Famous Bands From Swansea

Famous Bands From Swansea

Swansea may not be internationally famous for its musical output, but delve a little deeper, and you might discover some hidden gems that have sadly been lost to the pop sensations of X Factor in recent years. From classic British rock bands to folk quintets with lush harmonies, what Swansea doesn't have in quantity, it makes up for in quality.

Badfinger were a band who, from their beginnings in the late '60s, courted controversy through their disputes, lineup changes and culminating in a tragic suicide. Forming in Swansea and continuing the British rock tradition, the band went on to sign with the Beatles' Apple Records and had four huge hits in 1970 and 1971. With many of their songs produced by Paul McCartney, Badfinger have followed a stellar British hard-rock and pop lineage, bringing their own brand of fast-paced riffs in combination with catchy vocal melodies reminscent of the Kinks. Despite a tragic end to their career, this band is criminally underrated, check them out as an early indication of what was to come for Swansea's music scene.

Viva Machine are a band who hail from Swansea, and were originally named Ipsofacto, before reinventing their sound and style in 2006, three years after their inital formation. Their eponymous debut album was released in 2009 to positive reviews from critics who praised their catchiness that blended with strong alternative-rock musicianship. Drawing heavily from influences such as Weezer, Queens of the Stone Age and Biffy Clyro, the modern alternative-rock sound remains ever-present in Viva Machine, taking these influences and creating something different and original. Unfortunately, in 2009 the band announces a lengthy hiatus, but who knows, you might see them around Swansea in the near-future!

The Storys are yet another band to add to Swansea's truly diverse music scene, with an innovative blend of close harmonies, country-rock and introspective, singer-songwriter lyricism. Formed in 2003, the band incorporates the instrumentation of the Eagles, but with the divine vocal melodies of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (but fortunately without the bust-ups!). A five-piece, each member of the band takes turns on lead vocals, so there really is something truly exciting about this band, especially considering the producer of their debut album also worked with Kate Bush and Paul McCartney, and the band have worked as support for Elton John.

Rebecca Onslow was born in Swansea and attended the same school as Emma Bunton of the Spice Girls, a taste of the success, and rivalry to come. In 1996, after a successful audition, Onslow became a part of the pop group Solide HarmoniE, the feminine answer to bands such as N Sync and Backstreet Boys. Enjoying what has been called "moderate" success in her home country, the band received a massive following in Germany and the Netherlands, as well as parts of Asia. In 2003, the band tragically split with Onslow pursuing a short solo career while moving to the USA to start a family. Watch this space, however, as Solid HarmoniE announced a reformation and a new album for 2013!

Photography: Christian Bertrand

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