It’s been an alright year for Sheffield music, and amongst the mass outpour of talent from this city lies some veritable gems.
Combining the talents of Fat White Family and The Eccentronic Research Council was never going to be a bad idea, throw in Rebecca from Slow Club and you have a recipe for triumph. Best experienced live, The Moonlandingz’ ‘Interplanetary Class Classics’ is a work of art, it provides the traditional edge of Fat White Family but with a much softer touch. ‘Black Hanz’ is a slow building anthem which finally reaches it’s crescendo with the lyric ‘ Castrate yourself, not once but thrice!’. It’s raw in places, but a sense of boogie is felt throughout this record. The band shows true versatility with ‘The Strangle of Anna’, Rebecca Taylor’s vocals shining through with a brilliant sense of elegance. This isn’t just one of the best releases in Sheffield this year, but the entire country.
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Trash have been one of the most consistent acts in Sheffield over the last three years, regularly delivering indie pop for the masses. Perfectly timed, their eponymous EP is a collection of summer infused anthems with washed out vocals and fun filled guitar melodies. Production comes from Alex Greaves who manages to maintain Trash’s signature lo-fi sound throughout. ‘Migraines’ perfectly shows off their ability to create a catchy hook, while ‘81’ seems to be the sleeper hit of the record with its downbeat verses and reverb fuelled vocals.
Earlier this year, While She Sleeps made the risky move to self-fund their latest album. This album would later become their highest charting effort yet, catapulting them even further towards the top of the UK’s alternative scene. ‘You Are We’ is a true representation of how modern metal can be accessible to the masses without selling out. Utilising gang vocals and hard hitting riffs, While She Sleeps continue to evolve and get better with each release. Staying true to their metalcore roots but adding elements of commercial rock, standout hit ‘Silence Speaks’ is a modern classic of their genre.
I can’t talk highly enough of Conor Houston. Unsurprisingly for someone of his talent, Conor has evolved throughout his short solo career, from the fresh, easy going sounds of ‘Everyday Use’ to the electronic-infused anthems of ‘Impartial Advice’. I have no doubt that whatever genre Conor tries his hand at, it will be excellent.
‘Impartial Advice’ might not be a natural progression, but it’s an inventive one. In a scene where everyone is trying to be the next Arctic Monkeys, Conor has created a unique sound on his first full-length album. ‘The Devil’s Bedsheets’ is reminiscent of Nine Inch Nails, while ‘Car’s Can Crash’ see’s him flick back into his old Bowie-esque persona, providing a solid 80s-style ballad to close out this very idiosyncratic effort.
We’re a city with a rich history in rock music from hair metal heroes, Def Leppard, to deathcore moshers turned alternative pop enigmas, Bring Me The Horizon. Which is why I find it bemusing that Sheffield’s alternative scene is very much overlooked in 2017. ‘Emotions Aside’, the debut release from Your Life & Mine perfectly toes the line between metalcore and everyday rock, remaining accessible to the average person while also packing enough punch to satisfy a pretentious metalhead. ‘Nothing New’ stands out as a tune for everyone who has ever had a Kerrang poster on their wall, Bill Hobson’s vocals are both sublime and aggressive when necessary, crafting a perfect juxtaposition.
It’s refreshing to hear a band take influence from 60s rock as opposed to carbon copying a mid-noughties indie landfill act. RedFaces’ inspiration is clear in their latest track ‘ Wise Up’ with Harry Lyon’s vocal sounding incredibly similar to that of Paul McCartney. It’s been a pleasure to see RedFaces progress over the years, from playing school assembly halls to sell out shows, and if they keep churning out hits like this, no doubt they will continue to develop and advance.