeleton Key label, a brand that also embraces live music via the Skeleton Coast Festival in Hoylake, which has played host to label artists and other key players – and it’s perhaps as important that they cultivate the next generation of musicians through their label and skills which is as important to their ongoing musical development. Certainly, we think so.
The presence of The Coral cannot be ignored whether as a band or in their various solo incarnations. True originals – Del Pike
Former LIPA student Dan Croll might hail from Stoke-on-Trent, but we’re calling him our own.
‘LIPA gave me a wider knowledge of the music industry,’ Dan told us after his first GIT Award nomination in 2013. ‘Having a one-to-one with Paul McCartney was pretty amazing – I played a few of my songs to him and he started singing along with me and suggesting things I hadn’t thought of. He said ‘groovy’ a lot too!‘
He’s come a long way since his student days, and playing Bold Street Coffee as part of Sound City that year, packing the place out.
Signed to Decca, Dan has opened for Imagine Dragons, Bastille, Bombay Bicycle Club and Chvrches.
His debut album Sweet Disarray came out in 2014, follow up Emerging Adulthood released this summer, produced by Ben Allen (Deerhunter, Animal Collective, Cee-Lo Green, Kelis, Amerie.)
Dan Croll made a triumphant return to Liverpool Music Week at The Arts Club a few weeks ago and ‘rocked the house, with his tasteful indie-pop complimented by an equally-tasteful delivery and his dry, witty charm.’ – Cath Bore
Getintothis first came across Dire Wolfe back in 2010, at a gig in the Masque. Second on the bill that night, we witnessed an extraordinary thing. After Dire Wolf finished their set, half the audience left the venue, presumably having seen the band they set out to see. Clearly, something was going on here.
A few months later, Getintothis hailed Dire Wolfe as ‘leaders of the pack’ when it came to new Liverpool bands at that time. Theirs was, we suggested, a sound where ‘six-string chimes trade with thick slabs of crunching geetar thwacks and all the while Tarek Musa dictates a relentless pattern of ridiculous percussive manoeuvres’.
But by March the following year it was all over for Dire Wolfe, although we did note that they were ‘bowing out with their smiles still affixed and enthusiasm for other projects intact, there’s more good times ahead’.
Good times were certainly ahead, most notably with vocalist Dan Croll’s excellent brace of albums, Joe Wills‘ burgeoning career as a producer and Tarek Musa‘s Spring King still to come – Banjo
The Dirty Rivers / The Vryll Society
There are are not too many groups who exemplify our tenure quite like The Vryll Society.
Our first encounter with the sonic cosmonauts came in the depths of the Metropolitan Cathedral, as The Dirty Rivers. Their cacophonous sound instantly won us, and many others, over, but it was not till they released the compelling rock and roller The Kid, that we truly saw the potential they possessed.
After a brief time of reflection, the group returned to the fold as we know them today, with The Vryll Society – or as we know them Lewis McGuinness, Lloyd Shearer, Benjamin Robinson and Mike and Ryan Ellis. And what a return they made, as they injected kaleidoscopic psych to create a menacing proposition.
Having swiftly climbed the supporting ladder, they soon came into their own, picking up a duo of GIT Award nominations on the way. Their recent residency of The Magnet only served to heighten their position as one of the biggest acts in the region today. With the group able to do all of this without yet releasing their debut album, next year could prove to be a defining moment for The Vryll Society. That debut album can’t arrive soon enough. – Craig MacDonald
Becoming stalwarts of Liverpool’s music scene, Dogshow are an electronic, techno powerhouse, with stunning visuals and mesmerising beats.
The link between Liverpool’s Kazamier venue and Dogshow was intrinsic from the get-go. They collaborated with the venue and became regular draws at there, even signing to the venue’s very own label. They became renowned for stellar live performances, and since the closure of The Kazamier have moved onto the Invisible Wind Factory. Dogshow’s talent for live events hasn’t gone unnoticed, they went on to appear at Glastonbury in 2010 and other festivals, proving that they are the ideal big event band.
Centred around the flamboyant talents of drummer Laurie Crombie, brother Sam on keyboards and other assorted gadgets (both of whom are originally from Oxford), the duo are augmented by Russian born Venya Krutikov, who can only be described as an audio-visual mastermind. Dogshow have caused a stir everywhere they have played. Techno is too limited a term to describe what the band play; it’s also industrial, ‘live-trance’, electronica, breakbeat, and they can effortlessly switch from the sublime to the ridiculous (Disney-inspired marching bands), without breaking a sweat.
Dogshow have been a vital part of Liverpool’s music scene, running parallel to, but far beyond the scope of most Liverpool bands. Too powerful to be ignored. Who knows what the band may deliver in 2018? – Andy Holland
Perhaps one of the finest exports that Kirkdale has seen, Dominic Dunn has proven to be one of the region’s finest modern songwriters since his subtle amalgamation of blues dipped folk pop first catching our eye many moons ago in the much missed View Two Gallery.
A constant on the ever talented acoustic scene, the maverick songwriter has recently been harnessing his talents in LIPA as he looks set to take the next step in his already bright journey into the musical world.
His early promise was swiftly brought to light with a spellbinding display at a capacity Kazimier, while Dunn’s ability and steadfast passion to experiment with new styles, as demonstrated on tracks like Keep Me Down, has seen him championed by the thriving LIMF Academy and Sound City festivals alike. With a return on the cards well overdue (he’s currently harnessing his skills on the DJ front), we can’t wait to see what he has in store for his return to the fold. – Craig MacDonald
It’s great to see a young talent build before your very eyes, and Eleanor Nelly has built into a sheer powerhouse. Getintothis were introduced to Eleanor when she was a singing / song-writing schoolgirl and we were all amazed at her ridiculous talent at such an early age.
Now as Eleanor is all grown up, the novelty value may have gone, but the sheer enormity of her capabilities has grown into a force to be reckoned with. Her now extensive back catalogue of songs slalom between country, rockabilly, folk and soul, bringing retro into the now with gallons of charm.
Winning the coveted LIMF Most Ready title and recording in Nashville this year suggests that at last she is getting the recognition she deserves.
Getintothis were mega-impressed with Eleanor’s performance on the main stage at LIMF last year, fronting The Philharmonic Youth Orchestra in a heartfelt tribute to Cilla, the crowd were genuinely stunned.
Sealed by a deal with Decca, Eleanor continues to impress with storming recent support slots for The Hummingbirds, Elfin Bow and Billie Martin. The future is so bright for Eleanor this year, she’d better be ready – Del Pike
D R O H N E
Elusive duo D R O H N E aren’t just an enigmatic and hard-to-type exercise in dexterity, but a tumble drier of sounds and influences. They’re the weird hinterland where ambient static shaves the corners off arch post punk.
For a group who have said themselves that they’re “not that arsed about supporting the ‘Liverpool scene,“ they’re tethered to it, in that it’s hard to see a project like D R O H N E blossoming many other places. Where are they these days? It’s anyone’s guess, it’s almost like they’ve dissolved back into the cracks that they first fissured out of. We’ve heard little from them in the last year, but they might well emerge at any moment. – David Hall
The former Maybes? frontman took time out after the dissolution of his much-tipped band – and it was the many roads travelled and many stories heard that proved vital to Nick Ellis‘ resurrection.
Signing to Mellowtone Records, he released his debut album Grace and Danger in late 2016 and followed up with tour dates across the UK. His follow up Adult Fiction followed in 2017 and he repeated the touring trick with dates alongside Steve Mason, Michael Head and a rousing headline date at St Bride’s Church. The Caledonia recently witnessed the closing show of the Winter Fiction Tour, a seven-date tour with just himself and his acoustic guitar.
Glimmering finger picking patterns illuminate the noir narratives Ellis weaves in his undulating, crystal clear vocal. Parallels between John Martyn and Elvis Costello have been duly drawn and we hope to witness his wonderfully intimate shows once again in the new year. – Matthew Wood
Ex-Easter Island Head
Is there a more dynamic and original collective on Merseyside? From the understated solo work of Benjamin Duvall‘s mad prof beginnings, Ex-Easter Island have swelled into a full on orchestra, sometimes operating with around 20 musicians operating anywhere from Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle to Bydgoszcz and Berlin – and multiple showings at Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia as well as their home residencies at the Everyman.
A staple on the Merseyside live and festival circuit, they’ve incorporated many of the city’s finest musicians while retaining their core aesthetic centring around Ben Fair, Jon Hering and Duvall’s finely composed dueling of mallet-beaten guitars and complex drum structures. – Peter Guy
Celestial. Enigmatic. Glacial. Blissful. Just a few of the adjectives levelled at the ambient electronic project of Liverpool’s Stephanie Chew. Lulling into slumbers of hiatal inactivity, Faded Gold as a project occasionally wakes up for gorgeous slices of spaced-out EDM which seems to send Chew back into hibernation.
In a scene that has spawned several electronica auteurs, Faded Gold‘s work is a splendidly blissed out reminder that the comedown can be as high as the crescendoes, if it comes in gorgeous waves. – David Hall
Another of Getintothis‘ cornerstone artists, Forest Swords aka Matthew Barnes epitomises what Merseyside’s new music community has been about this last decade – fiercely independent, singular of vision and drawing upon a myriad of influences – not least his geographical home on the Wirral – and shaping music which is quite extraordinary.
