Rare is it you find a band on the internet, unsigned and relatively unknown that you instantly fall in love with. With an astronomically huge sound, Embers seem a shoe-in for success in 2012. Mancunian foursome Embers are leaving all other freshly formed foursomes in their wake, a far cry from much of the monotonous mainstream madness we are spoon fed from all angles.
Forming only a year ago, this anthemic psychadelia is as bold and brassy as Elbow with the heartbreaking melancholy of Sigur Ros. This is indulgent without being ignorant and as cinematic as an Enya soundtrack. With a Muse like magniloquence they blend stadium rock roar with ornate soft orchestral intensity. With two live videos coming from the eerie Gorton Monastery, it is hard not to be overawed by such a vast sound from a band still so fresh. As a live act, Embers bring in a string section and a choral section with cinematic ambience which makes the 7 minute epic masterpiece Hollow Cage a totally immersive and almost operatic experience with lead singer George Agan's shimmering glossy vocals towering over the oozing hymnal symphony behind.
See their follow up to Hollow Cage; Part Of The Echoes here
With the Guardian recently making them Band of the Day, and much talk from such radio figureheads as Mary-Anne Hobbs and John Kennedy, momentum is gaining quickly and it can't be too far over the horizon that Embers will swap Monasteries for Nationwide venues.
In recent years, many a band from the North West have popped up on our radar, declaring themselves the 'New Oasis', the 'second coming of Morrissey'. In Folks, here we have a band hailing from Manchester, a band that the famous city has cried out for since the death of Brit Pop. And gladly, minus some 90's haircuts, that is where any comparisons end.
The recent release of their debut album I See Cathedrals has seen support slots with the likes of Noel Gallagher, Miles Kane and Band of Skulls and they have finally started to pull in dedicated crowds. What is bracing is their efforts to remove any association with the once world beating Mancunian musical heritage of arrogant swagger and under-thought love songs. Upon listening to "I See Cathedrals", what is immediate and somewhat refreshing is the songwriter, Michael Beasley's endearing intelligence, and his music is storytelling that you could sit down and be hypnotised by for hours. Even better; the album title "I See Cathedrals" hails from a quote by an LSD laden Groucho Marx!
Influenced by far out literature and sci-fi, Folks are intelligent without being intolerable and their enthusiasm for music radiates through every, and with a slice of deserved luck, Folks are a success waiting to happen.
A Fred Perry donned songstress from the East Midlands, Georgie Rose, at the tender age of 18 is from the same acoustic scene as the now household Jake Bugg. With a blend of heartfelt contemplative lyricism and guitar work well beyond her years, Rose is starting to make waves with many an industry mogul. Yet to release a fully recorded album, some of her singles really are astonishing. For Him is a painstaking ballad of love and loss feathered with soulful harmonica ditties whilst King of Me sees classical latin inspired fretwork a la Rodrigo y Gabriela adorned with enchanting soulful alto vocals. L.O.V.E brings some uplifting youth to an otherwise seductively dark repertoire. In the same mould as Laura Marling and Beth Orton, Georgie Rose continues to grow through her formative years and with heavy influences ranging from Cash to Joplin, her casual manner is beguiling and moreish and recently became a track of the week on XFM and is undoubtedly destined for success in 2013.
Another North West band, PINS are an integral piece of the ever expanding girl band revival. By girl band, I don't mean Spice Girls or Girls Aloud, these girls are a throwback to the post punk days of Skunk Anansie and Siouxsie and the Banshees.
Since signing with Bella Union, PINS have released the EP LUVU4LYF. The title track is almost psychedelically Gothic with a linear drum beats and low hung riffs. Little Sting introduces itself with an ear shattering siren synth guitar drone and is cranked up with menacing vocals from lead singer Faith Holgate. The record in its entirety is purposely understated and unvarnished, the cracks in its leather exterior beautifully sinister.
Shrouded in dark mystery, PINS are a fiery female four-piece with dazzling garage fuzz meets noir lyricism, brutally backed up with piercingly deep vocals, rendering these psychedelic dark punk princesses definitely one to watch this year.