Lets forget all the retrospective 2010 lists, it’s time to look forward, and judging by the equality of bands bubbling under we have every reason to be excited for 2011.
The Guild brings you some of the artist which will really make an impact this year, ones that are actually good opposed to just on press release handed to us in XOYO. Great artists that have been working hard, writing great music, artists that are exciting. We think you’ll agree, so read and learn, cos we’re right
I know, I know, hardly new and undiscovered, but we don’t care, as this will be their year and deserve an honorary mention. Releasing their second album in May and embarking on their biggest tour yet they are set to hit radio 1 prime time. Having supported the truly awful Texas wannabe KT Tunstal, they are tasting the super-venue and their annual must see Christmas show at Islington’s Union Chapel sells out earlier each year. The dreary Folk of Mumford and Marling has become passé and we need more edge and excitement to prime us for the return of the White Stripes and Rebecca and Charles bridge this gap.
If you have any ounce indie in your bones you will already love Cloud Nothings, know the joy of Didn’t You, and embraced the Lo-Fi dreamscape of Hey Cool Kid, and agree that they are ABSOLUTELY FUCKING FANTASTIC IN EVERY POSSIBLE WAY. A now 19 year old Dylan Baldi created Cloud Nothings after dropping out of college and finding some mates to bring his Lo-Fi bedroom demos to life. Since then a slew of cassette mix tapes have been circulated, EP’s hunted down and January 24th will see their debut album released on the near perfect Witchita Records.
They have toured relentlessly, with the UK recently seeing them with les Savy Fav, Sky Larkin and Veronica Falls, so these guys are keeping the best company. Their songs are classically catchy Lo-Fi Indie, instantly recognisable as a major talent. With hints of Flaming Lips and Violent Femmes, and deeply American sounding Cloud Nothings are sure to be alongside Husker Du and Pixies as great indie pioneers. If you hadn’t heard them well now’s your chance, if you only buy one album this year buy theirs, go to on gig, go to theirs. Actually just listen to Cloud Nothings every day.
2011 dates for Cloud Nothings
15/02 – The Cluny, Newcastle Upon Tyne
16/02 – Cockpit 2, Leeds
18/02 – Fibbers, York
21/02 – Barfly Camden, London
25/02 – Dempsey’s, Cardiff
Why Brighton moustachioed Dubstepper High Rankin isn’t massive yet is beyond The Guild. He’s the cheeky scamp of Dub Step, a mile away from the bland seriousness of those Megaman boys or anonymity of Burial, but just as dark and reverberating He’s more in line with Shitmat and the Countryside Alliance Crew in their mocking yet dedication to proper raves. With Dub Step is in its final throws of remaining justifiably underground, Megaman on the NME tour and bass wobbles appearing in pop songs, and High Rankin will beat the crest of the mass appreciation, but maintaining credibility to appear at the hippest warehouses. If he hasn’t been at Shit The Bed yet then he someone book him. Vicious singles like Meow Meow, high profile remixes including Professor Green and Annie Nightingale mix sessions, have set the ground and fuelled the buzz. 2011 is looking good already with a North American tour and a slot at SXSW, and an album due soon High Rankin; is sure be “ranked high” (you’re sacked- Pun Ed) in 2011 year end polls.
Supergroups are a harrowing affair. Jumped up musicians who think they’re better than the band that brought them fame and fortune, hanging out with their new famous best friend and blagging high profile gigs and record deals without any effort. They’re the House of Lords of music with delusions of superiority, a private joke that no one outside of the upstairs corner of the Old Blue Last gets. Not quite as bad as a solo record, (Yes Kele and Paul Smith we mean you) so let’s give this one a chance.
We actually owe a lot to Young Legionnaire. Singer Paul Mullen is the punch-in-the-face shouty one from The Automatic, so if Young Legionnaire carry on, there’s no need for the Automatic to EVER be around again. Reason enough to support this band. In his defence, he was in Yourcodenameismilo: Milo and they were amazing, the best band no one ever liked. There’s also the small matter of this bloke Gordon Moakes from Bloc Party on bass. Heard of them? Together with some Dean guy on drums replacing Will Bowerman from I Was A Cub Scout (who’s ditched them for the flyby fad of La Roux).
