Spinning Platters Picks Six: English bands that should be more popular in the US

by Tony Butterworth on October 14, 2009

Here to entertain!

Here to entertain!

Nothing too spectacular here: if you’re looking for groundbreaking bands you may be in the wrong place.  This is a simple list of six English bands that I love but that have made little-to-no impact across the Atlantic here in the US.  They mostly share a bouncy guitar based pop/rock sound and, to some degree, a sense of pseudo punkishness.

Kaiser Chiefs
Perhaps the most well known of my list and my personal favorite, currently taking a hiatus after a few years of UK and European domination where they fill stadiums.  Coming from the “other” Yorkshire city that has a music scene (i.e. not Sheffield), this Leeds-based band formed in 1997, but did nothing notable until 2005 and has now released three albums: Employment, Yours Truly Angry Mob and Off With Their Heads, all of which reached number one or two in the UK and at least made the top 100 in the US.

The Kaiser Chiefs:  The Angry Mob

The Rifles
A personal favorite of mine, the bastard offspring of The Jam and Madness, they have barely made a dent even in the UK.  They were formed in a suburb of London in 2003 and have released two great albums: No Love Lost and The Great Escape.  As far as I am aware, neither has been released in the US.

The Rifles:  Peace and Quiet

The Wombats
Coming out of Liverpool, the home of the greatest British band of all (Echo and The Bunnymen of course), The Wombats are the youngsters in this group of bands.  Formed in 2003, they have a strange history of releasing their first two albums–Girls, Boys and Marsupials and The Wombats Go Pop Pop–only in Japan.  2007 finally saw the release of their UK debut The Wombats Proudly Present: A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation which reached #11 in the UK charts.  2009 will see the release of their follow up.

The Wombats:  Lets Dance To Joy Division

Thirteen Senses
Thirteen Senses are the mellow boys in this set.  It’s possible you’ve heard their tunes in TV shows or movies.  Hailing from the Southwest English county of Cornwall they have released three albums: Falls In The Dark, The Invitation and Contact to limited UK success.  Their song “Into The Fire” has, according to Wikipedia, appeared in more than ten TV shows or movies

Thirteen Senses: Into The Fire

British Sea Power

Perhaps the most creative of the bands here, British Sea Power remind me a lot of The Arcade Fire.  With three members hailing from Cumbria the band was formed in the southern beach town of Brighton in 2001.  They have released four successful UK albums (though the latest seemed to stumble): The Fall of British Sea Power, Open Season, Do You Like Rock Music and Man of Aran.

British Sea Power:  No Lucifer

The Pigeon Detectives
The Pigeon Detectives are another young, energetic, guitar-based band formed in Yorkshire. They have released two relatively successful albums in the UK:  Wait for Me and Emergency.

The Pigeon Detectives: This is an Emergency

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Vanessa October 14, 2009 at 10:46 am

I love Kaiser Chiefs and have actually been listening to Pigeon Detectives a lot lately. They are one of those bands I forget about till they come up on my ipod and I remember how great they are.


Dakin October 14, 2009 at 3:29 pm

The weird thing about this list is that it reminds me that I may not always have a good idea of what's not popular here.

But The Kaiser Chiefs, I think they rank pretty well in the over all US popularity charts…


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