Now when I say performance groups, I don’t just mean boy bands—I mean bands, collaborations, and anything that involves multi-instrumentalists involved in a project. This newfangled obsession is also the reason why many alternative groups have received recent mainstream success: Imagine Dragons, New Politics, Capital Cities, and slowly but surely Walk The Moon. There’s not a day that goes by where I do not hear Radioactive/Harlem/Safe&Sound in heavy rotation on Top-40 POP radio.
We in the indie community have always embraced the band, so that phenomenon is not new to us. Successful solo artists are rare in the genre: they are few are far apart. What is now emerging in indie music is a new wave of the British Invasion. This time, it is more of a British Commonwealth Invasion, since the American music scene has become obsessed with artists from the many nations of the commonwealth. Some examples include: the continuing success of Canadians Tegan and Sara, the English band The 1975, South African group St. Lucia, Australians San Cisco and Atlas Genius, and of course New Zealander, Lorde. One of these British Commonwealth bands that is currently receiving the full recognition and hype they deserve is BΔSTILLE. The whole IndieBeat team has been raving over them all summer, ever since their Haunt EP was released here in May. I think we can officially call ourselves Stormers, the ever so clever name of the band’s fan base.
Composed of singer Dan Smith, bassist Will Farquarson, keyboardist Kyle Simmons, and drummer Chris Wood, the London band formed in 2010 out of Dan’s (or as the internet knows him, the Ted Mosby lookalike) solo project. The band got its name from Dan’s birthday, which happens to land on the french Bastille Day—hence also the name of the fan base, as in the storming of the Bastille. Clever. They have received major success in the UK, and they are currently invading the US music scene with their single, Pompeii, and their recent US release of their debut album Bad Blood. I don’t use the term invade lightly here, since they sold out their entire US tour before even playing their first show of the tour (we’re sad we couldn’t tickets). I won’t go as far as comparing them to the Beatles, but Bastille’s presence and music has me thinking that they are the closest thing alternative culture has to the British boy band obsession.
"I think we feel kind of constantly surprised and incredibly fortunate to have a fan base at all. Right from the start, we’ve always had people come to our gigs or stumble upon our songs online and I just feel very fortunate for that to have happened. I think most of our fan base has come from word of mouth. Which is really nice cause I feel like a lot of people that engage with our music are quite genuine. We just feel really lucky. Cause it’s nice to see people you’ve never met before and maybe you never will meet, kind of engaging with stuff you just did for fun. I do think the name thing is genius"—via Hello Giggles
"Bastille is quite simply one of the best musical groups I’ve recently discovered. They have a very unique alternative sound not commonly heard in modern music. Full of rhythmic drum beats and thought-provoking lyrics, their music is both haunting and uplifting in equal measure. And Dan Smith’s raspy vocals just take each track to a whole other level" (Broken Headphones, 2013). via iTunes
"Bastille has such a unique sound. Filled with the bass drum beats that we all crave, overflowing with haunting and echoing vocals, combined with inspiring lyrics, Bastille is headed in an upward direction in the music business: (g-fun, 2013). via iTunes.
Just as impressive as their original work is their covers—interestingly, mostly of female voiced pop songs reimagined with indie male vocals and that 'Bastille' sound we all love. Two of my favorites: their take on TLC’s No Scrubs, and this Titanium cover featuring Barnaby Keen Band.
And make it serious, you did Dan! I have more to say on Miley, tha Bastille’s genius here. Did you catch the reference to her father’s Achey Breaky Heart? The genius is self-explained. Instead of bashing Miley, I invite her to put on some clothes and come on over to the indie genre. She’s talented and smart, its just her performance that needs work. As we see here, her work fits in perfectly into alternative culture and it actually sounds better with an indie-rock background sound. If you need more examples, refer to the Little Wrecking Ball, the Mumford mashup, and HAIM’s cover of Wrecking Ball. In other words, amazing job once again Bastille!
My all time favorite cover of theirs will conveniently be included in the group’s upcoming extended deluxe double album All This Bad Blood. The album will contain all the songs from Bad Blood and also rare songs and covers by the boys, set to be released on November 25th.
"All This Bad Blood feels like a complete representation of what we have done so far and what we’d like to do in the future. The first part allows us to properly release the tracks that we love and play live all the time but couldn’t fit on our proper debut. The second part is a mini version of one of our mix tapes which weaves in a couple of new songs that show the extremes of where we’re heading on our next album; one guitar-driven and the other way more electronic."—Dan Smith
That favorite cover by them is actually an infectious mashup of Corona’s Rhythm of the Night and Snap!’s Rhythm is a Dancer.
We leave you with Bastille’s breakout US hit Pompeii, covered by the famous PS-22 Chorus: