1. Entertainment
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

30 Best New Bands of 2013

By

His Electro Blue Voice

His Electro Blue Voice
Ruggero Corti
What's in a name? Plenty if your album's called Ruthless Sperm. The debut LP for Italian outfit His Electro Blue Voice comes filled with cuts like "Born Tired," all fried speaker wattage and bruising guitar tonnage. Signed to Sub Pop and steeped in the label's glory days, the trio is lead by Francesco Mariani, whose raw-throated screams and withering, washed-out, white-noise guitar summons the ugliness of pigfuck and the blown-out sounds of shoegaze. They remind me of Swervedriver, but you can summon your own '90s ghosts when confronted with their wall-of-noise; or, hell, maybe you might just playlist them next to Iceage. But if you're a fan of music angry, aggressive, and distorted, then His Electro Blue Voice may sound like what's been missing in your life.

Jacco Gardner

Jacco Gardner
Nick Helderman
Usually straight-up revivalists aren't so interesting: learning from the past is great, trying to bring it back is embarrassing. On the many occasions in 2013 I've spun Jacco Gardner's Cabinet of Curiosities LP, I've wondered what makes this revivalist different. Gardner is a home-recorder from Holland obsessed with the sounds of '60s baroque-pop; draping pastoral harmonies over harpsichords and mellotrons in evocation of the Left Banke, the Zombies, et al. Back when I highlighted Gardner at SXSW 2013, I posited that the young Dutchman was using old sounds to play with the concept of time. But even if he's not, and he just wishes it was 1967, he gets away with it because Cabinet of Curiosities is so good.

Jerusalem In My Heart

Jerusalem In My Heart
François Berland
Jerusalem In My Heart hails from the ever-fertile Montréal scene, from the same crew of Constellation musicians that gave us the big-band jams of Land of Kush and the cross-cultural collaborations of Esmerine. Lead by Lebanese ex-pat Radwan Ghazi Moumneh, the trio (also: French producer Jérémie Regnier and Chilean video-artist Malena Szlam Salazar) have staged one of the most distinctive debuts of 2013. On songs like "Yudaghdegh El-ra3ey Walal-Ghanam", their maiden LP, Mo7it Al-Mo7it, explores the unexpected intersections of devotional music and digital interference, plays traditional instruments like buzuk and zurna in psychedelic ways, and captures in sound the perpetual flux of life as an émigré.

Joanna Gruesome

Joanna Gruesome
Slumberland
The punning, kinda-bratty name of Cardiff kids Joanna Gruesome (a riff, of course, on that Sainted Newsom) fits their music. This is, after all, a band who boasted an early cut called "Talking to Yr Dick." After a run of tastefully-artwork'd, steeped-in-twee-history early singles, the five-piece fronted in 2013 with their debut album, Weird Sister. Across jams like "Sugarcrush" and "Secret Surprise," they bash out a boisterous barney of sing-song boy/girl vocals and hotwired guitars; their noisy crash-pop steeped in C86, shoegaze, The Year Punk Broke, and the Pains of Being Pure at Heart.

Kirin J. Callinan

Kirin J. Callinan
Siberia
When I picked Kirin J. Callinan as a potential SXSW 2013 highlight, it was with no promises: the Aussie enfant terrible's liveshows semi-clothed, headset-microphoned, willingly-uncomfortable sets best called 'confounding.' Or perhaps a "trainwreck," as Callinan himself says, admitting "there exists the possibility that [he] may be actually making something quite horrific." That carries over to his debut LP, Embracism, an album of maximalist art-rock that amplifies the persona of the Australian macho —part Nick Cave, part Chopper Read— into grotesque pantomime. It turned 2013 into quite a year for Callinan: he started it signed to Chris Taylor's Terrible Records, but ended it inked to indie behemoth 4AD.

Lady Lamb the Beekeeper

Lady Lamb the Beekeeper
Shervin Lainez
Lady Lamb the Beekeeper is the mouthful of a handle that dwarfs the tiny lady, Aly Spaltro, who makes music under it. Though small in stature, Spaltro is large in both voice and ambition. When she hollers "I'm as blue as blood before the blood goes red" mid-"Crane Your Neck," it's utterly arresting: a voice ringing out loud and pained. "Crane Your Neck" is one of a host of epics on Spaltro's debut LLTB LP; rubbing shoulders with the shape-shifting 7-minute "You Are the Apple," an emotional opus that hits a feverish, orchestrally-backed peak. I highlighted Lady Lamb as band to watch in 2013 and haven't wavered; any fans of Sharon Van Etten and Thao sure to eat her up like so much strawberry cake..

Melt Yourself Down

Melt Yourself Down
Cat Stevens
Melt Yourself Down know how to make an entrance. The London combo's self-titled set opens with "Fix My Life," a barrage of blasting horns and firing electronics that sounds like someone dropped a Moroccan Bazaar in the middle of Tron. Melt Yourself Down know how to catch your eye, too: the bonkers "Fix My Life" video is one of the year's best promos, even if anyone with photosensitive epilepsy best stay far away. The debut MYD LP is just as wild a ride. Calling themselves a cross-cultural collision of sounds from "Cairo '57, Cologne '72, New York '78, London 2013," the sextet mix krautrock's locked-in zone-outs with punk-funk's cowbell-tonking righteousness and Afrobeat's orgiastic fury.

Misfit Mod

Misfit Mod
Stars & Letters
Sarah Kelleher's first Misfit Mod album, Islands & Islands, isn't just one of the best debuts of 2013, but one of the best albums of the year. Kelleher —a New Zealand ex-pat based in London— makes synth-pop that is solemn and spartan, progressing at a snail's-pace whilst using repetition as a compositional tool. Sometimes, that makes Islands & Islands feel like work of stark isolationism, but on songs like "Valleys" there's a sense of swelling, synth'd-out romance that reminds me of El Perro del Mar. Another Swedish connection: following the release of her Misfit Mod debut, Kelleher collaborated with Swede-pop perennials Club 8, showing how sweet her voice sounds away from her sombre songs.

Moodoïd

Moodoïd
Entreprise
Moodoïd leader Pablo Padovani is the son of French jazz saxophonist Jean-Marc Padovani. But that familial lineage is the least-interesting musical connection for indie listeners. More notably, Padovani has been serving as the guitarist in the live band for Melody's Echo Chamber. And, like MEC's Melody Prochet, Padovani also rubs shoulders with Tame Impala honcho Kevin Parker: Parker handling the mixing duties on the debut, self-titled Moodoïd EP. Single "Je Suis la Montagne" (and, notably, its tres psychédélique video) shares plenty in common with Tame Impala. It's a five-minute epic of echo-laden, candy-colored, bubblegum-flavored, Strawberry-Fields-frolicking psych-pop.

Nadine Shah

Nadine Shah
James Anastasi
Nadine Shah has already been compared plenty to PJ Harvey; and though the comparison is obvious, it's also apt. The British songwriter —half-Pakastani, half-Norwegian, born in a tiny hamlet in the North-East of England— makes music that is dark and dramatic, with her bold voice the chief agent of such drama. Some songs, like "Runaway" or "To Be a Young Man," use grinding guitars and rock dynamics to create their grandeur. But Shah's debut album, the punningly-titled Love Your Dum and Mad, is at its best on songs like "Dreary Town," when Shah's set against a solemn grand piano; her magnificent voice so big, so powerful, that it's best when left to fill an open space.
  1. About.com
  2. Entertainment
  3. Alternative Music
  4. Top 10 Lists
  5. 30 Best New Indie and Alternative Bands of 2013

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.