From those early tape recordings using found sounds, samples, angular guitars and tribal dub beats and textures he quickly garnered acclaim both sides of the Atlantic; signing first to No Pain In Pop came his astonishing Dagger Paths debut before teaming with Tri Angle for his debut album proper Engravings for which he landed in many an end of year best of poll – plus winning The GIT Award 2014. Whether it was touring the world with Mogwai, remixing Lee Scratch Perry, composing ballets, teaming up with Massive Attack or composing the music to global computer game smashes Assassin’s Creed, Forest Swords remains a force to be reckoned with.
This year he released his latest album Compassion via Ninja Tune – and once again, he continues to confound and capture our imagination. – Peter Guy
Jangly psych merchants, FUSS encapsulate all that’s great about psych rock & roll; they delve into a myriad of influences, creating kaleidoscopic dreamscapes wrapped up neatly into punchy pop numbers.
Their five-pronged attack of guitars, bass and synth allow them to transmit rich textures into their live sets, generating elements of Beck, Brian Jonestown Massacre and Kurt Vile in a wondrous eclectic haze.
The release of single Mother Nature in 2016 saw them pushing boundaries of dream-pop; an irresistibly blissful meander through their collective mindset.
Their mesmeric live sets earned them slots alongside controversial Manc rockers, Cabbage and the chance to launch their self-titled EP in the enchanted attic of Leaf, performing an encapsulating 30 minutes of melodically saturated escapism. – Matthew Wood
Ghostchant, or Joe Cornwell to those who know him, moved to Liverpool from the capital to take a music degree here.
His is a sound that is at once computer driven and yet soulful. Catchy electronica with a human heartbeat, dubstep with depth, Ghostchant straddles these often dividing lines with an ease that sounds completely natural. Hugely impressive stuff.
Our last sighting of Ghostchant was at the Shipping Forecast, where we described his music as ‘more liquid than normal; less 2-step, more downtempo.’ Having left Liverpool, he’s now based in London where he’s as prolific as ever with a new release expected in early 2018 on his own imprint Dead Culture. – Banjo
Liverpool DJ and trance pioneer John Heckle is certainly a trailblazer. He was the first DJ to be nominated for the GIT Award, ultimately pipped to the 2013 gong by Baltic Fleet. Heckle is the kind of producer who has really broken out from Liverpool to become a truly global force. Notoriously hard to please clubbing cities like Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris and London all fall regularly under the spell of Heckle‘s minimal sets.
Reams and reams of EPs make up his discography, along with three albums and releases for stacks of record labels. All of this, and Heckle absolutely smashes out track after track on a weekly basis via his Soundcloud account. If you can’t put your finger on top of his globetrotting antics, his social media streams really are essential following. – David Hall
Hooton Tennis Club
The sun shines on Hooton Tennis Club. Serendipity and old fashioned good luck has played a massive role in the band’s success, their upwards journey has been, in many ways, textbook. The following story is how to become pop stars, people.
The Wirral four piece sent demos to BBC Introducing in January 2014, gained airplay on Radio Merseyside, duly heard by Carl Hunter from Edge Hill University. At this precise time Hunter was starting The Label Recordings, so he signed them. Hooton Tennis Club then got snapped up by Heavenly Recordings, never ones to miss a trick, pretty sharpish.
Debut album Highest Point In Cliff Town, produced by Bill Ryder-Jones, helped the band win a nomination for the 2016 GIT Award. 1990s American slacker indie-Brit poppiness and playful lyrics from Ryan Murphy and James Madden moved up a gear to embrace witty storytelling to accompany their signature boy next door charm on second album Big Box of Chocolates; the ode to early 6 Music champion Lauren Laverne is a treat. With Edwyn Collins on production duties this time, the record was made possible by a grant from the Momentum Music Fund, delivered by PRS for Music Foundation. – Cath Bore
Hot Club de Paris
Some may say Hot Club had already peaked by the time Getintothis launched in 2007. Their debut Drop It ‘Til It Pops on Moshi Moshi landed in October the previous year and they’d been tearing up town with ferociously clever math-pop and lyrical verve for some time before that. Yet it’d be an oversight not to include them as their influence endures to this day – be it stylistically or in attitude – their irreverent approach was as infectious as their melodies and with classic live shows at Liverpool Music Week and Sound City under their belts, Hot Club will forever be in our hearts.
While Alasdair and Matthew Smith have retreated from the live arena, Paul Rafferty can be seen moonlighting with the likes of Maximo Park or with his killer offshoot garage band, Bad Meds – catch ’em when you can. – Peter Guy
The wholesomely humble ensemble have had quite the journey. Immix themselves formed in 2014, as a focal point, to encourage collaboration between contrasting artists, rather than as a band per se.
Immix Ensemble are quite well antiquated to collaboration, having paired up with artists such as Jane Weaver, Sam Wiehl, James Canty and perhaps most notably, Ex-Easter Island Head.
It seems that Liverpool has helped shape Immix and its direction. Admittedly, the dream for the ensemble was to shine bright in London – Liverpool meant only as a mere stepping stone towards that goal. Yet, they resisted the lure and Immix Ensemble is now an integral part of Liverpool’s musical community.
As of late, the team were shortlisted for The 2017 GIT Award, much to the delight of member Dan Thorne. We quote, “It’s incredibly flattering really. The people who have been nominated for the GIT Award this year and in past years are of a consistently high category and Immix is still relatively new to the scene.”
Relatively new as they may be, Immix Ensemble have carved their own place into that scene, far beyond your average musician and even further into the realm of outré and avant-garde music collaborations. – Ryan Craig
Jetta John-Hartley is daughter of Sense of Sound’s Jennifer John and, following her blood line, sang in choirs from an early age. She performed her first proper gig aged 17, and quickly moved on to provide backing vocals for Paloma Faith and Cee Lo Green.
‘I learned so much whilst touring with Paloma, from walking in six-inch heels to lighting. She has a theatrical background which means there’s a lot of attention to detail, which I love.’she told us in 2013, after her nomination for a GIT Award.
The title song from her 2014 EP Crescendo was produced by Pharrell, the first time he produced a British artist’s debut release.
‘We were just jamming and talking about stuff to get us inspired,’ she told The Fader, of her sessions with the Happy hit-maker.‘The thing is, you have two days with someone and it’s not much time, so it feels great when you get to that idea you both want to run with.’
Jetta has had music in US TV shows Person of Interest and Grey’s Anatomy, her cover of Ten Years After’s I’d Love To Change The World’ was used in a trailer for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Nightcrawler, and Terminator Genisys. In Aug 2017, it went gold. – Cath Bore
Jazzhands – a tad silly but always effective in entertaining. Yes, we are talking about the dance move; and the earwax melting force that started blowing roofs off Liverpool’s music venues earlier this decade.
Armed with two drummers, saxophone, bass, keys, cowbells, a certain visual assault, miscellaneous percussion and whole lot of craziness, Jazzhands started leaving a susceptible audience with the unanimous state of “what the hell just happened?” after their sets at places and festivals like Mello Mello and Sound City 2012 respectively.
It’s a simple formula – make whole lot of noise and try to do it as differently as possible. The six-piece still rocks the joint at festivals from time to time though the audience might have grown to adapt to their audio-visual assault. For nigh on a decade, Jazzhands have been coming out of nowhere and graciously giving the public something to talk about post-gig. – Amaan Khan
Jo Mary, arguably Liverpool’s most exciting and erratic live act, came to light in late 2015 after supporting for fellow Wirralian Bill Ryder-Jones. Chaotic in both performance and energy, the five piece are no strangers when it comes to getting semi-naked.
As of late, the band have been flying to new levels ever since members Sam and tambourine man Ash decided to take this music lark a bit more seriously. A fine choice.
It’s the frantic, somewhat organised chaos that draws you in to their psychedelic infused garage-rock world. One, which in turn, is rather lewd and strange.
Having recently recorded two new EPs, titled Songs To Shit To Volume 1 and Volume 2, in the short space of two months, we honestly have no idea what to expect next from the band (not just music wise), but we’re sure as hell looking forward to finding out. – Ryan Craig
Liverpool’s own synthwave extraordinaire Kalax offers more than just your run-of-the-mill 80s aesthetic wannabe. Back in early 2010 when even just the term synthwave was enough to make people say ‘what?‘, synthwave was beginning to carve its path with only a sprinkling of artists synonymous with the style.
It was then when Kalax dropped his first tracks and jumped into the mix. Many twists and turns later, the genre has now opened up into a complex mixture of techniques, sounds and just the right amount of 80s cool.
