Welcome to Label Picks for New Music. Every fortnight we invite a label to pick one up and coming band on their own label and another not associated with the label. This first edition features Oxford-based Alcopop records where label owner Jack Clothier gives his picks for the best new music.


So...Being an Oxford-based label, I thought what better place to start for my take on this 405 feature. There's so much ace stuff coming out of the region right now worth talking about, and here are two of the front-runners...

Label Picks Ute

We first came across Ute about a year and a half ago, having heard talk of them opening a few key eyes in Oxford – popped to a local show (at The Cellar I think), and were mightily impressed with what we saw. Even in their formative years the beginnings of the epic songs were there, stage-craft was impressive, and you could tell the band were exceptionally talented. We listened, liked, added them to our (usually rather long) one's to watch list and kept tabs until we heard The Gambler EP. Wow. Already having developed a fairly loving relationship with them by then, we'd put them on Oxford shows and a compilation, hearing everything come together on the EP was massive. I'm not going to lie – I wanted to love the record, and by god I did.

It had been worth the wait. Ute had completely developed their own sound. I loved it, because this was like nothing I've really heard before. I put it on in a darkened room turned up full, and the record actually scared me. The culmination of influences is huge! From dark stoner riffs, to angelic melody-drenched vocals – Ute have it all, and it's bewildering in its beauty. One minute they scream about ice cream murders, the next it's all lush and tender. Plus they're awesome chaps, which drew us too them in a big way – and we're looking forward to much more a-coming.

You can hear more of Ute here

crumpled-paper copy Gunning for Tamar

Again, lovely guys and a band well worth watching out for, Gunning for Tamar have really nestled in the warm bosom of good pals Walnut Tree Records – and its a good thing too, because their debut EP 'Deaf Cow Motel' is a stormer. Big, brash guitar work undulates through this record, and with vocals that bring to mind a bit of My Vitriol (or is that just me) these guys are just intensely listenable.

I first came across GFT quite by chance supporting another band in Oxford, was suitably impressed with their sound and crowd-pulling potential to book them soon after, and steadily like this band more with every listen. I'm listening to their new EP as I write, and you know – it definitely has hints of My Vitriol! It's emotive stuff, there's hooks galore and you can imagine this literally exploding in the right kind of sweaty club.

I challenge you to listen to the chorus of German Treasure Island and not run around punching the air... Go on, try it!

You can hear more of Gunning for Tamar here