Catfish and the Bottlemen
Sounds Like: "Mr. Brightside" racing Vespas with Iggy Pop in the desert at 3 a.m.
For Fans of: Arctic Monkeys, Royal Blood, Jake Bugg
Why You Should Pay Attention: Thus far, that clunker of a moniker — in January, David Letterman couldn't intro them without a massive shit-eating grin — hasn't hampered U.K. alt-rockers Catfish and the Bottlemen. On the sweaty back of fast-talking singer and guitarist Van McCann's unclipped encapsulations of working-class anguish, the band won a label deal with Communion Records, co-founded by Mumford & Sons' Ben Lovett. Then the workaholics submitted three albums worth of material for a five-song EP. Catfish's hard-charging debut LP, The Balcony, was produced by Jim Abbiss (Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian), and rallies 'round the throat-ripping chorus of "Kathleen," which has topped a million YouTube views. After packing in over 100 shows last year, McCann, lead guitarist Johnny Bond, bassist Benji Blakeway and drummer Bob Hall are on a stateside charge leading up to SXSW and Bonnaroo.
They Say: "Kathleen is the reason you start drinking," says McCann. "She's the one you call at three in the morning despite knowing she's the reason you went out drinking in the first place. You go around knowing you shouldn't, and before you know it, she's got your clothes off. She's that kind of person that everyone's been infatuated with — even when they know it's not the right path.
"I'm Northern, so it's hard for people to understand me in London and America. On the first tour we did, people were like [American accent] 'Dude, what's your band called? You guys rock.' I say "Catfish and the Bottlemen." They've had a few drinks. 'Catfish and the what? Boobtrotters?' And we go through like 20 names. We normally get to that point where we're literally sick of repeating it. It's a bad band name, isn't it? The band name is the reason we got our first ever radio play. They opened the email because the name looked so different. I tried to change it, but the label loved it."
Hear for Yourself: "Kathleen" is a smoothed-out garage rock anthem for late-night Snapchat sessions. By Reed Fischer