Now in the futuristic year of 2017, Kalax has released a self-titled album, complete with a retrofuturist 80s aesthetic neon album cover. The album, a revisionist music style of synthesizers and pulsing beats, becomes the epitome of all that is synthwave – full of those wonderfully timeless laser sounds effects. Pew pew. – Ryan Craig
When grime prodigy, Kasst (aka Isaac Hill) burst out of the blocks in 2012 we were bowled over. Knocked for six. A seemingly unstoppable force of primal MC-ing and the heaviest of hitting beats. Brief live showings around the city culminated in a slot at Sound City alongside some of the finest hip hop stars the city (including a ludicrously young C-Two) had known in some time. Then as quickly as it all started, it stopped. Kasst is currently AWOL. Social media pages deleted and much of the music deleted or withdrawn. Let’s hope we do hear from Hill once again, for his was a star which for a brief moment shone brighter than most. – Peter Guy
When Låpsley bagged the Getintothis One to Watch award in 2014, some thought she was an odd choice. But one thing we know how to spot is talent and Låpsley has bags of it.
Born in York but raised in Southport, Låpsley found her niche early on, winning the One to Watch award not long after leaving school. The fact that the great tunes from her Monday E.P were recorded in her bedroom garnered her immediate respect and landed her spots at Glastonbury, mass BBC coverage and a deal with XL recordings. Second E.P Understudy moved the story on with crisp production and heartfelt vocals.
Her 2016 debut album, Long Way Home marked the end of an exhilarating first chapter of a career that is destined to continue.
It is refreshing to see a talent so grounded, having such an influence on young audiences, showing that you don’t have to be Beyonce to exude sass. Her appearance shows individuality without the overt sexuality that appears to be expected from modern day female artists, while her music is popular, intelligent and thought- provoking.
We are glad we chose Låpsley, a proud moment in our ten year history. Still very much one to watch – Del Pike
Casting our minds back to the early Noughties is easier for some than others,The Laze were a band in action for a number of years prior to the formation of Getintothis.
Hailing from sleepy seaside towns West Kirby and Hoylake, the Zappa-esque collective formed from the ruins of sludge metal outfit Doom Cow and would become a massively influential fixture on Merseyside.
They’d channel their musings on Aristotelian philosophy, Nordic themes and productive use of leisure time into their expansive sound that frankly had no limits. Their notoriety led to their own club night, Valhalla at Zanzibar at which they’d kick up a furious storm of sold out gigs every month.
We captured some of the later, more sporadic Laze appearances at Getintothis, including a most fitting set at the Scandinavian Church for a Loved Ones album launch, as well as joining the madness at Liverpool Music Week in 2009 and EVOL’s Christmas Extravaganza in 2012.
Their album, Spacetime Fabric Conditioner arrived back in 2009 and was followed up in 2012 by the original soundtrack to the 1925 film The Phantom of the Opera which included two sold-out tours performing live to the film in cinemas across the UK (including two sold out nights in Liverpool’s FACT. Subsequently, we’ve yet to acquire any more sonic belters from the lads – they could well be staring longingly out to sea, drenching their consciousness in the wonders of another sax-charged continuum. Or you know, they could just be sitting off for a bit. – Matthew Wood
If there’s one artist fighting in the trenches for Merseyside electronic music, week after week and particularly month after month it’s Neil Grant, better known around the place as Lo Five. It’s his monthly clubnight Emotion Wave that supports and promotes local artists, dragging those elusive recluses out from their bedroom studios and plonking them behind a laptop on stage.
Now in an amazing second year and going from strength to strength, the Emotion Wave curator shows no sign of calling time on his influential gig nights, at least for the time being, in order to take up other pursuits. Already the nights leave a legacy of importing great electronica to Liverpool; the tenth instalment saw DJ Food hitting Merseyside. Taking off his promoter hat and hunching over a mixer where he belongs, Lo Five has released albums like 2017’s When It’s Time To Let Go on the unimpeachable Patterned Air Recordings. – David Hall
LIVES/ Paris Youth Foundation
If melodies and hooks were currency, then its safe to say Paris Youth Foundation would be millionaires by now, such is their prowess at being able to create infectious songs at will.
Having first come to our attention seemingly out of nowhere as LIVES, their new wave tinged indie cuts soon caught the attention of others, with the group proving a highlight of the Baltic stage during a sun-kissed Sound City in 2015.
Management and development agencies followed, and following a brief hiatus, the group were reinvented and rejuvenated as Paris Youth Foundation. Further developing their sonic pallet to include tinges of lo-fi rock and roll and emotive guitar pop, they’ve enjoyed praise from the likes of BBC Introducing, while their set at LIMF this summer proved one of our highlights from the whole event as they continue to blossom. – Craig MacDonald
Liverpool by way of London and Barcelona, we’ve come to adopt the globe-trotting Mad Brains aka (Cameron Toman) as one of our own.
With ZADES, not only did he release one of the finest debut hip hop records of the year, but one of the finest albums from this region we had heard full stop. His debut rightly won Mad Brains a nomination for the GIT Award 2014, as his energised rhymes continued to make waves both here and over in Europe.
Swiftly gaining praise and collaborating with his contemporaries he teamed up with, played or remixed the likes of KRS-One, MF-Doom and Mr Scruff. His live presence only adds to the vast arsenal of tools that he possesses. Having released his jazz-tinged Breakfast At Sunset EP in 2016, here’s hoping a new year means new delights from this incredible artist. – Craig MacDonald
Married To The Sea
Tracing their roots all the way back to pre-Getintothis days of 2006 (we wonder how you coped), Married To The Sea have flourished in the time that we’ve been following them. They’ve grown up from folky beginnings, through college rock years – haven’t we all been there – to the canny, widescreen pop sound we know today.
Now with two albums under their collective belts, Married to the Sea and Hello Digger, plus multiple EPs and singles like last year’s bloopy, addictive cut Cold War Love, the band are shifting their “rowdy indie pop” to the masses. – David Hall
George Maund / Big Effigy / Mother Earth
In many respects, George Maund should be more of an overground figure in Liverpool’s contemporary pop music story. But he chooses not to. A virtuoso guitarist, musicologist and now promoter with his Cartier 4 Everyone dance music collective, Maund has played with the likes of Indica Ritual, Ex-Easter Island Head (for which the band were GIT Award nominated in 2012), a.P.A.t.T., Balloons and the quite brilliant Mother Earth; a regular on the live circuit in 2012-2013.
We tipped him way back in 2012 as One To Watch New Breed list with his Big Effigy pseudonym, since then he’s hovered and circled the Kazimier team in various guises – let’s hope there’s more new music from his own stable in the future, for Liverpool is much richer with his sonic force thrust to the fore. – Peter Guy
What can you really say about Dave McCabe? We mean, the guy gets a free pass for penning Valerie. Even though that’s the tune that springs to mind when you intone his name, McCabe has kept his ear to the ground and his nose to the grindstone in recent years. Although no longer bothering the charts, The Zutons still experience a periodic and welcome reformation.
But his heavily psychedelic, groovy Ramifications project are a thrumming, heady proposition where his ear for a tune meet an underground mentality. Sure, his antics around town may sometimes overshadow his musical output to the casual observer, but anyone paying closer attention can tell you that his work is as strong as ever. With new outfit Silent K selling out their first gig (for a homelessness charity) we’re confident there’s even more Dave pop diamonds to be mined. We present notorious local raconteur and sometime musician Dave McCabe. May he never change. – David Hall
Hip Hop lyric slinger and producer Merki is somewhat of a seasoned veteran when it comes to the Liverpool rap scene. With his vast palette of rhymes, beats and infectious melodies, it was destined Merki was to become a grand player within Merseyside and beyond.
Merki is also a founder of the Lab Music Foundation, which has been providing services to meet some of the needs of underprivileged local acts in Liverpool in the form of music workshops, performance training, audio/video recording and showcase events. It’s this sense of well-being that elevates Merki up a level. A love for the community and those in need of support.
In 2012 Merki was chosen by Bafta Award winning actor Adam Deacon as one of the performers at the ‘Somewhere To’ showcase at the Olympic Park Bandstand, soon the name Merki Waters was to become household.
Merki‘s latest venture, post Africa Oyé, is an exciting blend of popular Urban Music and UK Hip Hop and strong songs fused with African Rhythms and influences. Accompanying Merki Waters and band will be some of the finest African, UK- based musicians, guitarist and African flautist Kofi Dako, drummer/percussionist Kofi Adu and bassist/keyboardist Emmanuel Afram. All supported and funded by the MOBO Trust, to help musicians. – Ryan Craig
Formed in 2011, the combined talents of Akia Jones, Kaine Ofoeme, Delliele Ankrah, Ben Sharples, and Michael Welch have made MiC LOWRY the UK’s finest vocal harmony group.
Recipients of a MOBO Unsung award and BET Viewer’s Choice Award for Best New International Act, MiC LOWRY supported R&B legends Boys II Men early on.
Mentored by Esco Williams, it was 2016 that next changed the group’s fortunes. We nominated them for a GIT Award, and the single Oh Lord, featuring the Phil Collins sample from In The Air Tonight, pricked up ears all over the UK and the world. Justin Bieber gained himself huge brownie points by inviting MiC LOWRY to join him on his Purpose tour, 37 European dates in 22 cities including six sell out shows at O2 Arena in London.
