In the music industry it’s usually a huge risk for a group to break the boundaries of their style and or genre. Although to many, the word ‘genre’ is used as a label and a reasoning for a band to take the easy route, but that isn’t necessarily true. The saying ‘be a master of one thing or mediocre at lots’ comes to mind here and you have to think commercially. A band or artist breaking the genre barrier set ahead of them is usually commercially successful first time out (think Linkin Park and Paloma Faith) but immensely damaging further down the line if the process continues. Often the reputation of ‘selling out’ rings out like a curse if the act is done bluntly and poorly. But what about bands that don’t confine to a genre anyway…? What about the groups and artists who are impossible to label in the first place…? Well you’ve come to the right place…
5. Frank Turner
Frank Turner is a quintessentially British singer/songwriter who has one of the most loyal followings ever; deservedly so. This is because he is one of the most instantly recognisable voices in the English music scene today and for good reason. He combines folk, punk, rock and country into an aggressively-polite sound; it contradicts for a reason. If he wants to sound sincere and soft, he will, but if he’s angry and has a subject matter of importance, he won’t shy away from shouting his head off at you over an acoustic track either. The guy is an artist of his own, to categorise him would be wrong.
When I first heard about Plini, in all honesty, I wasn’t interested. Another hyper-technical prog act? As if Polyphia, Animals as Leaders, Jason Richardson etc weren’t enough already. However, one day I thought ‘bite the bullet’ and give him a go, what’s the worst that can happen? He knocked ma wee booties off to say the least. With a blend of ambient, atmospheric, acoustic, prog, rock, funk and just about everything else under the sun being prominent in his sound, I was just in awe at this guys flexibility. A true musician and master of songwriting.
3. Dirty Loops
Dirty Loops have been on the scene for a little while now, in fact long enough to create their own genre with themselves being the only known group… We shall call it… Jazz, funk, disco, groove, gospel, stockholm, latin-core. The lads from Sweden have accumulated a butt-ton of views of the last 5 or more years with popular covers of the likes of Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga taking centre stage for their brilliant re-imaginings. However, with unbelievable tracks like ‘Hit Me’ and ‘Sexy Girls’ in their discography, it’s fair to say that these guys can write a smashing single too. With perhaps the best bass player in the world Henrik Linder leading the groups rhythmic groove, some of the best pipes in the business with Jonah Nilsson hitting higher notes than anyone else working the scene today and a drummer with the creativity and pioneering ability of Aron Mellergårdh thumping away in the background, anything is bloody well possible.
Now Gungor are a group that have a very niche following, but are probably one of the bigger groups on the list. The musical powerhouse couple of Michael and Lisa Gungor have produced some of the most noteworthy songs I’ve listened to this part year with them finding a way onto almost all of my playlists. They combine experimental rock, prog, folk, baroque pop and electronica into one masterful sound that can make you jive or cry. With heart-warming yet unusually progressive tracks like ‘I Am Mountain’ and funky yet minimalistic beats like ‘Shake’ heading their discography, you just never know what these two are going to churn out next. All you do know, is that it will kick-ass.
1. Fish Tank
I bet you’re probably fed up of us at String Buzz mentioning these guys ever two seconds huh? Well that’s because everything they produce is gold. Blending indie, funk, math, grunge, prog and rock into songs less than 4 minutes long is difficult, but my god do they do it brilliantly. Tracks like ‘Ginny’ bounce from groovy sections of dance-rock to sections of pure aggressive grunge all in a heartbeat. With funky, regular bars of 4 following technical, irregular bars of 3/7/9/15/whatever the heck you can think of, they create some of the most satisfying music of the century. How the heck these guys haven’t been signed to a big label yet is beyond me because they have probably the most original sound I have heard in the last 5 years.
So there you have it! If you agreed then please leave a like on the article and make sure to share it for everyone to see! If you disagreed, then tell us why in the comment section and tell us of other unique acts we should listen to right now!