Not only is the Oasis documentary Supersonic fast approaching: Kings of Leon are readying their album WALLS for the world. Two bands whose brothers have not only had their share of clashes – they have created some of the finest anthems and albums of the past couple of decades. That being said, it is appropriate to look at some of the other siblings – including the aforementioned bands – of music – some you might not be aware of. The Metropolist sits down and looks at ten great siblings of music.
Johanna and Klara Söderberg (First Aid Kit)
Consisting Klara (vocals/guitar) and Johanna Söderberg (vocal/keyboard); the Swedish duo came to prominence after posting a cover of Tiger Mountain Peasant Song to YouTube in 2008. After singing with Wichita shortly after: Their debut album, The Big Black and Blue, impressed critics with its youthful energy and instantly appealing songs. The sisters were nominated as one of the five best international acts at the Brit Awards last year – following on from their stunning album Stay Gold (2014). Mixing country and folk together; thoughtful and youth-orientated gems. The Swedish group’s romantic, positive songs are backed by soaring, luscious vocal harmonies and instantly memorable choruses. Hardly surprising the girls have gained a stealthy reputation – let’s hope we hear more material from them very soon.
Malcolm and Angus Young (AC/DC)
The Australian/Scottish rock legends were formed in 1973 by Malcolm and Angus Young. Whether you consider them pure heavy metal or more rock ‘n’ roll: The legendary riffs that define songs like Back In Black and Highway to Hell stem from the Young brothers and are not up for debate – always ecstatic, defiant and astonishing. Malcolm retired from the band in 2014 (suffering dementia) but the legacy and impact he made on the band is timeless. Angus is still part of the band – school uniforms and all – as AC/DC continue to play. One wonders, with new lead Axl Rose succeeding Brian Johnson, whether another album will emerge, yet AC/DC’s influence cannot be overlooked. The group’s early success and prominence can be (arguably) attributed to the close connection and skills of brothers Malcolm and Angus – completely in-step and intuitive. This is best personified in the albums Let There Be Rock (1997) and Back In Black (1980): Unparalleled in terms of sheer force, swagger and venomous might.
Caleb, Nathan and Jared Followill (Kings of Leon)
We Are Like Love Songs (A.K.A. WALLS) will be released on October 14, 2016, and will see Kings of Leon going back to their roots – embracing the sounds heard on their debut, Youth and Young Manhood. The Followill brothers, alongside their cousin Matthew, have been in their fair share of scrapes since the band’s inception. What stands out is the explosive, tight performances and connection in the ranks – going into every one of their songs. Even when the guys are not up to their best – Mechanical Bull and Come Around Sundown – the performances and intuitive energy of the band is infectious. There are high hopes around WALLS: It’s impressive finding a band still in love with music after so many challenges and obstacles – that determination and invention is what makes Kings of Leon so fascinating.
Colin and Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead)
Radiohead were formed in 1985 and consists of Thom Yorke, Ed O’Brien, Phil Selway and brothers Jonny and Colin Greenwood. While Colin’s sturdy and ever-reliable bass has defined some of the band’s finest songs: It is Jonny, perhaps, who is most famous and regarded. Not only one of the greatest guitarists of the generation: He is a composer who is not purely confined to rock. Radiohead’s latest album, A Moon Shaped Pool, is awash with luxurious, aching strings and phenomenal classical compositions – Jonny Greenwood at the peak of his creative heights. One cannot underestimate Colin’s role in the band and how inventive and fluid a bass player he is. Together, they add immense colour, emotion, and power into the music of Radiohead. Whether Radiohead decides to carry on and release another album is yet to be seen – the band claims A Moon Shaped Pool was one of the happier creative times of their lives – but Jonny, at least, is sure to contribute to various film soundtracks and side-projects.
Aaron and Bryce Dessner; Bryan and Scott Devendorf (The National)
Hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio: The National formed in 1999 and currently are based out of Brooklyn. It may be Matt Berninger’s vocals and lyrics that capture critical hearts and minds but the guitar work of the brothers Dessner produce the score and sonic emotions. Not only does the band have one set of brothers, but two: Scott and Bryan Devendorf. It is hard to say which brothers shine brightest, but in truth, the success of The National is down to every member. Trouble Will Find Me (their last album in 2013) was applauded because of its ruminative nature and intricate, refined compositions – never exploding needlessly and knowing when to up the intensity. Perfectly framing Berninger’s sonorous, affected baritone: The National’s grand, soul-baring compositions can never be accused of being boring – always show-stopping and beautiful.
