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The Great Escape 2015: Our Favourite New Bands

21 May 2015, 12:05 | Written by The Line of Best Fit

The Great Escape is a marathon, but we never pace ourselves. There is just too much to see, and do, and drink for any of that. The amount of acts is mind-blowing: 400 performing across countless stages, and not to mention the Alternative Escape whose unofficial bookings throw up a wonderful world of suprises. This year Rich Thane, Andrew Hannah and Lauren Down spent the weekend running around Brighton in search of the best new music the festival had to offer. Amongst some terrible shows and some mediocre performances, they've singled out 8 of the bands that blew their minds.


A snarling voice rises from behind a mass of bleach blonde hair, Bully’s Alicia Bognanno’s pointed tongue aimed squarely at the microphone as she rips through songs from the band’s forthcoming album Feels Like. She makes it look effortless; like that growl isn’t even coming from her mouth. Everything Bully do is vital, crucial even. Today, in the darkened basement of Sticky Mike’s they make 90s guitars, grunge-y vocals and riot grrrl rhythms come alive with a fresh 21st Century face. LD

Sunflower Bean

It took a good couple of hours to get over Sunflower Bean's short, blistering set at Bleach on Saturday evening. A clusterfuck of raw, sprawling psych, the Brooklyn based trio - fronted by co-vocalists Julia Cumming and Nick Kivlen - delivered a no nonsense shot of much needed adrenaline leaving everyone in attendance reeling. Uncompromising from the off, there's is a very real take on modern rock n roll. RT


This Finnish duo consisting of Frans Saraste and Vesa Hoikka (plus a third member for their show in Komedia Studio) played their first ever UK date in Brighton, and it was an unexpected treat. With a set-up of keys, drums, bass and clarinet there’s a lot of DNA shared with the likes of These New Puritans in the music of Redder. Electronics, folk and jazz combine to create something spectacularly downbeat and intense, yet it never felt out of place with a festival vibe. Perhaps it was the intimate setting, maybe it was just the enrapturing music but it’s testament to the rich musical heritage of the Nordic countries that they have given us another act, this time in the shape of Redder, who feel completely unique. AH


Vök were my favourite band of the weekend, with two wonderful and beguiling shows. It was a rare moment where I wasn’t distracted by a conversation or the opportunity to have a drink at the bar and that was due to the brilliance of the Icelanders. Led by the supremely talented Margrét Rán - a woman who exuded beanie-hatted, tattooed coolness while in possession of a killer voice - the trio/quartet played electronic dream pop which was as gossamer light as it was filled with gentle melodic muscle, and saxophone - so much excellent saxophone. This truly special band needs to release a full-length album damn soon. AH


Yes - they are exactly how you’d expect a three-piece produced by Bernard Butler and signed to Fortuna Pop! to sound, but this London lot make the prospect of powerfully jangly indie pop seem an exciting one again. Pitched somewhere between 4AD ethereality and the fuzzy energy of an early The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, the main attraction is the mesmeric vocals of the stock-still bassist and singer Rachel Kenedy as chaos reigns all around here. Their show at the tiny Black Lion was one of the most thrilling of the weekend, and with a debut album out after the summer things are looking bloomin’ great for Flowers. AH


Sticking with free shows, the Danish kid punks of Yung earned their Great Escape keep with a series of gigs across a series of venues. Best of the lot was perhaps in that good old Black Lion again; the four men from Aarhus don’t look like they should be in the same band together but they make an awfully beautiful noise. Never as viciously, knowingly sleazy as their compatriots Iceage, Yung – led by the annoyingly youthful looking Mikkel Holm – write carefree punk anthems like “Blanket” and “Don’t Cry” which never outstay their welcome. The buzziest of buzz bands, but this quartet completely justify the hype with their blend of DC hardcore and mildly brainless, completely exhilarating garage rock. AH


We couldn’t have picked a better Friday-night spot if we tried. Parked up at Komedia for NAO, Ghost Culture and GEoRGiA we found ourselves in a room full of escalating beats, incredible energy and distinct talents: None more so that GEoRGia. The fact that she’s played with the likes of Kwes, Juce and Kate Tempest gives you some kind of insight into the crazy mesh of genres that pour forth from the decks tonight. High-pitched vocals pierce glitch-y, hypnotic synths while hard-hitting Balinese gamelan drums reverberate around the room. It’s kind of like if Death Grips’ punk attitude hit MIA’s poppier side. Georgia is an incredible performer, never letting the crowd drop – never giving us a moment to breath. LD


God knows what time it is. God knows where we are. But Yak, Yak we know are awesome. Playing the world’s tiniest living room, in probably one of the most stereotypical student flats we’ve ever encountered, the London three-piece tear up Dice’s secret Saturday show. One part psych, two parts The Stooges – they even finish with a chaotic version of “I Wanna Be Your Dog” - the three-piece have us fearing for the structural integrity of the building. Bass rips through the walls, frontman Oli Burslem is a force of nature - his frenetic energy rocking the foundations and eventually ushering the arrival of the noise police. LD

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