BOOT WATCH - Feb 2021
Harriet Heywood delves deep into our three favourite artists of the month!
A sonic zeitgeist of the ’90s meets a mammoth fusion of the future. Drawing on the familiar formulas of iconic Britpop and then re-writing the rule book, The Rotanas have defined and refined their own unique genre; Gritpop.
Taking their own grit and authenticity then pairing it with an anthemic bass - similar to The Stone Roses, to rain down quality sound. The Rotonas know what works when making iconic sounds and we have a front-row seat to find out with their latest single ‘Spinner’.
With their roots in Cardiff, they formed in 2017 and as word spread about their music the popularity of their shared house grew too, becoming a secret venue for unofficial gigs. From here on this four-piece has received praise from the likes of Radio X and Subculture, alongside selling out Cardiff's iconic Clwb lfor Bach, sharing stages with Black Grape, Pete Doherty and Kyle Falconer from The View and playing the 2019 Isle of Wight Festival. It is clear that their stadium indie-rock sound is not going unnoticed and once you hear the shimmy of percussion and audacious tug of the bass in ‘Spinner’, I’m pretty sure you’ll be falling hook line and sinker for it too.
On initial listen, I would have guessed these lads are based in the North of England from the slight twang and raw grit of the vocals, sharing traits seen in many Manchester based protégé’s. Nevertheless, their Welsh roots and musical spin are what win us over, alongside the unmistakable stage presence that this four-piece bring with them. It's sort of like a magnetised swagger that follows them around, dancing along to the thick drum beat and relishing in every wave and build of choral adrenaline. It is doing exactly what we wish we could right now, being beckoned to the dancefloor, but for now our bedroom floor will have to suffice.
‘Spinner’ is everything The Rotanas have promised us and even more, setting their own flares alight and grooving along to what can only be deemed as a truly addictive Gritpop.
London based LEAP, aka Jack Balfour Scott, is impressive, and not saying this lightly. He has mastered perfectly (in both his released singles) something that many musicians will never be able to. He makes music that you can feel, not just hear. You know that familiar feeling when the sound of the bass or drum hits your chest at a live gig, it’s pretty much along those lines but so visceral that it comes through your speakers, headphones or whatever you may be listening on – which at this point I will urge you to do.
It is weightier than the formerly acclaimed ‘boundary-breaking indie’ and really strikes a chord. Be it the lyrics, melody or coupling of instruments – I’m still trying to figure it out myself, but it works. More than just works… it rocks, literally! Starting off as a solo project away from ‘The Mispers’, we are seeing a much darker and possibly stronger side to Jack, taking off the rose-tinted glasses and exposing a crushing chug of sound your foot will be stomping along to whether you like it or not.
The most recent release, ‘Where the Silence Goes’, is propelled by crashing drum snares and a big drop dynamic that has you reeling in the adrenaline usually created by live music. Similarly, ‘N.L.T.D’ takes the same chug of power but wraps it into a gloomy-alternative rock vibe, taking the tempo down and giving you a moment to relish in the stripped-back power of his vocals alone.
It is a passionate, emotional power which backs both tracks, executing anything dulcet and replacing it with an addictive edge that’s drawn and outlined by an unstoppable current of drums. Plugging into the sound is like recharging your internal battery to the point where there is no more room for any jovial falsities, putting you face to face with life and a rocking wave of sound that is refreshingly thunderous.
To put it simply, if your missing live music, give LEAP a listen. If you need something to blow the cobwebs away, give LEAP a listen. If you like music, give LEAP a listen. I think you get the point but, this standout track is a definite rocker and its praises must be sung, which is why there was no doubt that Jack Balfour Scott had to be one of our top artists of the month.
Curing any lockdown wobbles or travails is much easier said than done, however this London and Brighton based trio have a pretty promising prescription to help you along the way. TASH are a signature band with a razor-sharp ear for music and a heavy dose of generosity as they share with us their impeccably reliant recipe for a banging tune.
Of course, the tune in question is none other than ‘Crybaby’, a heavily guitar-driven single that relishes clear-cut vocals and a heavy drumbeat that will have you walking like a
badass before you even reach the chorus.
Ebbing through the track with angst and playfulness, it draws influence from their previous singles ‘Everything is Temporary’ and ‘This New Design’ then turns the volume up to 100 bringing on a new lease of rocking sensibility to their back catalogue of sound.
Their cool, offbeat energy is innovative and a certified smooth talker, sweeping you off your feet and firmly placing you at the centre of your mental stage, poised and ready to rock along with them.
The trio connected at university and eventually formed TASH, drawing influence from the likes of Wolf Alice, Yonaka and Royal Blood. Their inspirations, when paired with their own unique and monolithic sound are certainly something to keep on your radar, jampacked with grit, attitude and an undeniable charisma.
Therefore, we are highly recommending a space on your playlists for ‘Crybaby’ and possibly even some room for more of TASH’s rocking sensibility.