*Originally published for For Folk's Sake (26/10/12)
Pistols At Dawn – 'Man.Wolf.Man'
The centrepiece bass on this recording-project-turned-band’s latest single is so like the brooding bass line on ‘Come Together’ it’s uncanny, but its goes far beyond its bluesy sound. The track’s scuffling brush beats, jangling acoustics and warped, wheezy vocals are dangerously addictive and, as the grooves thicken and congeal, it becomes apparent that the band also owes much to the shuffle-pop of Dark Captain. You’re absolutely dying for it to reach the 5 minute mark, but it teases you with a commendable 4:52.
Grass House – 'The Boredom Rose'
The northern bred, southern-based four-piece are masters of theatre on this playful single; their guitars plot in the background, drums bounce with heart and character and the band harmonise with a densely-layered, chatty singing-style not unlike The Suburbs-era Arcade Fire. It’s catchy, pulsating and woozes with a twisted Americana.
MAIA – 'The Grandfather Plan'
It’s very tempting to do prior research on a band before reviewing them, but not doing so allows for a truly unprejudiced perspective. In MAIA’s case, with the Mediterranean acoustics and mischievous brass found on ‘The Grandfather Plan’, it was therefore a huge surprise to discover that they’re from Huddersfield in West Yorkshire (now who’s prejudiced?) Gorgeous, falsetto vocals hover over plucked strings and driving cajón drums – it’s immensely exciting.
Pipers have clearly huddled themselves away in a lonely log cabin wearing woolly jumpers and sipping on organic cider while perusing a volume of ‘How To Write Sickly Indie-Pop.’ Of course, their primary-school piano, awkward vocals and twee acoustics might just be your cup of tea, but not mine.
Mt.Wolf - 'Life-Sized Ghosts'
'Dreamfolk'/'Folktronica' lot Mt.Wolf do exactly what it says on the tin. Ambient, dub-inflected soundscapes, breathy female vocals and alluring guitars enclose you in a euphoric dream, where the classically-trained singer Kate Sproule nurses you with her stunning chamber-choir harmonies. Like MAIA, this bunch are doing something quite different, so don’t lose sight.