REVIEW By DYLAN BROWNSince that one band broke out on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1965, the British Isles have supplied the biggest names in music — the Rolling Stones, Led Zepplin, etc. — as well as a steady stream of acts that nearly any lowly Yank can get on board with.
Yet, the U.K. and U.S. charts remain distinct entities and many British bands drown trying to bridge the Atlantic — remember the Stone Roses or the Jam? But, here are five groups ready to land on American soil without ever getting their feet wet:
Think back to before Mumford and Sons was every girlfriend’s favorite band and you stopped being excited to hear them on the radio. These Scots fill that void. Frightened Rabbit songs are grandiose yet edgy, sentimental but not lite-FM dreck, and instead of banjo, expect more clanging guitar.
First try: “Holy” and “The Woodpile”
Another Scottish, not Canadian, album, and it plays like a perfectly weighted 1970s J. Robert Oppenheimer documentary soundtrack — an odyssey of space. Why Oppenheimer? Because there is a post-nuclear explosion wind whipping through a New Mexico test site right from the outset. The mysterious publicity-averse duo use the analogue sounds of old National Film Board of Canada productions — where their name comes from — that sound like every 30-year-old PBS documentary you watched in school.
First try: “White Cyclosa” and “Jacquard Causeway”
Hopkins’ production has finally come to the forefront after bolstering but ultimately being overshadowed by the likes of Imogen Heap and Coldplay, for whom Hopkins soundscaped. This album melds densely layered electronica and something akin to minimalist classical — industrialized and modernized under the command of a pro.
First try: “Open Eye Signal” and “Form by Firelight”
Any comparisons to Leonard Cohen should be questioned, and they definitely will be on first listen to King Krule. With the red hair and freckles of a demasked Rorschach from the Watchmen, this Londoner, who will turn a mere 19 when his highly anticipated album hits the stands, sounds almost tone deaf. But there is a something, an intriguing something to his thick working-class London accent. His Cohen-like monotone is right at street level, but it’s still able to work a lyric like “Krakatoa was the loudest of sounds” seamlessly into a tale of intimate angst.
First try: “Easy Easy” and “Meter, Pale, Tone” on Mount Kimbie’s “Cold Spring Fault Less Youth”
Reviewer Dylan Brown is a deejay for the University of Idaho student radio station, KUOI 89.3 FM. He can be contacted at email@example.com, (208) 848-2278, or find him on Twitter @DylanBrown26.