(SXSW 2015 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #331: Pale Seas

By on Friday, 23rd January 2015 at 12:00 pm

Header photo by Hollie Fernando

Southampton dream pop quartet Pale Seas formed in 2011, when frontman Jacob Scott was inspired to drop out of university and follow his songwriting muse. Their first studio endeavour resulted in a single, ‘Something or Nothing’, which was released in March 2012 and received radio attention from BBC Introducing later that year. On the strength of that single, the band played their first headline tour as well as landing support slots with The War on Drugs, Beach Fossils, The Lemonheads, and TGTF favourites Stornoway.

They quickly recorded a follow up, the double A-side single ‘Bodies / My Own Mind’ with producer Paul Butler (The Bees, Devendra Banhart, Michael Kiwanuka), who contributed a tapestry of “thick, luscious soundscapes” to fortify the wistful melancholia of Scott’s songs. The single was released in September 2012 with the assistance of Communion Records, and ‘Bodies’ kickstarted Pale Seas’ ascent, garnering over one million online plays.

In their brief history, the band have already faced a couple of lineup changes, including the departure of Scott’s former girlfriend and backing vocalist Zealah Isabella Anstey and the addition of drummer Will Hilliard. Having apparently settled in their current incarnation (Scott on lead vocals and acoustic guitar, Graham Poole on lead guitar, Matthew Bishop on bass and Hilliard on drums), the band recorded their first EP ‘Places to Haunt’ with Butler once again at the production helm and Poole and Bishop collaborating on the songwriting. The EP, which features guest vocals by Alessi’s Ark, was released in August 2014 via Native Pop and includes the following track ‘Evil is Always One Step Behind’.

After spending the better part of the last 4 years establishing themselves as a band and cementing the direction of their sound, Pale Seas are poised to make a mark on the indie music scene in 2015. Their scheduled trip to SXSW 2015 in Austin in March is their only announced live appearance since their UK tour in October of last year, but I predict that we’ll see more of them, either on stage or in the form of their anticipated debut album. Just below, you can watch the video for ‘Blood Return’, which is taken from that effort.

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