The season of music festivals has already begun in the Czech Republic. From now until autumn there will be numerous festivals and concerts happening each and every weekend, not only in Prague but in other cities and towns across the county. These days, the Czech Republic welcomes many well known international bands and musicians each year to play festivals and concerts. However, why not take the opportunity to discover something new during your stay?
The alternative Czech music scene is thriving at the moment and there are many of Czech bands and musicians who are creating music which is different, exciting and well worth getting into. Here are our 12 tips (in no particular order) for artists to watch out for on the Czech music scene. Just to make things a little easier, all of the artists listed all write and perform in English.
Jakub Kaifosz a.k.a. Lazer Viking has that sort of deep and seductive voice that you can just sink into. This band will take you on a real lyrical adventure with songs written on topics as varied as love, pizza, horror movies, cigarettes and naps. His live performances are truly authentic and one of a kind.
Genre: This one is difficult to tie down. There’s a lot of American rock n’ roll influence, with a sprinkling of punk and some synthesised and electronic pop action thrown in for good measure.
Sounds a bit like: Some bands and artists that I thought of whilst listening to Lazer Viking were The Cure, Iggy Pop, Depeche Mode, Hot Chip, The Magnetic Fields and they even have one track which was for me very reminiscent of Johnny Cash, so a pretty mixed bag!
Upcoming concerts: Lazer Viking will be playing this Wednesday (7/6) at Stavnice Skate Park. Check out the Facebook event for more information.
Please the Trees
Over the past 6 years, Please the Trees have built themselves a formidable reputation for in the Czech Republic and internationally. They create music which manages to be robust and well produced whilst also being captivating, stylish and a really pleasurable experience for the ears. A fun fact about this band is that they plant a tree in every city where they play a concert.
Genre: Indie-Rock n Roll with hints of folk, punk and even something a little psychedelic.
Sounds a bit like: Arcade Fire, The Strokes, Pixies.
Upcoming concerts: Please the Trees will be playing at the Stalin Plaza on Letna hill on June 10th. See the Facebook event for more details.
Lake Malawi, former Charlie Straight, produces pop music but not as you already know it. Their brand of music is complex, uplifting, exciting, fresh and totally infectious. It’s the sort of music that you just can’t help but move your body to. Since forming in 2013, Lake Malawi have been championed by BBC 6 music and have opened live shows for 30 Seconds to Mars.
Genre: Alternative pop
Sounds a bit like: On their website, Lake Malawi list influences including the Police, Bombay Bicycle Club, Coldplay and Crowded House.
Upcoming Concerts: Lake Malawi will be playing lots at lots of festivals around the Czech Republic throughout June and July. Sadly, none of these will be in Prague but if you are interested in finding out more, have a look at their website.
No Distance Paradise
No Distance Paradise produces a brand of indie-rock which is big, energetic and full of feeling. There’s also a fair amount of electronic influence to be found in their music, which has been captivating live audiences since the band formed in 2013.
Genre: Indie-rock with electronic influences.
Sounds a bit like: 30 Seconds to Mars, Arcade Fire, Editors, Vampire Weekend.
Upcoming concerts: No Distance Paradise will be performing at Rock for People, one of the biggest music festivals in the Czech Republic, which will take place in Hradec Kralove on July 4th – 6th. For more information about the band and future performances, see the band’s website.
It’s kind of difficult to tie down Airfare to one genre of music. They have songs which are a little bit punk, songs which are a little bit country and songs which are a little bit indie. However, their songs are consistently catchy and full of an infectious energy which will have you singing along in no time. Unfortunately they quit playing in 2014 and we haven’t heard about them since. Yet their song Sorry Baby is a pure classic. We love Thomas Lichtag’s deep voice.
Genre: Rock, punk, Indie, Folk.
Sounds a bit like: When I first heard this band, I thought immediately of the Arctic Monkeys or Joy Division but their influences do seem to switch from track to track.
Upcoming concerts: Unknown.