2017 brought a more mature grown up MiC LOWRY in the form of the Mood EP, clocking up a mighty 2 million stream so far. In March, MiC LOWRY headline at Shepherds Bush Empire, but evidence in the five men’s popularity and appeal was showed at 81 Renshaw in Liverpool a few weeks ago, when fans from Reading, Cambridgeshire, and Brussels made the trip especially to see them sing just four songs in an intimate setting. – Cath Bore
Mind Mountain / Beast
Mind Mountain seem as old as the hills these days. They’ve been around through the Mello Mello days of the Merseyside scene, grown up with the Kazimier, and come with us in the post-Kaz era. Making the metamorphosis from Beast long ago, Mind Mountain seem to have destroyed all records of their previous incarnation. The heavy, spacey three piece centre around cosmic jams a la King Crimson, all bludgeoning riffs and spur-of-the-moment tempo alterations.
The imposing technicality of their music meant Mind Mountain are equally revered by a more cerebral audience as well as a stoner, riff-loving live crowd, meaning they were readily booked across Merseyside. That was all until perhaps about a year or so ago, when Joe Hirons, Marc Glaysher and David Smyth dropped off the radar. Are they working on new material? Well Marc‘s in Sheer Attack these days, but in the meantime we’ll be primed and readied for when they ping back on the scene once more. – David Hall
Few localities – not just in Liverpool but anywhere – manage to develop an identity as strong as the one Toxteth carries and a huge part of that identity reflects in the boldness of Miss Stylie aka Jade Jackson.
The story goes that this young MC carried the flag of being a very versatile house, garage and grime artist when the general music scene was even further removed from now as being representative of black artists. Additionally- and to her credit- she MC’d from an age when she was still too young for entry as a punter into various clubs.
We picked her riding the success of an early David Kahne (Lana Del Rey/Strokes) produced and Pledge Music released Salad, and decided to nominate her for GIT Award 2012 which further catapulted her to national attention. Since then Jade ‘Miss Stylie’ Jackson has conquered everything from Sound City to Glastonbury with her pop flavoured urban music and continues, rather sparingly, to drop hot mixes from time to time. – Amaan Khan
When it comes to full on-balls out- in your face – Psych Rock, Mugstar are your default.
At the 2016 GIT Awards this writer stood on the front row looking the band in the eye for the first time and it was the equivalent to having an aural blow dry, a musical bout of abyss staring.
Working over their long career with legends such as Can’s Damo Suzuki and Mudhoney place them very much in the position of a band’s band, in fact they were introduced to us by Clinic’s Brian Campbell. Mugstar are high on Clinic’s playlist too.
With multiple releases during the decade, we have been on their trail including a string of singles, the albums, …Sun, Broken…, Lime, Axis, Centralia, Start from Zero and Magnetic Seasons, and the Soundtrack album, AD MARGINEM. Never accuse Mugstar of lounging around.
It is clear when listening to bands like the incredible force that are Sex Swing, that Mugstar are becoming as influential as the bands they love, and their collaboration with associate noise-heads including Damo Suzuki at 2018’s Wrong Festival should prove to be a brain-melting meeting of minds.
In this difficult time in the music scene, Mugstar remain niche, had this been 40 plus years ago they would have been a dangerous rival to the likes of Hawkwind or Deep Purple, and this may be the best way to view them. Approach with joyous caution. – Del Pike
A ubiquitous talent on Merseyside since her arrival from the Widnes, her creative drive and energy was evident from the start and Natalie McCool has cemented herself a place among Liverpool’s finest, and she’s not about to stop anytime soon.
The Cavern saw witness to one of McCool’s earlier shows back in 2008. At the tender age of 20, herself and her band exuded professionalism beyond their years and early glimmers of Dido and KT Tunstall shone through in her melodic swells.
A handful of EP’s preceded her full length self-titled debut in 2013 alongside extensive touring around the UK including an electronically-charged set on the North Stage at Sound City 2015. Fans are drawn to her intimate shows, brimming with swathes of heartfelt lyrical prowess and well-polished execution.
With things snowballing nicely for McCool she whetted our appetite for more with the release of Oh Danger and Cardiac Arrest giving us a flavour of the LIPA graduate’s next project.
The Great Unknown arrived in the autumn of 2016, ‘a hybrid of chunk riffs and throbbing 90’s synth, over love-sick lyricism’ which would carve yet another facet onto her marvelous career thus far. – Matthew Wood
The Wallasey-based trio of singer-guitarist Lia Metcalfe (daughter of former Sound Of Guns singer Andrew), bass player George Favager and drummer Zak McDonnell (son of The Sandband‘s David) sent hearts racing at the Skeleton Coast festival in the summer of 2016.
The Mysterines performed in the small former school room upstairs, ‘melding swaggering rock & roll, propulsive Bleach-era Nirvana rhythmic clout and in Metcalfe a guttural nonchalant vocal bite which flits between deadened Courtney Barnett drall and fearsome Patti Smith howl – they’re at once intense and yet alluringly warm.’
The band stepped in last minute as opener for The Coral at The Olympia last Christmas, in the last twelve months they also supported The Orielles, The Big Moon, Vryll Society, Louis Berry and more, building a reputation as a ferocious proposition.
The Mysterines have little online presence, you have to dig deep and search pretty damn hard to find anything, and only released a tiny number of CDs, quickly snapped up. They’re still a mystery, in fact. – Cath Bore
One of the most intriguing and enigmatic figures on the bustling Liverpool hip hop scene, MC Nelson‘s fluid lyricism first came to our attention back in 2014 as tracks like January and the exceptional Rhapsody teased us with glimpses of the potential he possessed.
Jazz-hop, industrial flows created with effortless swagger form the basis for his wave like vocal dexterity. His blistering debut live performance at the GIT Award 2016 launch night won him an swathe of fans that have since seen him tour with titans Ghostface Killah and Loyle Carner, while this year his set formed a Scouse highlight at Liverpool Music Week as he stormed 24 Kitchen Street.
With an output as mysterious as his persona, who knows what to expect next from one of the most exciting prospects in our region’s music scene. – Craig MacDonald
The Night Café
In 2016, we named The Night Café – Sean Martin, Josh Higgins, Arran O’Connell and Carl Dillon – as one of the top bands to check out at that year’s Sound City festival.
That’s because The Night Café are more than your typical four Liverpool lads with guitars. Friends since school, the still teenagers produce joyous and truly infectious quality indie-pop. Truth be told, we were so enamoured by them, we were raving about their first outfit CANVAS.
2016 single Together, ‘with its chiming, cascading guitars, and twangier, near-funky Time are likely to have their hooky choruses taken to fans’ hearts alongside current audience favourites Addicted and Growing Up’, we said.
New release Turn looks to push them to the next level, continuing their signature jangly guitar pop but with reflective undertones.
The Night Café are fresh from a tour supporting Blaenavon and kick off the new year with their biggest UK headline tour to date in late January and into February. A new EP is due early in 2018. – Cath Bore
Ninetails concocted deliciously melodic, undulating math/dream pop which earned them a lot of praise and promised a great deal of potential.
Their music was introspective, liquid, and atmospheric. We initially encountered them supporting Three Trapped Tigers back in November 2011 and fell in love with their first single, Rawdon Fever, which arrived four months later. The band formed at LIPA, comprising of Ed Black on guitar and vocals, Jordan Balabar on guitar and vocals, Philip Morris on bass, and Jacob King on drums. The band played lots of gigs throughout the city, becoming tighter and honing their songwriting skills. Their musical progression was rapid, beginning as a more conventional math rock band but gradually experimenting with songwriting structures and becoming steadily more focused on vocal harmonies.
More releases followed, including; Slept And Did Not Sleep, and Radiant Hex. By 2014, Ed Black had left the band, leaving them as three-piece; they ploughed on, though, releasing Quiet Confidence in 2014 (the track even featured a trumpet solo). Everything seemed to be going extremely well for the band but ever since, there has been silence.
More’s the pity since Ninetails were nominated for a GIT Award in both 2012 and 2014. They were very much loved on these pages. – Andy Holland
For those unsure, OHMNS is pronounced OH MENS, the collective term for divine messages from the gods, of course.
They’ve proved themselves a formidable force amid the scuzzy grunge psych scene that has taken Liverpool by storm in recent years. Their deep, gurgling tracks delve heavily into the darker depths of metal, conjuring monstrous tracks from their intimidating cauldron.
They were duly nominated for the GIT Award 2017 as the Liverpool music scene pondered their raucous arrival, having also secured mammoth gigs alongside the likes of Hookworms, Fucked Up and The Fall, seeing them flaunt their unstoppable march on the big occasions.
It was, however, their smaller shows which would secure the rampage. Alongside Strange Collective, Bad Meds and Mincemeat, Michael Quinlan and co. contributed heavily towards a potent and ever-growing kraut-psych scene. – Matthew Wood
Born in Derry, Or:la, aka Orlagh Dooley, has spent the last five years cultivating a one-woman dance community. Having studied at John Moores University, Or:la went on to found club night Get Down with fellow DJ Tom Davies.