Forgetting the credentials, Young Legionnaire create a ferocious hardcore tsunami with the melody of Hundred Reasons. It actually sounds quite old, think back to 2002 with Vex Red, Million Dead and of course, Milo. YL have signed to Witchita, the best label in the world and are playing with Les Savy Fav and supported Pulled Apart By Horses. What more reason do you need? Ignore The Automatic, forget Bloc Party are probably getting together again and love this band before they march away.
PS I LOVE YOU
Thank fuck for indiepop. Not the twee pretty dresses and handclap bubblegum indie pop, but early 90’s Lo-Fi Delux Folk Implosion indiepop. The indiepop Steven Malkmus sweats everyday of his life. Bullied by Grunge and College Rock it seemed to vanish with the Archers of Loaf, living on only in JMascis’ greying split ends. Now, though, post Pavement reunion its back with Kingston Ontario’s duo PS I Love You. Their debut album Meet Me at the Muster Station released on Paper Bag Records is a terrier of distortion and discordant vocals, scratching and biting and ferociously ripping chunks out but when you look in its eye you just want to cuddle. Similar to Male Bonding, but much more committed to burning the indie flag than pandering to Seattle’s dinner money demands.
For too long now Heavy Rock has been a parody of it’s self. The devil has been rejected for pretty boys with jaunty fringes and clean converse. Even Goths have been beaten by pretend Emo’s, in stripy colours who are too vain to actually cut them selves. We have been teased with Invasion, Divorce and Lightning Bolt, bay all are a bit too Hipster. However the real Hipsters, the ones form the East Village have spoken and serious Heavy Rock can rise again.
Hailing from the home of modern psychedelia, Brooklyn, Naam, are tripping out with the devil and transcending with Hawkwind. This three piece have been “delivering a deafening sermon” of riff laden, hypnotic psych rock across New York basements for three years. Needing more space than a Wiliamsburg loft can give, they recently recorded their self titles debut at an abandoned dairy farm in the Catskill Mountains producing epic space age stoner rock like Skyling Skip. In a year which stoner doom kings Kyuss reform (without Josh) Naam will be riding their wake to hipster hell.
The award for band most likely to do an XX and dominate melancholia goes to Oxford trio Trophy Wife. Best mates with Foals and part of Oxford collective Blessing Force along with Chad Valley and Jonquil, they have been exploiting their contact to get support slots with Crystal Castles and US tours. Debut single Microlite released in November ’10 on Moshi Moshi is an antidote to the jolly dancability of Two Door Cinema Club and The Drums, a more grown up, The The inspired sound. Trophy Wife are the sound of an empty disco on a damp Monday, the fey disco Smiths dream of needing to be out, just not with people. Microlite is a highly accomplished single, remarkable for a debut, and with Joanna Newsom covers in their sets their sparse melancholic sound is set, and will be sure to direct the sound of 2011.
It’s back to Brooklyn for Das Racist who are rewriting the hip hop paradigm, rebuilding the lazy laid back bloc party feel of early hip hop, citing the everyday and cultural. More Cheech and Chong than Gin and Juice, Das Racist owe their debt to Tribe Called Quest and Company Flow opposed to sanitised Timbaland beats. Their marmite divisiveness could be seen as too pre Skool, with Casio beats and rhymes about chicken and chillin’ but there’s a knowing sincerity which is drawing plaudits from Iggy Pop and Pitchfork.
