The playlist: new bands – The Age of LUNA, Courts, Womps, Mirror Signal and Seøuel

Our latest survey of the best new acts brings you teenage hip-hop, Albini-approved Scottish noise and Santana meets the Streets

The Age of LUNA – Six Feet Deep

The Age of LUNA are a rap outfit with interests beyond music – in interviews, they talk about photojournalism, fashion, art and their intentions to operate in those areas. And if that sounds precocious, it should – they’re all in their mid-to-late teens. LUNA stands for Live Under No Authority, an acronym with shades of No One Ever Really Dies (NERD) or, to go further back, De La Soul’s DAISY age. The Age of LUNA share with NERD a love of Roy Ayers-style breeziness and with De La Soul et al a golden age of hip-hop penchant for smooth jazz-soul backings for their cool rap. Included in their baby-faced ranks is 16-year-old producer NK-OK and singer Daniella, whose mellifluous voice alone would merit a record contract. Six Feet Deep and rising.

Womps – Live a Little Less

Womps are a Glaswegian band; a two-piece, really, featuring Ewan Grant on guitars/vocals and Owen Wicksted on drums, with assorted pals on bass. They formed out of the ashes of Algernon Doll, but the real banner headline, hold-the-front-page news is that their debut double A-side seven-inch single, Live a Little Less/Dreams on Demand, released on 18 September, was produced by Steve Albini. The results are predictably raw (recognise that live guitar and drum sound?) but cutely appealing in a ramshackle, off-kilter way, like Teenage Fanclub attempting their own version of In Utero. There will be an album soon – expect a rough mix of Glaswegian melody and Midwestern mayhem, sustained over 11 tracks.

Mirror Signal – One Day

Steven Barker is a 21-year-old singer, songwriter and producer making moody, soulful electronica, like Ed Sheeran locked in a studio all night with James Blake. He calls himself Mirror Signal because of a repeated fault on his driving test, and because he tends to dwell on the past: that forlorn sense of someone looking back in languor is all over his music. He made his debut two years ago with the Broken Soldier EP, and has supported the likes of Jess Glynne, Jamie Cullum and John Newman – big names, for sure, but Barker and his lightly rasping, tender croon has what it takes to bring his evocative, intimate electronic soul with organic touches (sax, for example, on One Day, from the new Herculean Task EP), to a wider audience.

Courts – Sanatana

Courts are a five-piece – two friends and three brothers – from Basildon in Essex, birthplace of Depeche Mode and Yazoo. But instead of bubbly electropop, they sound, on the evidence of Sanatana – Zane Lowe’s last ever “Next hype” before he left Radio 1 for Apple – more like Santana fronted by the Streets. It features a beautiful, piercingly poignant guitar line offset by lightly jazzy summer chords, over which one of the band does an impression of Mike Skinner rapping blokeishly about higher states of consciousness. Apparently, the single’s title comes from “Sanatana Dharma”, a Hindu term for “the eternal path/order”, while the song’s verses are “mainly about a conscious evolution we believe is happening on the planet at the minute”. Proponents of “music with a message” they may be, nevertheless you can just zone out, ignore the MC as he comes on like a seventh sense, and enjoy the chilled-out shimmer of Courts’ hazy guitar-pop.

Seøuel – Fear Party

Seøuel is a producer from Edinburgh who specialises in dark, throbbing techno with a cinematic ambience – think John (Assault On Precinct 13/Halloween) Carpenter moonlighting as a DJ at Berlin’s Tresor, in 1992, or Daft Punk in a foul mood. Fear Party, taken from his new EP Reykjavik (released on 24 July by Disorder, a follow-up to last year’s Prague EP), is five minutes of punishing electronica, all juddering bass, insistent pulse, last-days-of-disco handclaps and synths that squeal for dear life.

Contributor

Paul Lester

The GuardianTramp

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