The Guide #89: We asked artists to help you find your next favourite band
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The Guide #89: We asked artists to help you find your next favourite band

Nov 20, 2023

In a new Guide feature, we hand the mic to musicians and let them pick the new, exciting music you should be listening to – from exuberant alt-pop to a vocoder-helmeted virtuoso

This week something a bit different: the first in what, hopefully, will be a semi-regular music feature that we’re calling Six Degrees of Band Separation. The premise is simple: we ask a group or artist to recommend another group/artist, who recommend another, who recommend another and so on, with the end result hopefully being that we uncover a load of new and exciting music to listen to.

First up are Brighton five-piece Squid. You might remember them from their debut album Bright Green Field, a squall of Death From Above-style dance-punk and experimental noise rock that got a lot of love when it was released in 2021. They’re back with a new album, O Monolith, which is a bit of a leap forward – denser and more tuneful, adding pastoral folk and a bit of prog into the mix. (Check out epic new six-minute single The Blades, whose music video features Fresh Meat and Ghosts star Charlotte Ritchie).

Naturally, Squid's tastes are pretty eclectic, and their chain features everything from exuberant alt-pop to muted ambient soundscapes and a bloke who dresses as a space druid. Here's what they recommended:

Squid recommend ICHIGO EVIL

"Ichigo Evil are the mad combination of The Evil Usses – an incredibly smiley Bristolian four-piece making exuberant rock music – and the alt-pop and performance art of Ichi, a homemade inventor of all things weird and wonderful from Nagoya in Japan. Separate artists in their own right, they first joined forces last year for a gig in Bristol and cemented a blooming musical relationship this year through a couple of residencies – PRAH in Margate and The Cornish Bank in Falmouth – which we also had the pleasure of doing. Highlights from that Falmouth set were many but the real standouts were predominantly gymnastic: the length of time that Ichi can hold a handstand (over five minutes!) and the height at which Ichi, The Evil Usses – and the subsequently soaring crowd – could jump."

Watch the video for Ichigo Evil's Nee Naw here

Ichigo Evil recommend PADDY STEER

"Paddy Steer has provided an audacious and unconventional soundtrack to the realm of Evil since we found him. Our encounter with the album Dragon's Breath, serendipitously discovered in a charity shop in Manchester, transformed our van into a perpetual sonic sanctuary. Paddy's lopsided abilities as a one-handed drummer, synth craftsman, costume designer (his cosmic outfits!), polyphonic maestro and vocoder-helmet virtuoso, coalesce in his haphazard but killer live shows and his albums are all phenomenal. Really one of a kind.

Watch the video for Paddy Steer's Unorthodox Paradox here

Paddy Steer recommends SAM MCLOUGHLIN

"My head is currently being cleaned out walking the Camino Frances route [in France] … the last five days of a 450-mile trek (carrying 5kg of clobber, including one spare pair of undercrackers). But I reckon I have enough capacity to champion Sam McLoughlin, AKA Sam and the Plants. He's unassuming, considered, and brilliant in equal measure as songwriter/instrument builder/improviser/natural recordist …. and also, I hear, as an accompanist to Shakespeare theatre shows. He's released a bit on Twisted Nerve and Folklore Tapes – and under various pseudonyms … he just gets on with it."

Watch Sam and the Plants’ Environmental Meditation Music here

Sam Mcloughlin recommends DAVID A. JAYCOCK

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"I first saw David (above, centre) play around 2006 at the Gregson Centre in Lancaster. It was truly haunting and delicate yet intense, I became an instant fan. He was playing material from The Improvised Killing of Uncle Faustus and Other Mythologies, an album of instrumental vignettes that became an all-time favourite. Years later we shared a split release – Inland Water – on the Folklore Tapes label, where we got to explore our shared love of analogue synths and nylon string guitars. Since then, he has gone on to work with many labels and interesting folks like James Yorkston and Marry Waterson (also pictured above) and was nominated for a BBC Two folk award. His new solo record explores a minimal electronic sound, but the unique sense of melody and signature sweet dissonances are still there."

Watch the video for David A. Jaycock's The Murderous Huntsman here

David A Jaycock recommends DAN HAYWOOD’S NEW HAWKS

"I would have to choose Dan Haywood's New Hawks mainly because of their self-titled triple LP, which came out in 2010. Although always a treat to see live, this record captures everything good about Dan and that band. Very original songwriting, livid with ideas that resist categorisation. I think all the songs – 32 in total – were written in some mad dream state frenzy. A definite cult classic."

Watch Dan Haywood's New Hawks's Jackaroos here

Squid's new album O Monolith is released on 9 June.

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Six Degrees of Band Separation Squid recommend ICHIGO EVIL Ichigo Evil recommend PADDY STEER Paddy Steer recommends SAM MCLOUGHLIN Sam Mcloughlin recommends DAVID A. JAYCOCK Privacy Notice: David A Jaycock recommends DAN HAYWOOD’S NEW HAWKS