The first band to fly the Manchester flag this week: Cultures. Making a surprisingly emphatic sound for just a three-piece, I was surprised I hadn't heard about them sooner. Sounding something like Morrisey playing Voxtrot covers with Unrest as his backing band isn't a bad analogy and one which is sure to win over the hearts of Manchester's music fans. Crashing, unrelenting drums and acerbic guitars add an extra edge to a sound which might otherwise be at risk of sounding flat. As it happens though I can't wait to hear more from these guys.
The first of two bands to come from Merseyside this week. The Relics have a particularly nostalgic vibe to their music, as a whole is fairly straight forward; but therein lies it's beauty. A crisp and clean lead guitar permeates most of the bands song while a crunching rhythm forms the meat behind the antiquity. Occasionally, singer Tony Kahl is evocative of both Dylan and Bowie (see: 'September Wind') which does absolutely nothing to hamper the band's sound. Energetic and nostalgic with the occasional acoustic diversion, there's certainly something for everyone here.
Manchester-based quartet Dead Seas fusion of straight up rock 'n' roll and melodic indie-pop has earned them a fairly devout following. Their ear for a melody and their penchant for no-nonsense, heavy guitars sets them apart from a lot of their peers. Effortlessly blending driving verse in to uplifting and evocative choruses is something which keeps their songs feeling fresh and unpredictable, a refreshing change from the usual.
Quite possibly the best thing to come out of Essex in a long time, Ice Chrystalls are a band who immediately grabbed my attention thanks to the sugary female vocals (who isn't a sucker for a female vocalist) and the distinct 'twee-ness' that the band as a whole upholds. For fans of bands such as Veronica Falls or The Vaselines it's clear that Ice Chrystalls won't appeal to everyone, but for those who like music that shimmers and shines then this is a band for you. My personal pick of the week.
The Rise of General Mezmar
The Wirral might not be the first place that springs to mind when thinking about blues-soaked psychedelia but that's exactly where Rise of General Mezmar are from. Dragging a 1960s vibe kicking and screaming in to the present, the band have managed to both embody and contemporise a genre usually reserved for those in the throws of a nostalgia binge. Captivating stuff.
Check out last weeks Top 5 Unsigned.