Coastal Cities
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Coastal Cities

High Wycombe, England, United Kingdom | INDIE

High Wycombe, England, United Kingdom | INDIE
Band Alternative Rock




"New Waves"

If twitchy, nervy guitars and yelping vocals out of the school of 80’s post-punk / new wave jibber jabber are your thing then you’ll love Coastal Cities.

We’ve already featured this band briefly in a blog post concerning The Record of the Day Awards, but now we’re expanding this coverage. Coastal Cities are a five-piece out of High Wycombe (a town not known for its musical heritage except possibly for the delivery of synth pop wizard Howard Jones to the public’s ears 25 years ago) and have already created some small scale buzz online. US boutique label / blog Neon Gold have called them ‘the UK’s next bright young things’ and posted their key track Think Tank, as an exclusive. We’re not sure about how exclusive a song is that’s been up on Soundcloud for 8 months and had already been posted by another U.S blogger a week before - but let’s not get pedantic about these things – nobody actually cares about who posted a track on a blog first except for a few competitive bloggers themselves looking for bragging rights or validation from their peer group.

So why the buzz? Certainly part of it is because the bands snappy, agitated songs have a similar appeal to the likes of Two Door Cinema Club, Foals, The Drums and early Bloc Party. Then when you listen to No Room For Heroes amongst the smooth simple synths and picky guitar work you can hear the occasional boy-shout that isn’t that dissimilar to Los Campesinos! We mention The Drums in that list of references, and this is highly relevant as it seems that The Drums themselves are fans of Coastal Cities, having tweeted their enthusiasm for this new group from across the pond.

It’s not just the bands frank indie sound that grabs the attention though. It’s also the fact that Coastal Cities display a collective unison that all the best groups possess. Watch the way their heads and bodies bob as one in the video to Think Tank and you’ll see what we mean.

Coastal Cities may not be the most original of bands, but their musical vision is tight and could easily have kids all over the UK pulling awkward shapes on the cider splashed dance floors of indie clubs across the country. The single Think Tank is released on December 5 and the band play a show at London’s Bull and Gate on Nov 28 to celebrate. - Breaking More Waves

"Coastal Cities"

If like me, your adolescence was sprinkled with a hefty degree of expansive indie, then waifish indie scamps Coastal Cities may well be hurtling towards your radar. Residing out of High Wycombe, this quintet purveys all the aesthetics that smattered my stereo on a regular basis back then. Songs such as ‘Think Tank’ sound like a hybrid Good Shoes/ The Drums composition for the skinny-jeaned generation. It’s a hailstorm of indie pop cultivated and duly ready for the dance floor.

Coastal Cities have successfully melded an amalgamation of musical influences together to create this infectious and hooky buoyant indie-dance worthy of haunting most club nights DJ set. It’s basically, a call to arms to make your bones dance and throw your lager and black about irrepressibly. - Shout 4 Music

"Free Music - Coastal Cities"

Detention isn't exactly the first place you'd expect to form a band- it usually just reminds us of The Breakfast Club- but that's exactly what happened with Coastal Cities.

After three of the members first met in school time-out back in 2009 and discovered their mutual music obsession, this U.K. indie rock group was officially born. Now up to five members total, the guys (who are all around 17), are gearing up to release their debut EP.

Taking cues from '80s icons like The Smiths and Joy Division, Coastal Cities weaves dance beats seamlessly into surf melodies and soulful vocals for a result that sounds a little bit like what you'd find if The Drums performed on a cloudy English beach...but hey, who says that has to be a bad thing?

Download their new single "No Room for Heroes" below and let the party begin. - Nylon

"Coastal Cities"

We simply cannot consider what Foals, or Bloc Party, or The Libertines would have sounded like if they weren’t from the UK. It’s just impossible to imagine isn’t it? Totally impossible. There’s something especially British about them. You can say the same thing for lots of bands through history. The Smiths simply couldn’t come from San Francisco could they? What about The Specials, or Metronomy, or Roni Size, or Radiohead? No chance, they’re all very, very British. However, they also sound very different from each other, so you can’t tie a theme together. It seems that there’s no British theme. It’s most likely a reflection of the variety of cultures and differing cities and landscapes found upon our small island. If nothing else, we’re a diverse bunch.

So we turn our attention to today’s recommendation and once again we hear a sound that could only have been created within our borders. Coastal Cities are a relatively new five-piece who plan to release their debut EP, Think Tank, on December 5th. They come from High Wycombe and we can only assume that the moniker they’ve selected perhaps reflects the dreamers they appear to be, as their home is very much a town, not a city, that’s landlocked and in no way coastal. Perhaps it’s that ‘High Wycombe’ simply isn’t a suitable band name; it’s certainly not quite as catchy is it? Either way, the teenage group – they’re all said to be under 20 years old – deliver some rather brilliant and enticing music that will see their appeal stretch out far beyond their town’s borders and who knows in this online world, perhaps beyond the UK’s edges too.

The likes of the influential Neon Gold music blog, the New york band, The Drums, and even some French music commentators, such as Les Inrockuptibles and Le Figaro picked up on them before any UK blogs, eventually resulting in them playing a gig in Paris before they’d even performed in their own capital. It seems the foreign obsession with UK-produced music is sometimes paying more attention than those of us who call Britain home! We’ve been informed that they found their local scene’s cliques uninviting, which only served their desire to escape the suffocation that an unacceptable community can create – is their anything worse than an uncomfortable home life? As we see on this debut EP this is a band that have now found the air their creativity needed in order to breathe.

