(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #377 and #378: Lusts and Moats

By on Wednesday, 10th February 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

Editor’s note: we’re making some exciting changes in the way we cover SXSW 2016 this year, especially in the way we preview all the bands that we want to introduce you to before the big event in Austin in March. Read all about our big plans here.

Lusts and Moats are a pair of up-and-coming indie rock acts from the UK, hailing from Leicester and Biggleswade, respectively. But a five-lettered, monosyllabic name isn’t the only thing they have in common. Both channel the spirit of the shoegaze era, as well as some of the giants of new wave.

Leicester duo Lusts, brothers Andy and James Stone, released their debut album ‘Illuminations’ in 2015. These siblings got the idea to start a band together following a trip to Paris, writing their entire album in their parents’ bedroom while playing films on a projector, to “see what ideas were conjured up”. The ‘Illuminations’ LP is a dreamy mix of new wave, psychedelia and indie rock: a fine example of what 21st century music has to offer. For those who worry that music isn’t as great now as it was in the good ol’ days, Lusts might just be the band to change your mind.

The first single to be released from their debut album and the one that caused quite a stir last year is ‘Temptation’, a hazy number with tantalising drum, bass, guitar, and synth rhythms that dance together across the track, and with vocals floating amongst the music like a ghostly spirit. Similar not only in title but also in style to New Order’s ‘Temptation’, both songs portray a melancholy dreariness, albeit with Lusts’ being faster-paced and glimmering with more of a shoegaze haze. Title track ‘Illuminations’ is reminiscent of early Vaccines, especially the vocal comparison to Justin Young’s smoky baritone. Musically, it’s comparable too, particularly at the beginning of the song when the jangly guitar breaks in. I can just picture it being the perfect soundtrack for an edgy independent film about an underdog or outsider.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ju_OZm2htSI[/youtube]

The duo have been compared to Echo and The Bunnymen so often, they must be tempted to question their own creative originality. But these comparisons don’t stem from the media’s need to dilute Lusts’ captivating variety of gloom. It’s because Lusts transcend the time they’re in and have created a debut LP so put together and sure of itself. They sound like a band coming into the game with what they want to do already worked out, and it’s easy to imagine them following in the trajectory of the Vaccines, or even Arctic Monkeys, both bands whose debut albums were impressively put together and self-assured.

Moats (pictured at top) are a quartet from Biggleswade who, like Lusts, have a variety of new wave and post-punk influences. Their latest single ‘Hungry’ has been played on BBC Radio 1, and BBC Radio 6 and received attention on BBC Introducing’s markets in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire. The band has also just announced that they will be touring with Brighton band Yonaka in March. Yonaka have an edgy pop-inspired sound that will tie in well with Moats’ gritty pop-esque indie rock.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=so2NX2q72wk [/youtube]

Back in 2012, Moats released their debut LP ‘Singapore’ under a “name your price” scheme for the entire nine-track album. It was also recorded, mixed and produced independently, further showing their indie spirit. 2015 saw the album’s opening track ‘Toothache’ remastered and released on Spotify. The tune is an exciting blend of stuttering guitar rhythms, with a soothing indie pop beginning, leading to a heavier build towards the middle when the band’s Matt Duncan’s throaty growl erupts on the track. ‘Toothache’ has a similar sound to the xx, particularly with the addition of Asya Fairchild’s vocals. As the relatively under-the-radar singer/songwriter living in Brighton joins Duncan on the track, but she succeeds in acting as a gentle antidote to Duncan’s edgy drawl.

New single ‘Hungry’ begins gentle and mournful, with the soft, spooky pluck of a guitar riff teasing along the track over the gentle motion of a drumbeat. Then Duncan starts singing, his raw, sharp vocals standing out well against the melody. As the grandiose guitars break out about halfway through the track, before being fragmented by slower, quieter moments, instrumentally I’m reminded of Editors. Duncan’s lead vocals are filled with a gritty appetite, echoing a quote from a recent interview, in which the song is described as being about “craving something really badly and constantly working hard towards feeding that craving”. Imagine a dialled down Frank Carter.

Moats operate on the post-punk frequency that has done so much to shape contemporary music. Having said this, the combination of Moats’ music and Duncan’s intense, and oftentimes harrowing voice moves the band into the realm of the uncharted.

Both Lusts and Moats seem to be pushing at the edges of the genres that inspire them. The two bands have a number of dates lined up for the coming year, and both are scheduled to appear at SXSW 2016 in Austin.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

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