That Yorkshire’s contribution to the music industry is unquestionable. It has produced exceptional talent across a broad spectrum of music genres from Indie Rock to Soul to Heavy Metal. West Yorkshire is home to Yorkshire’s biggest city Leeds some of the greatest musical artists of a range of musical genres that Yorkshire has to offer. We’ve taken a look at some of its town and cities contribution to the world’s music tapestry. Check out the bands in West Yorkshire that have made some noise in the music industry here.
1. The Cribs
Once described by Q Magazine as ‘Britain’s Biggest Cult Band’, Indie rockers The Cribs have flown the Wakefield flag high and proud across the world since their formation in 2001.
The band started from humble beginnings playing local venues such as Leeds’s iconic Brudenell Social Club. It was from these early shows and the release of a demo which was limited to 300 copies that the band’s following started to build and they began to catch the eye of several record labels.
In 2004, the band released their self-titled debut album ‘The Cribs’ which was met with positive critical reviews. NME described the debut as having ‘supreme pop melodies’. Both singles ‘You Were Always The One’ and ‘What About Me’ both made the UK Indie top 10. Following the release of the album, the band toured extensively playing with notable bands such as Death Cab for Cutie, Bloc Party and fellow West Yorkshire rockers Kaiser Chiefs. The critically acclaimed 2007 release ‘Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever’ propelled the band to the next level of popularity entering at number 13 in the UK Album chart.
2008 saw another huge moment for the band with the addition of legendary The Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr to the line-up. The four-piece released the album ‘Ignore the Ignorant’ the following year, which further built on the success of the previous releases by reaching number 8 in the UK album charts. The band went on to tour the album to a global audience playing shows in Japan, the USA, Canada and Australia.
Marr left the band in 2011 to pursue a solo career, but the band went on to release four further albums with their latest offering ‘Night Network’ which has been met with rave reviews. All four albums have entered the UK Album Chart top 20.
This year, The Cribs celebrate their 20th year as a band and they show no signs of slowing down.
2. Kaiser Chiefs
Formed in 2000 under the name Runston Parva, after original drummer Nick Hodgson introduced future vocalist Ricky Wilson to the rest of the band at the legendary Leeds music venue The Cockpit. After completing the line-up, the band shortened their name to just Parva.
Parva found life difficult in the music industry and suffered early setbacks. Their debut album ‘22‘ was due to be released on the label Mantra Recordings, however, the label folded the day the album was due to be released. ‘22′ still remains unreleased to this day.
Undeterred, the band went out seeking a replacement record label and changed their name to Kaiser Chiefs. The new name was taken from Leeds United legend Lucas Radebe’s first club in South Africa, Kaizer Chiefs.
After signing with ‘B-Unique’, the band’s major breakthrough came in 2005 when they were the opening act on the NME Awards Tour. The tour was highly important as it gave the band positive media attention.
Still riding the wave of this newly generated hype, the band released their official debut album ‘Employment‘ in the same year. The album contains some of the band’s biggest hits including ‘I Predict a Riot’ and ‘Every day I Love You Less and Less‘. The album was positively received by the critics. The Guardian proclaimed, ‘It is confident, so smart, so full of life, that a more enjoyable 45 minutes is hard to imagine‘ and Rolling Stone enthused, ‘They Predict a Riot? They already are one‘. ‘Employment‘ hit the number two spot in the UK album chart and was the winner of NME’s ‘Best Album‘ award in 2006.
In the following year, the band released their second album ‘Yours Truly, Angry Mob‘. The album uncompromisingly tackled tough issues such as violence, fame and inaccurate reporting in tabloid newspapers. Just like ‘Employment‘, the album was positively received by the critics. The BBC said the album ‘is going to rule the world‘ and CMJ described it as ‘another collection of swaggering up-tempo guitar tracks that are full of big, singalong choruses’. The album hit the number 1 spot in the UK album charts.
After these incredible early achievements, especially after the early setbacks, the band went on to release five more albums with their latest ‘Duck‘ in 2019. The band’s music has taken them around the world, touring with giants of rock music such as Green Day and Foo Fighters. The Kaiser Chiefs are another success story of Leeds’s thriving music scene.
3. Corinne Bailey Rae
With February 2021 being the 15th anniversary of her self-titled debut album, it is a good time to add the highly talented Leeds soul singer Corinne Bailey Rae to our list.
