Originally hailing from Portsmouth, five-piece Hotel Lux moved to London to fully enhance their garage/punk rock sound. Sounding like a mix between Cabbage and Shame, Hotel Lux take influence from the world around them, to paint pictures of dark, deteriorated people and landscapes. They also cite the film works of Shane Meadows as a major influence, who’s best know for This Is England, which is one of the reasons why Hotel Lux sound so quintessentially British.
Hotel Lux aren’t your typical punk band in terms of aggression, they don’t throw themselves around and completely lose control. Instead, they vent their frustrations through the brooding, intimidating atmosphere they express at their live shows. Take the song, Berlin Wall for example, a track which uses sinister whistles and funeral-esque keyboard parts to create an atmosphere of the macabre. Front-man Lewis Duffin sounds as morose as the most foreboding of undertakers.
Hotel Lux have just released their latest single, English Disease and it’s another corker. In celebration, we recently asked the band to pick out one track each from a new band they like, and one old /classic tour bus favourite:
Lewis Duffin (Vocals)
Fountain of Good Fortune – Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever
100% one of my favourite bands at the minute. Beautiful, beautiful melodies
Up the Junction – Squeeze
All-time classic. The amount of times we’ve tried ripping this tune off in our recent writing sessions is silly.
Cam Sims (Bass)
Cruelty – Disgraced
This tune scratches every punk itch for me. With only one track out i’m really looking forward to seeing what this lot get up to in the future.
The Impressions – We Must Be In Love
It’s impossible to feel sad when listening to this track. I’ve tried it and it doesn’t work.
Sam Coburn (Guitar & Keys)
Idles – I’m Scum
One of the few bands doing it right at the moment. good melodies, excellent lyrics.
Meet Me in the City – Junior Kimbrough
Cigarette stained riffs. GOAT.
Jake Sewell (Guitar)
Nineteen Seventeen – The Good, The Bad & The Queen
The members are all from different musical backgrounds, I think that’s what makes everything they release so interesting. Tony Allen’s drumming is especially good on this.
I’m Gonna Leave You – Nina Simone
There isn’t a dull moment in this track, it’s rapid from start to finish. You can almost hear her gasping for air by the end of each verse.
Craig MacVicar (Drums)
Squid – The Dial
By far my favourite live band at the moment. Looking forward to more releases from these guys.
Gorillaz – 19-2000
I think I first heard this on Fifa 02 back in the day and I’ve still got it on repeat. The Soulchild remix isn’t too bad either.
The event at Night People was all about punk. The interesting fact is that they presented two completely different kinds of punk in support of the long-awaited return of DillyDally to the UK. The evening started with the pop-rock/post-punk of MatterOfMind, who immediately inflamed the stage with their loud presence and fiery confidence, which is impressive considering the young age of the band’s members.
Those who know emo music would probably recognise some progressions and a vibe similar to some My ChemicalRomance and affiliates’ albums, thus adding a much secure grip on the technique. The songs were easy, quite catchy and singable even if with a sort of shadow in the notes. As per performance, it felt like watching the show of a much more experienced band and it would be nice to follow them in the future to see how much more consistent they can get.
Adding something completely different to the night, the second supporting band, HotelLux, have already been on tour with the likes of Fontaines D.C. and brought with them some more socially-conscientious lyrics. The combination of the directness of the words with the quirkiness of the music creates a peculiar and very authentic feeling. It’s like the band is narrating the cruelty of the society we live in but choose to do it with music that seems to mock ourselves, in a real punk attitude.
The melodies were almost folk, always precise and even though a microphone at some point decided to stop working, the band kept going showing a high level of professionalism. The only flaw we can find is that some tunes are really similar to one another, but we know that the most important part of the show is actually the meaning of the songs. The audience seemed to really dig both the music and the words of HotelLux as the venue became more and more crowded in expectation of the big finale.
When their moment finally arrives DillyDally delivered a gig full of dark atmosphere and a wicked but passionate vibe. The sound of the lead guitar alone is so unique that it can instantly make you think of them. It’s a signature, a call from above. You can’t do anything but swing gently and feel your heart ripped apart at every note. Beside the dreamy tone of the guitar, the rhythmic session was precise and strong, never too complicated but always appropriate and strong enough to remind us that apart from the leading melody and the sweet voice of KatieMonks we are still talking about punk. And punk is what we had. Hard, dirty, screamy, post-grunge style punk.
A bit like the Hole of the new era: less melodic and rougher, probably the only defect I was able to find, Dilly Dally made the entire venue feel like we were on a bubble all together and they cast a spell on us. When the show finished the public asked for more, but the magic was over. To comfort us we have their new album, Heaven, to listen to and the promise they will come back for another gig, because, as they said: “It’s been really too long”.
