In celebration of tomorrow's Welsh Music Prize, we list the best Welsh bands of all time
Cai Trefor

09:57 25th November 2015

Since the winner of the Welsh Music Prize 2015 will be announced from their amazing shortlist that includes, H Hawkline, Gwenno and Catfish and the Bottlemen, we have listed our top Welsh bands of all time.

Some you'll definitely have heard of such as Stereophonics and Manic Street Preachers, but others are less well known yet equally worth listening to such as Ectogram and The Heights.

The richness of the Welsh music scene for such a small country is staggering. Super Furry Animals have certainly been one of the most important influences on the sound of  English language and Welsh language music in Wales.

Going even further back, Budgie have helped influence metal and grunge legends. Meanwhile, the new bands cutting through and challenging for the top gong tomorrow night (26 November) in Cardiff not only represent some of the best albums released this year in Wales but they are incredible challengers for top albums of the year worldwide.

So with no further ado, here are Gigwise's top Welsh bands of all time.

  • Gulp: Gulp revolve around Guto Price who also plays bass for Super Furry animals and singer Lindsey Leven. Vintage synth led psychedlia with brooding guitar riffs and chilling vocals make for a huge ambience.

  • 9 Bach: 9 Bach are really well known among folk circles as they incorporate a lot of classical instruments. However, they don't seem to be at odds with the contemporary world and their bleak, yet chillingly beautiful songs are heavily reminiscent of Portishead's best moments.

  • McClusky: To be honest, if you've heard 'Lightsaber Cocksucking Blues', you've heard pretty much everything this gritty post-hardcore trio have to offer. If Mclusky is a bit too much bark, be sure to check out Future Of The Left, the Mclusky side-project that progressed what the original trio started to the Nth degree.

  • Richard James: Richard James, co-founder of Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, has crafted one of the albums of the year with this immensely psychedelic krautrock album. Its intense instrumental opener 'Industrial Wool' is like a tidal wave of musical power, whilst the softer haze of Rolling Road is reminiscent of great acoustic players such as Crosby, Stills and Nash and Nick Drake. The album continues this relationship of switching between finger picking and psych pop singing and intensely hypnotic krautrock and sometimes blends the two.

  • Yr Ods: Yr Ods have been a strong part of the Welsh indie scene in recent years and have written some catchy songs combining indie guitar, modern pop and some 80s Welsh rock influences. There newest cut 'Ble'r Aeth yr Haul' ('Where did the sun go') is their strongest offering yet and shows there's still a lot of potential in this young Cardiff-based five-piece who already have a Glastonbury appearance under their belt.

  • Budgie: This metal band from Cardiff are one of the unsung heroes of the guitar world. Their music has been cited as influence by the likes of Van Halen, Queens Of The Stone Age, Alice In Chains, and Soundgarden to name a few.

  • Murry The Hump: Blur dubbed them the best unsigned band in Britain before they split in 2001. Their jangly indie of the highest order and is reminiscent and their album songs of Ignorance still feels relevant today.

  • Zefur Wolves: This is Cian Ciaran from Super Furry Animals' most recent side project and it definitely maintains an imaginative, psychedelic approach to rock music. It's possibly one of the most overlooked releases of the year and a strong contender at the Welsh Music Awards.

  • R. Seiliog: Still relatively obscure to most, but R. Seiliog has recently been gaining some good BBC 6music play and has reminded us of his talents as a producer. He interweaves melodic threads of krautrock, psych, experimental electronics and modulating drones via spectral flecks of psych-noise.

  • Ectogram: Combining conventional rock with atonal discord and improvisation, Ectogram are a very ambitious band yet execute their experimental sound incredibly well and rival the quality of their influences such as Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, and Faust.

  • Hippies Vs Ghosts: This is the largely instrumental project by former frontman of The Heights, Owain Ginsberg. It gained lot of radio play by BBC Radio Wales DJ Adam Walton this year and rightfully so. It channels an amalgamation of influences from Neu to The Stooges, and what sounds like haunting old horror film soundtracks at times. Incredible stuff.

  • The Heights: When The Heights released their debut album via Sony in 2007 we were convinced that they would be up there with The Strokes and The Libertines because they could play so well live but they split shortly after. Their tracks such as 'Jamaica Beer Eyes' and 'For Real' live on though.

