Five 'New' Music Genres For You To Ponder

Heard about the latest acapella-psych-goth-fusion band? Course not, it doesn’t exist. Instead, why not spy the newest musical fads hoping to infest your ears.
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Heard about the latest acapella-psych-goth-fusion band? Course not, it doesn’t exist. Instead, why not spy the newest musical fads hoping to infest your ears.

Let’s not kid ourselves, music genres are two-a-penny nowadays. Every time you go online you’re faced with a new musical ‘innovation’ that sounds suspiciously like a re-hashed renaissance of a distant decade, but for a few extra bells and whistles.

But for every overhyped sound that lasts about as long as a Pete Doherty promise to stay clean, there’s also true musical ecstasy on offer. But don’t bother dirtying your hands in the big bad blogosphere, here are five musical movements to gorge your eyes and ears on.

<1> GLO-FI

What?

A woozy, sun soaked sedative that will make you lust for summer. Also known as chillwave due to its anaesthetic qualities, glo-fi is generally made on cassette recorders and knackered laptops, giving it plenty of lo-fi snap and crackle.

When?

The scene burst from the American underground last summer, with dream-filled ditties made by 80s kids reimagining synthpop through a bleary lens. Perfect for a 3am post party comedown, this music will mesmerise your senses into slumber.

Who?

Toro Y Moi splices freak folk with psychedelic soul, while Washed Out sounds like a top-down cruise down a US boulevard with your feet up. Also, check out the intoxicating chimes of Memory Tapes and Neon Indian.

<2> NU FOLK

What?

Acoustic, country crooning for the indie generation. From stripped down, tender balladry to full blown knee slapping and washboard scratching barn-dancery, this scene blows the cobwebs from folk and breathes new life into bluegrass.

When?

The genre has been knocking about for a few years now, but 2010 has seen many nu folk acts spring to stardom. Known to some as the London folk scene, the capital is without doubt the hub of activity and home for the nu folk alumni.

Who?

Laura Marling may be the scene’s hardest working artiste, with a second album recently out and another dropping before the year is out. Aside from Marling’s delectable harmonies there’s the barnstorming splendour of Mumford and Sons and the soft swooning of Johnny Flynn and Noah and the Whale.

<3> SURF

What?

Full of feel good 1960s spirit, the surf revival is sunshine pop personified, but will keep you captivated long after our own showery summer has passed. Brian Wilson himself would be proud of the jaunty, hook-laden tunes coming out of this scene.

When?

The latest surf revival emerged in summer ’09 alongside the glo-fi scene, with a shared love for lustful sun-filled melodies. But surf steps back in time further than chillwave for its 60s beach pop pulse.

Who?

It’s actually quite an achievement to have not heard of The Drums by now, the New Yorkers hit like The Cure building sandcastles with The Beach Boys, and are set to be colossal. Other players include New Jersey psych-poppers Real Estate, fuzzy noisemaker Wavves and the rockier guitar toting Surfer Blood.

<4> CHIPTUNE

What?
Ever wondered what it would sound like if Sonic and Super Mario gangbanged your speakers? No, us neither, but that’s pretty much the vibe of this retro, 8-bit revolution. You may think “It’s just noise”, but be warned, these Casio carved tunes can become irritatingly catchy.

When?

The latest revival of this scene has been huge on Myspace for a good few years and has even spawned a fashion line, with the Nintendo sampling upstarts bleep-blooping their way to the hearts of many-a-young cokehead (the carbonated sort mind) in the process. It’s no surprise then that a lot of chip acts started splicing electronics before they even sat their GCSEs.

Who?

This year could belong to 8-bit ace Unicorn Kid. The 18-year-old lad from Edinburgh produces frenetic bouts of adrenalin whilst wearing a rather fetching lion hat, why not. Other digital supremos include electro-mongers Henry Homesweet and Pixelh8.

<5> AFROPOP

What?

Straight from the plains of Africa comes a feeling of pure celebration and joy, mainlined straight to the heart of Western music. The sound is one of customary African drums, guitars and a party atmosphere that will have you swaying your limbs to the Calypso mood.

When?

Not so much a scene as an influence, the genre has gathered remarkable pace in the last two years with many American indie bands injecting their records with the feel good afro rhythms.

Who?

New York scenesters Vampire Weekend have long been tipping their cap to afropop, as do fellow NY genre-dodgers Yeasayer. But tropical soul merchants Fool’s Gold truly embody the style, with upbeat danceable numbers and Hebrew vocals to boot. Also check out Foreign Born, another project of FG’s guitarist.