Over the year, 2018 weened out a host of new acts that met the limelight. From Boy Azooga to Parcels, independent acts have blown-up the music scene and set their sights on the big-time. But what can come through in 2019? Of course we don’t know yet who are going to rise up from the depths of their rehearsal spaces and practice rooms but our MCRLive contributors have selected the next generation of acts that they can see appearing on your playlists over the next twelve months.
WORDS BY HANNAH TINKER
Their name comes from the “colour that disappeared” – the deep blue pigment that surfaced in the Egyptian period and vanished until it was rediscovered in the Roman Era – but be assured, EgyptianBlue aren’t going to disappear any time soon. The Southern four-piece have cropped up slotted in amongst the vinyls of record shops up and down the country, as well as featured on many a ‘top track of 2018’ list from BBC Radio6 to Piccadilly Records. Although still relatively unknown, they’re more than likely to break the mould in 2019 and be presented at some of your favourite venues.
FFO. Squid, Duds, Sorry.
WORDS BY JESSICA CAMPBELL
Think of the South of England and your mind will probably be drawn to the colourful stony beaches of Brighton, the White Cliffs that lead to more exotic places or the first right of passage as a rowdy 16-year-old, Newquay. But Portsmouth? It’s more than likely that you’d probably only recognise it as the place you’d pass through to get to Bestival (RIP). However, one band are about to change this – mainly hailing from these haunts comes the macabre Hotel Lux. Though a young band, the 5-piece provide gritty realism through their lyrics – case in point being smash single of 2018 ‘Daddy’ which focuses on the often overlooked seedy underbelly of every city, all which seem to possess a sense of familiarity for front-man Lewis which in turn will leave you wholly satisfied, if not with realistic world portrayed through their lyrics. If you like dark, punky music that your mum probably won’t get, these are your guys.
FFO. Lady Bird, Goat Girl, The Rhythm Method.
LAVA LA RUE
WORDS BY EMMA LANGFORD
Lava La Rue is a west-London rapper last year releasing ‘LAVALAND’ consisting of a few short tapes integrating soft vocals with the sounds of London showcasing her personal style. Earlier on in the year in June, she released her EP ‘Letra’ showing a more hip-hop infused, upbeat sound. The track ‘Widdit’ was a success, bagging her a show on the notorious YouTube channel ‘A Colors Show’, a platform promoting fresh talent. Lava La Rue is also the founder of the nine8collective, a London based music, and arts collective, promoting and collaborating the work of its artists and musicians. La Rue’s silky lyrics and distinctive sound have caught the attention of many listeners. She is one to look out for in 2019.
FFO.Biig Piig, Poppy Ajudha, Puma Blue
WORDS BY CRAIG HOPKINSON
32 Tens are a Warrington based indie rock band, are set to make a serious impact on the unsigned, emerging U.K. music scene in 2019. This awesome band is already receiving thousands of streams and playlist features on Spotify, are members of the quickly growing AWAL independent music community to distribute globally and have also played a tranche of gigs across the U.K. for the last eighteen months. Their music is an energetic blend of harmonic melody, intense, heavy drums, funky bass, and lead guitar solos and very dynamic lyrics. The intensity and passion really shine through with every song and performance and so these guys are definitely a band to watch out for next year.
FFO. The Snuts, Rascalton, Chappaqua Wrestling
WORDS BY JESSICA CAMPBELL
Listen to just 30 seconds of one of their songs or seeing their oversized art-rock cum new-romantic inspired attire and you’ll wonder whether what you’re listening to is from now, or some 20 years ago. Inhaling the somewhat ‘twisted’ society around them and exhaling glittering tracks like ‘No Need For A Curtain’, which explores a documentary based on prostitution in Leeds, Walt Disco are breathing a new and beautifully flamboyant life (far beyond their years) into the flourishing Glasgow music scene. Punk AF. Glamorously gothic, with elements of Bowie ringing clear (both in haunting stage prowess, to recorded sound) everything the quintet do catches the eye. Need a douse of something refreshing to fit with your new year revamp? Walt Disco have it all.
FFO. Crack Cloud, HMLTD, The Ninth Wave (and banging clothes).
WORDS BY JACK MCKEEVER
The London-based producer/DJ Imogen took the final quarter of 2018 by storm. She turned in a stonking hour mix for Rob Booth’s legendary Electronic Explorations series, and her impossibly murky breaks assault ‘Katla’ was a highlight of Mumdance’s ‘Shared Meanings’ mix CD. She takes severe techno as a starting point and splices into various grinding, wiggling forms, making tracks as likely to make one quiver as to bang fists. Early 2019 sees her appear in Brussels alongside Charlotte De Witte, and in June she’ll appear at the hallowed Junction2 Festival in her hometown. Here’s to hoping there’ll also be a load of seismic releases from her throughout the year.
