From Richard Hawley to Pulp, there’s no doubt that Sheffield has produced some of the finest musical talent in the country, nay the world. Yes, our massive roaster is impressive to say the least.
Over the years, the steel city has seen an eclectic range of bands transform into global superstars. It doesn’t always happen overnight (ahem, Arctic Monkeys), though. With that in mind, it’s always worth keeping your ear to the ground when it comes to local bands and artists.
Here are ten underrated Sheffield bands with which you should acquaint yourself, like now.
Dead Like Harry
It might be a little unfair to list Dead Like Harry an ‘underrated band,’ since so many people in Sheffield rate them highly. For more than a decade, these guys have been bringing quality sounds to the people of Sheffield. It’s difficult to pigeon hole this band into just one genre. In fact, they say that they’re influenced by rock, blues, country and folk. From chilled out melodies, like ‘Tilt The Moon’, to upbeat numbers, DLH can do it all.
There’s no great shortage of indie bands here, but what if you want something a little trippier? If psychedelic rock is your bag, make sure you catch a Baba Naga gig. As they put it, “Sheffield exists on the boundary between urban and wild” and this inspires much of their sound. So, what do you get in between those two conflicting spaces? Well, a wonderfully rhythmic band that just about everyone should listen to. Frequenting the likes of Corp and The Washington, Baba Naga are well known around these parts.
Iron Sphincter, The Zombie Band, claim to clone dead musicians and eat them (because, zombies). Through this tried and tested method, they glean the musicians’ fantastic talents. Whether or not you believe clone flesh holds the secrets to rock mastery, you should listen to this band. With nicknames like El Lardo Infecto and, em, Helmet, these guys bring their own unique version of music to the Sheffield stage. Of course, this band is a tongue-in-cheek one, and so most people should be able to appreciate it.
The Hosts play stripped back indie music – an old-fashioned genre that few people can pull off. Over the years, these guys have been featured on the likes of 6 Music. If you haven’t caught one of their local gigs, yet, you may well have heard one of their tracks on the radio. Last year, they released their debut album, Softly, Softly, which has already proved very popular. With album number two in progress, we can’t wait to see what they do next.
Samuel Taylor has been making and playing music for all his adult (and teen) life. From being the frontman of Dead Like Harry to playing as part of a duo, you may have seen him in many a guise. Right now, he’s going it alone and working on a series of original EPs as he travels around the country. As yet, he’s received support from the likes of Steve Lamacq and Graham Norton on Radio 2. As singer-songwriters go, you won’t find many to rival him.
It’s personal preference, but I’m by no means a folk fan. Oh no. When I first saw this band, though, they managed to convert me, a non-believer. Matt Taylor and Alice Faraday make a formidable team when it comes to songwriting, and Anytown is musical proof of that. If you enjoy rhythmic ballads and soft rock, you ought to head to one of their gigs and check them out. Each song tells its own tale and lyrically, these guys can’t be beaten.
Next up, we have disco-pop band, The Gentlemen. Often compared to the likes of The Killers, these guys were well-known around Sheffield for their lively gigs. In their time, they toured with massive bands, such as The Feeling and also often gigged alone. Last year, the band split – a move which tour the heart out of many a fan. Sad faces all around?
And now, for a bit of post-rock. This instrumental rock quartet released their first album back in 2011. Since then, they have regularly played gigs around the city and gained quite a cult following. With recommendations from both Prog Magazine and BBC Radio Sheffield, this band are certainly worth catching if you get a chance.
Seven Tors play many an instrument, most notably a ‘shay egg’. If you haven’t heard about this band just yet, where on earth have you been? Playing upbeat, rhythmic electronic folk music, these guys offer a welcome break in the massive indie scene of Sheffield. The quintet consists of four girls and one guy, and their music style is poppy on occasion, but don’t let that put you off. Seeing these guys live is always a joyous thing so you might as well do it!
Friends of Batman
What can I say about Friends of Batman? Well, they’re awful. At least, that’s what they’d have you believe. In fact, they actively encourage this type of abuse all the time. When I asked one of the members what I should write about them, he flippantly replied, “Oh, just say we’re terrible”. It’s not true, though. With comedy rock songs, outlandish outfits and some good old-fashioned swearing, these guys put on one hell of a show. Sadly for Sheffield, the band have now ceased to be. Watch this space, though… Word has it there might be a spin off with Terry as the new frontman. For now, you can relive the magic of FoB via gig videos on YouTube. Ah, memories.
Main image: Dead Like Harry