Venturing into the... Unsigned

Unsigned bands these days are like wasps in that there's always too many and most never seem to do a whole load beyond creating a Myspace page resembling a malfunction inside Dreamcast, befriending a load of clich├ęd monotonous indie guitar bands in the vague hope of a support slot in Coventry and bunging on a collection of three ever-so-slightly morbid bedroom demos. Not that wasps do the Myspace bit... The value of such a contribution to this collapsing world seems to verge on the irrelevant when (almost) every song ever committed to black plastic can be streamed (or illegally acquired depending on your persuasion) within seconds of typing in fragments of the lyrics into Google and hoping you remembered enough for t'internet to weave its web of magic. Filter in University bands and the web becomes forever more tangled. Yet some wasps get away from arachnid residue...

Bristol's music scene's drab at best, filled with the faded glories of the rapidly disintegrating genre that is Trip-Hop. Granted, Portishead's creative cogs are still ticking over devastatingly (Third's Machine Gun was as numbingly effective as general anesthetic) and Geoff Barrow twiddled the knobs behind contender for record of the year, The Horrors' Mirror's Image but beyond that, it's a barren land. The balloon-filled oasis in its vast expanse of nothingness however is Let's Tea Party, a miss-match trio whose euphoric indie pop quashes stereotypes, reconstructing their vivid eccentricity from the ground with flutes, faux-trumpets last seen on a Family Fortunes backing track and enough pop-culture references to fuel Nevermind the Buzzcocks for the next century. They recently resurrected the previously extinct phenomenon that was and now once more is the double A-side, backing the melodramatic anthemia of Emmanuella, an Eastern European cleaner with vulgar eating habits up against the depression-inducing reverb-drenched majesty of Hot Chip. Not quite as it says on the tin...

Elsewhere, University of Liverpool students-turned-dream folksters Bagheera, possibly named after a fictional panther, deal in wondrously layered simplicity on four-track self-produced EP Hollow Home. Skeleton Leaf is Bon Iver on a seratonin high with Animal Collective on backing vocals whilst Horizons Lined With Scars is harmoniously impeccable. Fleet Foxes comparisons are bound to flow yet these adopted Scousers bring the modern-day hymnal wafts over to the regal side of the pond. Old Machine processes understated genre-bending ecstasy in a mould as revolutionary as Klaxons' forging of Nu Rave (almost) before Circadian Clock rips the frills away to reveal the bruised but beating heart behind one of the most accomplished EPs to grace my iTunes this year.
Watch this space...