A belated Happy New Year, and one that's started with a bang. Aside from the Lush reunion, subsequent shows and new EP (more of that later), we've already seen a glut of excellent releases this year from Pinkshinyultrablast, Rancho Relaxo, The Lucid Dream, Desert Mountain Tribe and Night Beats to name but a few. And with new records due over the coming months from A Place To Bury Strangers, Temples, Amber Arcades and Fews it promises to be an exciting year ahead.
So without further ado, here's 45 other artists we've been getting into a lather about these past few months.
The story of Mansfield's New Apostles is an interesting one to say the least. Originally formed by brothers Phil and Andy Pidluznyj in 1980, they carried on making music until 1998 before eventually calling it a day. Last year, the three core members - the aforementioned Pidluznyjs and guitarist Andy Whitehurst - and recorded an a brand new EP entitled West Bank. This month will see them finally put out their first long player Apparatchiks, and if krautrock flavoured post-punk is your thing, it's been well worth the wait. Check out the demo version of 'Drone' from the album.
Another band releasing their first music for twenty years are experimental six-piece The Veldt. Hailing from Raleigh in North Carolina, they signed their first record deal with Capitol in 1989 put out debut LP Marigolds three years later. Sadly, after releasing two more critically acclaimed LPs with little commercial success, the band called it a day. Also in 1998 as it happens. Now they're back with a new EP, The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur: The Drake Equation, touring with The Brian Jonestown Massacre and playing this summer's Primavera Sound festival in Barcelona. Can't be bad.
Portland outfit Tender Age have released a handful of noise infused singles indebted to the halcyon days of Creation Records over the past couple of years. With a sound that veers somewhere between Slowdive's ambient soundscapes and the full throttle attack of the early Boo Radleys or Telescopes, they're a name to watch out for in the future. New EP Disappear Here is out now on Sinis Recordings and well worth the measly sum of 8 US dollars, which works out at about £5.50.
Long standing favourites of this column and indeed this site, Eyre Llew will be playing the Drowned In Sound stage at this year's Great Escape along with a host of other UK festival appearances. Beforehand, they've released yet another incredibly cinematic piece of music in the shape of 'The Deep', which makes us switch off, forget all of our troubles and drift away into sweet memory bliss for seven-and-a-bit minutes.
Limerick trio Slow Riot have taken a leaf out of fellow Irish Republicans Girl Band's book on 'Trophy Wife', their second release for Straight Lines Are Fine. Following on from last year's debut EP Cathedral, it's another inventive slab of fuzzy, at times ethereal but mostly noise-infused post-punk that bodes well for their forthcoming London show at The Waiting Room in April. The single is out on Friday 15th April.
This Welsh combo have been crafting luscious soundscapes for the past decade, releasing their self-titled debut in 2007. While the follow-up Uwch Gopa’r Mynydd took another eight years to manifest itself, it was well worth the wait with those comparisons to Sigur Ros and Godspeed You! Black Emperor not being too wide of the mark.
Derby five-piece Starwheel haven't been together very long, but already they're creating a wave of excitement in the East Midlands. Fusing the reverb heavy song structures of early Ride with the occasional foray into new psych territory a la Temples or The Voyeurs. Their concoction of timeless melodies and infectious jams make them one of the most promising acts to emerge from the UK in recent times.
When The Sun Hits
A shoegaze supergroup of sorts, When The Sun Hits feature former and current members of Spotlight Kid, Model Morning, Six By Seven and Mourning Becomes Electra respectively. Although the project began in 2010, the first fruits of their labours have only just ripened. However, if 'Immersed Within Your Eyes' is anything to go by, the future looks very bright and sunkissed indeed. Taken from the Saint Marie Records compilation Static Waves 4, a record that's wholeheartedly worth anyone's time and money.
