Sheffield bands forge a future away from Arctic Monkeys – The Guardian

Posted by Google News | Industry News | viernes 29 noviembre 2013 4:27 pm

Music that’s dripping with wry, smoggy romanticism – that, to many, is Sheffield. The shadow cast by Hawley, Cocker, Turner et al is a mighty long one, but within it hundreds of acts plough subtler furrows, unafraid to experiment. The music coming out of the Steel City at the trumpet end of 2013 is proud of, and utterly dependent on, its city, yet sounds nothing at all like the music of its past icons.

In a place that, more than most, becomes defined by a single act once a decade, standing apart is an essential survival mechanism. Nick Cox, guitarist in joy-rock collective Screaming Maldini, explains: «Maybe non-Sheffielders think we all sound like Arctic Monkeys; a lot of bands here [at one point] did. In trying to escape being tarred with the Pulp/Monkeys brush, our bands have got to go the extra mile musically.»

«We’ve got the freedom to keep making rich, diverse music away from the glare of people who feel they already know what sort of music Sheffield makes,» says Leigh Greenwood, singer of Low Duo, a band steeped in dreamy atmospherics. «In reality, it’s much more diverse here than outsiders assume. A skewed outlook or different slant is celebrated.» Laurie Allport, guitarist of electro-flecked indie troupe Hey Sholay, agrees: «There’s no real assistance from the southern-based music industry. It leaves imaginations to germinate free of influence.» This freedom allows a creative, egalitarian atmosphere to flourish. «The bands all seem to be mates, willing to slug it together,» says Alex Dowson, producer of the BBC Introducing In Sheffield radio show – an observation confirmed by Allport. «The musicians are a community and obsessively modest,» he says.

This is not of scene of leaders and followers. Take the mousetrap-taut garage rock of Radical Boy and the soon-to-be-defunct Wet Nuns – the lads are calling it a day after their current tour («But hey, at least we’ll never make a shit album!») – and juxtapose it with the detuned riffery of Dead Sons, the gentle acoustic beauty of Joe Banfi or the dusty Americana of the Payroll Union, and you paint a picture of an indie scene that’s nothing if not diverse. Jake Murray, bassist of melodic quintet Blessa (who met at university in the city) can account for his own band’s individuality, at least. «Sheffield was stuck in a rut; acts riding the tails of bands like Arctic Monkeys. We tried to frame ourselves in opposition to that.»

Blessa and Screaming Maldini – both comprised of members from inside and outside Sheffield – suggest the influx of creative outsiders may also have a part to play in its shifting musical landscape. «Many stay after uni,» says Cox. «It’s a melting pot of creative people from different backgrounds.»

Dowson, however, has a much simpler explanation for Sheffield’s aural vibrancy: «It’s good old Yorkshire graft mate.»

Low Duo play The Forum, Sheffield, 1 Dec; catch Blessa at the Artrocker New Blood festival, Hoxton Bar and Grill, N1, 16 Jan; Hey Sholay appear at Notting Hill Arts Club, W11, 7 Apr. Screaming Maldini’s debut album is out on 4 Feb

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