In 2015, she set up Meine Nacht, a multi-faceted label, production company and happening which hosted its own secret parties across Liverpool and the north west. With her DJ sets becoming the stuff of underground legend, Or:la has become a staple at the likes of the Warehouse Project and Liverpool nights Less Effect, The Wonder Pot and Zutekh in Manchester while her mixes premiered across dance titles Dummy and Crack Magazine. In 2016, she released her debut EP UK Lonely via Hotflush while the adopted Scouser’s all night long sets at 24 Kitchen Street are the cherry on top of her incredible rise. – Peter Guy
There’s few bands that define our mid-period of superlative-ridden hype than Outfit. And justifiably so.
Emerging from a series of bands (Balloons, the mighty Indica Ritual, Gorton Versus Berger, we could go on), David Berger (drums), Chris Hutchinson, (bass), Thomas Gorton (keys, vocals) and brothers Andrew (vocals, guitar, keys) and Nick Hunt (guitar) formed part of the nucleus of Liverpool’s most exciting new wave of musical innovators in more than a decade. Straddling the arse-end of the Korova days and the new dawn of The Kazimier, Outfit‘s innovative art-pop saw them thrust into the spotlight from their debut supporting Les Savy Fav in 2011.
What followed was a series of hype festival performances, a colossal seven minute single in Two Islands, front covers and ‘ones to watch’ lists before culminating in one of Liverpool music’s finest debut albums, Performance. Critical acclaim, big gigs alongside the likes of Foals, two GIT Award nominations and an ardent fan base followed yet despite a fine follow up with their second album Slowness the band splintered to find new homes around the UK and overseas.
While there’s been no talk of hiatuses or even break-ups, a variety of solo projects have ensued – most notably with Andrew pursuing his ambient solo work as Dialect and Tom joining forces with Liverpool producer James Rand in God Colony. – Peter Guy
OVVLS are a band apart. Their towering ballads blend atmospheric keyboards, deep, deep drums and incredible, haunting vocals. Sounding more like a band on their 3rd or 4th successful album, OVVLS are nothing short of astonishing.
An intro feature in these pages ‘the experimentalism in their music has given us a band that flirt with psychedelia, post-punk, and rock n roll sounds without ever pledging allegiance to one.’ OVVLS are more focussed than that description may indicate. They are a band with a fully formed sense of self, they know the arena they wish to operate in and the sound they want to create.
Their Abandoned Ship single was an atmospheric tour de force, summarizing everything that is impressive about them.
How they have been overlooked so far is unexplainable and surely something that 2018 will put right as soon as possible. Theirs is a sound best suited to the larger venues and higher slots on festival bills the world over. They also create a sound that seems somehow both sparse and epic, a huge but subtle wash of sound that often belies the fact that OVVLS are a two piece.
If 2018 shows any sense it will be OVVLS time. See them now so you can brag to your grandchildren about it later – Banjo
Having only emerged late 2016, epic spacerock quartet Pale Rider have already secured a spot in our list of best new bands of 2017 and they come fully equipped to battle armed with a rock and roll war chest of explosive doses of riotous noise. So much so, we named them the best new band from Liverpool.
Their handful of live shows (aside the likes of Lucid Dream) married to debut single I Run On Rain reveal deep, swathes of guitar, peppered with gut-churning percussive thuds and well-spun poetry. With BBC Introducing, Louder Than War and Amazing Radio already championing them, it promises to be an intriguing next few months for the band. Already ones to catch live – pen January 12 for our Deep Cuts birthday gig as your next opportunity. – Matthew Wood
Some bands you stumble across by accident, some you may search out and some you first hear about due to the rave reviews from friends. Sometimes many friends. Pink Kink are such a band, first reaching these ears in a rush of praise bordering on hyperbole after a recent Liverpool gig.
Theirs is a highly infectious sound that finds it easy to lodge in the mind long after listening. Their main charm is the highly enthusiastic vocals that approach a shouty scream but never cross the line into tunelessness. The enthusiasm they generate is highly catching and makes their songs stand out and grab your attention.
Pink Kink caught our attention quite dramatically at their debut gig, in the Kazmier back in 2015, where we described them as ‘Fur coats a-plenty and screaming sexiness from all corners that left every man in the audience half aroused and half afraid.’ In Getintothis‘ intro feature, Pink Kink stated that ‘Quite frankly, they are four people you definitely want to show up at your party’
Single Bubblebutt is a short, snappy affair clocking in at 1 minute 49 seconds. It sounds like the end result of a meeting between The B52s, post-punk band Kleenex and Scooby Doo. And if that doesn’t intrigue you we don’t think that anything will.
However, alongside the catchiness of their songs lies a message. Pink Kink describe Bubblebutt by saying ‘We need to stop letting cat callers get away with their words and actions. We need to fight them back if we want this problem to stop happening, reclaim our streets, make them safe for ourselves and everyone else that’s vulnerable in the patriarchal system that exists within this society we live in.’ Amen to that.
Pink Kink will amaze you in 2018. Let their songs infect you, you won’t regret it – Banjo
Delivering menacing psych-rock around tales of the ugliest of truths, Psycho Comedy draw heavily on the New York City 70’s rock scene and cinema, thriving on the abrasive, frightfully cool era.
Their music is as their name suggests, tinged with comical value; while they’re serious about their music, they tackle the toils of the urban sprawl by laughing maniacally at them, finding fun in the madness.
They’re a five-piece with a tremendous work ethic and they earned the managerial presence of Deltasonic early on as well as charismatic performances with Madrid’s finest chaos conjurers, The Parrots and frequent appearances with their psych counterparts Strange Collective.
Fuzzed-out track I’m Numb arrived back in 2015, a 60’s garage number, and later they would bag the brain power of Gil Norton (Pixies & Foo Fighters) for their piping-hot release, One, on Playing With Sound.
For those of you yet to witness their gritty brand of rock & roll, we’ve no doubt 2018 will have many manic moments in store for this fine act. – Matthew Wood
Formed in 2007, we described Puzzle as ‘perfect seasonal pop for an itchy, sunburnt evening’. Or any evening, come to that.
Puzzle, singer Lucy Johnson and her brother David on guitar as the mainstay of the band. All steady drum beats and controlled indie rock guitar riffs, they released an EP in 2012, a favourite being Cut Short, a nostalgic slice of bitter-sweet pop-punk.
After a few months break at the end of 2016, Puzzle made a return with a run of gigs around Liverpool this September, playing Sound Food and Drink, Maguires and The Smithdown Road Festival All-Dayer. Who knows what 2018 will have in store for Puzzle. We can’t wait to find out. – Cath Bore
Queen Maud stand out in a scene where guitar bands are the norm and catchy choruses are prized possessions. Eschewing such niceties, Queen Maud have mapped out an area for themselves midway between electronica and experimental, where Autechre meet Virgin Prunes and get stoned whilst listening to Bowie’s Low.
And for that they have our admiration, for theirs is not the road most travelled. One gets the impression that Queen Maud make the music they make because nobody else is doing it. There is a great deal of thought in the planning of their music.
Getintothis first championed the duo in our 2014 Introducing feature, declaring them the ‘freshest bunch‘ of acts on offer that year. We were endeared by them so much we hosted them on Getintothis‘ website relaunch event with Bill Ryder Jones at the Kazmier Garden. Queen Maud were a revelation.
Echoes of Kraftwerk and Cabaret Voltaire and DAF suggest that Queen Maud employ an 80s vision of futurism filtered through a modern lens. Awkward, angular and defiantly off-kilter, the mere fact that they exist improves Liverpool’s music scene immeasurably – Banjo
RongRongo are a band who need to be experienced live to be believed. The live experience is the thing here with Mick Chrysalid as enigmatic a frontman as you can shake a stick at, or in this case, a shoe.
The footwear waving frontman may be short in stature but his presence is towering. Known for joining the crowd to admire the rest of the band, his deranged onstage moves and a charisma that shines loud are a gift … and then there’s the music. Their presence has grown gradually over the last couple of years, moving from support slots and regular festival appearances to the sought after act they have become.
Key appearances at Buyers Club, EBGBs, The 2016 GIT Awards and a deafening sonic attack at Strange Collective’s recent All- Dayer at The Invisible Wind Factory have shown an increasingly more intense approach to their art.
Their new single Black Rain captures the sound of RongoRongo so much more than on their early release Faster Rots, and already a follow up single Euclid is set up for January. They’ve come a long way in a short time from their cassette-only debut, Shiver in 2015.
Their debut album is out in 2018 and we can only imagine what a great “albums band” they will become.
On a good night, the Rongos make a sound that is sent from above (or below?). Rhythmic, mesmeric, pounding loops and whirls, glued together by a machine of a band and a vocalist who cares. RongoRongo should be bigger than they are, and it’s only a matter of time. Any band who dedicates a song to episode 8 of Twin Peaks : The Return demands to be seen. There’s no party like a Rongo party – Del Pike
Where’d you start with Bill? Well, we could discuss his adventurous post-Coral instrumental debut If, his glorious follow up records A Bad Wind Blows in My Heart and West Kirby County Primary. You could discuss conquering his mental health problems and touring extensively with unanimous acclaim.
We could discuss his ambitious yet understated soundtrack work and innovative partnerships with arts exhibitions or vast orchestral pieces in various churches and intriguing spaces. We could discuss his multitude of fantastic musical partnerships with the likes of Saint Saviour, Alex Turner, Milburn, The Wytches and so many more. We could discuss his hat-trick of GIT Award nominations and victory in 2016. We could even ponder whether there’s a musician who gets more free Adidas clobber. But all that’s for another time.