WORDS BY RUSSELL HOPE
When you know you’re good you have to be incredibly good to back up that arrogance and cock-sureness of knowing how good you are and then you come across those artists that do what they do with humble confidence and appreciation of where they are and where they are going in their career. Boy Azooga is the latter and the captain of the ship (Davey Newington) has the full respect of those who have listened to his debut album ‘1, 2, Kung Fu’. Through the full variety, ranging from the grit of ‘Loner Boogie’ to the sheer brilliance and beauty of ‘Jerry’. After witnessing the album live at Bluedot in the summer, you just know that the follow up to this album has the potential of being even better. I can thank Mary-Anne Hobbs from BBC Radio 6 for opening my ears to this one and after being live on there last month I’m sure Davey is thankful too.
FFO. The Orielles, Pip Blom, The Vryll Society
WORDS BY HANNAH TINKER
Make way for the act that stole the show in 2018’s festival scene: ConfidenceMan. If you’re a Disco fanatic, you’ll know of the icon that is RosinMurphy and her ability to immediately get the floor moving. Like the Disco Queen herself, the two-piece has faced audiences who didn’t know the ConfidenceMan title and left them proclaiming their excellence. Feel-good gets a re-boost with this group, they know exactly what to say to make it right and brighten any negativity. I for one am angling to see this pair at a festival in 2019, having heard that their spectacle of a show lets the euphoria run right up your spine. It’s Pop, it’s Disco, it’s Dance. It’s everything you need in 2019.
FFO. Methyl Ethel, Winston Surfshirt, Haiku Hands
WORDS BY SOPHIE BILLINGTON
This four-piece band of men in Liverpool offers a clean but heavy sound with a lot of smooth talking. With guitars and drums that take turns in the spotlight, Persian Hugs are a classic rock outfit that are simultaneously polite and gentlemanly yet wild and unruly. The lead, Henry Belcher, is the kind of man that you want to take home to meet your parents but not for very long. Every release has been a hit so far and Persian Hugs’ following is fast growing on Spotify due to the undeniable panache that comes across in the band’s deliverance of mature and thoughtful stories.
FFO. Sea Girls, Red Rum Club, Corella
WORDS BY RICHARD SAMUEL
Another Sky burst on to the scene in 2017 with their progressive indie rock, that has a real cinematic quality to it. Gluing together some real classic elements with a tangible rawness, sharp observant lyrics, dark yet uplifting and the distinct vocals of Catrin Vincent that are hauntingly beautiful. If you go deeper you will find ambient guitars layered upon penetrating bass lines and apprehensive beats. Think Radiohead meeting The xx but with added bite and you’ve got something that is thrillingly haunting. I also love the lyrics “Why worry ‘bout the weather or nuclear weapons when you can eat for free on a black card at Nandos?” on recent single ‘Chillers’, which show a band wanting to tackle big issues instead of singing about why their ex has broken their heart.
FFO. Sam Fender, Stereo Honey, Art School Girlfriend
WORDS BY JESSICA CAMPBELL
I’m going to go ahead and say it – Patawawa released the catchiest tune of 2018. Ever since monster-single ‘Patagonia’ dropped, the Matlock-based trio have gone from strength to strength playing up and down the country to packed out crowds at headline gigs and festivals alike and (not-so) rumours have it, a new EP is set to drop in the coming weeks. As new bop ‘Wires’ exhibits, Patawawa are showing no signs of stopping – taking their inherently Nu-Disco sound to new levels with Latin flavours sprinkled throughout. Hearing all this, I’m sure that you can imagine that no matter when you hear them, listening to Patawawa it’ll feel like you’ve been thrust back to the midst of the summer. And live? If you’re having a shit day, the three-piece will be sure to change that with beaming smiles as they bounce around the stage, filling any room with a contagious energy that doesn’t slow down for a second.
FFO. Parcels, Crazy P, Franc Moody
WORDS BY HANNAH TINKER
It’s rare nowadays that anyone doesn’t have a social media presence, let alone a music act aiming to rise up through the ranks. Meet black midi. A quick scan of their scarce social media pages shows they only post their gig listings and nothing else. Word-of-mouth has brought them an alert fan-base, each passing on the folklore of this newcomer with no online bearing. Clamouring for every scrap of information they can find, the BRITSAcademy graduates: blackmidi are in high demand. It’s a unique math-rock take on the independent acts floating around nowadays. As individual in their promotion as they are in their performance, go see for yourself at their twenty *almost* consecutive January and February 2019 tour dates.