Comparisons to early Foals will inevitably bounce around, as they deliver the same post-punk-inspired ingredients, with not only the spiked guitars, but Declan Curran’s vocals, sung with his English accent intact, that undoubtedly refelect Yannis‘ yelps. Opening track on the EP and the first to get them the early online coverage, Think Tank, begins with Sean Semmons’ guitars dancing up the neck. Notes are played independently of each other, as rapid bass rolls and light, sprinting beats are introduced at a relentless pace, only to pause mid-song for what feels like a breather, before racing to the finish line. It’s as light-footed as a centipede walking up the fret board, but youthful and bright. The only negative is that all the light they’ve successfully stored up seems to be somewhat dulled by it’s lack of originality. This is very Foals. The genre of math rock was a hit a few years ago, but now it’s lost it’s ingenuity, hence the gear shift on the last Foals album. However, when it’s this good, it’s still impressive and they may yet learn to evolve it like Two Door Cinema Club did so successfully in more recent times.

The lyrics are also a bit of a square wheel – we’ve no still idea what a ‘think tank’ is – but the stories of love give a heart to this otherwise spiked music. No Rooms For Heroes sings, “It’s your heart that makes me feel, it’s your heart that makes me real“, which feels a little teenage, but on other tunes you get healthier signs. Night School isn’t just utterly brilliant, with what sounds like a million notes all folding in upon themselves in an impossibly great set of riffs, but we get Declan repeating the line “We can learn to handle each other“, which could just as much be speaking to the listener, as their journey is ultimately an enjoyable one by the EP’s end. Two instrumental tunes Transgression, which continues the signature math rock breathlessness, in the same way Not Squares burst with pogo-ing energy is a delight, whilst Infinite Mind shows a mature beauty that can only be found when you take your time.

The world evolves at an ever increasing pace and it’s virtually impossible to keep up, so we can’t suggest that math rock is still particularly current, neither has it been so long since it’s hey day to consider re-visiting it. However, when you remove the judgemental goggles of time and relevance what we actually have here is a set of young creative artists that have produced an EP of such skillful design that it simply cannot be ignored. The new demos are just as breezy too, with Relief proving a particularly tall spire, so the career they’re building seems set on solid foundations and it’s not your starting point, but the path you set out on that will ultimately decide your destination. Nobody else but us Brits can make this style of music and this band are a particular highlight among the many pretenders. In a global community, where the traditional industries have all but left Britain in search of cheaper foreign labour, it’s good to see that the UK is still the manufacturing capital of the world when it comes to this style of indie. (MB) - The Recommender

"Too Much Time To Think"

If you haven't heard, Coastal Cities are the UK's next bright young things, still in high school (or "college" for our transatlantic readers) and already causing a stir with debut single "Think Tank". Following in the footsteps of their underage predecessors Egyptian Hip Hop, these five 17-year olds are part of that new wave of '80s revival outfits bringing danceable shoegaze back to life in a whole new way. As unabashed loyalists of Joy Division and The Smiths, we were starting to get pretty fed up with the interminable number of generic "Curtises" and "Morrisseys" being shoved in our faces, but Coastal Cities shed all that hairy pretension and just riff the fuck out. "Think Tank" successfully bridges together the sunny disposition of The Drums (who are unsurprisingly big fans of Coastal Cities already) with the neurotic hooks of Foals and the serrated, driving guitars of The Maccabees. As the emotion sinks in deeper with each line's rehearsal and repetition, it all culminates in a very Two Door Cinema Club-esque breakdown that wills you out of your sneakers and boots and right into your dancing shoes. - Neon Gold

"Our Favourite 5 Songs of the week"

Coastal Cities, "Think Tank"
"I love you but I really don't like you," croons Coastal Cities frontman Declan Cullen on the debut single from this U.K. breakout quintet. These five friends (who are all about 17!) first met in arguably the most creative place to form a band... school detention. Two years and a couple of buzzy tracks later, they're finally gearing up to release a highly-anticipated EP. Sure, The Smiths comparisons are inevitable- but with the beachy-pop melodies of groups like The Drums combined with Two Door Cinema Club-style jangly guitar riffs and twinkly beats, it sounds like a winning combination. Better make room for a new band crush. LD
- Nylon


Think Tank EP (Dec 2011)

Played by Huw Stevens (Radio 1), Steve Lamacq (BBC 6Music and Radio 2), Chris Hawkins (BBC 6Music), John Kennedy (XFM) amongst others.

EP can be streamed here:



Coastal Cities are a fresh indie-dance band comprised of five teenagers from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. The “Think Tank” EP is their first release available digitally since 5th December. The EP was recorded at their local Studio 91 on the old Greenham Common Airbase near Newbury.

Declan (guitar/vocals), Sean (guitar) and Lewis (drums) met in school detention during the Summer of 2009 and at once discovered a mutual love of music as well as a shared lethargy with the pop-punk/hardcore bands that dominated the local music scene. The three started practicing together in Lewis' dad's garden shed (where they still rehearse today and also shot part of the video for Think Tank) and after recruiting Dan (bass) and William (keys) Coastal Cities was formed.

Inspired by The Smiths, Joy Division and other 80's New Wave bands, but also by dance music and the musical chemistry they discovered between them, Coastal Cities set out to make music people like them could relate to, and dance to. By playing local shows and house parties for friends they quickly created a niche that felt a long way from a local scene they found cliquey and uninviting. The name they chose reflected this. Originally suggested by a friend it sounded nothing like the bands they were keen to separate themselves from but also hinted at places a long way from their hometown.

However, it was when they posted songs on Soundcloud that people (a long way) away from High Wycombe really started to take notice. The Drums tweeted that they couldn't stop listening to the song "Think Tank" and out of the blue, French music bible Les Inrockuptibles posted about the band on their website calling the same song "irresistible". Le Figaro followed suit posting about “Night School” which all lead to the band playing live in Paris even before they had played a show in their own capital city.