Who: The Twilight Sad
Scottish band, The Twilight Sad, sound as if they could’ve opened for the likes of Joy Division or New Order. Characterized by swirling synthesizers and tons of reverb, their music unmistakably recalls the post-punk and shoegaze movements of the 80s and 90s, respectively. As their band name suggests, the lyrical subject matter of many of The Twilight Sad’s songs is incredibly melancholic and depressive, accompanied by melodies and instrumentation that are nearly always in a somewhat gloomy minor key. However, I don’t want to paint a misleading picture: none of this prevents the music from being entertaining and enjoyable. And to top it all off, something I find particularly endearing is that you can hear lead singer James Graham’s heavy, Scottish accent come through in all of his singing, which adds warmth to a sound that can otherwise seem cold.
Who: Courtney Barnett
Every time I listen to Courtney Barnett, I get the feeling that she’s someone who should not be messed with because she simply won’t take your shit. The Aussie singer-songwriter has been the talk of the town ever since the release of her 2013 EP, The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas. Known for her deadpan speak-singing, Barnett doesn’t ignore the mundane moments in life, but uses her sharp wit to weave stories out of them. This, along with her slacker rock style, creates something that sounds so quintessentially Australian to me. With the release just last week of her debut full-length, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, her sound has expanded even further, sometimes even including keyboard passages that could’ve come straight out of a song by The Doors. Based on the performance I saw her give at Primavera Sound last year, I can safely say she’ll rock your socks off.