“I just want to be your Demi Moore,” implores a fully-clothed Alex Rice in a swimming pool in the music video for Sports Team’s single “Kutcher” with his backing band—also in a swimming pool—doing their best to keep up with the charismatic vocalist. The rest of the video depicts the singer over-projecting the track’s lyrics from a phonebooth, in the laundromat, and while jogging through the park—as it turns out, dude really wants to be your mid-naughties MTV star. An extremely British Andrew Savage with moves ragging on Jagger, Rice always seems to be the center of attention in a band of blokes who are anything but wallflowers.
Yet Sports Team are hardly the only band standing out in their native U.K. at the moment—they’ll be the first to tell you that. As they navigate their first U.S. tour, the six-piece have compiled a crash course in their homeland’s new wave of rock and rap artists who, for the most part, have yet to make a splash across the pond. Below are ten tracks for which Ashton Kutcher has nothing on.
Sports Team’s brief U.S. tour will begin on the West Coast with a June 14 show at San Francisco’s Popscene and a June 17 stint at LA’s School Night, closing with a June 20 show at Brooklyn’s Elsewhere. More info and ticket links can be found on their website.
Ugly, “The Last Supper at The Regal Wetherspoons”
The first band we put out on our record label, Holm Front—and not just because they also met in Cambridge. Shimmering, jangly guitar melodies meet singer Sam Goater’s King Krule-esque croon.
Working Men’s Club, “Bad Blood”
A gang of teenagers from Hebden Bridge churning out the best new wave music you’ve heard for years. With close ties to The Orielles, there’s clearly something in the water in Halifax.
Blue Bendy, “Closing Sound”
A south London sextet with only a single song to their name online that we played with at a So Young Magazine night at the Five Bells pub. The closest thing you’ll get to Morrissey in New Cross.
Just Mustard, “Pigs”
Ethereal shoegaze from Dundalk, Ireland, that sucks you in with sweet vocal hooks and spits you out with industrial post-rock squall. Their maiden London show at Bermondsey Social Club earlier this year was the loudest thing I’ve heard for ages.
Leftfield experimental duo blending string arrangements, oddball techno, and god knows what else. Sounds like a record [songwriter Rob Knaggs] showed me called The Ann Steel Album transplanted into the future.
His debut album might be called Nothing Great About Britain, but the Northampton rapper still finds ways to celebrate the mundane—something we try to do with our own lyrics. [Keyboardist Ben Mac] has been playing this a lot in the van, and he’d be mad if I didn’t include it.
Do Nothing, “Gangs”
New band from Nottingham. Shades of LCD Soundsystem as languid vocals unfurl over angular guitar and driving basslines.
Holiday Ghosts, “Booksmart”
Unabashed rock n’ roll from Cornwall in the mould of bands like The Nerves, The Velvet Underground, and The Clean. They joined the bill one of our first proper ticketed shows in an East London venue called Birthdays last year, and we’re all big fans.
Hotel Lux, “English Disease”
An ode to the England you don’t see in the tourist guides, apt for your local pub jukebox after one too many. Produced by Dave McCracken, the man behind our first EP, Winter Nets.
Sorry, “2 Down 2 Dance”
Genre-crossing Domino-signed London band often lumped in with their peers south of the Thames, despite sounding nothing like them. Have no idea what their debut album’s gonna hold, and can’t wait.