Something's happening across the pond and we're hesitant to call it a scene — there is a basic geographic connection but we're no experts on the layout of Manchester or the political climate in London for that matter. See this is more of an energy, marked by certain moods and sounds: a general rawness, fire and maturity in some young artists as of late that is simply making for passionate music. Of the three acts below, two have officially broke through to the main spectrum this year and the last seems content in remaining cryptic just a bit longer. The bloke discussion begins now.
World Unite Lucifer Youth Foundation have run quite the campaign in 2011. Like their name suggests, it's been a rather uniting and sinister-toned phenomenon, all starting last year with a few massive and untraceable tracks that were greeted with much blog speculation, some likening them to a street gang, unclear just how many members were in this thing—an easy to leap to make with an early press photo of them masked in bandannas, their frontman Ellery Roberts raising his arm as if about to lead a riot. This came a string of evocative imagery on their site and rally-centric videos like "DIRT" and "LYF" (above).
The "mystery" fog would fade, and WU LYF turned out to be four guys, childhood friends with lofty ambitions, and a great deal of talent as writers and performers, as displayed in their spectacular debut album and the tour that's followed. Album highlight "We Bros" got official video treatment this week, and it put the track's rebellious spirit front and center, as a group of kids flee some society in turmoil.
"Out Getting Ribs" got everyone's attention. A smooth-faced 17 year old by the name of Archy Marshall snared and cried at us, the camera, and our collective reaction was something like "how is that voice, with that sentiment, coming through this person?" The shock continued with time spent in his prolific bandcamp collection (at the time recording under Zoo Kid).
Fast forward a few months and Marshall, now as King Krule, has himself a debut EP on True Panther, and a boatload of press, heightened by recent CMJ appearances. The well-crafted EP again impresses with its tension and old-soul depth. And as we noted earlier this week, single "The Noose of Jah City" got some visuals of its own—another face to face with Archy, this time up on a hill, taking in a solemn, cityscape sunrise.
Much like the enigmatic start of fellow Manchester lads mentioned up top, MONEY (who has also gone by Meke Menete, YOUTH, and Books) knows how to generate intrigue based on less-is-more droplets of audio, video, and poetry. Perhaps the constant name-changing and lack of actual band info or any shareable music aside from self-made YouTube videos is their way of staying low-profile before a full-force debut—all we do know is the songs to date share a distinct pain, something that demands close and dark listens. "Lonely Sexy Death" was the first to really strike, and its burning scene simply haunts with no explanation.
After some silence, their account refreshed with this cross-cultural collage of imagery, both riveting and disturbing. "Who's Going To Love You Now" is a pop song in disguise, able to find a little corner of brain-space and linger for days at a time. All one can do is occasionally swing by their Tumblr in hopes of more. Guess time will tell what's next.