Blair released her debut album, Die Young, this month. Crammed full of shimmering, bright pop covering hidden layers of depth and pain. It's an album of unseen depths and heart. Don;t let the pop sensibilities fool you. Its slightly reminiscent of what would happen if Liz Phair began her career now.
Small Black are infectious. This Brooklyn band produce similar dreamy/hazy pop tunes in the same mould as Washed Out. Their Self titled EP came out at the end of last year to good reviews. They are off to SXSW this year and with the current climate for glo-fi music they could make a splash.
I know very little about her so I'll just steal from her Myspace
"Spark Out wants to be a collective but is really just one girl. She writes songs about dead girls in ditches, mathematical sequences, and friends whose lives are more dramatic than hers. She likes the Oxford comma and hates to play the guitar, but doesn't have any other options; if she doesn't play it, no one else will."
Ghost Bees are an avant-garde Canadian group centred round 2 twin sisters, Romy and Sari Lightman. Following a tip-off from Agent Tidman I checked these out and instantly fell in love. They exist in the same universe as the likes of CocoRosie and Marissa Nadler but not within the same galaxy. Their blend of string lead dream-folk beguilesand enchants. Their debut EP, Tasseomancy, was released in 2008 and is something to treasure.
Hussle Club is a side/solo project from HEARTSREVOLUTION's Prince Terrence. The New Yorker has also plied his trade with the likes of Spank Rock and Santigold. Its a heady mix of post-punk and jangles which will have you dancing around like a cat on a hot tin roof. Moving between the sound of a familiar 80s song and and a more electro beat, it certainly manages to grab your attention. Its all fairly hush hush at the moment but I'm guessing a major release is only around the corner.
Dinosaur Feathers are another hotly tipped band from Brooklyn. Sounding like an over-enthusiastic version of The Dodos, they produce pop melodies to melt your heart. Their album, Fantasy Memorial, is out in March. They've very kindly made their 2009 EP, Early Morning Risers, available on their website for free
Warpaint are an all-female 3 piece band from LA who have managed to garner a fair bit of hype from Hollywood types. John Frusciante mixed their debut EP, Exquisite Corpse, which was released last year. Haunting and down tempo pop, their music is simultaneously relaxing and fascinating. They are working on their debut LP which will hopefully be set for a release in the near future.
I spotted these guys in the XFM 20 bands to watch of 2010. They've been around for almost 10 years but seem to have been maturing all the time. The Long Island boys release theired 3rd album last summer and it's a bit or a corker. You Can't Take it With You is cram-packed full of catchy indie pop that is sure to bring them to a wider audience. Like a fine wine As Tall as Lions are maturing nicely. They remind me quite a lot of Portugal. The Man.
Laura Hocking instantly puts me in mind of the lovely Emmy The Great. She is a mean purveyor of catchy anti-folk under various guises(The last one being Lola and the Clic). Educated at Cambridge uni, she's been writing and gigging since graduating, and fingers crossed for a proper release in the near future.
Now, as a general rule, I have very little interest in listening to bands that sound like they should be living in the 60s or 70s. However, on some occasions I'm happy to overlook this if the music is good enough. Free Energy are good enough. In fact, I'll be happy to make a wager that they might, just might, like Thin Lizzy. The Philadelphia quintet are signed to DFA and are set to release an album sometime this year. It is as catchy as hell.
Arms is/are from Brooklyn (you'll soon get the idea that I have a thing for Brooklyn bands) and consist of Todd Goldstein (Harlem Shakes) who has produce an album resplendent with warm fuzzy shoegaze goodness. The results are a kind of mix of Conor Oberst, Scott Walker and some kind of clashy guitar goodness. It was recent voted in the top 10 of Paste Magazine's most underrated albums of 2009 and the honour is well justified.
The Dirty Dishes have already made an impact with Passion Pit, who recently named their fellow Bostonians the ones to watch from their fair city. Their debut EP, In The Clouds, is a demonstartion of what they can potentially do. A mix of scuzzy beats, guitars and female vocals joins to produce an absorping sounds for your ears to digest.
Margot and The Nuclear So and Sos are set to release their fourth (or third, it's complicated) album this year. When The Dust of Retreat came out it was one of my favourite albums of the year. Then there was the whole farce with Animal!/Not Animal (the record company wanted to release a more mainstream album than the band so a compromise was reached and both were released). I personally thought due to all the issues around it the album lost something.
The lead single from Buzzard, Birds / Bubbleprick, was release at the end of last year with the album to follow shortly. This Indiana band produce a mix of "howling at the moon" and shambolic rock along the lines of Bright Eyes meets Arcade Fire.
Zambri produce a swirling, dark, hypnotic brand of pop that could only really come from New York. Synths and drums collide to produce a cacophony of noise, interrupted by the angelic voices of Jessica and Christi Jo. A pair of pint shop sisters who could make a big stir. Imagine a modern day Kate Bush with a sister. This could end up magical.
