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Welcome back to You Need to Know, the place to find that artist you didn’t know you needed to know until reading this. For this issue, I’ve decided to write about Catfish and the Bottlemen.
A notable step away from Communion’s normal folk-heavy repertoire, Van McCann (vocals & guitar), Billy Bibby (lead guitar), Benji Blakeway (bass) and Bob Hall (drums) make up the oddly named Llandudno foursome Catfish & the Bottlemen, the label’s first indie guitar signing. Already known for their explosive live performances, they spent 2012 hard at work playing over 100 shows. The old-fashioned route of relentless performing in small venues paid off in spring of 2013 as the band were signed to Communion Records, co-founded by Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons, who wasted no time in getting debut single Homesick out in June. From it we learnt that if there’s one thing this band can do it is rock. Homesick very cleverly has a misleadingly tentative and intricate opening; it draws you in. But hang around and these guys burst into life and let it all hang out. You get bags of attitude in Van’s voice and an infectious guitar line all in a jam packed two and a half minutes. It’s an impressive introduction to the quartet who, after a festival slot with BBC Introducing at Reading & Leeds, returned with a second singled entitled Rango. The follow up was more of the same – characteristically brash vocals, piercing guitar riffs and explosive drums. Far from taking a step back and admiring how far they’d come in the past few months the Catfish tour bus hit the road for a massive 24 date UK tour during September and October. Tickets sold fast with credibility coming in the form of name dropping, having toured with The 1975 and much vocal support from The Vaccines after they attended one of their gigs. They are by no means a household name as of yet and haven’t succeeded in the singles charts but they have been appreciated on national radio by the likes of Zane Lowe and Steve Lamacq. Now in 2014, the boys look more promising as ever with further exposure from the likes of XFM. Here’s hoping they’ll find a gap in the Bottlemen diary to write and record some more big tunes to keep us rocking and surely release an album before the year is out. There is a certain charm about the lads and I can’t help but love them. They’re definitely a band to keep an eye out for.