Over the last 30 years Oxford has quietly (ahem) established itself as a crucible for some of the most exciting and vital live acts in UK music. We all know Radiohead, we all know Foals. But who underpinned the success of those great bands? Who is next in line? Why for, where from, what do? Read on…
Supergrass IS Oxford. The two are practically synonymous and lead singer, guitarist and general local legend Gaz Coombes still lives in the city. Formed in 1993, the band released several bona fide classics including ‘Alright’ and ‘Pumping On Your Stereo’ before disbanding in 2010.
Although somewhat swept up in the Britpop movement of the mid-late nineties, the band always retained its sense of rawk, establishing a diehard demographic of superfans along the way.
Solo and side projects have since become the focus for members of the band, notably Gaz’s solo album Here Come The Bombs, released in 2012.
Also appearing at OxfordOxford, these lads are currently making waves with the release of their new EP Running Thin. Recognisably Oxford, but with a distinctive and addictive modern polish, Pixel Fix are a band very much on the cusp of big things.
Critical acclaim has been pouring in for the new EP, including spins on national radio and high profile festival and support slots nationwide including with The 1975 and Crystal Fighters.
Dance a la Plage
With an undeniably unique name and a sound they are rapidly making all their own, Dance a la Plage have spent much of the last year packing out rooms around the city and tents around the country. Expect twisting, utterly danceable grooves with deliciously sugary, guitar-driven melodies all wrapped in a neat pop rock package. Oh, and singer Joe Hamilton’s voice gets all the girls.
If Supergrass soundtracked summer ’95, expect Dance a la Plage to do the same in 2015.
Whether they’re rocking theatres in New York or packing out tents at Glastonbury, Glass Animals are flying the flag high for Oxford rock this year. With a star very much in the ascendant and a clutch of great tunes to propel them there, these are ones you should already be watching.
Check out the gorgeous rhythmic pulse of ‘Pools’ or the spacious, layered suspense of ‘Black Mambo’ for evidence of the staggering potential and musical nous of this Oxford lot. You’ll be mighty impressed.
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs
Straying somewhat from the cloisters and choral music of his upbringing, Orlando Higginbottom, aka TEED, stands out as a thoroughly idiosyncratic and ever elusive musical enigma.
An electronic music producer with classical training is a rare thing to say the least, and this unique diversity of influences is identifiable in his music. Multi-layered, intricate arrangements lend elegance to the thumping beats and swaggering grooves of more simplistic EDM and elevate TEED above many of his contemporaries. And he has a bloody great name (both of them).
These were the picks of Owen Kent and Anthony Norris, chiefs of Oxford Oxford, a music, arts and community festival happening in Oxford (obvs) from 26th - 28th September. Get your tickets here