The enthusiast's audio webzine

Under The Radar

When looking at your music collection, do you sometimes think that you are listening to the same old stuff, and that you would like to discover some new music? But where do you find it? Most commercial radio stations seem to repeat the same chart-based playlists over and over again. So how do you get to hear the less well-known bands, many of whom will not hit the charts but who make fantastic music and whom you can still see play at reasonably priced venues that are not so huge that the bands look like insects on the stage?

When I was in my late teens and early twenties you would listen to new music at your mate’s house, or get a recommendation for the great new, up-and-coming band (often it wasn’t great, it was just your mate had come across the band first – but that didn’t matter as you had the opportunity to discover a new band!). However, at some point in their twenties many people stop and get off the “musical ladder.” They still enjoy their music but just don’t get the opportunity to hear the new bands and so they stick with what they know. For those who do still follow new music, there is a bewildering range of releases and narrowing down what you like is tricky. What I hope to do in this and future issues of Hifi Zine is to highlight some bands or solo artists that I have recently come across to which I’ve enjoyed listening, and that are creating great music. They may be new or may have been around for some time, but are generally under the radar at present.

(For those of you located in the UK, you can try listening to BBC Radio 6 Music at www.bbc.co.uk/6music. This is a digital-only station in the UK. BBC 6 was recently a possible casualty of the BBC’s cost cutting exercise but thankfully, on review, the BBC decided to retain it. One of the significant reasons noted was one of the few stations that gave up-and-coming bands a platform.)


Let Me Come HomeWhat would you get if you crossed the National with Arcade Fire? Well, very possibly Broken Records – and the comparisons are meant as a compliment rather than to take anything away from the band. This is an excellent album that sometimes verges on the pompous but never crosses that line. There are a number of big, passionate tracks, such as “The Motorcycle Boy Reigns” and “A Leaving Song” (to name but two) which contrast with “I Used to Dream”, a delicate piano ballad. It is not a long album but it packs quite a punch in its ten tracks and I highly recommend it.


JONNY – Jonny

JonnyNorman Blake (Teenage Fan Club) and Euros Childs (Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci) combine to bring an album of great pithy tracks that range from folk to garage pop influences. The album has a lightness and fun about it that makes it instantly likeable, but also delivers more on subsequent listens. There is one rather irritating exception, “Cave Dance,” which starts with two minutes of boppy bubblegum pop and then goes into eight minutes of one chord dirge. But unlike on a vinyl record, one press of a button skips the track! So if the sun is shining, put this album on……even if it isn’t shining put it on as it will feel like it is.


BRASSTRONAUT – Mount Chimaera

Mount ChimaeraDon’t let the name put you off, as this album is not what the band’s name may suggest. Yes there is a brass section, but there is so much more as well; synths and violin as well as the usual guitar, bass and drums. At times it seems to be a chaotic mix of instruments, but they combine well to give huge depth to the tracks which are overlaid with the delicate vocals of Edo Van Breemen. Inevitably there have been comparisons to Arcade Fire, and you can hear why, but this is very different not just to Arcade Fire, but to much else around at the moment. Well worth a listen.



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