This week we jet off to Poland for the fifth iteration of their answer to SXSW. A three-day conference/festival event that takes place in the town of Poznan, it’s filled to the brim with the upcoming best and brightest Poland - and some of the wider world, has to offer.
Now, while the idea of a Polish SXSW might seem absurd at first, the reality is there’s a staggering number of talented, and downright bloody good acts to be found at this fresh festival. From the staggering soulful sounds of Alice Merton to pretty much instrumental delights of MOLLY, all can be found in various venues across the cultural epicentre that is Poznan.
Here we’ve selected out five top picks that, even if you aren’t heading east, you can still check out.
Chances are you might have actually heard the name Alice Merton (lead picture) floating around. Her breakout single “No Roots” has been a favourite on BBC Radio 1 due to its infectious soulful attitude that calls to mind touches of Florence Welch’s powerhouse vocals with a driving and determined rhythm section and a prowling bass line. The Germany, by way of Canada and England singer, is not just one to watch at Spring Break, it shan’t be soon before she’s a far more familiar name in the wider world.
Elegant layers of harp, synth and brushing percussion make for a euphoric spell from the self-defined “neo-hippie” trio. Having released their debut self-titled album late last year, “Circles” is their most well-known number to date and it’s easy to see why. Anna Rusowicz’ vocals lend themselves to perfectly capturing the celestial nature of niXes sound, which is crafted by her husband Hubert Gasiul, and Cuba Galinski.
There's a beauty hidden amongst 100% Rabbit's on their most recent single, “World Under The Sun’". It constantly feels like it could fall apart at any second, only to swerve away from the impending doom to resolve with a sparkling '80s sound. The duo consists of Małgola Gulczyńska on vocal and synth duties, while Adam Sowińsk is on guitar. They’ve been toiling away for a fair few years now, eight to be exact, and while their output isn’t vast, it certainly is bright.
Atmospheric music that never feels self-congratulating, MOLLY is a shoegaze duo that found their origins up in the Alps and has perfectly managed to harness that feeling into a musical plane. While almost-instrumental music may not be for everyone, it’s impossible to not get lost in the echoing chasm of joyous sound they create. At times they enter a foreboding territory which certainly keeps you on your toes, and who knows how this will translate on stage, but it sounds bloody delightful either way.
What's better than a band who lies deep behind their own mystery, to the point of wearing masks? Sure, we've heard all that before, but with BOKKA the mystery doesn't shroud the fact that they're actually pretty bloody good at what they do. Ethereal sounds encapsulate vocals that at times feel otherworldly, add in the fact no one actually knows who's in the band, nor how many of them, it totals a formula for success.