Ex-Cult emerged in 2011 with vocalist Chris Shaw, formerly of hardcore outfit Vile Nation, and drummer Michael Peery, previously with pop rock act The Magic Kids, teaming up as Sex Cult. Natalie Hoffmann came in on bass, and guitarists J.B. Horrell and Alec McIntyre joined in for the band’s breakthrough single, “Errand Boy.” By late 2012, the band had switched gears and taken up the name Ex-Cult. After two LPs and a lineup change, Ex-Cult is heading out on the road in support of its February EP, Cigarette Machine.
Sounds like — Punk
Check out — “Not a Threat”
Formerly of the legendary Lost Sounds, Alicja Trout and Rich Crook are back at it with the reboot Sweet Knives. The band disbanded in 2005 after an ill-fated European tour, leading the late Jay Reatard to embark on a solo venture. Meanwhile, Trout went to work with rock band River City Tanlines and dream pop quintet Mouserocket. Now, Lost Sounds’ synth-heavy legacy is being revived through pop-up shows around town. Hear bites from the group’s reconfigured discography at this year’s Gonerfest.
Sounds like — Punk rock
Check out — “I Get Nervous”
A fixture in the Memphis music scene, Tori Tollison has been playing music for over a decade. Similar in sound to P!nk and Stevie Nicks, the singer-songwriter has a knack for delivering heartfelt pleas mixed with straight-up sass. Although she’s known for cover songs, 2012’s “Bed You Made” and March’s acoustic “Walk Away” prove that Tollison can hold her own.
Sounds like — Rock ’n’ Roll
Check out — “Bed You Made”
Hope Clayburn’s Soul Scrimmage
A revolving door for noteworthy Memphis musicians, the Soul Scrimmage ensemble has featured bassist Khari Wynn, guitarist Robert Allen Parker Jr. and trumpeter Victor Darnell Sawyer. Multi-instrumentalist Paul Taylor of The Merry Mobile and Kickman Teddy of FreeSol have even been known to take up the drums. Led by saxophonist and vocalist Hope Clayburn, the Soul Scrimmage mixes funky vibes with soulful afrobeat style. With one EP out and a full-length album on the way, the group shows no sign of slowing down.
Sounds like — Funk
Check out — “Love Is On The Way”
Bass Drum of Death
Originally a solo effort, the Oxford-based punk rock band has come a long way since John Barrett’s one-man approach to his bass drum and guitar. Barrett’s scrappy self-production offered up rough cuts of earsplitting garage rock that eventually landed on video game soundtracks and in ad campaigns. Now a two-man crew, Bass Drum of Death features Len Clark on drums while Barrett mans the guitar. Although the pair announced a hiatus in mid-May, the band appears to be back at it again with a few supporting tour dates lined up in September.
Sounds like — Garage rock
Check out — “Way Out”