Whereas fellow rap newcomer Shad will spout about Ipads and blogs, Das Racist pick up on Hugo Chavez and deconstructionist commentary, a thesis abstract vocalised in each rhyme. They have been around a couple of years now, the Guardian picked up on them in 2008 and featured on lists such as this last year, there’s a good chance you all ready have their free mixtapes Shut Up, Dude and Sit Down, Man, but they still need to be talked about. The internet’s created the buzz, now it’s your turn to spread the word. Having to cancel Decembers Cargo show because of immigration issues, left a lot disappointed but they’re UK bound early this year.
To download their mixtapes and try their 8bit computer game go to-
Lighting the northern night sky are Norwegian seven piece Team Me. They are magnetically attracted to the sound of Momford and Sons and Broadcast 2000 with their clumsy school boy element. However, their collective nature has an orchestration usually reserved for Sigor Ros or Elbow, propelling them above a quirky side project. Centred around leader Marius D. Hagen hey were originally a bedroom project to explore new ideas unsuitable for other bands, but soon grew as like minded musicians around Elverum were unearthed resulting in the epic Akron Family stomp of Weathervanes and Chemicals. Heavily inspired by Sufjan Stevens and It’s Jo and Danny, they are miles ahead of the T4 accessibility of Noah and the Whale and not an ironic waistcoat of ukulele in sight.
When I was 13 I stayed up late to watch Wild Palms, it was a mini series cashing in on Twin Peaks and about drugs and virtual reality in the near future. Got no idea what happened now, and has never been repeated, but mark my words, it will be by the end of the year. It will be cashing in again, riding the wave of London’s Wild Palms success, festival slots and indie disco anthems. Debut single “….Over…Time” has a ferocious bass sludge of The Fall and the angular, echoing guitar of Bauhaus and sets them to be a post punk Friendly Fires it’s ok to like. Live, they have a gothic presence and Lou Hill’s vocals and flailing limbs confidently dominate proceedings over a thundering band. Wild Palms’ mainstream success is assured by the likeness to the Killers, arbeit one influenced with the art of Talking Heads and emptiness of Joy Division, rather then the Killers’ glitzy Duran Duran and Human League. Songs such as Deep Dive show the stadium rock direction they’re destined for. Vocals reminiscent of Unforgettable Fire era Bono, with added Brandon Flowers, and an early Simple Minds, Then Jericho tinge to the music, these are good thing by the way (except the Killers bit, they’re shit). It’s ok to like them for the time being, but you’re too hipster cool to like them by the end of the year.
Not the band but the Years Indiepop Broke. We have Pulp reforming, new albums from Aphex Twin, PJ Harvey (see the north will rise again post) and Mogwai. It’s 1996 all over again. This is no Britpop Showstoppers reunion tour (although Cast, Shed Seven, and Reef will probably do one, Beady Eye are one), they are some of the most ground breaking, cutting edge and leftfield artist Britain has ever produced. By returning in 2011 a line has been drawn under the T4, health and safety and Skins homogenised decade of the noughties. One Aphex beat is better than 5 years of indie dance mashups. Two beats would actually make the Mystery Jets cry. One Polly pout sends Little Boots back to Barbie Girl, Mogwai can move buildings in a way Terror never will and Jarvis is of course God. We’ve been through a lot, we’ve endured The View, we lost Peel and Kasabian are taken seriously. Now, lets head down to the Phoenix Festival and wait for Gazza to bring it home after 30 years of hurt.
Pulp play Wireless Festival, Aphex Twin headlines the Bloc Weekender, PJ Harvey has a sold out March tour and Mogwai play Brixton Academy Feb 25th
Also To watch
COLEEN GREEN www.myspace.com/c0lleen1 -Lo-Fi bedroom indie of a punk Kimya Dawson
PHOPHORESCENT www.myspace.com/phosphorescent- Alt America around for a few years but likely to do a Band of Horses and finally break through.
ANNA CALVI www.myspace.com/annacalvi -If PJ Harvey was in a burlesque Grinderman
JAMES BLAKE www.myspace.com/jamesblakeproduction- Was cool one to name drop, until last week, and guaranteed success
FICTION www.myspace.com/fictionband- Jangly Vampire Weekend sounding Post Electro