East London Sound

20 East London bands you need to hear now!

Tuesday 17th February 2015

Following the success of our 20 Manchester bands you need to hear now! post and all the great input from our readers surrounding it, we're looking to the capital now, to see what's on offer in the East of London. 

The East of London has given birth to many icons of popular culture. From Alfred Hitchcock to Barbara Windsor, from Vera Lynn to Damon Albarn, from Tesco to Vidal Sassoon. Marc Bolan, David Bowie, David Essex, Steve Marriot, Joe Brown and Shoreditch's finest, Matt Monro all hailed from the East. In more recent years it gave us the Grime scene, Noel Fielding and Russell Brand so it's with great expectations that we ask, which 20 East London artists do you need to hear now?

Here are some of the East London bands and artists that stood out to us: 

Leading on nicely from our Manchester list, Findlay has moved her base of operation from Manchester to Hackney, in London. The North's loss is the South's gain. Arguably quite an established artist these days, Findlay first came to our attention supporting Jake Bugg and performing to a packed out room at Dot to Dot 2013, with her more recent releases such as 'Greasy Love' (see below) hinting toward the world of edgy grown-up pop. You can watch her new risqué video for 'Electric Bones' here.


Signed to Acid Jazz and dominating their local landscape, Dexters probably don't need much introduction to readers here. Their mod-friendly version of indie-Brit-rock has seen them become favourites of the This Feeling scene, delivering what their audience want time after time without quibble or pretensions. Dexters are one of those bands that prove that there are still bands out there - if you look for them! Here's their video for 'Cloudfest', featuring the legend that is Howard Marks.

Skinny Girl Diet
Q: What terrifies the establishment more than a punk band?
A: An all-female punk band of course!

Skinny Girl Diet are one of the best on the current scene. Here's their superb video for 'Nadine Hurley', paying homage to 'Twin Peaks' and its famous eye-patched resident.

The Skints
Contemporary British reggae four-piece, The Skints, have unveiled the first material from their highly anticipated third album, 'FM', in the form of album opener 'This Town' (feat. Tippa Irie & Horseman). Fred Perry Subculture were lucky enough recently to premiere the video, along with some April tour dates.

Cross Wires
Sounding like an angry mix of The Jam and Elvis Costello & The Attractions, Cross Wires are a must for those into the post-punk/new-wave sound. Find their stuff here, and listen to their superb Jammy slice of punk-mod 'Modern Art' below.


Night Flowers
Perhaps surprisingly, the East of London, famed for its noughties grime, is home to a fair amount of 'dream-pop'. A broad term but one often applied to jangly guitar music that might have been put down onto vinyl in the early nineties. Sounding a lot like Gigolo Aunts, Night Flowers are one such dream-pop band, pumping their guitars through just the right dose of fuzz, reverb, chorus and anything else they can plug in. The result is very pleasing to the ear.

Fever Dream
A three-piece who mash their signals to distorted perfection (like Night Flowers, albeit in a much harder angrier manner). Harking back to the halcyon days of shoegaze but sounding equally futuristic, Fever Dream might also come under the umbrella category of dream-pop. That said, there's an elegant punk-like energy and pace here reminiscent of Curve or My Bloody Valentine. To top it all of they have great hair too (see main picture)!

Keeping it dreamy for a moment longer, Tigercats make pure female/male vocal indie pop to die for. As floaty as the first warm lazy afternoon of Summer, but not without a bit of a darkside. Their new single 'Sleeping In The Backseat' (out on Fortuna Pop) features some nice sax and synths, and a stylish yet somewhat gruesome video that you can watch here.

One for the i-D readers of East London. Glitches are a three-piece electro outfit from Whitechapel, putting out impressively 'organic' tunes that stay just out of the shadows of Darkwave. Glitches will, no doubt, soundtrack nights out for beautiful people and 2015 catwalk shows. Check out new track 'Organelles' below. A debut album is in the pipeline.

Nimmo and The Gauntletts
Essentially fronted by Sarah Nimmo and Reva Gauntlett, Nimmo and The Gauntletts are actually a five piece band, who recently got signed to major label (Columbia). Nimmo and The Gauntlets, like Glitches, make carefully considered hybrid hard-pop for fashionable grown-ups to listen to.


Jacob Aria
If Dub-Goth is about to be a thing, then Jacob Aria may be leading the way. Wonderfully dark, expansive electronic landscapes that drop continuously to reveal yet more vast darkness. With church organ synths and haunting high register male vocals 'All The World Is Good' is perhaps the best introduction to his work.

Saint Agnes
"Essentially we’re a dirty blues rock n roll band but with Ennio Morricone flourishes..." - you can read our recent interview with Saint Agnes here.

The band are planning to release a Live EP titled 'Live Under London' (out 9th March), which should be a real treat for the eyes and ears with its accompanying videos directed by Jennifer O'Neill.


Throne's 'Where Tharsis Sleeps' is an epic metal celebration of Sabbath worshipping riffs and proper old-school downer rock. Their video for 'Tharsis Sleeps' won the UKMVA award for best rock/indie music video, and deservedly so, being entirely animated with machine embroidery on to black denim. The results are pretty special - watch below.

Echo Boom Generation
Another East London outfit with a mandate to rock, Echo Boom Generation, make 'boom rock' guaranteed to get the party rockin'. Guitarist, Linda Buratto, recently lent her formidable axe skills to Kate Nash's Girl Gang project, aiming to get women to take up rock n' roll (watch over on Girl Gang TV here).

Heavy Heart
From heavy rock to Heavy Heart. Sounding like something that just missed out on being included on C86 and releasing their own EP on red cassette tape, this male/female duo make heart shaped indie-pop with a high sugar content. And there's nothing wrong with that!

Recently signed to Bella Union, Landshapes cemented the deal by writing and recording a song about geese that migrate to the Moon. It may sound an odd concept, but when you watch the video, with the band's faces painted with green Moongee bills, it should all make perfect sense.

Coming back down to Earth, Sisteray are four London lads with a knack for writing a good guitar song. Rock n' roll with the top button done up. Another one to watch, for members of the This Feeling crowd, and fans of Jake Bugg and the like. Here's one of their more down tempo numbers.


The Capers
Wearing their Brit-pop and heritage influences on their sleeves, The Capers are another contemporary Scooter crowd pleaser. There are definite shades of Ocean Colour Scene and all the mod revival elements that come with it. If you like parkas and roundels this is for you.


Tall Poppies
Representing the modettes on the East London scene, Tall Poppies have a retro vibe that suggests their songs should be listened to on 7 inch vinyl played through portable turntables at picnics. Fronted by Australian twin songstresses, Susan and Catherine, the four-piece band have a new EP coming out later this year, recorded with Paul Tipler (The Horrors, Elastica).

With The Guardian, and Twitter, recently giving us a timely reminder that Nathan Barley is ten years old, it's good to see a band that aren't taking things too seriously. The video for Clubfoot's 'Modern Lifestyle' sees the protagonist take a light-hearted romp through London, ending up in an outfit that wouldn't look out of place on the inventor of the Geek Pie. The song itself is a classy piece of modern indie pop, and many a more successful band would be envious of its entertaining, lively quality. Check out the video below.

To find out more about any of the artists here, simply click on the red band/artist name to link through to their Twitter profile, where you can follow and them to keep track of the next time they'll be playing near you.

We'll have another list for you soon, so until then, KEEP THE FAITH - the bands are out there, and let us know if there's a band that would make a good addition to this list or future lists!

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