Top new Dubai bands

Want to unwrap some new music? Good, because Zahra has three new bands to recommend

Music feature

In the months that I’ve been writing this column, you may have noticed that the same names have cropped up with their opinions again and again. Tim Hassall here, Gayathri there, Gandhi’s Cookbook all over the place. This isn’t because Dubai is so short of bands and artists that there’s nobody else out there to comment, but, rather, it’s just because these guys are good at giving me quotes on deadline.

As I say again and again – and I mean it every time – the local music scene is growing extremely fast. So fast, in fact, that while the likes of Nervecell, Sandwash and Universal Rogue continue to pull in the most gigs and sets (and long may that continue), a whole mess of bands are bubbling up all around them. And, while they may not be as ubiquitous as the aforementioned bands, it’s certainly worth paying attention.

It’s been six months since we almost celebrated the New Year and some real new talent has emerged in Dubai over that time, while older bands have really worked hard at developing their profile. There are three bands in particular that have appeared recently on my radio show, and I highly recommend you – and promoters – check them out.

Polar Escape

This vehicle for Jonny Ryan (keyboard specialist and older brother of Chris Ryan from Gandhi’s Cookbook) has been around for a while without anyone really knowing about it. With poetry-infused lyrics courtesy of co-star and childhood friend Rebecca Clifford and a sound that gives more than a passing nod to Jeffrey Lewis, The Dresden Dolls and The Moldy Peaches (with Beck on keyboards), this new act revels in lo-fi excellence. Do they belong in Dubai’s musical mixing pot? Yes, I think so. Expect to see them warming up for indie acts very soon.

Melodies Of The Mind

Finally, some decent, left-field electronica in Dubai! This band is so hot right now that they burn. You could even considered them to be Dubai’s very own Pendulum, having, as they do, comparable production techniques, song structures and instrumentation. That said, they do have their own distinct sound and are going to hit the scene hard.


These guys have played numerous gigs in the last month alone and are eager for more. This is the kind of thing we like to hear. As they put it in their blurb, ‘Nikotin promise to bring the local and international scene an energetic, addictive sound as never heard before.’ That’s a pretty high bar to set yourself, all right. Is it doable? I wouldn’t put it past them, especially with their killer melodic guitar riffs, solos and catchy lyrics.

Zahra showcases the latest musical talent on Open Mic every Saturday from 8pm-10pm on Dubai Eye 103.8

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