The Deertracks, The Bridport Dagger, Orphans and Vandals, La Roux, Your Twenties - Tips for 09: Part Four.
As the year turns to it's second month Bill Cummings and Rhian Daly present another six 'Ones to Watch' during the rest of 09. A few are already feted, some are lesser known, but they are all heartily reccomended by us to warm to your ears this cold, cold month.We tip The Deer Tracks, The Bridport Dagger, Orphans and Vandals, La Roux, Your Twenties, and Kieran Leonard.
First up GIITTV editor Bill Cummings gives you his three to keep a watch on in the next year:
The Deer Tracks
The Deer Tracks are Swedish duo David Lehnberg and ElinLindfors. Their spellbinding debut album Aurora is set for release on March the 9th. Weaving beautifully rendered, glacial, northern lights electronica with emotional core, David and Elin's effecting dual vocal interplay is otherworldly, embracing, at times melancholic, and reminiscent of the euphoric bittersweet melodies of Mew. There is also all the aching feminine minimalism of Múm, the cinematic post-rock peaks and troughs of Sigur Rós' finest moments, and the epic electronic sweeps of M83. The Deer Tracks made their music in their home town of Gavle under the watchful eye of a huge straw model of the infamous Galve Goat (A Swedish tradition) which weighs tons and sits in the city's Castle Square. The Straw goat has been the victim of arson on twenty separate occasions, and has drawn parallels with The Wicker Man's neo-pagan rituals.
The Deertracks manage to imbue their electronic ambient pop template with real throbbing veins, from the haunting vocals and scattershot gun beats of opening track Yes This Is My Broken Shield to the stuttering, heart beats of Slow Collision and Before the Storm elegantly balancing traditional instrumentation with futurist flourishes. Building from humbly plucked notes, tinkling pianos, melodica, horns to futuristic sounding sighs of synth lines, Ellen and David's magisterial intertwined tones orbit delicately above glitchy beds. 127 Sex Fyra''s spluttering beats, caressed by mournful trumpet lines, sensual duelling vocal inflections cocoon you in the bosom of a dysfunctional relationship. It's the sound of a couple struggling to put the pieces back together: 'If only I could make you smile/Erase all the times I made you cry/If only I could turn your memory to history/They could surely give it a try.'
Despair collides with joy, The Deertracks are the soundtrack to the dark, endless winter night that awakens with renewed optimism at sunrise. Like spending time in a Scandinavian otherworld full of breakups, breakdowns, and epic heart shudders, I thoroughly recommend you seek out their work.
The Bridport Dagger
While the music tipping panels rush to slather over rather contrived Londoners, White Lies, a band with a huge label backing, that cynically changed name and direction to create their dreary, clinical, overproduced modern vision of the well travelled influence of post punk/new wave of the late 70s and 80s, thus sealing their place as the New Editors, dull copyists who seek to storm the charts with a series of easy to digest half truths. Meanwhile, away from the blaring spotlight, South London flamencobilly/garage-folk trio Bridport Dagger have been safely building a reputation as a band who can actually combine these quality influences by harnessing the menacing narrative prowess of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, the angular guitars and melancholic ghostliness of early Echo and the Bunnymen and infusing it all with a cinematic, individuality, a voice of their own embodied by frontman Jason Bridport who possesses the kind of rich, howling baritone that brings to mind Ian Curtis' more forceful moments or a slightly restrained version of recently deceased Cramps vocalist Lux Interior.
Last year they released the single Magpies Nest/ Spanish One, released with the help of Death Records (along with the demo and live track bonus). Magpies Nest is a precise but serrated jaunt that alluringly takes you on a winding swim through the darker reassess of frontman Jason Bridport's mind. There's something so much harsher and more out of control about a baseless act (like the early work of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs or The White Stripes). Sometimes, without the safety net of a constraining rumbling rhythm to compliment, Arran's drums are given license to rein in the hypnotic timing while guitars slash intricately like daggers chasing you down in gloomy half light leaving scars on your brittle subconscious. Meanwhile Spanish One soaks you in a curtain of chopping guitar reverb and persistent drum patterns. It's initially similar to The Doors' Crystal Ship, but this journey through nightmarish haunted house becomes infinitely more sinister when it's interwoven with brutal images of self doubt.
