Yoofs stand around in packs, lurk in urban shadows with hoodies pulled down over their eyes, thinking about shanking. They smoke hydro so strong it makes your toes curl and use words that you’ll never understand. They are the unknown, society’s other, and to be feared, right?
Nope. You’ve been sold a lie, peddled a media construct: Yoofs are in fact some Bournemouth lads, nice lads too, making infectious scuzzed-up pop in a caravan. There’s nothing to fear here. Whether serving up refined nineties-leaning slacker gems or DIY noise collages, drenched in reverb, Yoofs have a rare knack for balancing distortion, melody, and texture. Their mixtape-cum-album, Shady Acres, is chock full of hooks, fuzz, and dreamy seaside shimmer and is available to download from their Bandcamp. It deserves to be huge.
Serving up a heady mix of tortured big-beat, warped vocals, electronic psychedelia, and youthful hedonism, Airick Woodhead’s Doldrums are an exhilarating prospect. A wayward chaotic charm has underpinned all of Woodhead’s releases, but it was not until last year’s Egypt single that the Doldrums’ sound crystallised, realising its potential across a seven-minute aural odyssey. If debut album, Lesser Evil, due later this month, comes close to matching the scope, ambition and exuberance of Egypt then we’re in for a treat. Anticipation doesn’t even come close.
Check out and download Anomaly.
Beta Blocker and the Body Clock
Beta Blocker and The Body Clock make deliciously distorted music, balancing noise, melody, space, and rhythm in a fuzz-fuelled frenzy. Avoiding the pitfalls of the grunge revival, the Oxford duo of Vincent Hollywell and Matt Girling employ a plethora of innovative sonic flourishes to make their music fresh and relevant.
Pop tropes like twisted falsettos, sugar pop harmonies, and surf guitar wade up from some seriously scuzzy depths, but when they emerge, gasping for air, it is euphoric. Nowhere is this better demonstrated than on the superlative Trudy Be True, one of the standout tracks of 2012. Over Christmas, the duo released a follow-up, Trudy Part Two. With great shifting, sludgy movements buoyed by bold melodies and spiky guitar lines, it marked a clear progression and has whetted the appetite for a full length LP. 2013 may just be their year.
Check out Part One of my Ones To Watch in 2013