Minnaars, Everything Everything, Beth Jeans Houghton, Jo Rose, Mazes - Simon Jay Catling’s 2010 TipTape
Simon Jay Catling 20/01/2010
Tips, tips everywhere and not a second to think. That's how the opening weeks of 2010 has gone so far this year; I've already heard more than twenty new albums since I woke up with a throbbing headache and a cartwheeling stomach on January the 1st; all attached with PR blurb shouting “tip OUR artists!” I can't keep up, I tell you. What do they mean by tip anyway? Am I tipping for future commercial success? If that's the case I'd say the BBC list'll have it dead on, and none of the rest of us need to bother so self-fulfilling are their beginning of year lists. So there's no point doing that really is there? The flip side is that- on caving in and having been drawn into my own frenzied search for new music like every other buffoon with a keyboard and a music collection- I've found far too much that I'm excited about. This is why, good readers, my “tips” come in the form of a lovingly crafted “mixtape”…err minus the craft (no artwork I'm afraid, in fact on closer inspection I've just linked to some Youtube videos). Some of these shall go onto greater things for sure (two of my list were in the BBC Sound of 2010 longlist); but for the most these are just a collection of acts who I'm excited to see develop over the next twelve months and beyond, regardless of whether they're playing in my local public toilet or in my local arena come December. Enjoy!
1. Minnaars- Busy Hands
Leicester math-pop act Minnaars are finally starting to get the dues they deserve after being filmed on the BBC Introducing stage at Reading Festival last year. Their schizophrenic rhythms and collective vocals certainly bare comparison with Foals, but live they bring a form of riotous punk anger to proceedings making them far rawer than their Oxford contemporaries; and their songs tend to snowball into one long exuberant maelstrom of noise.
2. Everything Everything- My Keys, Your Boyfriend
They've already been put on the map by being announced in BBC's Sound of 2010, and deservedly so. Manchester-based but with an unmistakeably North Eastern heart; Everything Everything follow The Futureheads recent vocal blueprint but align it with tongue-in-cheek humour and lively song structures based on slick electro-pop primed for the indie discos.
Everything Everything's Myspace
3. Beth Jeans Houghton- I Will Return
Another BBC listee, and another North Eastern act; Beth Jeans Houghton looks set to answer call made by those who didn't mind Florence & The Machine, but wouldn't have minded if she'd turned the foghorn off occasionally. In fact that's selling Houghton short, as apart from her similarly extravagant wardrobe, she's rooted far more in traditional folk than last year's female success story. Arriving with a fully-formed aesthetic however, she's sure to be a star.
Beth Jeans Houghton's Myspace.
4. The Switch- See The Light
The Switch are Manchester four-piece Caroline Sterling, Anthony Graham, Tom Harris and Colin Dunkerley. Their sound is based around Sterling's crystalline vocals; a constant shift between haunting electronica-tailored atmospherics and more upbeat melodic numbers.
The Switch's Myspace.
5. Asleep Beneath Volcanoes- Water
As Fuck Buttons continue to confound popular convention by being lauded by all and sundry, naturally the time has come to start looking about at those who are placed to follow them through the noise-mainstream acclaim continuum. Asleep Beneath Volcanoes are as promising as any: less harsher on the ear than the Bristol-duo, their tabletop electronics are more conventional in sound but no less stratospheric when they reach their dizzy peaks.
Asleep Beneath Volcanoes' Myspace
6. Jo Rose- King Of Your Blue Eyes
At In The City 2004, Jo Rose was a fresh-faced 16 year-old winning plaudits from all and sundry as front man of prodigious Manchester indie four-piece Fear Of Music. Since that band's implosion in 2008, Rose has re-invented himself by forging a love of Americana, country and western music so that, at still only 22 years old, he's dealing in the kind of reflective wisdom that far belies his years and his still fabulously pure singing voice.
Jo Rose's Myspace
7. Bitter Ruin- Soldier
Gate crashing my thus far Northern exclusive party are Georgia Train and Ben Ricards aka acoustic two-piece Bitter Ruin. It was in the summer of 2007 that I got to see the pair perform live and two and a half years further on they're finally ready to unleash their debut album on the world. It's live where they really excel though; “performance” really is an apt adjective to use, as they occupy the roles of the constantly embittered ex-lovers that their songs often revolve around. It's done with the air of a couple of who really do know each other inside out.
Bitter Ruin's Myspace.
8. Lost Knives- Cold Morning
Lost Knives have come a long way in a short time; already recording in the BBC's famous Maida Vale studios. 'Cold Morning', the song featured here, is a stirring, foreboding behemoth that best sums up their sound; their Myspace perhaps describes it best, as “apocalyptic pop”. There's a very real sense of their home surroundings in their music; it's hard to imagine this type of gloom-laden knife-edge guitar music being made anywhere other than Manchester.
Lost Knives' Myspace.
9. Mazes- Bowie Knives
Mazes spent a lot of time last year playing with a lot of very cool bands; Times New Viking, Wavves and Lovvers to name but three. No guesses then to discover their sound is short, scuzzy lo-fi that doesn't hang about but stays long in the memory. There's always something special about a three-piece that can kick up a noise and Mazes can certainly kick up more than most.
10. We Came Out Like Tigers- Remember When…
Well it wouldn't be a tips list without a band with the word 'Tigers' in it would it? Liverpool's WCOLT are a five-piece built on Sonic Youth foundations. They're far from a one-trick pony however; implementing strings, or sometimes foraying into darker and- dare we say- more metal-based territories. Just as capable of astounding beauty as they are of sounding completely feral; the Merseysiders have a new EP out soon that deserves to be heard.
We Came Out Like Tigers' Myspace.