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DIY Discovery | Sister Wanzala

These three brothers dance on the high-wire without a net on their pivotal new EP.

Most of the music I hear is sent to me by labels and publicists. But there’s nothing like getting it straight from the source. Welcome to the latest instalment of DIY Discovery, where I introduce you to artists who have sent me their music directly (and who don’t suck — that’s definitely part of the deal too). If you’d like to get in on that action, scroll down to the bottom of the page. But don’t skip over today’s fine familial find:

Sister Wanzala

HOME: London, U.K.

LATEST RELEASE: The Circus, their second EP amid a series of singles.

MY PITHY DESCRIPTION: Dancing on the high-wire without a net.

SEVEN ADJECTIVES FOR THEIR MUSIC: Unsettling, idiosyncratic, inscrutable, unpredictable, wobbly, captivating, unorthodox.


Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls: Introducing the flying Wanzala brothers of Sister Wanzala. Hailing from Northern England but now based in London, these three smart-alec siblings have previously dubbed their music cold funk — “the sound of Steely Dan, had they grown up on the grey streets of Bradford in the ’90s or if Joy Division had started jamming with Parliament.” Some of that is true. Some is a bit of a stretch. In either case, it is a fittingly colourful way to describe their freewheeling, unorthodox and strangely mesmerizing style. The Wanzalas’ earlier singles introduced their messy, meandering mish-mash of lazily loose grooves, icily chiming ’80s guitars, taut staccato basslines and tenderly warbled vocals. This five-track EP pivots into grimmer, weirder and more neurotic terrain, with disillusioned, surreal lyrics illustrated and complemented by noisier tones, darker moods and an unfettered approach to both songcraft and performance — all of which invest the freaky proceedings with a greater sense of risk and immediacy. And produce more rewarding results. Come inside: The show’s about to start.


“After the failure of everything they’ve tried to date, Bradford brothers Sister Wanzala are having another go and by releasing The Circus EP. Leaving the behind the cold funk sound perfected in many a session in Peckham, the band now sound like a sub par Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds tribute act. Patrick Wanzala-Ryan’s guitars fizz n prickle in-and-out-of time and his vocals burp n drone in-and-out-of tune. On the other hand, his younger twin brothers, Mark Wanzala-Ryan (Drums) and Chris Wanzala-Ryan (Bass), are wetsuit tight and bring peak Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit to mind.”



If you’d like to offer yourself up as a DIY Discovery, no problemo. There are three easy ways to do it: 1) Fill out the form below; 2) Go to the Submit Music page; 3) Email me directly. I can’t promise I’ll feature you, but if you’re as awesome as you think you are, it could happen. You never know.

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