[sic] Magazine

2015 Tasting Notes

Ah, the annual ritual of looking back at what, in fairness, were good tips for the year ahead only for said artists to have done precisely squat in that period. We could simply rebrand this feature “bands that don’t yet have an album but from whom we’d like one next year” but it’s not very snappy now is it? And, sure, it’d all just be easier if we were to pin our colours to some chart-bound flavour-of-the-month, but that’s not really what [sic] is all about.

Yet, after all is said and done, appraise last year’s chosen crop we must, for how else, dear reader, could you objectively trust us this year otherwise? Well, first up, Stygian Salford lads Emperor Zero had it all going on in 2013 and still we’ve heard nary a peep from them in 2014. Nada. Zip. Here’s hoping they do eventually get round to an LP all the same as it still ought to be a blinder. Another sharp post-punk outfit seemingly heading for the top but now conspicuously quiet on the release front, Cleveland’s tour-heavy Pleasure Leftists have restricted themselves to a reissue of their debut EP in 2014, which leaves us, in effect, still salivating over that sole 12” which landed late last year.

Altogether more of a success, Dublin garage-surf ladies September Girls managed both a well-received LP and a new EP this year (the showoffs!). See how they both fare in [sic]’s releases-of-the-year list later this month. Shoegaze specialists Honeyslide on the other hand haven’t, in truth, kicked on since their perfect dream-noise EP in 2013 and you can probably chalk that down to them losing a couple of members to new London indie band JOYA. Nevertheless the remaining members do have a new track currently available for free download and the excellently fuzzy “Only When” does duly bring the goods once again. Our final “definite” tip for 2014 was former WU LYF frontman Ellery James Roberts, the one heavy-pop track he mustered in 2013 a shimmering beast of the highest order. Well, he’s now recording as LUH (Lost Under Heaven) and we’re going to count that as a minor success in itself, his one new Soundcloud track more so, that instantly recognisable vocal getting hot and heavy over a typically swelling key pattern.

In our “longer shots” category there was, perhaps inevitably, less consistency still. The runaway success of the group, however, was undoubtedly Honeyblood, the Scottish garage-pop duo coming on leaps and bounds despite having to replace the drummer and therefore 50% of their line-up midway through the year. Ponderous purveyors of garage-surf Abjects have, however, favoured extensive touring (including a jaunt to Japan!) ahead of physical releases this year, so too Virals who boasted three belting indie-rock singles over the past couple of years only then to disappear from view entirely this year. So, not too much to report there. Can’t win ‘em all I suppose?! We evidently jumped the gun on Dolfinz too, the speaker-blown noiseniks mustering very little of note this year. The similarly styled Birdskulls did better them though with both a decent grungy split 7” alongside Bloody Knees (see below), as well as with a generous freebie via Soundcloud. Hardly a landslide all in all but it’s better than a substandard longplayer, right?

Anyway, with little further ado, here are this year’s ones to watch:


Autobahn: Mark my words, 2014 is Autobahn’s year. Never more confident in a tip, these sneering Leeds lads are putting the finishing touches to an LP due early next year as we speak and, following two pretty impeccable post-punk EPs in the Joy Division/Horrors style to date, all we can hope for is more of the same.

Bloody Knees: The touring juggernaut that is Bloody Knees remains in full flow, the Cambridge band’s barbed pop-punk now maturing nicely from iffy beginnings into serrated emo-grunge that nails each of its power chords and melodies. There’s no-one riding the crest of the resurgent UK guitar wave better.

Deers: When you listen to Deers’ C86 pop it all seems so accidental that you wonder, despite their ramshackle charm, just quite how they’ve become such hype monsters. And then you see the endlessly pretty Ana Garcia Perrote and Carlotta Cosials peeking out from behind their dark, Spanish fringes and it all makes sense.

Girl Band: Shouty Irish fuzz louts Girl Band have just signed to Rough Trade and this is very good news, as theirs is just the sort of scratchy assault you don’t want overproduced. The wry band’s decision to get messy and more experimental this year bodes very well too. Just wait ‘til those drum rolls catch you in the gut.

ILL: Danceable and dangerous – a deadly combination if ever there was one – Manchester post-punk ladies ILL are so tongue in cheek it hurts and yet they mean it too. They’re a rather excellent contradiction in fact. Once heard never forgotten, the world deserves – no – needs to get ILL in 2014.

Longer Shots:

Horrid: Horrid are “anonymous, mystical, sonic psychadelicism” embodied. Donning bags over their heads during extended live jams, their spacey soundtracking squares up to raw kraut energy. File next to Gnod.

Goddam Nobody: Matthew Oliver is a one-man band that goes by the name Goddam Nobody. Of course he’s anyone but, the Falmouth fuzz fan revelling in lo-fi singer-songwriting which brings Bright Eyes to mind … only with a hint of doo wop thrown in for good measure.

Jupiter-C: You’ve got those who love Jupiter-C and those that’ve never heard them. There’s no in-between and it’s easy to hear why, their slo-mo pop rattling like HTRK on a Bristol bus to the mid 90s. Get on board.

Ma: Demo diamond in the rough. Short on name, big on talent, each of Ma’s irrepressible melodies crackles in lo-fi majesty, the crud trying but failing to muffle one of NY’s brightest stars in the making.

Nathalie Bang Bang: Coquettish bedroom pop should have a place in everyone’s heart and Nathalie Bang Bang’s rickety beats and kohl-lined cooing are the sound of a parallel London that doesn’t make you want to stab your own ears.

Got a tip of your own? Want to slag mine off? Know something we don’t about those featured above? Let us know your thoughts using the comments below.

[sic] Tasting Notes 2014