Members: Catherine McMahon, Alex Courtley, Nick Westcott, Rob Winter
Sounds Like: Belle and Sebastian, Ben Kweller, The Charlatans UK, Sleeper, The Vaselines
Is the UK a hotbed for great rock and pop artists like it was when The Beatles hit our shores here in the U.S.? Most people that were around during that time would answer that question with a resounding no! It is something none of us shall ever see again because the music industry has changed so much. It takes bands like The Vanderbilts from across the pond to get our attention and remind us of the golden days from the 60's. Their sound is hard to resist, featuring smooth as silk female vocals with music backing them that helps them play the part and get across all the lyrics in a way that endears you to them the second you give it a listen. The wonderful Hammond organ and all the jangling guitars help their cause too. It is nice to hear there are still bands out their that beleive in putting out a clean sound that leaves you wanting for more.
Radio friendly rock-pop is not what you hear on the radio anymore, it is unfortunate for us all that great bands like this are not being recognized for all the talent they possess.
There's no easy genre or musical definition to instantly stick on The Vanderbilts, the South-West London-based band formed in early 2011. While a common passion for Hammond, quirky lyrics and catchy tunes gives the group a distinctly retro and '60s feel, each song draws on several influences to produce a unique sound.
Front woman Cath McMahon grew up on her Stepfather's 60s record collection (Kinks, Beatles, Beach Boys), misspent her teenage years listening to trance and trip hop (Portishead, Leftfield, Massive Attack) but takes most inspiration from classic female singers and songwriters (Carole King, Dusty Springfield, Joni Mitchell).
Meanwhile drummer Nick Westcott's verging-on-unhealthy obsession with 90s rock (Nirvana, Stone Roses, Smashing Pumpkins) and bassist Alex Courtley's country rock leanings (Credence Clearwater Revival, Bob Dylan, The Lovin' Spoonful) underlay the ethereal female vocals with a ballsy beat and groove.
Finally, recent addition Rob Winter (Hammond/guitar) has brought a passion for jazz, funk and soul (Corderoy, Oscar Moore), a few unique dance moves and a whole load of music tech 'geekery' to the band – completing the eclectic feel.
After spending a solid few months writing and perfecting their repertoire (and playing their first gig) at a furniture shop in Fulham in 2011, The Vanderbilts started gigging and have already been in demand at some of London's top venues (Dublin Castle, The Good Ship, Monte Water Rats, Tooting Tram & Social), building up a loyal London fanbase in the process.
With a new batch of songs freshly recorded, the band are now planning to take their eclectic sound to the rest of the country, film their first music video and busy lining up gigs for the rest of the year.
What they're saying:
"Big Clint Boon swirl of 'Hammond'… low key 60s beat pop with
rather Sleeper chick vocal, nice."
"Elegant yet haunting vocals over hammond tinged hook laden songs make up the curiously addictive sound of The Vanderbilts."