In the latest instalment of our Top Ten series we look at some great bands which remain (relatively) undiscovered.
Whatever your reason for not having heard of these artists (if too presumptuous, apologies – but moreover, immense praise!), this list is here to save you the time of rifling through a sea of splurge - be it new music or gems from years gone by which somehow escaped you.
This new era of open accessibility has done wonders to the notion of broadening musical horizons, so take a good look at this smattering of everything that, in a sane world, should not be this obscure.
1.Life Without Buildings
This now-split-up art school quartet’s only album ‘Any Other City’ was released in 2000 and the combination of stream-of-consciousness ‘talk-sung’ lyrics, vocal roar, sub-shoegaze jangle and quirky phrasing made for one the finest, most original albums of this century. Loved by the industry but somehow evaded by listeners, it’ll change your life.
Creating soundscapes, talking atom bombs and asking “why do you kiss like a Russian”, it’s a wonder why this Boston based band haven’t attracted more attention. Led by rocket science student (really) Thom Moran, the shamefully unsigned Bon Savants evoke the spirit of early SFA in their hard to find album ‘Post Rock Defends The Nation’.
Is it Queen, Barry Manilow or Elton John circa ‘Pinball Wizard’? Who knows, but two albums and an EP in, it’s certainly the most fun and hyperactive thing you’ll have heard since The Bee Gees. They’ve come up with arguably one of the best lyrics ever: "Sedition's easy baby / Like the forefathers who discovered America / Just like any man who's made you hysterical / Just like the books you read".
4.Math and Physics Club
Beautifully twee, bringing to mind Belle and Sebastian in their prime, and belonging to indier than thou Matinee Recordings, it’s a wonder music fans this side of the Atlantic haven’t caught on. Nostalgic, pensive, tender and charming, it’s really tough not to find a soft spot for Math and Physics Club, especially with songs as sweet as ‘La La La Lisa’.
10 years ago, three-singles-in-one gem ‘Bingo’ reached the dizzy heights of #22 in the singles charts– it was a travesty. Catch only lasted two singles, despite the inclusion of a marimba and public schoolboy innocence not to mention amazing b-sides such as ‘Bitten By You’, featuring the touching and resonant lyric: “there’s a time in your life when you fall apart / At the throw of a dice you’re back to the start”.
Underground Philopeno-American Offwheezy flourishes with lyrical dexterity, talking philosophy and politics as opposed to whores and guns. Tight beats and proper minimalism on latest album ‘Mainstay’ make this rapper well worth a listen, everything he does has entirely it’s own vibe.
Electro-punk duo from Hull producing something even better than the sassy dance of Le Tigre’s ‘TKO’, there are four free downloads available on their myspace which will have you singing along and dancing in your sleep in no time at all.
8.The Be Be See
Song titles like ‘You K Gold’, ‘Fox’, ‘Artmocker’ and ‘Eye TV’ coupled with the wonderful pun of their name could give the impression of some sort of joke. But this lo-fi indie pop is far from that – in fact, there’s tunage in abundance and the spirit of early Pulp.
9.The Vichy Government
As bizarre as they are intriguing, The Vichy Government’s leader Jamie Manners indulges in a series of quasi-soliloquies best exemplified on ‘How To Become A Cult Figure’, and ‘The Male Gaze’. This is provocative and challenging stuff watered down on a diet of unashamedly shoddy casio fodder.
Voxtrot and Good Shoes come to mind when you listen to the astute strumalong of Glasgow’s Frightened Rabbit, whose 2006 album ‘Sing The Greys’ is being re-released in the hope that it’ll ensnare those it failed to the first time around. Infectious, enthusiastic and melodic stuff.