What’s been more than evident regarding Bill Ryder-Jones‘ standing within the ten years these pages have been in existence, is his ever present ability to nurture musicians and champion causes close to his heart. Hooton Tennis Club, Minnetonka and his closest allies By The Sea are just the tip of Bill’s iceberg when it comes to helping musicians blossom. While his repeated reflections and official Patronage for mental health campaigns bears repeat. There’s so much more to Bill, however, what’s next (a fourth album and more) is what’s even more exciting. – Peter Guy
Seal Cub Clubbing Club / Loved Ones
Sit down little ones, for we have a tale to tell you. Once upon a time on the Wirral – 2003 to be precise – were a band called Seal Cub Clubbing Club. This is still one of the finest band names in history. They were a heady post punk concoction of The Fall, mixed with the playful whimsy of Super Furry Animals, all glazed over with a fuggy coat of electronica.
All was good in the kingdom, and the band received national acclaim with singles like World of Fashion and Number Three In A Serious. They released two albums before splitting, and then reuniting as Loved Ones in the past few years and going on to scoop the inaugural 2012 GIT Award. Not bad for such a chilly and ethereal sound! – David Hall
She Drew The Gun
If you’re looking at modern day Merseyside success stories, then look no further then the current GIT Award winners, She Drew The Gun.
These pages have long since championed the incredible songwriting of Louisa Roach, with our first encounter being selecting She Drew The Gun from over 100 artists vying to play The Grand National of all things. Since then, it is safe to say that their rise has been nothing short of remarkable.
Swiftly signed to the Skeleton Key rosta, She Drew The Gun grew legs and numbers to consist of Sian Monaghan (drums), Jack Turner (guitar), Jenni Kickhefer (keyboards) and Louisa (vocals, guitar) as their evocative dream psych pop continued to flourish into something truly beautiful.
Few could have imagined that in such a short space of time, they would be able to create arguably one of the best tracks to have come from our land, let alone our region, in the timeless Poem. Clearly some of those paying attention were the good folk at Glastonbury, who selected the group as winners of their Emerging Talent contest, following in the likes of Laura Marling and Stornoway.
A whirlwind of festival dates across the Uk, Europe and United States and the release of their exceptional debut album saw She Drew The Gun gain both national and international acclaim, before culminating in being crowned GIT Award winners.
There are few groups who are able to make you stop in your tracks, listen and resonate with every word sung and every note played, but She Drew The Gun are such a group and will prove to be one of the finest acts this region will produce, if they aren’t already. – Craig MacDonald
Sheer Attack / Salem Rages
Blooming from the bitter seed and bloodied soil that horror-themed hardcore outfit Salem Rages left behind them when their corpse melted back into the earth, Sheer Attack clambered up through the mildewed loam to stagger onto the scene back in late 2015.
Nobody seemed to know quite what to make of Salem Rages, and in truth they were a cauldron of influences and flung-around sounds. Sure, there was the horror theme. Then there were the Sabbath riffs. The Ramones pace. And the Pixies dissonance. Nobody quite seemed to know what to make of them, including the band themselves. So when they were distilled into Sheer Attack, a bluesy riff machine conjuring “the bastard love-child of Motörhead and Poison Idea“ with a ferocious live assault, even though they’re not exactly family-friendly, they became somehow more palatable. Lemmy would approve. – David Hall
Starting out as a member of alt rock outfit SeaWitches back in the Korova days of the Liverpool live scene, Esa Shields emerged as an artist in his own right in 2014. This was the year that saw the release and slow-burning success of Ovum Caper, Shields‘ debut recorded back in 2008. Initially finding an imprint on vinyl-only Gagarin Records, the off-kilter melodies and Joni-esque open tunings proved too good to resist for this spaceboy.
Word of mouth won over for Ovum Caper, and ended up bagging Shields a 2015 GIT Award nomination slot. He’s confessed a separation from the local scene, but we’ll gladly have him back for whatever he has planned next; Shields still gigs in the city, so keep your eyes glued to the listings. – David Hall
Alt-folk Liverpool songwriter Christopher McIntosh, aka Silent Sleep emerged from the ashes of promising Scouse outfit 28 Costumes and began in 2010 (then in Berlin), writing and recording heartfelt tracks by himself. Opportunities would arise for McIntosh to develop his on-stage presence and bring friends and fellow musicians to help flesh out his work.
A regular on the Merseyside festival circuit, plus a couple of EPs, The Scissor Disaster Parts I & II feature You Can Colour Me In and an aptly titled On The Steps Of The Bombed Out Church, a royal host of crisp, elegant folk tunes charged with piano and trumpet that sold out on Bandcamp with his handcrafted screen-printed covers – the latter becoming somewhat of a mini anthem for Liverpool’s indie-pop scene.
Silent Sleep‘s final output came in 2015, with Chris Mac becoming a regular behind the decks at indie disco club night Liquidation (with his trusty side-kick Jules Bennett) before turning attention to new rising electronic pop band, fronted by Jennifer Davies, HAARM. – Matthew Wood
Sound Of Guns
While they’re far from the hippest band on this list, Sound Of Guns are one of the finest live bands the city has produced in the last decade. Unashamedly hard rock, Andrew Metcalfe (vocals), Lee Glynn, Nathan Crowley (guitars), John Coley (bass) and Simon Finley (drums) had long earned their stripes in various Liverpool bands before forming SoG and following relentless live shows signed to Distiller and released superlative debut What Came From Fire including killer singles Architects and Alcataz. Leeds, Reading and major festivals followed plus the follow up record Angels and Enemies.
They split in 2013 leaving a legacy as one of few bands to have the entire Kazimier bouncing back to front while their lead singer jumped off the balcony – and the only Liverpool band to have their track played as astronaut Tim Peake orbited over Antarctica. – Peter Guy
Rebecca Hawley, Emily Lansley and Lucy Mercer, greet 2018 in high spirits, with a third Stealing Sheep album scheduled for release.
2012’s debut long player Into the Diamond Sun and follow-up Not Real three years later, showed a noticeable shift for the Sheep, the first more folky and acoustic, the second a confident embracing of electronic and experimental instrumentation. Both albums led to GIT Award nominations. Of course they did, how could they not?
In 2016, the trio were named one of Esquire Magazine’s twelve biggest winners of the SXSW festival, alongside Barack Obama and Robert Plant. Not bad work.
Stealing Sheep have also gained acclaim for working on film scores. At London Short Film Festival’s CATS&CATS&CATS night they performed a live score to classic short films by Alexander Hammid & Maya Deren (Private Life of a Cat, 1949) and Stan Brakhage (Cat’s Cradle,1959). In addition they featured in the In Dreams: David Lynch Revisited show.
Last summer the band supported Whyte Horses, also in Manchester, then at the Barbican in London. They had a fortnight long residency at Islington Mill in Salford, culminating in the multi-media show Luma Disco at Manchester International Festival, complete with Busby Berkley dance formations.
Stealing Sheep shows are notorious for trademark visuals and celebrations of bold colour, the Legs dance performance choreographed alongside the Mythopoeia shows at the Kazimier a thing of Liverpool legend and in August, the women played an intimate and very special show at Buyers Club, a taster of what we might expect from the new record.
‘These new songs by Stealing Sheep-all of them and without exception- showed a band moving ever forward. The progression is startling,’ we said, and spoke of ‘the deep European disco influences that run like a thread of quartz through an ancient stone hewn from a mountain or the way that you can close your eyes and imagine perfect white clouds scudding across the bluest sky ever.’ – Cath Bore
Sub Blue / Tyler Mensah
RnB and soul artist Tyler Mensah showed so much promise as a teenager he was nominated for the GIT Award in 2013. He brought out his first single at age 15 via iTunes, Let It Rain charting at number 32 in the RnB charts.
He then took the brave but correct decision to retreat out of the limelight and spend time in the studio, rehearsing, working on song writing and his musicianship, perfecting his craft. He re-emerged as Sub Blue (suburban blue) last year, playing support slots with Xam Volo, and at LIMF.
The hotly anticipated debut EP Suburban View is the result of the 20 year old’s time away. Tracks we’ve heard so far including Teen No More, shows a stronger vocal confidence and we can’t wait to see what he reveals next. – Cath Bore
In 2016 the eyes of Radio 1Xtra, BBC Introducing and Liverpool’s International Music Festival had their eyes firmly on hip-hop producer, Suedebrown.
His work incorporates original and remixed tracks loaded with eclectic electronic samples, slick trap beats and numbers by Steve Aoki and Iggy Azealia; his earlier work sourced mellower vibes, while his later tracks have a distinct garage feel.
Owing to his success, Suedebrown displays an ability and awareness to produce tracks that appeal to the masses, yet delve deep into hip hop’s consciousness.
His sets at Liverpool Music Week, LIMF and Arts Club, the latter with one of grime’s finest game-changers, Kano, earned him a GIT Award Nomination in 2017 and a mammoth opportunity to work with Steve Levine.
