It’s easy to see why some bands are really successful despite releasing consistently average music. Take Coldplay, the worse they get the bigger they get.
And then there are bands who despite consistently releasing excellent music always seem to fly under the radar, no matter how good their material is.
In Hidden Pleasures one of our writers introduces you to 5 of their favourite acts who deserve more credit than they get.
This week it's Veronica Meehan's turn to introduce you to her selection of Hidden Pleasures.
Melbourne duo Big Scary have a back catalogue of EPs and albums that extend back as far as 2008, with each release an ample example of ideal indie. Melodic vocals and clean piano combine with a clever blend of rich lyrics, raw acoustics and raucous rhythms.
It seems Big Scary are fond of fours. Throughout 2010 they released four EPs ‘Spring’, ‘Summer’ ‘Autumn’ and ‘Winter’ and combined each on ‘The Big Scary Four Seasons’.
Their most recent release ‘Animal’ (2016) is a four-part concept album that explores the instincts that drive human nature. Described as “the 4 stages of the animal” these stages are” hunting, lurking, resting’ and waking”, resulting in a staccato of styles and tempo to match.
Big Scary - not too big and not too scary.
Black Wing Bird is the solo project of Dublin based singer, guitarist, busker and bandleader James Walmsley. Formally the lead singer of comedic trio Dead Cat Bounce, it would be fair to say that Walmsley’s solo endeavour unjustifiably bounced under the radar and bears no resemblance to his previous comedic pursuits.
Released in February 2016, the self-produced debut album ‘A Little Wisdom’ is a personal collection of songs that are reflective, sardonic and romantic in equal measure.
Acoustic-wielding Black Wing Bird’s gravel voice pairs wonderfully with Megan Riordan’s haunting voice on Let My Lover Lay Me Down. For anyone looking to satisfy that gritty melancholic void, Black Wing Bird may well just be the bird in hand.
Starting out in 2015 as a two-piece poetry performance outfit, Perth based quartet Treehouses are genre-defining ambassadors of antipodean spoken word.
Their 2017 debut album ‘I’d Rather Forget’ and EP ‘Extended Family’ serve as an indie-folk, post rock emotive collection of ramblings of heartache and regret.
Undoubtedly, it is their most recent single Roses (2018) that truly showcase Treehouses at their best. With a swampy baseline, guitar crescendos and vocals akin to the late great Dolores O'Riordan, Treehouses have well and truly have grown into their own. A bold and beautiful revival beckons.
Rostam may not be unheard of but is most certainly underrated. Since his departure from The Vampire Weekend Rostam Batmanglij formed a collaborative music project with Hamilton Leithauser which saw the release of ‘I Had a Dream That You Were Mine’ in 2016.
As with any superb collaboration, the album presents a hybrid of styles yet both remain perfectly intact. Tracks such as the wider known A 1000 Times and Sick as a Dog delivered, however the album is deserving of a listen in its entirety.
A formidable music force, 2017 saw Rostam release his own debut album ‘Half-Light’. Not only do we get to enjoy Rostam’s sonorous vocals in their entirety but also fleeting visits of baroque-esque orchestral strings. The first single from the album Gwan,is ebullient and uplifting and by his own admission merges elements borrowed from a Welsh lullaby and a Shaker hymn.
If you have not delved into Rostam before, Gwan have a listen.
Brooklyn based London-born, Sudanese artist Ahmed Gallab performs under the epithet Sinkane. His other musical forays include drumming for Of Montreal and Caribou and is the leader and music director of the Atomic Bomb Band.
Sinkane is a kinetic blend of afro-rock, jazz-funk, reggaeton and electronica. Most notably it is the influence of his sub-Saharan roots that demarcates his sound. Sinkane’s debut album ‘Mars’ (2012) produced standout tracks such as Runnin’ and Jeeper Creeper.
The boppingly brilliant ‘Life & Livin It’ was released in 2017 and is full to the brim with slinky synths and catchy hooks worthy of donning the disco pants. Sinkane moves seamlessly between multiple continents whilst merging multiple genres, from dub to disco. This is an album guaranteed to get your groove back.