Atmospheric duo onDeadWaves is the new project of Polly Scattergood and Maps' James Chapman. Having first collaborated at Mute's Short Circuit festival in 2011, the two teamed up again last year and have recorded an as-yet untitled debut album. Set for release in the spring on Mute Records, this is 'Blue Inside'.
Josefin Öhrn & The Liberation
With comparisons to artists as diverse as Stereolab, Cate Le Bon and Jefferson Airplane, it's fair to say Josefin Öhrn is one of a kind. Not just content with falling into the standard realms of psych rock, shoegaze or any of its discerning sub-genres. Her music can take an unannounced sudden discourse at the drop of a hi-hat and quite often does. Latest single 'Sunny Afternoon' - not a cover of the Kinks song before anyone asks - came out this month and is one of the most bewitching pieces of music to grace our inbox so far this year.
Newmoon are among Belgium's finest exports along with pralines and Duvel. With respective members hailing from Antwerp and Ghent, their 2014 debut EP Invitation To Hold caused a stir on arrival. While there's been little on the release front since, their recent spate of live shows suggests 2016 could be a big year for the five-piece. Baited breaths at the ready.
Having released two albums back in 2012 (Antigravity and Ummagma), dreampop duo Ummagma have been pretty quiet of late. But not without good reason. Initially based in the Ukraine, where one half of the band (Alexander Kretov) originates. The outbreak of civil war has seen them re-locate to Canada, birthplace of fellow member Shauna McLarnon. Now settled in their new surroundings, the Frequency EP arrived at the tail end of last year and while it might have got buried in the Christmas rush, just happens to be too good a record to ignore.
Although they've only been together for a couple of years, this Philadelphia based duo have been causing a commotion with their ephemeral dreamscapes and infectious melodies. Currently recording their debut album with Jeff Zeigler, whose previous credits include Nothing's Guilty Of Everything and The War On Drugs' Lost In The Dream. Debut EP No Sign came out at the back end of 2015. Here's the video for the title track.
The Boxer Rebellion
Returning with a new album after a three year hiatus are The Boxer Rebellion, one of the UK's finest purveyors of wrought, anthemic shoegaze-tinged stadium rock. Stadium rock because that's where their music deserves to be heard, in cavernous spaces occupied by tens of thousands of people. Ocean By Ocean comes out on the 29th April and is the first set of recordings to feature new guitarist Andrew Smith, who replaced founder member Todd Howe during the interim period between the making of this album and release of its predecessor, Promises. With a UK tour scheduled for the early part of May, we implore you not to miss a rare opportunity to witness one of the most breathtaking live acts around. In the meantime, Here's 'Big Ideas', the first single to be taken from the record.
The Pink Elephants
The age of the internet has spawned "virtual bands" solely constructed around the concept of creating and swapping ideas online. While it would be unfair to say The Pink Elephants would not have existed without such technological advancements, the opportunity for like-minded souls from places as far reaching as Canada and Greece to come together and produce such a dazzling array of sounds would have been a lot more problematic. Essentially the brainchild of Peter McNestry who also plays with The Red Daggers and Gravity's Rainbow among others, The Pink Elephants only came together last year but already in the shape of first long player Liquid Illusions have created one of 2016's finest debuts.
Ask For Joy
Multi-instrumentalist and producer Aaron Rossetto started Ask For Joy as a solo project in 2005. Over that time, the Austin, Texas based Rossetto has established himself as a prolific songwriter and recording artist, releasing eight EPs along with countless singles. However, he's yet to release a full length album until now. New Private Window is out this month on his own Infinitely Recursive Records imprint, and here's the first single to be taken from the record, 'Pinprick Eyes'.
Another band who've been quiet over the past couple of years are Parisian outfit Yeti Lane. Although founder member LoAc Carron departed for pastures new prior to last album, The Echo Show's release in 2012, it came out to a widespread spate of critical acclaim. Still undeterred, the remaining duo started again from scratch, improvising melodies with sonic excursions and new record L’Aurore, their third long player, was borne. Released this month on esteemed independent Sonic Cathedral, this is 'Acide Amer'.
