It’s 2010, and Welsh music owns the United Kingdom – Bands like Funeral For A Friend and Bullet For My Valentine have been forerunners of the scene for the past few years. Alongside them stand countless other quality bands such Skindred, The Automatic, Kids In Glass Houses and The Blackout. Fast forward five years and the vast majority of these bands have disbanded, and this small, passionate scene is in the midst of a lull.
I’ve been playing music in and around the South Wales music scene since the ripe age of 15, and have watched many special bands come and go. My current band Holding Absence currently flies the Welsh flag alongside some other exceptional bands, and we all hope to bring back the glory days to our beautiful little country. Below is a list of the best music Wales currently has to offer.
One of the brightest prospects from Wales currently is a band called Casey, comprised of super talented members of other bands. When Casey announced their inception 90% of the scene jumped for joy with how elite their line-up was. Two albums later, the band have toured Europe countless times along the likes of Being As An Ocean, The Amity Affliction and Thy Art Is Murder, as well as travelling further afield to Australia recently. Not looking to slow down anytime soon, next on the list for these guys is global success and I eagerly await the announcement of a US tour someday.
FFO: Being As An Ocean, Touché Amore, The Hotellier
Further up the country, North Wales has spawned hugely successful pop-punk groups including Neck Deep & WSTR. Down South we have a wonderful band called Junior. Junior are a pop-punk three piece who’ve been touring and releasing music for about five years now. Not to be written off as “Just a pop punk band” though, there’s far more than meets the eye to this band. With some genuinely intelligent and deep music in their arsenal to sit alongside all the cheesy singalongs, the band host a lovable charm that translates super well in their live show and as they gear up towards their debut album release, these guys are definitely worth your time. Also the bassist is a wrestler.
FFO: Blink-182, Four Year Strong, The Wonder Years
Astroid Boys have been around the South Wales scene longer than most can remember. The early years of their career saw them touring alongside bands like Marmozets, Trash Talk, Issues and even Enter Shikari. Famous for their grime/hardcore hybrid music, this group really are a spectacle and their longevity in this game as UK innovators is a testament to the quality of music they put out. After releasing their debut album last year, and an extensive line-up change, questions can be asked of what the future holds, but anybody with a brain can see that Benji is set for stardom as he holds any crowd in the palm of his hand.
FFO: Grime, hardcore, parties
Dream State are a modern-day spectacle. I’ve played shows with this exact line-up in sweaty pubs up and down the country for about five years now, and as of last year, due to the viral explosion of their single “White Lies”, everything changed for them. Playing shows with Baby Metal, touring with The Amity Affliction signing with UNFD and even winning Best Newcomer at the Kerrang! Awards – The sky really is the limit with these guys. Critics may have asked whether they were ready for such exposure, but their EP released earlier this year swiftly silenced any non-believers. I can guarantee you that their schedule of announcements for the next 12 months will be off the wall.
FFO: Funeral For A Friend, Linkin Park, Paramore (Sorry)
Honestly, Straight Lines hardly play shows any more, especially compared to all the bands mentioned above, but I HAD to include them in this list. Growing up with this band as a genuine fan of their music, I often find myself scratching my head as to why these guys didn’t become huge – Both their albums are brilliant from start to finish, and their live show is track perfect. But regardless of mainstream success, these guys have always been a glimmering centrepiece in the South Wales scene and fans can only sit and hope for a third album to be released sometime soon.
FFO: Biffy Clyro, At The Drive-In, The Excerts
[And lastly, the inimitable Holding Absence; capturing hearts worldwide with their powerful and vulnerable post-hardcore exploration of meaning, aspirations, and survival. – Kel]