The first in a series of articles brings music fans a listed of recommended rock, indie, punk and metal bands to look out for and reminisce over. And what better place to start than by recommending five essential bands and artists beginning with the letter A.
This list is by no means comprehensive and represents only the tastes of the author, but I hope it will inspire you to go out in search of great artists of your own.
At The Drive-In: Perhaps the finest and most influential exponents of the hardcore/screamo scene, At The Drive-In is a truly inspirational act whose legacy continues to affect the rock scene some seven years following their split. Relationship Of Command may well be seen as their seminal work and features such hits as Cosmonaut, Invalid Litter Dept and the world-renowned One Armed Scissor, but earlier works including the Vaya EP and In/Casino/Out represent, in my opinion, the true essence of the band’s unique talent.
Arctic Monkeys: In the face of my other selections, this may well seem a slight mainstream departure, yet the debut album from the Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not – is an essential recording that deserves a place in any music collection. Musicianship that seems to go underrated – in particular from drummer Matt Helders – and the wit and raw lyrics of Alex Turner have spawned a host of imitators, none of which come close to the Sheffield band.
Alice In Chains: Many of us remember the days when all things Seattle graced the radio stations and music channels, and there were certainly a great number of influential and iconic bands from that era. One of those that never seemed to achieve the recognition of the big three – Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam – were Alice In Chains. With guitarist Jerry Cantrell’s dirty, heavy riffs and the nasal vocal style of the late Layne Staley combining in perfect unison, the dark and haunting Dirt remains one of the most compelling albums from the early 1990s.
Alexisonfire: Having only discover Alexisonfire a couple of years ago with the release of Crisis, I was blown away by sheer size of the sound and the excellent vocal interplay. The Canadian band have acquired a reputation for exciting, energy-packed live shows, but if you are unable to see them yourselves, simply plug in your best headphones and experience the bombastic production of the record.
Audioslave: No, they may not have been Rage Against The Machine and no, they may not have been Soundgarden, but the ’supergroup’ that was Audioslave at least managed to produce a great first record. Considering the talent of the rhythm section, it was always going to need a big personality to take on the vocal duties for Audioslave. Fortunately for Tom Morello, Timmy C and Brad Wilk, the mighty voice of Soundgarden was on hand to step up to the plate. And for all the doubters the debut record, let me say one thing: it must’ve worked since even my mum recognises the riff to Cochise!
This provisional list was drawn up from little more than the few bands beginning with A that are currently on my iPod so I implore you to ignore any glaring omissions. As soon as I get the one with the bigger hard drive, there will doubtless be many, many more.