Popping back out of the Eastern Europe for a moment, we travel to Austria. The country may be famous for alpine skiing and giving the world the Viennese Waltz, but there’s much more to Austrian music than the powdered wigs of Mozart and Strauss.
Saint Lu may not be one of Austria’s biggest artists, but her solitary album so far is evidence enough for her inclusion onto this list.
A mix between the power of Anastacia and the soulful twangs of the late Amy Winehouse, to say that Saint Lu (aka Luise Gruber) is an engrossing singer is an understatement. When mixed with a rich, nostalgic, 70’s rock backing, her debut self titled album is an absolute triumph.
Despite the critical success of the album, winning a European Border Breaker Award back in 2009 upon its release, it failed to chart at anything higher than number 30 in the Austrian charts. After hearing Saint Lu’s tub-thumping record, the reasons why it failed commercially don’t easily come to mind.
Here’s hoping that her upcoming second album gets Saint Lu the chart success her talent deserves.
Our next stop is a truly experimental one. Soap&Skin may have a hatred of correct spacing, but absolutely sounds like nothing else on this list.
Considered by some as the wunderkind of the Austrian music scene, the experimental music of singer Anja Plaschg shows an artist so deep, pressure resistant submarines might be needed to explore it at times.
Combining her touching and heart-rending vocals with a mixture of classic, stripped back instrumentation and a collection of seemingly random everyday sounds, Spiracle is a touchingly soul-bearing album. Both a massive critical and commercial hit across Europe, it put Soap&Skin firmly on the map back in 2009.
Her second mini-album Narrow, which came out earlier this year and was in part inspired by the death of her father, is no different. Introspective to the limits of acceptable self doubt and reverse-narcissism, Narrow is once again a puzzling yet breath taking record.
Dark and experimental to the absolute limits, Soap&Skin is every bit as thought provoking and captivating as Bjork and Sigur Ros are at their absolute best.
Back to something a little more familiar, we come to The Beth Edges, who offer a slice of indie-pop so fresh and brilliant, Two Door Cinema Club and The Strokes should be looking over their shoulders.
The Linz based four piece have supported groups like The Wombats and Razorlight, and with their infectious brand of supercharged indie, they may have even overshadowed their illustrious set-list fellows.
Having released four EPs in course of two years between 2008 and 2010, the band finally got around to recording an album, with this year’s Blank Coins, Round Dice the fruits of their labour and a fitting return for the group, retaining all of the speed, verve and fun of their previous efforts.
Having picked up a fan favourite FM4 award at the Amadeus Austrian Music awards back in 2010, The Beth Edges are definitely on their way up.
Continuing on the indie train of thought, we close on the weirdly named Francis International Airport.
The Vienna based five piece have so far clocked up three albums, with a fourth currently under construction. If it has the same levels of quality as their third album, 2010’s In The Woods, then it’s a treat worth looking forward too.
With anthemic, moving hooks and rousing rise and falls, Francis International Airport’s latest album In The Woods sounds a million bucks and well worth the digging out. Full of gorgeously complex and elaborate instrumental melodies and stirring vocals, Francis International Airport may just be about to take off in a major way.
Think we’ve ignored your favourite Austrian singer? Let u know in the comments below and spread the knowledge.
FemaleFirst Cameron Smith