Berlin trio Downhill Willows only formed two years ago. Since then, they've spent the ensuing period honing their sound and this month release their self-titled debut EP. Featuring six slabs of experimental sonic belligerence with a melodic twist, they're an exciting proposition and one to keep an eye on in the coming months.
Cigarettes After Sex
Brooklyn's Cigarettes After Sex might have one of the least palatable monikers in music but their music is something else entirely. Having formed in 2008, it took another four years for the band's debut EP to come to fruition, and then another three on top of that for people to prick their ears up and start paying attention. Frontman Greg Gonzalez's distinctive vocal draws comparisons with the likes of Beach House, Low and the Cocteau Twins while his three conspirators create luscious soundscapes around him. They're over in the UK from April and set to grace the Drowned In Sound stage at Brighton's Great Escape the following month.
Experimental four-piece Electric Litany feature Richard Simic, drummer from Some Velvet Mixtape The Domino State, among their ranks. Having formed nine years ago, debut album How To Be A Child And Win The War came out in 2010, with its successor Enduring Days You Will Overcome following suit four years later. Last month, the band put out a new five-track EP entitled Love. A sonically diverse collection that showcases the bands ever changing and continually progressive palette. This is 'Hold Fast To Dreams', the lead track off the EP.
Having put out his first EP Animal Sweethearts back in 2010 while still a teenager, Joseph Coward could be considered something of a veteran in musical terms. Although still only 24, his first long player The World Famous Joseph Coward came out two years ago with his second imminent later this year. Musically, expect the unexpected from one of the most diverse talents currently on the scene. This is 'Weight', which also features the legendary Thurston Moore.
Manchester, so much to answer for? If Cabbage are anything to go by then no. Fusing post punk stylings with psychedelic wig outs and the occasional garage punk thrash they have the potential to become the UK's answer to Thee Oh Sees or Black Lips. Which is no mean feat. Their first EP Le Chou came out in January and this is 'Kevin', the lead track off the record.
We've been excited about Baba Naga since witnessing their staggering performance supporting The Underground Youth in Nottingham last year. Since then, they've played with the likes of Night Beats and Purple Heart Parade,enraptured a sizeable crowd at Cosmosis and just been announced for this year's Liverpool Psych Fest in September. The Sheffield trio's first EP came out in February and features two current live favourites, 'Somos Lobos' and this offering, 'Odmieńce'.
Hailing from Brighton, Morning Smoke make errant noise pop that sits somewhere between Girl Band's discordant post punk and A Place To Bury Strangers all-out sonic assault. Debut single came out in December 2015 on the Cannibal Hymns label and offers a prime example of their visceral malaise.
Straddling the axis between classic psychedelia and experimental post-rock, Nottingham trio Sunset Nebula are another outfit we're particularly excited about. Although only active for just over a year, they're already establishing themselves as one of the most inventive new guitar bands around. Here's a studio recording of 'Oceans', one of many highlights of the band's current live set.
Another band to come out of Manchester's burgeoning underground scene. Déjà Vega actually hail from the Cheshire suburb of Winsford but make music that's more identifiable with the West Coast of America via England's Home Counties. Previous single 'Skeletons In The Florist' caused quite a stir when released last year, and forthcoming 45 'Friends In High Places' is expected to do the same. Fasten your seatbelts folks, a rocky ride lies ahead.
Another supergroup of sorts. Innerspace Orchestra are a new project comprised of Tom Furse from The Horrors, Fanfarlo's Cathy Lucas and former Pipette Rose Dougall. Debut single 'One Way Glass' comes out in April on PIAS and channels the spirit of Broadcast and Stereolab via a combination of layered effects and Eastern flavoured strings.