I was walking half a mile at 6.30am to collect a parcel this morning in the freezing and snowy conditions and I had a huge smile on my face. Why? Cassette Kids, that's why. These Antipodeans are another in The Oz-wave set to hit these shores. Sounding like a cross between Metric and Ladyhawke with a hint of The Sounds they are set to put a smile on your face too. They have had tour spots with the likes of Chrystal Castles, Lily Allen and Friendly Fires.
Their Debut We Are was verging more towards Yeah Yeah Yeah territory whereas their latest offering, Lying Around, moves more in the pop/Ladyhawke direction. A testament to their songs is how well the remixes hold up as dance tunes. These could make a big splash this year.
Australia seems to be a very enclosed market. There are a number of bands coming to prominence from down under who have been around for a while but are only just being noticed on the global market. Miami Horror are one such band. These Melbourne lads kick out a fine variety of throwback electro pop which is reminiscent of Midnight Juggernauts and Futurecop!. Sometimes is set to make waves and they could just be about to peak in time for a hazy summer.
Their debut EP, Bravado, came out last year and expect to hear much more from them this year after securing a plum support slot with Lily Allen on her Australian tour.
Holly Miranda is set to release a solo album, The Magician's Private Library, on XL in February. After finishing touring with her band, Jealous Girlfriend, she has been touring on her own supporting the likes of The Antlers and The XX. She has also recently announced a US Tour supporting Tegan & Sara.
She sings wonderful haunting melodies accompanied by intricate instrumentation. At times jazzy and sultry, at others like glass. A beautiful way to fall asleep.
Hailing from Queensland, The Middle East have been knocking around Australia for a few years but with the release of their EP in the US they have entered into the global consciousness. They produce ethereal haunting songs, fragile in their nature and beuty, which haunt and enchant. Stark and gentle, with a host of instrumentation, their songs break out of bleakness into joy. I implore you to give their 2 tracks on Myspace, Blood and The Darkest Side, a listen and you will be captivated.
I really do think these guys will be pretty huge. And deservedly so. They already have an album out in their native country and expect something to appear over here very shortly.
These Manchester chaps were in the NMEs bands to watch at the start of 2009. They didn't burst through in the same way that La Roux or Little Boots have but have slowly built up to the 2010 release of their debut album Acolyte. I've heard mixed reviews about them live but the album surprised me in a big way. I'd already heard the likes of Counterpoint and Doubt. I wasn't however aware of strength in depth this wasn't going to have. Delphic have produced an album to rival the likes of Friendly Fires.
They have a national tour with Brighton's Mirrors in January
07 London - The Garage 14 Norwich - Arts Centre 15 Oxford - Academy 2 16 Sheffield - Leadmill 17 Bristol - Thekla 19 Brighton - Audio 20 Wolverhampton - Little Civic 21 Liverpool - Kazimier 22 Glasgow - King Tuts 23 Leeds - Cockpit 2 26 London - The Tabernacle (New To Q) 27 London - Dingwalls (MTV Gig) 29 Manchester - Islington Mill
Canada is producing some very interesting music indeed and Young Galaxy are one of my favourite. Their second album, Invisible Republic, was one of my favourite of the year. It's easily the most diverse album I've heard. At times sounding like Radiohead, Aimee Mann, Sunset Rubdown and so so much more. It truly is an album where one song sounds different to the next. Destroyer has to be one of my songs of the year. It's pretty epic.
"Invisible Republic, Young Galaxy’s sophomore release, builds upon founding duo Stephen Ramsay (guitars, vocals) and Catherine McCandless’ (keyboards, vocals) penchant for transforming the mundane into the fantastic – catchy hooks build into epic crescendos, while political and ethical concerns share space with emotional observations.
“Our mandate for this record was: if it doesn't make you move, it better make you cry,” quips Ramsay. “Even better is making someone cry and dance at the same time. It makes a lot of people uncomfortable, but I like it!”"
So this is my music blog. I've started doing the Day Zero Project and hopefully this will be the incentive I need to regularly update this. The plan is to eventually run a website with everything on it. This Blog will mainly be new music and a catalogue of my wanderings. So here goes...
First up we have a band I stumbled across today. The Hundred in The Hands. This 2 piece band from Brooklyn (my favourite musical place) are signed to the mighty Warp records.
"With carefully composed polyrhythms, jagged guitar lines, and layered, breathy vocals, THE HUNDRED IN THE HANDS keep the raw energy of post-punk illuminating their minds and Studio One boogie-down beats churning in their guts. This is no Rock concert spectacle, no stationary stare-fest. These are soundsytem-backed, foot stomping, clap hands beats for akimbo-limbed boogie kids. Ballrooms and bar floors are built strong, it’s time to give them a pounding."
This is a side project of The Boggs’ Jason Friedman and touring bandmate Eleanore Everdell. Comprising swirling music beats around a hypnotic rhythm, they manage to produce the the perfect soundtrack to a hazy day. Check out Undressed/Dressed in Dresden, their split 7 inch single.