Noel and Liam Gallagher (Oasis)
Formed in Manchester in 1991: Oasis went on to become one of music’s most influential and highly-regarded bands. Their legacy cannot be understated – the band split in 2009 – but the quality of the songs is almost overshadowed by the frequent squabbles and fights of brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher. Often has been the case headlines appearing in the media: One of the brothers insulting the other or some tantrum occurring. While entertaining from a spectator’s viewpoint, it often derailed the music itself – invariably the cause of the band’s sad demise. A new documentary, Supersonic, is in cinemas from October and no doubts capture some of those legendary fights. More importantly, it will prove what an asset both boys (and the band) were to British music. Noel’s songwriting genius and Liam’s endless swagger and confidence propelled them to become one of the ‘big four’ during the Britpop days – Blur, Suede, and Pulp were their main rivals.
Pelle and Niklas Almqvist (The Hives)
There is some confusion when The Hives formed – the band claims 1993; the group were performing under a different name in 1989. Cutting a demo (Sounds Like Sushi) in 1994: The Hives went on to become not just one of Sweden’s most notable exports – they emerged one of the most original and immediate bands to have entered music for years. Pelle’s inimitable, characterful voice is supported by brother Niklas’ scorching guitars and nimble riffs – helping to cement the group’s distinct sound. Lex Hives was their last album (2012) and followed after a five-year gap – The Black and White Album was one of the finest of their career. The band stated, explaining the long wait between records, that self-producing (in a band of five) was a tiresome and long-winded process but one the guys favoured – thinking producers would be busy 24/7 and unable to assist.
Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson (The Beach Boys)
Perhaps the most famous siblings in all of music: The Californian boys with a knack for producing awe-inspiring, heavenly vocal harmonies; blissful Californian surf anthems and one of the most transcendent and profound love song ever (God Only Knows). Over their 55-year career (rumours they might record another album) the band have created not only an immense legacy but changed the face of music. Whether we see any more Beach Boys records, nobody can deny how much they have transformed modern music and inspired artists. Few bands have been able to capture the transcendence and heavenly uplift of those rich and divine harmonies; the exceptionally catchy choruses and deep, thought-provoking lyrics.
Alison and Catherine Pierce (The Pierces)
Sisters Allison Margaret and Catherine Eleanor Pierce were born in Birmingham, Alabama. Their formative years were spent travelling around the U.S. – they grew up with free-spirited, hippy parents – and were schooled at home. At home, they were exposed to art and music (their father was a musician; their mother a painter) and artists like Joni Mitchell were part of their lexicon. Creation was the last album from the duo and was met with critical approval and saw the girls spread their creative wings. You & I (their previous album released in 2011) blended the twisted and conventional; folk movements and Susanna Hoff-esque vocals – plenty of attitude and character coming through. Creation built on this – the aptly-named Glorious had a hint of Abba – but showed more light, lusciousness and colours. Who knows where their new album will take them (when it comes) but it sure to be stunning, ambitious and entrancing – in no small part down to The Pierces’ wonderful voices.
Howard and Guy Lawrence (Disclosure)
The British electronic duo swung into music with the Grammy-nominated debut album, Settle. The Surrey-born artists followed that triumphant album with Caracal – released in September last year, it was nominated for Best Dance/Electronica Album at the 2016 Grammy Awards. The guys headlined the Friday line-up at the Other Stage at this year’s Glastonbury Festival. The looped basslines and stylish synthesisers document the ups and downs of falling in love – Caracal was a glossier beast than Settle and effortlessly brought together the disparate worlds of mainstream pop and house/dance music. Dance music for more ‘mature’ listeners, preferring emotion, texture and dance over bangers and needless force, singers such as Gregory Porter and Lorde helped give Caracal an accessible, multicoloured vibe. If Settle was an ironic title for something storm-laden and severe – Caracal is the aftermath and reflective calm.