1. The Kurws
Probably Poland’s most energetic rock band at the moment, they mix garage and punk music with NYC-born no wave. There is nothing monotonous or predictable about their sound. Along with guitar and drums, their unique sound is produced by a bass clarinet and a tenor saxophone. Their quirky cassette and vinyl covers are illustrations by the comics artist Janek Koza. The U.S. label Bat Shit Records recently released their debut on vinyl. "The perfect album to complement a world where the Dead Kennedys are better off without Jello Biafra and a Glenn Danzig that resembles the late, great Sam Kinison" as they tout the disc. The first batch of LPs sold out immediately.
2. The KDMS
At times they sound as if they have just played at a New York club in the 1980s, at others the duo creates instrumental house, or they turn towards the dirty, digital sound of nu disco. In a nutshell, they know no boundaries when it comes to mixing club music genres. See their profile on Culture.pl.
3. Enchanted Hunters
Their dreamy acoustic songs bring to mind Northern American folk divas and bards, and U.S. psychedelic bands at the same time. Arrangements of their musical miniatures – songs usually last about 2 and a half minutes, with the longest around 4 minutes – are modest and imaginative, and owe much to the flute, rendering the atmosphere of their music unreal, introducing an air of fairy-tale magic. See their profile on Culture.pl.
4. Ed Wood
Musical fury and dirt in one: redirected guitars, buzzing and humming clamour led by Kuba Ziołek’s melancholic and wailing voice. Ed Wood is only one of Ziołek’s bands - he plays black metal, folk with the band Stara Rzeka/Old River and performs with T’ien Lai who find musical inspiration in Jewish mysticism. In one sentence, Ed Wood reveals the brutal side of Polish music.
The three artists Ola Rzepka, Magda Turłaj and Zosz Chabiera stand out for their untamed energy and unusual selection of instruments. To record their CD, they used a set of Soviet Venta church organs, an out-of-tune piano, violins and a zither, to name a few. Moreover, their particularly colourful lyrics might even make you want to learn Polish.
The band was hand-picked by the godmother of experimental music, Mary Anne Hobbs, champion of the dubstep and grime genres. They play on the trumpet, the gramophone, synthesizers and samplers. Their music is driven by free improv. Though it refuses to be pigeonholed, their music is currently leaning towards hip-hop and dub.
Their contemporary jazz strives to reduce form while staying improvised. They closely collaborate with bassist and composer Joshua Abrams, who has been in the thick of Chicago's vibrant music scene for 15 years. The fact that they are the first European artists to be released by the legendary Delmark Records - one of the oldest independent jazz labels in the U.S. - is recommendation enough.
8. RSS B0YS
There is a trend among contemporary electronic musicians to remain anonymous – the artists behind Burial and Drexciya to name only two. RSS B0YS is another mysterious duo who supposedly met during a trip to Africa. All we know is that they record for the record label mik!musik. Their heavy, thick, rhythmical music heads towards electro, sometimes house and techno.
The duo from Poznań (Robert Piernikowski and Marek Karolczyk) creates experimental music that is caught between electronica and hip-hop acoustic. Unsettling musical textures come together with varied styles of rap performance. Their live acts brought audiences at Barcelona’s Primavera Sound and the renowned Texas festival SXSW to life. Their most recent release, Kultur Shock, has been described as "a clash between loud western culture and undefined central and east Europe. [...] Humbling, synth buzzing, vinyl crack, field recording of non existing places sings and undefined Hip Hop verses". They recorded one piece with Dälek – the forefather of the merge between experimental music and hip hop.
10. Warsaw Village Band
A band that uses influences from traditional Polish music to create, as the New York Times put it, "cutting vocals, meshed fiddles, trance echoes and eerie percussive sounds" and prove that the whole world is a global village. Their other inspirations include the Pakistani qawwali master Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, the Sex Pistols, Bob Marley and Mari Boine, the Norwegian musician known for having added jazz and rock to the traditional Sami songs called yoiks - and for playing Muddy Waters.
On the 8th and 9th of June 2013, a lineup of other independent Polish bands - Pussykrew, Demolka, Kapital, Wilhelm Brass, Etamski and others - play at the LDZ festival on Łódź. For more information see: LDZ
Author: Filip Lech, translated and edited by MJ 28.05.2013
Thumbnail credit: KDMS, photo: courtesy of the artists