I’m including both these as one due to the clear similarities in style, so technically I’ve invalidated the post title instantly. My newfound love for Silver Swans has already been made abundantly clear and Austra are no different. The Canadian trio have been roundly tipped as one to watch following their majestic debut 2011 release Feel It Break, nominated this year for Canada’s prestigious Polaris Music Prize. With hints of Florence + The Machine to go with their 80’s inflected dream-pop they seem ready made to break through into the UK. They also, unlike Silver Swans, have a wikipedia page. Which just shows how badly more people need to hear their San Francisco compatriots
Voice of the Seven Thunders/Woods
The Soft Moon
Another favourite that’s popped up before, earning a gushing review for their eponymous 2010 album, they combine all the good noises of like 5 different bands and mash them together into a hypnotic ball of wonder. Maybe a bit too arty and experimental for mainstream audiences but there’s still a definite niche for them. Namely Joy Division fans. I don’t know how it’s possible to like one and not the other, especially when the other has the kind of metronomic magic of these often otherworldly demi-gods. Purely musically this is among the most insanely faultless and consistently great I’ve ever heard, never a wasted note. Cool, clinical cycles that’ll suck you right in. Just listen to them already.
Yet another Canadian entry, they too go some way towards atoning for the crimes of BieberFever. Their 2010 album Belmundo Regal was likewise nominated for the Polaris Award, facing competition from established indie names like Broken Social Scene and Caribou. What sets them apart however is their unique brand of strangely anglicised French Canadian, an intriguing mix that lends a mystique to their effortlessly smooth rhymes. Whilst this language barrier may prevent the mainstream success a group as deliciously cool and energetic as them may deserve, they’re still one of the finest emerging purveyors of hip hop and rap out there; their lively, fun, relaxed celebrations of sound a refreshing change from the horror-core of other big names like Odd Future, it’s equally clear they place commendable emphasis on the sounds surrounding the laid-back lyrics they spout so enthusiastically, many tracks could work as instrumentals, filled with quirky hooks and shifts. No sex, guns or murder here, just a 9 piece luggage set. Finally rap I can relate to(Loser by Beck excluded of course)
Teeth of The Sea
The others might have stood a chance at mass approval. Not here. When your sound is the apocalypse filtered through Blade Runner by way of Metallica and even arguably some Eno you know you’re pretty alternative. This is what dystopia sounds like. Exactly this. Still this is a band crying out to be heard, responsible for some of the most triumphantly epic songs of the decade, slow burners that by the end have the world in flames and your ears with it, seared by soaring synths and ground to a paste by pounding bass and relentlessly rhythmic drumming. That these guys have failed to soundtrack something is nothing sort of a travesty, they’re like Vangelis times armageddon. With songs generally pushing the 6 or 7 minute mark and building slowly to a crash of thunderous feedback, they take a while to get into, but they’re worth every second, that moment when everything surges into action puts other supposedly grandiose bands such as Muse to shame; they lack the courage and daring to try anything as emphatically experimental and defiantly destructive in scale and power as Teeth of The Sea’s 2010 powerhouse Your Mercury. Compared to a ‘pub Mogwai’ by the BBC it is a truly colossal record you can’t afford to miss.