For the members of Gold Key, the imminent release of their debut album ‘Hello Phantom’ marks a new chapter for all involved. With the quartet having previously spent their time in heavier bands such as Gallows, Sikth, Spycatcher and Blackhole, Gold Key sees Laurent “Lags” Barnard, Steve Sears, Jack Kenny and James Leach embrace expansive, harmonious rock with a progressive nod.
It’s clear Gold Key have plenty of experience of life on the road. Add to that the fact that Laurent “Lags” Barnard runs the ever-impressive Venn Records and Steve Sears owns Watford’s Titan Studios, it’s safe to its members have their finger on the pulse on what is happening in the UK rock scene.
On the eve of releasing ‘Hello Phantom’, “Lags” has picked out 5 UK bands to get excited about. Some you may be familiar with, some you might not, either way, Barnard’s choices demonstrate just how good the UK underground is right now.
My girlfriend used to work with Zac and Matt from Weirds back when she was living in Leeds. Weirds were playing the Old Blue Last and she was invited to the show. I tagged along because I’d seen the name around but at the time didn’t know much about the band. I’m so glad I went to the gig! They’re so visceral live. It’s like dirty Sabbath worship meets new wave on acid. I love the video for ‘Valley of Vision’, it’s really simple but perfectly executed.
I had never heard of Muskets until they emailed my label, Venn Records, asking me to check out the EP they had just finished recording. What stood out was how amazing the Brighton band were at writing huge guitar driven songs. A few weeks after first hearing them they were playing in Oxford with another Venn band called Richa. This made it more of an incentive to make the trip and I drove to the show with a friend. The EP they did for Venn is amazing and their new album on No Sleep Records is a belter. We made this video last year and it features Matt King (aka Super Hans from Peep Show).
Muskets actually first told me about Tigercub. Their video for ‘Centrefold’ was my introduction to the band and since discovering it I’ve shown it to so many people. In the video the band are hilarious but the song itself is incredible. They write perfect rock songs and now people are really starting to take notice. I truly believe so many people are going to fall in love with this band. Tigercub are on the verge of something big and I hope they go all the way.
These guys are already getting a lot of attention but if you haven’t heard them yet then what better time than right now. It feels like years since one of my buddy’s told me about them. His description was something along the lines of “a metal version of Weezer”. Their logo won me instantly. Fast forward to 2017 and that friend is now the band’s manager. Puppy are totally slaying it right now. I especially love the song and video for ‘Arabella’. It has hints of Black Sabbath and the video is a spoof of one of my favourite TV shows, ‘Knightmare’. Watch now, thank me later.
These guys are the UK’s answer to Pavement. I guess Eat Me play quirky guitar pop with plenty of sass. Live they’re one of the best bands out there. Incredible musicianship and confidence on stage. Lead singer Jamie makes playing guitar look so easy but when you listen to the tracks they’re so intricate and original. They produce all their music videos themselves and this one includes a bass solo while riding a horse. It has to be seen to believe.
‘Hello Phantom’ by Gold Key is released on 27th October on Venn Records.
Photo Credit: Derek Bremner