Snøskred – Puzzle
Snøskred are a band from Trondheim, Norway (their name means avalanche in Norwegian), but given their drowsy, dreamy indiepop, they could be from Bellshill, North Lanarkshire (Teenage Fanclub’s home town) or wherever purveyors of bleary, slacker guitar melodies barely get out of bed. Puzzle, their new single, is, they say, an “honest attempt at connecting with the past and future of bands with guitars in them”. Singer Karl Klaseie adds: “Puzzle is a simple song living in a complex world.” Actually, he’s not the only singer: all five members chime in, and sometimes in unison, which adds to the effect of being snow-blinded, or avalanched by a whiteout of guitars and voices.
Parlour Tricks – Requiem
The six-piece – three male/three female – New York outfit Parlour Tricks (previously known as Lily & the Parlour Tricks) won the Village Voice’s award for best pop band of 2014. The people at Spotify heard their mix of 50s swing and breezy 90s college radio and deemed them exponents of “vintage pop for the future”. They recorded their forthcoming album in Nashville with producer Emery Dobyns (Antony and the Johnsons, Noah and the Whale), and their latest double A-side single is Requiem/Lovesongs. Lovesongs has the vocal purity of a country song and the idiosyncratic energy of indie, placing it midway between alt-rock and the Grand Ole Opry. Requiem has the catchiness of Haim hanging out with Dixie Chicks. And check out the formation dancing in the video.
Tabanca – Lagoon
Tabanca is a London-based singer and multi-instrumentalist with Trinidadian roots, who takes her name from the Trini word meaning “a painful feeling of unrequited love”. She does pop longing like no one since Aluna Francis of AlunaGeorge, her voice aching sweetly over the flurry of effects and inventive art beats of Gent Mason, a producer-artist I once described as sounding like Marvin Gaye stranded in 21st-century London with just a MacBook. While all around her there are singers bawling their hearts and guts out, Tabanca has learned her ABC (Aaliyah, Brandy, Cassie) and knows that cute breathiness beats bawling every time.
The Lottery Winners – Elizabeth
I was on a new-bands panel for Help Musicians UK last week, and the Lottery Winners, a four-piece from Salford, were one of the standouts. They’re very 80s indie: you can hear elements of Aztec Camera, the Housemartins and the Smiths in their perky, poignant jangle-pop. And the influence of Morrissey’s anguished yodel is evident on this track, Elizabeth, which was given a pop polish by Culture Club producer Steve Levine. It’s probably deeply unfashionable, and about as likely to get played on Radio 1 as, well, Aztec Camera, the Housemartins and the Smiths, but Lauren Laverne thinks they’re “adorable”, so all is not lost.
Girli – ASBOys
If you secretly miss Shampoo or Daphne and Celeste, then you’ll love to hate Girli, a 17-year-old, London-based singer, rapper and all-round budget electro irritant. She’s like a Brit version of Kitty Pryde – a blog invention designed to wind up hipsters until she finds something better or more lucrative to do – or Lady Sovereign if her mum and dad were Scary Spice and Martin Degville of Sigue Sigue Sputnik. She has tracks called So You Think You Can Fuck With Me Do Ya and ASBOys, the latter a rap (it’s more of a deadpan squawk, really) about cliched bad boys who hang around street corners looking menacing. Apparently, she went on the official Met Police website to find a list of all the ways you can get an asbo and just wrote the song around that. Altogether now: “I’m gonna drop your mother in the street.” Hello Kitty goes to hell.