12 Artists We’re Excited About (who are playing The Great Escape)
The Great Escape festival takes over multiple venues in picaresque Brighton from May 19-21 and with limited time, so many competing shows and hundreds of acts on the bill, it can be tough to map out a schedule. Hopefully we can help just a bit.
We of course hope to see you at the BrooklynVegan-presented night late show featuring Porches, Frankie Cosmos (the equally great project of ex-Porches member Greta Kline), and Australian singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin. That's at The Haunt, but here are a dozen other picks we're also excited to see.
Dutch artist Amber Arcades (real name Annelotte de Graaf) came to NYC to make her debut album with producer Ben Greenberg of The Men, and enlisted the help of Shane Butler and Keven Lareau of Quilt, and Real Estate drummer Jackson Pollis. The result, Fading Lines, is lightly psychedelic guitar pop with baroque and krautrock flourishes that falls somewhere between Broadcast and Alvvays. (Bill Pearis)
Cakes Da Killa emerged a few years back as part of a new wave of NYC queer rappers (along with Le1f, Mykki Blanco and others), and his charismatic style made him instantly memorable. It's pretty much impossible to see a Cakes show and not have a good time -- if the crowd isn't getting wild on their own, Cakes will probably jump off the stage and make sure it happens. (Andrew Sacher)
Toronto crushers Dilly Dally put out their debut album on Partisan last year, an album of raw, unfiltered melodic aggression that really hit the spot for anyone who digs The Breeders, the Pixies and Nirvana. It’s a fun record to listen to, but their live shows really solidify this band’s appeal. They’re especially good on the kinds of showcases you see at SXSW and the Great Escape. At their BrooklynVegan CMJ showcase in October, the mood in the room instantly changed the second they took the stage. They were one of the loudest, tightest bands we had seen all day. (AS)
For ten years Wesley Gonzalez fronted indie rock trio Let’s Wrestle. The band called it quits last year and Gonzalez went solo. While Gonzalez’s observational lyrical style will be familiar to any Let’s Wrestle fan, musically Wes is going in new directions, free of shambly guitars, with synthesizers now entering the fold. His live band features most of Younghusband as well as onetime Pipette Rose Elinor Dougall. (BP)
She took us to giddy stratospheres with The Long Blondes, now singer Kate Jackson has gone solo with Road Movies, her debut she made with former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler. It's a record as confident as her voice, and a welcome return to the pop fold. (BP)
This Houston, TX trio make hard to categorize but easy to like music, mixing R&B, ’60s Thai pop, psych, surf, afrobeat, and more into one cohesive, chilled-out, groovy sound. Their much talked about live show even caught the eye of Father John Misty with whom they're currently on tour. The band, who played a few shows at SXSW, are also on the lineup of Lockn and Austin City Limits. (BP)
UK rapper Lady Leshurr has been around for a few years. You may know her vocals from Orbital‘s "Wonky" and Basement Jaxx‘s "Something About You", or even her recent remix of Kanye West. Her own material also stands on its own though. It’s gained her comparisons to Azealia Banks and Nicki Minaj (who she remixed more than once and sampled on "Queen’s Speech 2"), and it’s easy to see why it’s taking off. (AS)
What to make of Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth whose music as Let's Eat Grandma is danceable, occasionally creepy and wonderfully weird? Comparisons have been made to everyone from Tricky to Lorde but there's really nobody else quite like this very young duo. Their debut LP, I, Gemini, will be released June 18 via Transgressive. (BP)
London experimental/art pop musician Anna Meredith recently released her debut album Varmints, which is filled with a lot of different sounds. Sometimes she incorporates her own voice and ends up with enjoyable off-kilter pop songs like "Taken" or "Last Rose." Other times she goes for more abrasive sounds like album opener "Nautilus," which sounds like TNGHT crossing paths with an orchestra. More hard-edged electronica comes through on "Scrimshaw," "R-Type," and "Shill," and her classical influence shows once again on "Honeyed Words" and "Blackfriars." They're sounds that don't always work together, but with Anna in the pilot's seat they all make sense. (AS)
Kelly Lee Owens is an electronic musician/singer from London who has worked with Daniel Avery, remixed Jenny Hval, covered Aaliyah, and has a few of her own promising singles out too. The best and most recent is "1 of 3," which starts out as airy ambient pop but eventually brings in harder drums and a stabbing synthetic bassline. If you like music that can never seem to pick between the accessible and the avant-garde, KLO is for you. (AS)
One of the most exciting breakout artists of the year is no doubt Nashville's Margo Price. She recently put out her debut solo album on Jack White's Third Man Records, and it's the kind of album that feels instantly familiar without really rehashing anything. The sounds of mid-'60s country are all over it, but Margo tells such gripping, heartbreaking stories that you won't be thinking about who she sounds like. And it's not just those sounds. Album highlight "Tennessee Song" is quite possibly the best dose of Southern Rock you'll get all year. In a live setting, Margo and her band are nothing if not professional, and Margo's impressive voice soars as much as it does on record. Even if you don't tend to like country music, she's worth checking out. Other opportunities include a free outdoor show in NYC this summer and ACL Fest. (AS)
Despite a name that implies some of the serious hardships they’ve faced, Malian band Songhoy Blues are a joy to watch with an energy level that never flags. They’ve got charisma and effortless charm to spare and always have the crowd in their pocket. Not surprisingly, their Great Escape show sold out very quickly, but those with the right credentials should still try to get in if they can. (BP)
P.S. They just released a new limited edition single with Julian Casablancas, which you can listen to here: