Ah, Great Britain: so bad at dentistry, so mysteriously good at predicting future pop stars. You can pretty much set your trend watch to the BBC’s annual Sound Of… poll, as voted for by journos, musicians and bloggers. Previous years’ picks include Adele, James Blake and Frank Ocean, and while 2013’s title went to Haim, runners-up Palma Violets still joined the Haim sisters on the front cover of the NME.
Named after an old-fashioned British candy, the members of this indie-rock four-piece from South East London look like they’d blow their first paycheck on Clearasil and cigarettes—so far, so Arctic Monkeys. But Palma Violets have a sound all their own, even if it has been stitched together from their favorite records. The band’s one and only officially released single, “Best of Friends,” features woozy Spiritualized-style organ, rabble-rousing drum thwacking and background shouting that recalls the Libertines. The songs get their sturdiness from the surprisingly deep, boomy tones of frontman Sam Fryer, his voice a pleasing blend of Birthday Party–era Nick Cave and Joe Strummer.
Cave himself attended a recent Palma Violets show, as did former Suede axman Bernard Butler, and the band has signed to Rough Trade for its 2013 debut, 180. Over and above the hype, Palma Violets bristle with youth—with insouciance and silliness and drunken rage and delight. You don’t need a poll to tell you that’s going to be a good time live.—Sophie Harris
Follow Sophie Harris on Twitter: @SophieMeve