The musical landscape in Bristol feels dead important at the moment. Not only are new artists breaking out from every bedroom, bar and studio, but they’re all from refreshingly different backgrounds. In the past the city had a definitive sound with trip-hop, now there isn’t one, it’s sprawling and not confined to genre. Perhaps that’s why it recently came second in a poll for the UK’s most cultural city. We’ve picked out five artists you should to be keeping an eye on right now.
— Exchange Bristol (@exchangebristol) September 5, 2016
Blunt and to-the-point, post-punk five-piece.
For fans of: Protomartyr, The Preoccupations, The Fall.
Catch them live: The Black Heart, London (September 7th)
Idles are a brutal entity. Since demanding the attention of Steve Lamacq at the BBC 6 Music Festival, everything has been go for the post-punk five-piece. Currently hurtling towards their debut album, they’ve been selling out sweaty shows and were recently name-checked by Felix from The Maccabees. Lead singer Joe Talbot can often be seen onstage swigging a bottle of Buckfast before it gets passed around the crowd. Single ‘Queens’ hears them hit out at selfie taking culture and rising above image.
Rhythmic psych-pop guitar band.
For fans of: Gengahr, C Duncan, The Amazons
Catch them live: Canteen, Bristol (October 7th) Yellow Arch Venue, Sheffield (October 27th)
Sometimes you can tell from the first listen that there’s a spark behind a band. Cousin Kula provide something dreamy and leftfield with their first single ‘Hesitation’. Fast becoming a major part of the city’s nightlife, they’re a modest bunch, working in bustling bars and creating music with rolling basslines and high vocals. The follow up single ‘Ode To Lyle’ is inspired by the great musicians that have died this year, and how they often peaked at the age Cousin Kula are now.
Disarming solo artist originally from Iceland.
For fans of: Julia Holter, Mothers, Angel Olsen.
Catch her live: You’ve just missed her at End of The Road which was her last scheduled gig. More soon.
Utterances of Bjork can be heard at pretty much any Rhain show. She’s a figure of lyrical beauty, summoning narratives both weird and wacky in her song-writing. Born in Iceland and raised on The Isle Of Wight and was pulled towards the Bristol scene by the local label Chiverin. Perhaps the driving force of local weird-pop at the moment, tracks like ‘Humdrum Drivel’ are every inch charming.
Messy and slightly scary four-piece.
For fans of: Fat White Family, The Wytches, Nick Cave.
Catch them live: Start The Bus, Bristol (November 18th)
Lice could easily be filed next to the likes of chaotic Londoners Happy Meal Ltd. They’ve got a sound turbulent enough to get people’s backs up, yet they don’t take anything too seriously. Despite only playing their first headline show in February, they’ve already managed to open for The Fall. In true Bristol fashion their next show is on a boat celebrating prolific Bristol label Howling Owl’s fifth birthday party.
Haunting five-piece with an unusual songwriting process.
For fans of: Cigarettes After Sex, Cherry Glazerr.
Catch them live: Nothing currently listed, but keep an eye on the band’s social pages.
A powerful group who deal with feelings of suffocation, Rink often take random words and build them into stories. Vocalist Emily Isherwood has proved to be a haunting presence in the live environment so far, yet despite this, there’s playfulness to the sound. They’ve been working closely with the Bristol musician Oliver Wilde and are expected to drop their debut EP this August.