The release of her debut single ‘Like a Star’ in 2005, which was closely followed by the release of her self-titled debut album in early 2006, set Bailey Rae on the road to global success. The album reached number one in the UK album charts, selling over 100,000 records in its first week, and entered the top 10 US Billboard 200 peaking at number 4. Bailey Rae’s music received incredible recognition at the 2006 Mojo awards winning ‘Best UK Female’, ‘Best UK Newcomer’ and ‘Best New Act’.
Four years after the release of her first album, Bailey Rae released ‘The Sea’ in 2010. The album only helped to grow her success entering the UK charts at number five and number seven in the US charts. It was a highly personal album as many of the songs were written before and after the death of her husband, with themes of love and finding solace. It was nominated for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize in 2010.
After a break from music, Bailey Rae returned with her third album ‘The Heart Speaks in Whispers’ which was described as having ‘depth and generosity’ by the Evening Standard. The album was toured extensively around the world with highlight shows being Glastonbury, the Singapore Jazz Festival and supporting Stevie Wonder at Hyde Park in London.
Corinne Bailey Rae has shown herself to be one of West Yorkshire’s most talented and successful artists.
4. Paradise Lost
‘Obsidian – dark, reflective and black‘ are the band’s own words when describing the music the Halifax metallers have been creating for the last 32 years. They are hailed as the early pioneers of the death-doom metal genre because of the classic album ‘Gothic‘.
Not content with pioneering an entire music genre, the band moved away from death-doom after the release of ‘Gothic‘ and incorporated a variety of sounds from gothic metal/rock, synth and electronica sound for their later releases. Major modern gothic metal bands such as HIM, Nightwish and Lacuna Coil have all cited Paradise Lost as influences on their sounds.
Many of the band’s major successes have been in mainland Europe. Their seventh album ‘Host‘ peaked at number 7 in the German album charts. Arguably the band’s best and most successful work is the fifth album ‘Draconian Times‘. It found success in Germany hitting a peak of 15 in the album charts but also entered the UK album charts at number 16. The album received critical acclaim with German music website Laut.de describing the album as ‘a perfect mix between beauty and morbidity‘.
The band’s popularity has not wavered in 32 years and they are still a regular feature of the UK and worldwide metal festival scene, making regular appearances at Bloodstock (UK), Graspop (Belgium), Wacken (Germany) and Heaven and Hell (Mexico). They released their new album ‘Obsidian‘ in 2020 to, once again, critical acclaim. Singer Nick Holmes described it as ‘one of the most eclectic albums we have done in some time, we have miserable songs, sad songs, slow songs and faster songs. Did I mention miserable?’. The band certainly haven’t lost their touch in bringing darkness to the masses. Let’s hope it continues for many gloomy years to come!
Bingley’s Marmozets have built themselves a reputation of chaotic live shows and loud and spasmodic ‘math’ rock.
The band consists of two sets of siblings and formed in 2007 whilst they were still at school. Despite their youth, the band’s high energy shows built them a widespread reputation across the country. As well as relentless touring to build their reputation and find a record label, the band released three EPs ‘Out of Control‘, ‘Passive Aggressive‘ and ‘Vexed‘.
The band finally got their big break and were signed to Roadrunner Records in 2013, which is home to some of the giants of heavy music including Slipknot and Korn. The following year they released their debut album ‘The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets‘ to critical acclaim. Metal Hammer described the album as ‘beautifully constructed‘ and NME as ‘sharp, smart and angry tunes from Yorkshire‘. In 2015, it was awarded ‘Best Album’ at the Kerrang! Awards.
After a short hiatus due to an illness suffered by lead singer Becca MacIntyre, the band returned in 2017 with the announcement of their second album ‘Knowing What You Know Now‘. Like their debut, the release of the album in 2018 was met with glowing reviews. Rocksound proclaimed that the album ‘isn’t just thrilling from the start to finish: it might also be what rock needs right now‘.
The band’s journey has meant that they have shared stages with some major names in rock with standouts being Muse, Gallows and Funeral for a Friend and appeared at festivals such as Download, Glastonbury and Rock Werchter.
In October the band sent a message to their fans on Instagram saying ‘we miss you all dearly’. Let’s hope it won’t be long till Marmozets can take to the stage again to release their unique brand of chaos.