Thursday, 31 December 2009

Two Thousand and Trend

Tomorrow, January 1st 2010, will usher in a new decade. What the fuck happened to the last one?? It seemed to fly by....

I felt that 2009 was a fantastic year for music. Animal Collective rightfully burst into the mainstream, Biffy Clyro triumphantly followed up 2007's Puzzle, and Bombay Bicycle Club showed that talent and hard work do pay off eventually (even if they do still have an average age of about 7...) There were too many highlights to mention individually, but all through the year there was more than enough to keep even the most cynical of music fans happy.   

When you look back on the outstanding new artists of 2009, most could be pigeonholed into two predominant categories....female-fronted Alterna-Pop and the so called "Anti-Folk" movement. Florence and the Machine and La Roux are two of the most obvious examples of the former, whereas Noah and the Whale (although The First Days Of Spring was their second full-length, it was the first to really be critically acclaimed) and Mumford and Sons fit snugly in to the latter. All the aforementioned acts have been lapped up by the general public and media alike, and I'm sure will continue to do so for years to come.

However, all four acts released albums in 2009, and are therefore unlikely to do similarly in 2010 - and will subsequently fall off the radar somewhat. So who, and possibly more important what, looks likely to take their place? For this, I'm going to revert to the post last week in which I stated my pick of artists to look out for in 2010.

Female-fronted pop looks in a great position to build upon its 2009 success, with artists such as Ellie Goulding and Rox looking more than likely to break this year. Although not mentioned in my list, it could be a great year for some of the other acts in the Anti-Folk stable - Cherbourg and King Charles come to mind. But two movements to look out in the coming year - both of which have been sparse in the mainstream over the past couple of decades at least - are The Drums' potent Surf/Rock'n'Roll concoction (Surfer Blood are another band who do this very well), and the frenetic, angluar Indie Pop played by the likes of Two Door Cinema Club and Everything Everything. Both have been swarming over the blogosphere this year, so it will be fascinating to see where it can go from here...

I've got a poll up on the right hand side of the page - if anyone's got a spare sec, it would be great to see which of the above genres have your vote.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Wolf Gang

Wolf Gang, or Max as known to his rents, is a part Irish, part German, Scotland raised, London residing Indie Pop artist (phew..). As a musician his influences are just as diverse as his background, ranging from Supertramp to classical - with the result sounding something like "MGMT if they were fronted by Bryan Ferry". Max is now concentrating on music full time having Kanye'd it from his course at LSE and, fresh from the release of his second single The King And All Of His Men (listen below), this year is looking very exciting indeed for him. The single comes complete with remixes from the likes of Hot Chip and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, and was the first release from new Mancunian label Hit Club.    

Wolf Gang - The King And All Of His Men

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Black Teeth

Black Teeth is the the brainchild of Alex from Haunts. Their cover of Marina and the Diamonds' Mowgli's Road gives the original track a dutty electro twist.

Marina and the Diamonds - Mowgli's Road (Black Teeth remix)

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Acts to look out for in 2010

2009 saw a host of great acts such as Florence and the Machine, The Big Pink, La Roux and Mumford & Sons burst into the mainstream from relative anonymity. So, in no particular order, here are some of the fresh-faced upstarts that I feel are poised to do similarly in 2010: 

Surfer Blood
Heavily surf-influenced indie pop 4-piece from Palm Beach, Florida, whose Shins-esque sound is especially alarming upon discovery that none of them even surf....either way, their debut album Astro Coast is released on January 19th and if the songs on their MySpace are anything to go by, it should be an absolute blinder.    

From Palm Beach to the marginally less sexy Bangor, Northern Ireland. TDCC were a 2009 addition to the uber-trendy Parisian label Kitsune and, with their combo of buoyant electro beats, angular guitars and triple-threat vocals, you can see why they were so keen to get their mits on them. A March '09 European tour with Phoenix will do nothing to harm their rep either. 

Wolf Gang 
The brainchild of Londoner Dan Wilton, Wolf Gang make contagiously catchy nuggets of indie goodness. As one of exciting new Manchester-based record label Hit Club's first signings, the band have already secured the likes of Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs and Baby Monster for some quality remixes, certain to be imminently coming to a dancefloor near you.

Ellie Goulding
Probably the most obvious choice on this list, Ellie's an absolute shoe-in for 2010 stardom. 2009 was a great year for Female-vocal pop with the aforementioned Flo & the Mac and La Roux achieving huge commercial success, and with tunes such as Under The Sheets having already achieved massive web buzz (Starry Eyed is even better in my opinion), she'll certainly be joining those ranks sooner rather than later.  

Everything Everything
Frenetic indie band from Manchester, combining roller-coaster vocals, jagged guitars and quirky synth. Combine this with subject matter such as digital photo manipulation software and you've got a delightfully unpredictable sound which is as likely to divide opinion as it is to garner the band an army of followers throughout the years to come.

Free Energy 
Foot-stomping rock'n'roll from the US, which sounds like Jet if they were any good, or more specifically Weezer's frat-rock with Strokes-y vocals and The Hold Steady's rock-out tendencies. Oh, and they're part of DFA Records' roster, which pretty much guarantees that they'll be awesome.   

Crystal Fighters
In a musical landscape over-populated by shitty generic pop bands, it's always refreshing to hear something a bit different. Describing Crystal Fighters as merely 'a bit different' is a criminal understatement however, as their fusion of electro and basque-folk needs to be listen to a couple of times just to be understood, let alone appreciated. But once that happens...what a treat. 

Roxanne Tataei aka Rox is a South London-based soul artist of Jamaican/Iranian descent. The Church and Jamaican family gatherings provided the foundations for her to develop a stunning vocal, and with a Jools Holland performance under her belt and a 2010 full-length on the way, this should be her year.     

Young Guns
Having grabbed the alternative rock scene by the scruff on the neck with debut EP Mirrors earlier this year, Young Guns will be looking to capitalise on this momentum with an upcoming album and stint on the national Kerrang! Tour. They have an epic sound, with crunching drums, nifty riffs, as well as soaring vocals provided by vocalist Gustav Wood.

The Drums
Probably the world's coolest band right now, The Drums burst on to the radar with one of the year's best tunes in 50's surf/rock'n'roll number Let's Go Surfing. Surf is making a huge re-emergence as a genre, and The Drums are right at the forefront of the movement.    

 Anyone who you feel I might have left out? Let me know below.

Monday, 21 December 2009

My 25 favourite albums of 2009

As this is a brand spanking new site, I thought a list of my favourite albums of the year would give you a chance to see what kind of stuff I'm into. So here it is:

25. Dawes - North Hills
24. Manchester Orchestra - Mean Everything To Nothing
23. Baroness - Blue Record
22. Fuck Buttons - Tarot Sport
21. Brand New - Daisy
20. The Low Anthem - Oh My God, Charlie Darwin
19. Japandroids - Post-Nothing
18. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
17. Hockey - Mind Chaos
16. White Lies - To Lose My Life
15. MUTEMATH - Armistice
14. Passion Pit - Manners
13. Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More
12. Every Time I Die - New Junk Aesthetic 
11. The Veils - Sun Gangs
10. RX Bandits - Mandala
9. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz!
8. Alberta Cross - Broken Side Of Time
7. Set Your Goals - This Will Be The Death Of Us
6. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
5. Architects - Hollow Crown
4. Silversun Pickups - Swoon 
3. Bombay Bicycle Club - I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose
2. Biffy Clyro - Only Revolutions
1. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavillion

If anyone agrees/disagrees, or fancies calling me a tasteless prick/demi-god then please feel free to do so below.