The bio of his Soundcloud currently reads ‘HIATUS’, meaning he may be out of the game, but it’ll no doubt be temporary, or so we hope. – Matthew Wood
At the recent Jesus and Mary Chain gig at the O2 Academy, Sugarmen seemed an unlikely support. The reception they received screamed otherwise. Like many bands in Liverpool, Sugarmen have become loved rather than liked and their future was looking bright.
How devastated their fans were then (Getintothis included) when The Sugarmen announced this month that they were to split. Quite a shock considering their growing success and blossoming popularity.
Announcing their split supporting The White Room at The Magnet earlier this month, their audience noted something lacking in the performance and their doubts were confirmed when Chay Heney announced “We are Sugarmen and that was our last ever gig“.
Their debut album, Local Freaks however, showed no signs at all of a rift in the ranks and was received with a much positivity on its release in October this year. Single Push Button Age is a power burst of indie psychedelia that could kick start even the worst of parties.
They were the very essence of scouse rock, and this was no bad thing. Very much in the rock vein with influences remaining very much traditional (Bowie / Weller / Bolan), and boasting support slots with Weller and The Who bringing them recognition, not least from The Clash’s Mick Jones who stepped in to offer production duties.
In a remarkably short time Sugarmen went from wannabe newbies, through go-to support to potential monster headliners.
Sugarman were young, but even the fact they took their name from a Rodriguez track showed they were mature beyond their years. Popular as a support band because they knew exactly how to get the party started, 2018 should have been the year when Sugarmen owned centre stage in their own right. These self-proclaimed “Local Freaks” will be much missed and have left us with the eternal question, What if… – Del Pike
The Wirral Peninsula is home to some of the most beautiful sights and sounds our region has to offer, but no more so then The Sundowners.
We were first put under their 70’s soaked spells at the much lauded Urchin Sessions when their lyrical dexterity and soaring guitars told us they were something to keep an eye on. It wasn’t long before everyone else caught on, as the charming harmonies of Fiona Skelly and Niamh Rowe, twining together with Alfie Skelly’s searing solo and the west coast rhythms of Tim Cunningham‘s bass and Jim Sharock‘s drums soon became the must see ticket in town.
Their ability to craft beautiful songs that resonate as shown on their eponymous debut album, swiftly saw them win plaudits from critics and peers alike as they became regulars on BBC 6 Music, played stand out sets at Glastonbury, touring with Kasabian and picking up a GIT Award nomination on the way.
Straddling the sunshine grooves of 60’s west coast pysch, their sophomore album Cut The Master has seen their sound evolve into a truly captivating force, one that shines brightly in its own right. – Craig MacDonald
Sun Drums / Bagheera
Another of the nearly-men success stories of the last decade, Sun Drums were on Rough Trade‘s list of potential signees before they split in 2013. One of the region’s most evocative and experimental ‘rock’ bands, the trio melded deep electronica with the more traditional rock & roll components into something languid, gentle and at times explosive walls of noise.
Having started out as Bagheera, Tom Cowcher, Sam Twidale and Jacob Silkin, rode a wave of buzz in the latter days of Korova – playing with contemporary hype heads Egyptian Hip Hop and Soft Pack, but it was shows with the likes of the more experimental heads HEALTH and Mi Ami that they truly came into their own. With industry buzz gaining momentum they changed their name, and upped their glitchy noise to new levels, and as Sun Drums, released Sun Kissed Blisters, played alongside the likes of Love Inks, All We Are, Laurel Halo and various headline slots. It wasn’t to be, however, with the trio parting ways in search of new horizons (and careers). Liverpool promotion heads Deep Hedonia was duly born, with Jon Davies (a regular writer on these pages and subsequent musician himself) leading this dance-focused new project which continues to this day. – Peter Guy
“This is the first proper award I’ve ever won. Like, ever! It’s quite a big one too!” Taya told us on winning the GIT Award One To Watch in 2016.
The prize, as we predicted, was merely the beginning for the teenage RnB singer, formerly Taylor Fowlis. Now signed to Atlantic Records, and her song Got Me Wondering was produced by Radio 1 DJ Toddla T. She went down a storm at the British Summertime Festival in London’s Hyde Park alongside Nile Rodgers & Chic, Jennifer Lopez and Lionel Richie.
Taya‘s EP When UR Sober came out in September, and gained airplay on BBC Radio 1 & BBC Radio 1Xtra.
She supported Zara Larsson and Astrid S on tour, and her first headlining gig, in London, sold out.
Vevo made Taya one of Dscvr 2018 Artists to Watch.
“Eventually, I want to be big. I want to do my own big shows and do the music I want. I am so lucky with the people I have around me. I have so much freedom. The industry is a scary place – I trust everyone around me; my whole label and management,” she told us last year.
It seems Taya is about to get her wish.- Cath Bore
Tea Street Band
Where Tea Street Band excel is in the art of shameless straggling. While maintaining a not so niche psychedelic profile that appeals to the city space-heads in a post-Happy Mondays fashion, they also have the everyman appeal that has propelled them onto the international stage. They can swap these hats without apparently noticing.
The band have toured extensively across the U.S, Asia, Australia and Europe and garnered more media coverage than you might expect. Their charm probably lies in the fact they look just like four blokes you’d see down your local, chucking darts and quaffing Carling, the fact they are one of the tightest bands in the area proves otherwise.
Perhaps the strangest juxtaposition this year was seeing them take the stage following a talk with Watchmen author Alan Moore at The Florrie’s 14 hour Super-Weird Happening in the summer. Delivering far out tunes against oil lamp backdrops felt like a Floyd gig in the 60s, but the casual attire of trainees and Saturday night club togs doubled the crowd and created a musical monster.
Their self-titled debut album was given great praise from Getintothis on its release in 2014, and it featured their singles Summer Dreaming and Disco Lights. A solid gold calling card that cemented their status as latter day ravers.
The one thing that you can’t take away from the TSB is their ability to raise the roof. Tunes are infectious and delivered with such sharp as hell verve, they can create an atmosphere in an instant. One of the most thrilling band on the circuit and a GIT favourite for sure. We have been pretty much on their tail from the start and hope to stay on board for the whole damn ride – Del Pike
Tear Talk/ Eyesore & The Jinx
Whilst two fifths of the band remains, Tear Talk and Eyesore and The Jinx are two bands oceans apart in their influence and sound.
The once minimalist quintet harboured shoegaze and gloom-laden, sentimental pop for a sound once described as ‘The XX without the promise of late night sex’, while others noted their nods to melancholic kings, Joy Division and the guitar work of alt geniuses, Sonic Youth.
They’d go on to release their EP Realise on War Room Records, joining forces with Daniel O’Connell and Joe Edwards of By The Sea after numerous support slots and a Shipping Forecast headliner had earned them numerous plaudits.
Since their split, Josh Miller and Liam Bates sought to reignite their creative flair, joining drummer Eoghan Robinson who fit the bill for their next endeavour.
Naming The Fall, Nick Cave and Parquet Courts as prominent influences, their new sound still thrives on the downtrodden and gloomy, particularly the great political mess we’re enduring, while their finesse is spikey and jarring like the real world, in strong contrast to their earlier, more ethereal ventures.
They’re scoring gigs from the left, sticking the V’s up to the far-right and slowly becoming a central focus of attention on Merseyside; keep your sore eyes peeled. – Matthew Wood
Trudy and the Romance
Three piece Trudy, Oliver Taylor on guitar and vocals, Lewis Rollinson on bass and Brad Mullins on drums, expanded into Trudy and the Romance in 2016. Nominated for GIT Award that year, we were taken from the get go with their ‘mutant 1950s pop’ as they described themselves. The band grew into their new name, morphing into lovesick pre-Beatles doo-wap with the ghost of Joe Meek nodding and looking on approvingly.
This year saw newbie Alex Stephens on keys expand the set up into a four piece. This autumn was a busy one, an extensive UK tour taking in support slots with Happyness and The Fall, and the five track Junkyard Jazz EP, released in November.
‘Their wondrous blend of 50’s doo wop and raunchy, angular pop is chocked full of even more melody and slick transitions, seeing the band at their most impressive. Meaty, and suitably romantic riffs combine with the quivering vocal of Oliver Taylor, largely reminiscent of Orlando Weeks of former Maccabees fame, and the rich ensemble of backing voices’ we said in September, and made Is There A Place We Can Go our single of the week.
Trudy and the Romance are now the delighted and very happy recipients of a grant from the PRS Momentum Fund, meaning an album is now on its way. – Cath Bore
TV ME, fronted by the ever evolving Thomas McConnell, have been supporting just about every band and his dog (The Dears, Cat’s Eyes, Childhood) and making festival appearances for some time now, under various guises. It’s about time for some more lead slots.
It only seems like yesterday when Tom was appearing as plain Tom Low, pushing his Telephone E.P, but he seems to have finally found his feet.
Tom’s bizarre mix of trippy 60s psychedelia and low key wig outs, performed via a tight three piece are as charming as they are intriguing. A concept album by TV ME would be a gift from heaven, as their act has tinges of Pepper, Pet Sounds and Jellyfish’s Spilt Milk running wild throughout.
