South London’s New Gen Are Raising The Bar

Inside the next wave of the capital's guitar underground...

South London in recent years has garnered a reputation for harbouring some the best up and coming bands in the countty.

It arguably all started with the Fat White Family making a psychotic racket with their bizarre mix of country and 60s garage that allowed a burgeoning scene to grow.

Since then the South London bred bands have dominated the game from Goat Girl's ambitious debut album to Shame's righteous holler, HMLTD's charity shop glam to the frenzied sounds of Hotel Lux.

Now The third wave is coming. Bands hot with heavy sounds that cause your blood to boil. From dark post-punk to campy irreverence – the south scene is fizzing with fresh sounds, so lift the lid and let it over flow.

Here are a run down of the top seven South London bands you need to know right now.

– – –

YOWL, with their ominous post-punk and low moaning bass lines, make haunting rock anthems that will stick in your head. It is a sound that rises from somewhere neurotic and disturbing but due to the boys’ talent it comes out oddly beautiful – poetic, honest lyrics dip into the neurosis of the human mind, whilst the heaviness of the guitar ride angelically above.

Live these guys aren't to be missed, you can feel the floor shaking and the drums pulsating. With 'My Headache Likes To Speak', their songwriting hits its peak, the sing-song melody compliments and highlights the dark and brooding guitar lines.

– – –

Sports Team are an infectious affair – the love child of Britpop and the best of early 2000s indie rock. One moment the sound is heavy and urgent – the next sunny and incessantly catchy.

Throughout every song singer Alex Rice maintains a campy irreverence that is a breathe of fresh air. He sings about the mundanity of modern life with a certain dryness that calls the sardonic wit of one Jarvis Cocker. Listen to 'Kutcher' and then 'Beverley Rose' right after to get a sense of their variety.

– – –

Peeping Drexels have soaked up that signature south London sound into the roots of their music, and then distorted it, adding elements of grunge to create their own atmosphere of gritty doom. Their songs are full of guitars that swirl and whirl whilst the vocal melodies are somewhere between jaunty country and the aggressively spat vowels of punk.

A personal favourite is 'Kiss Me In My Greasy Bed', which is reflective of the bands strange gift to be simultaneously repulsive and alluring.

– – –

Milk Disco seem to be South East London’s answer to danceable rock. They write catchy indie tunes, complete with grooving bass lines that build and build to an excellent crescendo. It is poppy but not predictable.

In fact what makes Milk Disco so excellent is that they cater to both the indie anthem addict and the musical connoisseur. Their sound is a mishmash of angular post-punk and the instantly rewarding pop grandeur of Franz Ferdinand. And they’re also gifted at effortlessly incorporating a cow bell, listen to their new dreamy tune, 'Twisted Wheel' for evidence.

– – –

Sistertalk are pure class. Be pulled in by their excellent stage garb of suave 60s suits but stay for the sonic excellence. This is the sort of band that make you turn round to your friend, beer in hand and mouth, ‘wow.’ They manage to create an entirely unique sound – taking queues from the psychedelic, post-punk and the experimental – the band make music that is both heavy and spaced out. It is genre bending at its most excellent.

Sadly, Sistertalk are so small that their music is of yet not online, so make sure to follow them on Facebook and get yourself to one of their gigs ASAP – get ready to trip out.

– – –

Vinyl Staircase have already started to gather a devout following of fans both young and old. This is due to their distinct sound that incorporates classic songwriting with a certain psychedelic edge. Their writing is varied and nuanced – one moment Beach Boy-esque backing vocals melt the heart on vulnerable love ballad, 'Dandelion Wine'.

Next they are ripping through raucous and heavy guitar sounds, punctuated by 90s rock 'n' roll chants on 'Cherry'. Indeed, Vinyl Staircase’s musical dichotomy shows them to be a band of rare talent.

– – –

Black Midi gigs are always a jaw dropper. The most precocious of bands, it is disarming the sound that these guys can make at such a young age. It is a dark, twisted, lysergic commotion that is reminiscent of Public Image Ltd’s more experimental years.

Their music is a sonic dream that manages to weave in the aggression and urgency of punk with the hazy guitar lines of the new wave sound. They are pulsating with energy – the jazz infused drumming style drives the songs through groove after groove, until you are lost in an impenetrable musical forcefield.

Black Midi make you feel like you’ll never wake from their hazy trance and you’re not sure if you want to.

– – –

Words: Eleanor Philpot

Join us on Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

Buy Clash Magazine

Join the Clash mailing list for up to the minute music, fashion and film news.