Debbi first came into the limelight after winning Czech reality TV show Czech and Slovak Superstar. Since then, she has gone on to win Song of the Year at the 2001 Andel Awards (something like the Czech Grammy Awards) for her song “Touch the Sun”. Debbi undoubtedly has a beautiful voice and her music is fun, catchy and uplifting.
Sounds a bit like: Kate Nash, Taylor Swift, Megan Trainor.
Upcoming shows: Debbi will be performing at Rock for People, one of the biggest music festivals in the Czech Republic, which will take place in Hradec Kralove on July 4th-6th.
Emma Smetana sings pop music with something a bit dark and edgy and undeniably quirky about it. Emma’s voice is powerful and so effortlessly seductive that it pulls you right into her music. When Emma is not singing she is hosting in online TV DVTV and she is doing an awesome job too.
Sounds a bit like: Lana Del Ray, Lady Gaga, Sia.
Upcoming shows: Emma Smetana will be performing on Prague’s Strelecky Ostrov on August 2nd this year. For more information about Emma and future performances, have a look at her website.
23 year old Lenny has been composing music since he was 4 years old and this year she was the big winner at the Andel Awards (the Czech version of the Grammy Awards). After listening to some of her music, it became very clear why so many people are getting so excited about this sing/songwriter and pianist. Her voice is just gorgeous, with a slight but very distinctive rasp to it. Her music has a refreshingly different sound to it and it encompasses all kinds of different genres. She got her talent (and looks) from her mother Lenka Filipova who is also famous singer and songwriter.
Genre: Pop, Rock, Hip hop, country with some electronic influences.
Upcoming concerts: Lenny will be performing at this year’s Metronome Festival, which takes place in Prague on June 23rd and 24th. For more information about Lenny and information about future performances, have a look at her website.
Sounds a bit like: Adele, Laura Marling, KT Tunstall, Dido and Lenny has even been compared to Janis Joplin, which can only be a good sign.
Tomas Macek a.k.a. Thom Artway is a 23 years old singer/songwriter from Prague, whose music is a catchy and energetic brand of folky pop. His songs are full of big and powerful sing along choruses, which makes me think that he will be a real crowd pleaser at summer festivals this year. You can often meet him jamming at Kampa or by Lennon’s Wall.
Genre: folk, indie, pop, rock
Sounds a bit like: Mumford and Sons came to my mind immediately.
Upcoming concerts: Thom will be performing at the Slunovrat Festival in Sazava u Benesova on June 23rd-24th.
22 year-old singer/songwriter Jakub Ondra produces a very unique brand of upbeat acoustic pop music which just puts a smile on your face. Jakub is from Prague and has been known to put on impromptu busking sessions around the city, so keep an eye out for him.
Genre: Acoustic pop.
Sounds a bit like: Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars.
Upcoming concerts: Jakub will be performing at an open air festival at Sternberg Castle on July 29th.
Otherwise known as Matej Portes, Czech singer/songwriter Matt creates songs which are honest, understated, and full of feeling. There is something very emotional about his music and at times a sort of theatrical grandeur which is thoroughly absorbing.
Genre: Indie, Rock, Acoustic.
Sounds a bit like: Early Damien Rice, Fleet Foxes, Iron and Wine.
Upcoming concerts: Unknown.
Republic of Two
Republic of Two is an indie-folk duo of Jiri Burian and Mikulas Ruzicka who create music which is both powerfully emotional and highly catchy. Their songs really pull at the heart strings and will probably stay with you for days after you hear them. They also produce the kind of music which just begs to be sung along to. Jiri Burian has also alter-ego called Kapitan Demo a sharp, extremely fat rapper.
Sounds a bit like: Mumford and Sons, the Avett Bothers, Bon Iver.
Upcoming concerts: Republic of two will be performing at Prague’s Café Neustadt on August 15th.
So who’s your favourite? And who you knew from the local radio, but you didn’t know he/she is Czech?