Portishead are a band from Bristol, United Kingdom, named after a small coastal town twelve miles west of said musical hotbed, in North Somerset. They were initially known for their use of jazz samples and some hip-hop beats along with various synth sounds and the hauntingly beautiful vocals of singer Beth Gibbons. Their current sound drops the samples in favour of a harder, more abrasive edge, but retains Gibbons' vocals.
The band was formed in 1991 (Then later split in 2005 reforming in 2008), by keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist Geoff Barrow and singer Beth Gibbons. Barrow had previously worked with Massive Attack and Tricky whilst tape operator at Coach House Studios in Clifton. He was often referred to as "that bloke from Portishead" and so decided to name his new musical endeavour after his hometown.