Often purposefully incoherent, sampled voices and off-key patterns run through songs as Tom holds a melody with his McCartney Hofner bass. An unashamed McCartney fan, Tom straddles a balance of artsy experimentalism and good honest songs, just like the man himself.
Very much on his own Magical Mystery Tour, the excitement is more about the journey than the destination. Check out the new release, Peppercorn Boy for evidence – Del Pike
Vasco Da Gama
Right when bands like Outfit, Emmy the Great and Stealing Sheep were just budding, and Ghostpoet was playing Liverpool Music Week closing parties, the title of Liverpool’s One to Watch rested on Vasco De Gama’s shoulders.
The math rock outfit was capturing hearts at the once dear all-dayers like FIESTA OBSCENIC and by just being a very active live act during its five year run. They played their last gig supporting Tera Melos at the Kazimier before disbanding on good terms as their individual members disappeared into other prominent major label heads like Dan Croll and Circa Waves.
However, while they were around they efficiently substantiated the popularity of left field music in Liverpool with their likeability combined proficient musicianship with fierce noisy attitude that constantly generated comparisons with Faraquet.
Whether as support acts or the headliners, Vasco De Gama matched step to step with other left field acts like a.P.A.t.T. and Barberos and managed to steal the show on multiple occasions before leaving us with sweet memories. – Amaan Khan
Making their first big strokes in 2013, this initially four and now a five-piece alt-rock/pop group carried with it the elements of a particular minuscule era contained within the decade as group’s guitarist Adam Bresnan helped establish Dale street’s Fallout Factory where the band developed most of its sound. Further on, that developed sound became one of the early offerings of Baltic Records.
After that, countless festival slots, nomination for GIT 2014 award, gorgeous records and voila! – the new local guitar group darlings have arrived serving as one of the firsts of the soon to be abundant guitar and synth layered dreamy psych-rock bands that draw from the same wells as Tame Impala and the like.
The band’s steady trajectory has taken them to festivals beyond Merseyside like Kendal Calling and the sound becoming heavier and intense with more gorgeous records. Having seen some strong sets by the band that are oft accompanied with stunning visuals, it’s easy to claim that regardless of how far they go, you can trust VEYU to daringly chase their creative dream. – Amaan Khan
‘Sometimes people just want to dance to boys that sing,‘ we said of Warrington indie pop four piece Viola Beach in February 2016.‘Lap it up, they’ve got it in spades’, we advised in October 2013 and tipped them as Ones To Watch the following January.
Yet after band members River Reeves, Kris Leonard, Jack Dakin and Tomas Lowe, plus manager Craig Tarry died in a car crash in Sweden in February 2016, there was a fear their premature demise would be the one thing the world remembered them for.
But family and supporters, determined for that not to be so, ensured the five men’s musical and social legacy. Viola Beach‘s eponymously titled album, posthumously released on July 29 2016 through Fuller Beans Records, the band’s own label, reached number one in the charts.
‘This is their legacy and we know deep in our hearts that the boys would want the world to listen to the music they poured everything into. This was only the beginning for them and these nine songs were written with every intention to be shared, heard and, most of all, enjoyed. We hope that it brings you as much happiness listening to it as we know it did to them making it,’ a statement from their families read.
The River Reeves Foundation was set up, helping young people reach creative potential. And in June 2016, Coldplay won our hearts, if even only for a handful of minutes, upon performing Boys That Sing from The Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, in Viola Beach’s stead. – Cath Bore
The band with the finest press release bio ever: “Voo are a three piece rock band from Liverpool.”
That quite simply is Voo. They released one of the greatest albums in the last ten years from Liverpool in Dates, Facts & Figures. Their story must also include the likes of Married to the Sea, Silent Sleep, DoubleDoublePlusGood and a whole host of bands who formed one of the most welcoming and harmonious collectives under the Used Vinyl Club which gathered in MelloMello during the mid-late 2000s and these pages covered religiously.
The band are all still active but live outings are rare as chief Voo head Graham now runs the nifty Defend Vinyl Records. – Peter Guy
In a seven year stretch together, Wave Machines got a heck of a lot done. A motly crew of multi-instrumentalists they set about setting themselves apart as an art pop outfit to be envied. Their highly acclaimed work included the dancey single Keep The Lights On, complete with a striking video, and their indietronica sound in the verdant years between 2007 and 2012 proved their most fruitful.
Ultimately they lost momentum recording sophomore album Pollen, but not before they had helped to found Bluedot festival by wowing crowds at precursor Live From Jodrell Bank.
We haven’t heard the last from them either, as Norwegian national drummer Vidar Norheim has proved himself a talented multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, releasing his ambient-sounding EP debut Blind Carbon Copy last year. – David Hall
We Are Catchers
If you’ve ever wondered what The Beach Boys would sound like if they grew up alongside a dirty river instead of the Californian ocean, then wonder no more. We Are Catchers take the elements of the ’60s West Coast sound and scuffs them up, get them drunk and put them together in almost, but not quite, the same order.
We Are Catchers are effectively the inspiration of one man; their founding member, Peter Jackson. His sound is both evocative of a time gone by and sounding like it could only have been recorded here and now. With help from Bill Ryder Jones, We Are Catchers released an album of skewed piano driven pop onto the world in 2014.
Supporting By the Sea around that time, We Are Catchers were described as ‘melodic and dreamy‘ and noted that new material was harsher and darker than their recorded output thus far. In 2015 they were nominated for a GIT Award. Jackson said of his sound: “The atmosphere of the songs is really important to me and that’s what comes first a lot of the time. The words and melodies shape themselves around that first feeling or idea. But it’s that atmosphere that really helps you get inside of the song and feel it.” – Banjo
We Came Out Like Tigers
Every band should have a raging violinist front man, right? We Came Out Like Tigers existed during one of Liverpool’s most fertile and exciting periods; they emerged from the Wolstenholme Creative dynamic of DIY culture, championing the very essence and ethics of imaginative independent culture.
That they aligned themselves with engaging politics, poetry and quite remarkably brutal and beautiful music was even better. We loved them so much we asked them to play our first show with headliners Liars.
From utilising dead spaces, producing fanzines and art while cultivating a strong communal vibe, they’ve passed the baton on to the likes of OHMNS and their ilk. Long may they reign. – Peter Guy
Toxteth born Esco Williams has worked under a myriad of monikers in his career – JsOul, J.Esco or J.Esco the Geek, or plain old Julian Gill. The singer, songwriter and producer started singing with the Sense of Sound choir, and went on to warm up the crowds for names like RZA, Dead Prez, Madness and the Sugababes,
GIT Award nominee Esco won the first ever MOBO UnSung Award in 2012.
His Reflections EP, released in 2014, we said ‘finds Esco in full-on soul mode. Beginning with just Esco’s voice – part defiant, part melancholy – and an acoustic guitar, the song builds to a stirring climax that harks to gospel.’
In more recent times Esco Williams has played a massive supportive role in vocal harmony group MiC LOWRY’s substantial success. He encouraged the band to get together in the first place, and mentored them throughout. Co-writing and vocal producing MiC Lowry’s MOOD EP, helped the release earn over two million streams. – Cath Bore
When Sam Folorunsho moved to Liverpool, he formed a double identity of sorts. Architecture student by day, after night fall he transformed into XamVolo, neo-soul singer-songwriter and producer. Back home in London he’d played acoustically with a jazz band around Soho; here he cut his live performance teeth proper at local festivals LIMF, festEVOL, Africa Oye and Sound City, perfecting his signature cool stage presence.
Sam’s love of music was ignited at age 11 when he dived headlong into grime, his mid-teen taste buds maturing as he expanded into RnB and hip hop and his beloved jazz and soul.
An alumna of LIMF Academy, Sam released debut EP Binary in Blue in 2014, and nominated for a GIT Award the following year. Last summer he signed to Decca. 2017 saw yet another GIT Award nomination and his Glastonbury debut.
XamVolo’s first release of 2017, Old Soul, a quite simply very beautiful piece of classic soul music, was picked up and supported by both BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra. New single Feels Good has his ‘cook me up a big pot with everything in it, but don’t be shy with that jazz now’ mantra, carrying as it does samples from Thelonious Monk’s recording of Thelonious.
XamVolo’s debut album is due in 2018 – Cath Bore
The Liverpool-born, London-based musician has been on the radar for the better part of two years now, already claiming the accolade of One To Watch at the 2017 GIT Award, joining the likes of previous winners Louis Berry, Lapsley and more recently Taya.
Zuzu managed to make an impression at the BBC by bagging a Maida Vale Introducing session, with her sassy yet elegant, attitude packed guitar and killer vocals proving radio worthy – all while making many fans along the way.
Already greatly supported here at Getintothis, and in Zuzu‘s own words, “In my music, I just want people to take it for what it is, never mind whether I’m a girl or a guy. In these days of Donald Trump and all that jazz I think girls are going to be looking for kick-ass music!”
Over what little time Zuzu has had, she’s brought a much needed dose of realism to the scene, a sense of real pride in ones music, a dedication to tip the scales – and perhaps also a record soon to be released. Perhaps.– Ryan Craig