In the hands of lesser acts these tracks would sound like a well executed but well worn pastiche of groups of yore. But The Bridport Dagger create such a believable sound, a tightly orchestrated atmosphere of foreboding that, like the magpie, they pick and choose the shiniest of their obvious influences and piece them together with bits of themselves. The Bridport Dagger's expertly created noirish take on new wave is heart-stoppingly good. Delve into their aural narratives, they won't disappoint you. The Bridport Dagger are currently recording new material and playing shows across London. You can download the new track Anchor courtesy of Maps Magazinehere:
The Bridport Dagger- Anchor(first mix)-MP3
Orphans and Vandals
Orphans and Vandals are an epic indie/folk poetic five piece from London. With a bit of luck, this year they could take over your airways. Led by the ridiculously talented singer/guitarist Al Joshua and song writing partner bassist Raven, with Francesca and Quinta on strings, percussion and glockenspiel, and Gabi on drums, the band are adept at painting vivid string augmented worlds influenced by their disconnection, confusion, of their experiences in modern life, J G Ballard and The Velvet Underground, the brutal inner lives at the heart of their London home and their journeys to Paris.
Their finest moment so far is the emotionally exhausting epic ten minute symphony Mysterious Skin, which is stupendous and life affirming cinematic instrumentation that rises and falls like the wild tide, below Al's sprawling stream of consciousness. It pierces your heart and calls to mind the seedy urban poetry of Lou Reed, the sexual ambiguity of Rimbaud, and the half spoken/half sung working class humanism of Jarvis Cocker, moving from intricate emotional details to the huge foreboding underbelly of the city, back to a stranger's bed (a boy or a girl? Who knows.) toward a literal sexual climax, into sky scraping chanted refrains, propelling rambunctious rhythm sections, huge stirring violins musical saw, and harmonium, flailing to a cacophony.
Their last double aside single Terra Firma/Christopher from Summer '08 confirmed the strength of their material - plaintive, pared back, Bowieesque balladry telling tales of urban decay fleshing out characters that seethe with passion. anger and disenchantment. While the twitching Strays hints at the satellite town frustration of New Model Army singer Justin Sullivan or the choral, hope through tragedy epiphanies of The Arcade Fire.
In an interview with Pop Matters'* Joshua confirms the anxiety that pervades his characters and their attempts to 'smash the glass ceiling' and progress from Orphan to Vandal if you will 'There is disenchantment and disillusion in our work, but those things are symptoms of a larger aim - which is dissent. If you feel you're seeing the world through a glass darkly, you've got to smash the glass to see what's really there. It's like J.G. Ballard said - sometimes you're putting up road signs that say "Dangerous Turns Ahead. SLOW DOWN!" and sometimes you're saying "Dangerous Turns Ahead. SPEED UP!'"
Orphans and Vandals create romantic music of the street; harsh, dangerous, melancholic yet heartbreakingly euphoric all at the same time. It has the ability to transport you into a scene of deep personal introspection and back out into the universal within a few literary couplets. They are seeking to add a whiff of realism, emotion and humanity to modern rock music in 2009, which would be a special feat indeed. Orphans and Vandals will release their debut album in March 09.
Excerpts and point taken from Spencer Tricker Interview Pop Matters.
Next GIITTV singles Sub-ed presents her three Ones to Watch in 09:
If 2008 was the year ofMetronomy, then surely 2009 is set to be that of their side projects and off shoots. This is especially bound to be true when you take a moment to listen to bassist Gabriel Stebbing's other band, Your Twenties. Limited edition 7” single Caught Wheel starts with all the trademark signs of a song by the aforementioned Nights Out electro-poppers but then comes the break down. Suddenly everything's transformed from modern day synth zeitgeist to lush radio America pop with a hell of a lot of soul rather than overly polished dancing shoes. It's different - refreshing as well as brilliant - and just what British music needs right now.
According to their last.fm biography, they write songs about “old people and ex-members of Britpop bands that they see in the Post Office”. Clearly these subject matters are clicking with something in people as Your Twenties are being tipped for the top this year by anyone with half a brain cell.
With cheekbones any model would be jealous of and a crop of vibrant red hair, there's something instantly striking about Elly Jackson. Couple that with her alluring, bewitching sound and you just know she's on to a winner. Influenced by everyone from Michael Jackson andPrince to Boys Noize and Chromeo, and with her debut single released on cool as fuck French electro label, Kitsuné, the 19 year old Brixtonian is set to be a superstar before this next twelve months is up.
After playing a handful of dates in select places across the UK, La Roux will then head out on tour one of the undisputed queens of UK girly pop, Lily Allen. If this girl ain't a household name by summer, this writer will eat her hat. And possibly her (very dull in comparison) hair too.
Singer/songwriters are pretty much two-a-penny at any moment in musical history, this decade being no exception. What's rarer though is a visionary, someone with a gift of writing moving, thought-provoking and, above all, imaginatively poetic songs that transport you from the room where you sit to another world entirely. Kieran Leonard is one such curiosity, rising through underground communities to entertain the fortunate who are exposed to his music.
Having already supported various luminaries and been involved with Jail Guitar Doors and Love Music Hate Racism events, Leonard is obviously one to watch out for over the coming months. With an EP and album on the way, it shouldn't be too long before the masses can get their hands on his music and support London's most illuminating folk musician.