Liverpudlian four-piece Mugstar should be no strangers to regulars at their native city's International Festival Of Psychedelia. Their appearance at last year's event was one of 2015's highlights, while subsequent live shows up and down the country have been critically acclaimed both by journos and punters alike. Their sixth album Magnetic Seasons came out earlier this month on Rock Action Records following on from last year's collaboration with Damo Suzuki, Start From Zero, and quite possibly ranks as their finest collection to date.
Rats On Rafts
Rotterdam's Rats On Rafts have been described by some of their fellow musicians as the finest band in the Netherlands at this moment in time. Lofty praise indeed, but definitely not beyond all recognition if last year's second album Tape Hiss was anything to go by. The foursome have just recorded a noisy cover of Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra's 'Some Velvet Morning' for Fire Records and it's great. As is the video too.
Lying somewhere between the more affluent side of Britpop and melodic end of the shoegaze spectrum, London based quintet Sulk have been harnessing a reputation as one of the most interesting guitar bands in the country since anthemic single 'Back In Bloom' announced their arrival in 2012. Debut album Graceless came shortly after and the long-awaited follow-up No Illusions is finally set for release next month. Produced by Jonas Verwijnen, the record is out on Perfect Sound Forever Records on 15th April and preceded by a single, 'The Tape Of You'. This 'Black Infinity (Upside Down)' which is also taken from the new record.
Another exciting collaboration, this time between Melissa Clarke Attwood aka All American Girl and Beth Rettig of London punkgazers Blindness. 'Breathe' is the first offering and fuses elements of ambient dreampop and futuristic coldwave that sounds like an amalgam of Curve, M83 and FKA Twigs. Which in other words is pretty damn fine, as I'm sure you'll agree.
You Said Strange
French outfit You Said Strange have been crafting their expansive sound since forming in their hometown of Vernon, Upper Normandy five years ago. Subsequent tours with the Dandy Warhols, Metz and Black Market Karma have followed and this month sees their second release EP2 almost a year to the day from their debut. With a sound that's as indebted as much to the class of '89 (Spacemen 3, Loop, MBV) as it is the present bunch of psych heads, big things are expected of this five-piece over the coming months.
The High Violets
Portland's The High Violets have been a little quiet since the release of third long player Cinéma back in 2010. Initially touted as one of the leading lights of the post-millennium shoegaze revival, they've clearly been busy recently as long awaited follow-up Heroes And Halos is finally ready to hit the stores on 1st April. Released through Saint Marie Records, it's a highly poised and assured collection that reaffirms their initial promise. This is 'Bells', the lead single from the album.
Cavern Of Anti Matter
With a line-up that features former Stereolab members Tim Gane and Joe Dilworth and record whose guest collaborators include Deerhunter's Bradford Cox and former Spacemen 3 legend Sonic Boom, Cavern Of Anti-Matter are a band that shouldn't be taken lightly. Essentially a trio - keyboard player Holger Zapf makes up their number - Cavern Of Anti-Matter have released a number of limited edition singles and EPs since first album Blood Drums came out in 2013. Last month saw the release of follow-up LP Void Beats/Invocation Trex and this is Bradford Cox's contribution to the album, 'Liquid Gate'.
One band that needs little by way of introduction here are Lush. Unsurprisingly, the announcement they'd reformed was warmly acknowledged around the globe culminating in their UK shows in Manchester and London selling out in a matter of hours. What's more, they've also recorded their first new material in two decades and it's up their alongside some of the best they've ever committed to vinyl. The four track EP, entitled Blind Spot, was produced by Ladytron's Daniel Hunt and Jim Abbiss, and comes out on 15th April through their own label, Edamame Records. Here's 'Out Of Control' from the EP.
The long awaited sixth album from Norwich shoegazers Sennen finally landed last month. First Light was mastered by the aforementioned Sonic Boom and came out on 26th February via Indelabel Records. This is 'Still Dark', the second single to be taken fro the album.