  • Stereophonics: Whilst the first three albums by Stereophonics made them on of the most popular bands post-Britpop, they have remained a consistent and reliable force of arena rock brilliance.

  • Euros Childs: The former Gorky's Zygotic Mynci frontman makes beautifully crafted psych pop songs of '60s quality under the name Euros Childs. His influence as a songwriter has certainly had a major impact on so many new bands around Wales over the past few years.

  • Yucatan: Yucatan missed out on a nomination for the Welsh Music Award this year but their album is one of our favourites. Live they're spectacular and they proved it at Festival Number 6 this year with a fine set that evoked Super Furries and Sigur Ros in equal measure.

  • Neon Neon: Anything Gruff Rhys seems to touch turns to gold and the motor rhythms of this largely electronic album he made with American hip hop producer Boom Bip combine with his effortlessly melodic vocals brilliantly. They've only released two albums but both are brilliant and 'I Lust U' and 'Dream Cars' are perfect singles.

  • Race Horses: Before they split in 2014 and singer Meilyr Jones went on to make a solo career there was a sense that this band had a lengthy career ahead of them. They wrote perfect odd-ball pop songs that didn't pertain to any sense of convention but felt warmly familiar.

  • Meilyr Jones: The former Race Horses man's solo project is going to be one of the biggest successes of 2016 as we've had a sneaky listen to his forthcoming album '2013' and it's a thing of beauty. Meilyr is a welcome new heavyweight in the Welsh music scene.

  • Catfish and The Bottlemen: After years of playing small gigs up and down the United Kingdom, this quartet from Llandudno have absolutely smashed it this year with the release of their debut album, The Balcony. They're selling out venues both side of the pond thanks to Van McCann's huge choruses on record that create a frenetic atmosphere live.

  • Catatonia: Catatonia were topping the charts in the late '90s with their tight pop hooks steeped in late 80s jangling indie rock. Cerys Mathews voice was the centre piece and she remains one of Wales' most revered musicians ever.

  • H Hawkline: H Hawkline is the brainchild of Cardiff-based Huw Evans and he's has had a monumental 2015. This album In The Pink Of Condition released via the amazing Heavenly Records has some really catchy moments on thrown in with vastly wild, experimental passages that keep it interesting throughout. It's one of the albums of the year not just in Wales but the world.

  • Cate Le Bon: In 2013 Cate Le Bon brought out an incredible album in Mug Museum that made it into nearly everyones end of year list at the time and 'Are You With Me Now' is a really great single. This year she's been playing with Tim Presely of White Fence and Stephen Black of the incredible Sweet Baboo in DRINKS who are also amazing.

  • Gwenno: The sweet psychedelic music of Gwenno's album Y Dydd Olaf (The Last Day) is one of Heavenly Records' finest releases and it's our favourite Welsh album of the year this year. She is definitely in high contention to win the Welsh Music prize.

  • Gruff Rhys: The absolute kind of Welsh indie. There's no shortage of hits in his arsenal and we doubt he'll ever make a bad album.

  • Gorky's Zygotic Mynci: Gorky's are a cult phenomenon and those who appreciate them often cite them as their favourite band of all time. It's deeply psychedlic yet light yet maintains pop sensibilities. It's superb listening and they're a national treasure.

  • Manic Street Preachers: One of our favourite bands of all time and one of the best live bands on the planet. They may be best known for towering singles that defined the 90s with the likes of 'A Design For Life' and 'If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next', but the truth is that they've covered more ground than pretty much any band on the planet - from the glam-punk of Generation Terrorists, the hair metal of Gold Against The Soul, the twisted post-punk masterpiece of The Holy Bible right through to the electro-noir of Lifeblood and the spikey and propulsive Futurology, they have shifted shapes many times but always remain an invigorating crash of art, love, politics and pride.

  • Super Furry Animals: This superb band who hail from Bethesda, North Wales are one of the most influential indie acts of the last three decades. They're as anchored in pop choruses as they are psychedelia and rave music. They've written some of the most loved music and without them contemporary music in Wales wouldn't be as rich as it is today.

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Photo: Wenn/Press