International

Consider this a free-for-all; the only thing that binds these bands from multiple countries together is my impeccable taste.

 
 
 Credit: Lindsay Melbourne

Credit: Lindsay Melbourne

idles

The album is called Brutalism but this band is the most positive, hopeful, pure entity in the scene. They are earnest about the people and ideals they care about, so any anger or tongue-in-cheek sentiments come from a place of frustration that the world is not as it should be. The community of fans around them (the "AF Gang") interact so lovingly and genuinely with each other that it doesn't even feel like the internet. It's confusing. But devoid of all that context, the music itself rips. so. hard. Heavy, driving, tension-laden, full of push-and-pull and clever, funny, relatable lyricism, nothing's gotten my adrenaline going this past year like IDLES. To see their live show is to be alive. These two reviews about cover it: "infectious and ungodly, the most tuneful, danceable riot one could hope for." "May be the best punk show of its kind I've ever witnessed."

Note: please follow their chocolate milk haute cuisine Instagram series.

 
 Credit: Jordan Hughes

Credit: Jordan Hughes

 
 Credit: unknown

Credit: unknown

 
 Credit: Tom Wilkinson

Credit: Tom Wilkinson

 
 Credit: Steve Gullick

Credit: Steve Gullick

THE WYTCHES

 
 Credit: Steve Gullick

Credit: Steve Gullick

 
 Credit: Richard Dumas

Credit: Richard Dumas

 
 Credit: Claire Machan

Credit: Claire Machan

GANG OF YOUTHS

 
 Credit: David Waldman

Credit: David Waldman

Dilly Dally

Katie's vocal chords sound like they've been raked over hot coals, and combined with her run-together, mumbled delivery, is intriguingly expressive. This Toronto-based band drags along with an agitation and resentment ("excuse me, let me get my backpack; these painkillers are no fun. 'Man, this bitch is goin' crazy'" from Snake Head always make me think of trying to push your way through an overwhelming crowd at a party you don't want to be at anymore; though I'm pretty sure it's really about periods) that explodes with moments of clear-minded abandon on songs like Next Gold: "Right after the show, I'm gonna burn this mother down and race you to the next one".  

 
 Credit: Kenneth Cappello

Credit: Kenneth Cappello

The Kills

Alison and Jamie are like if Bonnie & Clyde were resurrected and living as leopard-printed outlaws chain-smoking across open roads and oceans, all captured on polaroid instead of kodak. They're known for their swagger and often described as "minimalist", but no-one who's heard the nuanced depths the music is capable of reaching would ever accuse them of being affected or lightweight. A howl of romance they'll get yet, from all you sleeping dogs and thugs of God. 

(I include them in this section because Hince is British, even though Mosshart is from Florida originally).

 
 Credit: Camilla Rehnstrand

Credit: Camilla Rehnstrand

Sleaford Mods

Content-heavy electro-punk duo from the UK. In clever almost-spoken-word diatribes about posturing, politics, pointless trends, societal expectation, disenchantment, disenfranchisement, and feeling not-quite-right, Sleaford Mods illustrate everyday stories peppered with direct pronouncements that are often biting, sometimes hilarious: "I arranged my coat on the front seat and blended in with the low lighting. People on the way out too, talking. Everyone still looks like Ena Sharples and Ray Reardon. People need to move on. That 50s look can do one. Elvis has definitely left the fucking building."

 
 Credit: James Rooibostea

Credit: James Rooibostea

And So I Watch You From Afar

Instrumental proggy post-rock from Ireland, with a few gang vocals thrown in. The word that comes to mind is "soaring". They can be heavy one minute and bouncing and happy the next. They make me want to discover more bands from Ireland; if they're all like this I'm in for a treat. Where do I look now that Richter Collective is dead? Where is Adebisi Shank? At least we still have All Tvvins.