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It’s always exciting to get on-board when bands are on the cusp of big things, so here are five Edinburgh bands for your attention. Have a listen and enjoy some brilliant home-grown music.
A band from over here who sound a lot like they come from over there – Edinburgh/Glasgow dynamic duo Honeyblood embody the very best in American-inspired grunge and mid-90s alt-rock (think Throwing Muses, The Breeders, PJ Harvey, etc.). Signed to Fat Cat records, and having not long come off the back of a US tour with Belle & Sebastian, the twosome – guitarist/ vocalist Stina Tweedale and drummer Cat Myers – were recently shortlisted for a Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award. Having recorded their debut in the grand ol’ U S of A, too, you get the feeling the girls will make the breakthrough into the American mainstream sooner rather than later. Until then, be sure to check out their riot-girl-infused live shows up and down the country, for this colourful double-act are touring throughout July and August.
All hail the King. A relatively new, nu-folk outfit with bluesy influences, this Capital quintet are more likely to be sporting primary coloured outfits than Arran jumpers – and more inclined to be out on the streets spreading their quirky, acoustic-led love than sat in a small pub playing in traditional folk sessions. Imagine Mumford & Sons on a canal barge with the Incredible String Band for company and you’ll get the gist. The band, however, got their break whilst busking in London, where TV presenter Gaby Roslin heard them while walking her children home from school. Cue a slew of BBC radio appearances. With debut album The Deeper The Water already available to the public, it’s the King’s vocal harmonies that affect the most. A top spot at Celtic Connections must surely be in the offing. The real King Eider is a large sea duck by the way. Quack! King Eider play La Belle Angelle on Thursday, 23 July as part of this year’s Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival. Don’t miss it.
Poción de Fe:
Given their exotic mix of Caribbean rhythms, Cuban salsa and African mambo, it seems slightly ironic that this Edinburgh septet’s name is a Spanish play on the physical consumption of Scotland’s national fizzy drink, Irn Bru. Just like the iconic drink, though, Poción de Fe are also made from girders. With more grooves than a HGV truck tyre, they’re as tight as Frodo Baggins’ grip on the One Ring, and guaranteed to get your bootie shaking. A brass-heavy outfit, their flavoursome Spanish lyrics are socially and politically conscious, too. You might not understand them, but you’ll have a fun time listening nonetheless. Not convinced? Then why not head along to the Tron Kirk on Sunday 26 July, where they’ll be playing as part of the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival. Just don’t forget to take your dancing shoes.
Not every band has to be at the cutting edge of contemporary music in order to be worthy of closer inspection. Not every band has to be under 25, a bunch of hipsters, or decked out in designer clothing to make a name for themselves, either. Case in point: Edinburgh ska juggernaut, Bombskare. A nine-piece skanking machine, their high-energy, TNT-fuelled live shows are so energetic and entertaining, it’s no wonder every festival in the land wants to book them. But that doesn’t necessarily mean Bombskare are a heads down, legs up, nose-to-the-grindstone group with no technical flair. Oh, no. These guys have chops, too. In spades. They have the appeal of Madness, the look of The Specials, and have all the presence of Bad Manners’ Buster Bloodvessel in his pomp. Don’t get too close, though. That is, unless you want to have your earlobes scalded.
When it comes to skipping genres, Trio HSK must be the Olympic hurdlers of Edinburgh’s music scene. Technically a jazz-orientated three-piece, their music, however, incorporates everything from classical and hip-hop to metal and music of the Americas. Inspired by blues and gospel, as well as breakcore (whatever that is), it’s complex, thought-provoking stuff. In fact, they don’t so much push the envelope, they canon it. Consisting of Richard Harrold (piano), Ant Law (guitar) and Richard Kass (drums), the trio will be joined by none other than keyboardist Cory Henry – he of American, Grammy award-winning fusion giants, Snarky Puppy – when they play the Festival Theatre Studio on Sunday, 19 July. All bodes well, then, for an evening of innovation, mind-blowing time signatures, and high-quality instrumentation. It’s Jazz, Jim, but not as we know it.