Razor Sharp Riffs and Gen-Z Angst: Bristol's Best Student Bands

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By Katie Hubbard, Second Year Geography

Epigram Music delve into Bristol’s thriving student music scene and introduce three new bands to sink your teeth into; if you like youthful anarchism and adrenaline fuelled guitar then look no further…

The New America

Drawing influences from Shame, Mission of Burma and Bristol music royalty Idles, The New America certainly indulge in some of the noisier elements that music has to offer. Consisting of University of Bristol Philosophy students Zac, Oli, Tom and UWE Law student Cam, the self-described ‘scuzzy noise rock band’ have been gaining attention in the Bristol music scene recently. The band are signed to Mighty Atom Smasher Records with two singles ‘That wasn’t the Deal’ and recently released ode to Bristol ‘I love where I live’ being available on all good streaming platforms. The band make music that wouldn’t sound out of place as the soundtrack to an angsty American teen film (think a millennial remake of Heathers) with latest single ‘I love where I live’ combining a stomping drum beat with a hooky guitar riff and The Cribs inspired vocals.

Claiming to have met ‘under a bridge at midnight on the winter solstice of 1996’, the quartet explain how being in the band has helped as an outlet from university stress and that after taking a break they ‘end up feeling terrible until we get back to doing band stuff.’ When asked about how they have been received as a new group in the Bristol music scene they explain that ‘we’re really lucky to be in Bristol because it’s got loads of small-to-midsized venues so you get the chance to play with a really wide variety of bands.’ They have recently supported the brilliantly named Dead Naked Hippies and Straight Girl at The Mother’s Ruin and were set for an equally busy few months ahead with many gigs lined up before Coronavirus struck.

With two excellent singles under their belt and reports of a very good live show to boot, it’s clear the noisy, hardworking friends are set for a very exciting year.

For fans of Shame, Idles, DIIV, Pixies, Yak

Describe their sound as ‘Like being punched in the face and liking it’

Listen to ‘I love where I live’ and ‘That wasn’t the deal’

The New America - I Love Where I Love

Bosh Face

Bristol five-piece, Bosh Face, comprise of a range of engineering, medicine, economics and English students. Meeting through University and Facebook - the band started out last year by ‘jamming in the Badock music room’ and have since progressed into their current form of alternative and psychedelic groove rock. Their unusual moniker results from endless lager-soaked night and ‘drunken talk’ (surely how all good bands names are formed?).

The genre bending musicians draw inspiration from a range of sources with guitarist and vocalist Ollie telling me that they all have different personal influences and that this variety helps them to be even more original. Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Parcels and Radiohead were cited as just a handful of their main influences.

Despite only having had limited gigging experience, the band have been excelling in the past few weeks and months; winning LiveSoc’s Battle of the Bands at the Fleece, being featured on BBC Radio Bristol and recording new music at Exaudium studios which they describe as ‘crazy’ and a ‘dream come true’.  The chance to record more music is an exciting prospect for the band whose single ‘Air’ was recorded in frontman Alex’s bedroom. The cinematic track indulges in intricate melodies with a funk inspired bass line and ‘groovy moments’ demonstrating the groups wide range of musical influences.

The close-knit group explain how they have found the Bristol music scene to be ‘very accommodating’ with people being willing to ‘have complete unknowns on.’ One thing’s for sure, after the few weeks they’ve had - Bosh Face certainly won’t be classed as ‘complete unknowns’ anymore.

For fans of Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Radiohead, Parcels

Describe their sound as ‘Fusion between melancholic and groovy’

Listen to ‘Air’ (on SoundCloud)

Rose Ocean

Many Stoke Bishop residents might recognise this tuneful alternative indie band. Rose Ocean, comprising of members Freddie, Sam, Jamie and Ben were formally called The Esponas and put on some very successful gigs at Durdham and Wills hall last summer covering indie and pop punk classics. The upbeat group have now decided to focus on writing, performing and recording their own music (hence the name change). The entirely self-taught band write tuneful alternative indie treats that sometimes rage with a 90s Seattle-influenced grunge gnarl (most likely resulting from lead guitarist Jamie’s love of Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana).

Featured Image: Rose Ocean/Facebook

The group cite indie royalty Catfish and the Bottlemen and The 1975 amongst their influences. The varied taste within the group is demonstrated best when asked what song they would play at pres with answers varying from The Stone Roses, to Thornhill, Blink 182 and Mongolian metal throat-singing band The Hu.

The group have been making waves recently, finishing as runner up at Battle of the Bands (behind Bosh Face), being interviewed by BBC Bristol and having their debut radio play with single ‘The View’. Harnessing their current momentum, the group are arranging to record their debut EP as we speak. When asked of future goals, the ambitious band explain how playing at The Fleece was their original goal so they now need to aim higher, with drummer Ben stating their new aim should be to ‘play at 02 academy’. With their current trajectory, it doesn’t seem like that will remain as just a goal for very long.

For fans of Catfish and the Bottlemen, Bloxx, High Tyde, Jaws

Describe their sound as ‘Upbeat tuneful indie with a hint of grunge’

Listen to ‘The View’ (Link on Rose Ocean Facebook page)

Featured Images: The New America/Facebook and Bosh-Face/Facebook

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