Having burst onto the scene amidst a halo of noise and confusion with 2014's Guilty Of Everything, Philadelphia four-piece Nothing return in the spring with their second long player. Tired Of Tomorrow comes out on 13th May via Relapse Records, and if lead track 'Vertigo Flowers' is anything to go by, suggests they've been listening to the likes of Teenage Fanclub and Urusei Yatsura recently.
Leamington Spa duo Coves set pulses racing with the release of debut LP Soft Friday in 2014. Comparisons with the likes of Curve and Lush ensued, with one review describing them as Spiritualized fronted by Lana Del Rey. While none of those are particularly wide of the mark, it would be churlish to say Coves sound like like anyone in particular, as Beck Wood and John Roffe Ridgard have an altogether distinctive sound of their own. Second album Peel is due out on 1st April and will be preceded by new single 'You're Evil' the week before. Here's the video for the aforementioned 45.
Norwegian four-piece Mayflower Madame's sound has been compared to My Bloody Valentine, Spacemen 3 and The Jesus & Mary Chain. Which might seem a little obvious. But actually only tells part of the story. Throw in a few post-punk references too. We're thinking Bauhaus, The Chameleons and The Sisters Of Mercy, and the melting pot of influences that makes up their sound is more or less complete. Debut album Observed In A Dream is released on 22nd April via Night Cult Records with lead single 'Weightless' out now.
Although relatively new kids on the block, there's a buzz building around North London psychgazers Wyldest just in time for the release of debut EP, Dark Matters. Out later this month on Hand In Hive Records, it showcases their delectable mix of ambient psychedelia and sonic delirium to full effect. This is 'Stalking Moon' taken from the EP.
Dystopian Future Movies
When your music's been compared to Neurosis, Chelsea Wolfe and Sonic Youth while being described as like My Bloody Valentine covering the music to 'Twin Peaks' it's difficult to ignore. But forget the comparisons and references. Nottingham trio Dystopian Future Movies are making a refreshing noise that's all of their own doing. And one that's incredibly distinctive too. Later this month they head on the road with Glaswegian duo Fvnerals whilst releasing a new double a-side single in the process featuring the tracks 'NYD' and 'Nova' which will be available at said shows. In the meantime, here's their previous EP, originally released in the early part of last year.
Project Skyward is the moniker which Ryan Ford goes by. Although a essentially a solo project, he's been working with Ulrich Schnauss and Nick Warren on mixes for current single, 'Holographic Universe', the results of which can be heard on the recently released EP. With an album Abstracted Reflections set to follow on Hope Records in the spring, this could be the soundtrack to a very blissful summer.
The Third Sound
Berlin based trio The Third Sound looked set to be one of the leading lights of the new psychedelic rock revolution when their self-titled debut came out in 2010. The Third Sound of Destruction and Creation followed suit three years later, but since then it's been a little quiet on the release front for Hakon Aðalsteinsson and co. So it gives us great pleasure to announce their new long player, Gospels of Degeneration is finished and ready to go on 1st April. Lead single 'You Are Not Here' features Tess Parks on vocals. Here's the video.
A Shoreline Dream
Denver's A Shoreline Dream have been crafting progressive, shoegaze-tinged post-punk for a decade now. Essentially the brainchild of vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter in chief Ryan Policky. Debut album Avoiding The Consequences came out in 2006 and they're about to release their fifth, as yet untitled long player later this year. 'Revolvist' is the second single to be unleashed off the new record following 'Time Is A Machine Gun' which was released last October and heralds a more bass driven, death disco kind of sound.
Moon Loves Honey
Moon Loves Honey are a four-piece from Aarhus in Denmark. They've only been together just over a year but if Apart, their self-released debut EP is anything to go by, they're a band with immense promise for the future. Fans of The Cure, Mew and Beach House as well as the classic Creation bands of yore will find them right up their street.
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Eyre Llew photograph by Shaun Gordon.