How do you hear about good new bands? For me it's a variety of ways. These days mostly through the internet and blogs. There's still the old-fashioned media of radio and print, which alert me to stuff I might like. And sometimes there’s gigs. You may often, unexpectedly, catch a great new band in a support slot. But how often do you go to a gig with the intention of seeing unknown bands, just on the chance that you might like them? And even then how often do you discover someone amazing?
I mention this because I've been asked to write for a new (still to be launched) website on unsigned bands. More on this later no doubt. So I need to see some good new bands to write about. Last Friday I went down to the Buffalo Bar with my mate Dan (of I hate bendy buses fame) to see his friend Emmy the Great. Ironically, she's one of the few artists I have first heard live, having never heard of them before, and been totally impressed by (In Emmy’s case, supporting Tilly and the Wall at the same venue in Feb). I thought that it would be good to see her play again, and then hang around for a few more (bands and beers). Good in theory, not so good in practice.
That's not to fault Emmy. The problem with having a name like Emmy the Great is that it's open to all sorts of bad jokes. This time from the dodgy compere ("here's Emmy, and she's ... great!"). And I'm sure she's heard them all before. But she took it in good spirit.
Now I've opened myself to the problem of writing about her without mentioning the word 'great'. Oops. I could have said 'great voice', 'great songs', ‘great lyrics’ and it would have been true. But, let's try again. She’s a confident and assured performer, and despite being a solo acoustic artist in a noisy bar, she held at least half the people there in rapt attention through her short set. The songs? She has a fine way with words and a tune. Dramatic tales, wistful narratives, gorgeous folk-pop melodies. It’s all good. It’s a shame that the venue was a bit noisy, but she still sounded great. Aargh! That word again!
Why don’t I stop looking for alternative superlatives and let you listen yourself.
Download: Emmy the Great – Absentee
You can buy her current single from Tunetribe. Stream more songs at her myspace.
Unfortunately, superlatives were not in order for the other bands. Well, I can’t be certain about all the other bands. The next one on was so bad that I couldn’t be bothered to see the rest, and left to go home to some superior Friday night TV.
Now, I know that you can listen to every band in the world on myspace, but really, I don’t have the time or the inclination to while away the hours listening to shitty indie bands, in the hope I might find some good ones to go and see. So I guess what I’m looking for is some recommendations. You may get an idea from my posts what I like. They have to be from London (or playing in London) and unsigned. I look forward to your suggestions. In the meantime, it's back to John Kennedy's Xposure for me.