As the annual Great Escape Festival in Brighton draws closer, there’s an almost tangible excitement in the air.
Anticipation is in fruition with hundreds of bands ready to descend upon the seaside town all keen to prove why they are going to be the next big thing.
From scuzzy rock to delicious pop, here’s our selection of bands we reckon you can’t afford to miss ahead of the monumental new music showcase.
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Chaotic yet charismatic, boisterous yet benevolent, HMLTD might just be the name on everybody’s lips at this year’s Great Escape, but there’s good reasoning behind it.
The London-based six-piece have perfected the arousal of their audience’s senses by making genre-splicing sonic waves embedded with captivating onstage mechanisms and an admirably precise attention to detail. ‘To The Door’ may be a galloping Tarantino-esque jaunt, however there’s more up the collective sleeve of HMLTD as the best tracks in their arsenal still remain unreleased, only making appearances at their mind-bending live shows. It’s one not to be missed.
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Releasing the brakes and speeding to the seaside, there’s a grit in Tom Grennan’s voice that conveys much maturity way beyond his 20 something years. With a knack for storytelling in the singer’s lyricism, you could be fooled into thinking he has been doing this for decades.
Now heading to Brighton to showcase material from his two EPs, the Bedford native’s solo stuff is a stark step away from our first introduction to the musician with electronic dance lords Chase & Status, blending delicate acoustic guitars and gentle pianos as an eloquent backdrop for that voice.
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Bursting with beautiful melodies and fizzing harmonies, North London duo IDER’s voices complement each other perfectly alongside smooth pop and enchanting electronic elements.
Whether it be evidenced on the ode to their friend ‘King Ruby’ or the swaggering and ballsy ‘Nevermind’, Megan Markwick and Lily Somerville convey a delicacy in their vocals whilst expressing unfathomable strength in the remainder of their sonic endeavors. Such importance holds the singing that they’ve even got a completely acapella track on their new EP ‘Gut Me Like An Animal’. It’s a refreshing take on ethereal and atmospheric tunes.
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The perfect amount of grunge paired with a sprinkling of scuzz, London’s Honey Lung appear to be on the cusp of big things. The launch for new single ‘Sophomore’ went down a treat at the Camden Assembly recently and highlighted the tantalizing showmanship possessed by the four-piece who shine profusely in a live environment.
Singer Jamie Batten nails a grunge sound with slacker sensibilities which lends itself to the 90s era immensely – it’s thrashing where it needs to be (see ‘End Of Time’) but mellow and melancholic in all the right places.
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Unashamed blistering pop from the London-based four-piece who have been sparking attention since their first appearance at the festival last year.
Picking up a legion of new fans thanks to some high profile tour support slots over the past few months, and armed with a brand new EP, vocalist Laura Hayden purrs relatable tales of being drunk and difficult relationships as the rest of the band supply swirling riffs and grooving basslines as if it were going out of fashion. ‘Cherry Drop’ is a sonic sugar rush laced with frenzied percussion that is sure to excel live.
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‘Just Cosmo’ is simply not just Cosmo. ‘Just Cosmo’ is a wealth of alluring influences, samples and rhythms, strung together by multi-instrumentalist Cosmo Pyke. It’s an EP that has made many people sit up and listen to what the teenage singer has to say with references to jazz, blues and hip-hop bleeding into the five-track representation of the musician. ‘Chronic Sunshine’ details Cosmo “getting spat out of Peckham” as he relays “we’re all stars”, but there’s no doubt about it, Mr Pyke is the real star here.
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With politically charged odes and visceral compositional anarchy, Doncaster’s finest The Blinders are hell bent on spreading their gospel and it’s a fascinating sight to behold.
From ‘ICB Blues’ which samples the harrowing audio of Eric Garner professing, “I can’t breathe,” at the hands of the New York Police Department, to ‘Swine’ which alludes to the state of the British government, they’re not afraid to tackle the big topics that loom over our society today, all set against snaking riffs that threaten to become lodged in your consciousness for weeks. Potentially one of the most important bands you will see all weekend.
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Words: Shannon Cotton
The Great Escape runs between May 18th - 20th - TICKET LINK.