Hold Kiss Kill, Tom Williams & The Boat, Tribes, smallgang, Sea of Bees - Bill's Tip Tape for 2011
Bill Cummings 21/01/2011
Tipping new acts is a inexact science isn't it? For every success story there's rotting NME cover from the 1990s in your attic, hopefully proclaiming Terris the 'best new band in the country.' Then there's the BBC sound of list, a industry love in that seems to further grease the wheels between mainstream media and mainstream acts, PRs and labels. And when the winner is announced(the unfortunate Little Boots et al), the BBC will obviously spend the next six months trying to convince you 'how right they were!' by instantly play listing their chosen new darlings. Then there's the music media constantly and veraciously searching for that 'next big thing' when in reality its the music that matters whether that's from a act on album one or album four.
With all of that in mind, I present to you my Tip Tape for 2011, you see we write about unsigned, small label acts all year round so these are my recommendations rather than my props to bash you round the head with or attempts to tell you how 'you heard it here first' they are just a collection of relatively new acts I like. Some of them are completely new, some under appreciated and some bubbling under the surface, all of whom I believe and I know will be producing music that is worthy of your attention in the next twelve months. And that's all there is too it ok no ulterior motive?! Ok then, with the spiel over I hope you enjoy my Tip Tape for 2011!
There's been a preponderance fuzzy art rocking types crawling from basements, blinking into the light in the past few years. From the bittersweet C86 dipped indie pop of Brooklyn's Pains of Being Pure at Heart to the nu-gaze might of A Place to Bury Strangers, and this year's noise popping tips for the tops London dwellers Yuck. Well boy/girl four piece Hold Kiss Kill just might be the most intruding new addition, displaying the instantly sneering fuzz rock rhythms of Jesus and Mary Chain and the fuzz box atmospherics of latter day My Bloody Valentine and threaded with deliciously ice cold harmonies comparable to the duelling feminine vs masculine tones of Ladytron. Neon Girls(below) a forthcoming bside is the sound of swirling static down dark tube tunnels, whilst intertwine male /female vox are in entagled in a whispering embrace through the whistling winds of the train lines. Hold Kiss Kill release their debut single 'Our Last Waltz' through the helen llewelyn product nineteen label.
HOLD KISS KILL- 'Neon Girls' by HOLD KISS KILL
Juddering, catchy and intelligent, Cardiff based/Monmouth born electro-experimentalists VVOLVES(two v's, not one w) are the meeting point between the anthemic electro of Toykyo Police Club and the unhinged intellect of LCD Soundsystem. When I checked out local bands to witness at last year's SWN festival in October, the title track lifted from VVOLVES' 'Birds In Berlin EP' instantly sparked my interest, its a addictive, charmingly scruffy electro anthem that burns through town on the wings of a swirling synths and a skittering vocal line, whilst members of VVOLVES hold onto its twisty turning flux capacitor rhythms for dear life! When the stream of consciousness burns its way into your skull amid tales of the carnage of the night before, in the monologue of this final minute you're reminded of the Super Furry's classic 'Herman Loves Pauline!' Their new EP 'Vogue' has better production values and now the sonics are less vocally driven, a succession of blinking beeps and beats rise and fall like the unexpectedly pleasant sound of a man repeatedly kicking a 80s arcade game. The future possibilities are endless for VVOLVES, keep your eyes on them! VVOLVES debut EP proper will be released on a 10” gatefold vinyl and as download on February 7th.
VVolves - Birds in Berlin by Somethingfortheweekend
Kent's Tom Williams and the Boat have been gathering momentum as a musical force for three or four years, this Feb see's the release of their debut album, if you were being simplistic you could call Tom Williams & The Boat 'The English answer to Bruce Springsteen and the E street band.' But that would be too lazy, sure their blues, folk, country tinged rock sound is as vermantly muscular and densely intricate taking in rocous strings, lusty blasts of harmonica, and joyous horns. But its inbued with band leader Tom Williams' urgent cinematic lyrical journeys across his past and the sprawling roads of the country, that really propel the act toward that rarely uttered word: unique. Get Older(below) is one such example of their debut album's power, its twitching rhythm section releasing waves of cascading violins, violent strummings and stabbing drum fills, sprinkled with Tom's sneering blues tinged tale of deceit and mortality going up in flames that's redolant of the narratives of a Nick Cave and Bob Dylan. The tales of travel and the "struggle of a man in his early 20s confronting a modern world that doesn't make sense" that make up his band's debut album are apparently built upon fictional fragments, if that's the case they're bloody convincing and outstandingly affecting! Tom Williams & The Boat release their debut album on Feb the 21st through their own Wire Boat recordings label.
Tom Williams & The Boat- Get Older by godisinthetvzine.co.uk
Camden four piece Tribes came to me in a email message a few months back, fuzzy ramshackle lo fi pop recordings of their demos that show enormous potential, the song "We were Children"(below) is deceptively brilliant built on a clawing mangling guitar strings that clambers into your ears and won't let go of your brain, but its the sardonically delivered sherbet lemon drop of a chorus line.('oh no stranger your just like me these things happen we were children in the mid nineties')That will hit a chord with many music fans of a certain vintage(one of whom is writing these very words), and will literally and metaphorically conjure up memories of the crumpled up bar chords and slacker melodies of The Lemonheads, Pavement, Husker Du and the Pixies!
Tribes- We Were Children by godisinthetvzine.co.uk
Women in music, its the in trend, and with Jessie J's (perplexing?) selection by the BBC as winner of its annually flawed self perpetuating industry inbred Sound of poll, that trend looks set to continue. Often you feel there's a contrived industry bandwagon that is being filled by the labels each new female act fulfilling a new need in the market from Duffy to Florence and back again there has been a tendency in the mainstream at least to often overlook the real talent below the surface(see Caitlin Rose, Emmy the Great ect).
One such act that could have the potential to break out of this mould is The Good Natured aka teenager Sarah McIntosh her affecting first single from last year 'Your Body is a Machine' might initially carry a hint of Mockney Kate Nashism in tone, but she's more like the thinking person's answer to the band wagonism of La Roux, amongst an undergrowth of hazy synths and thudding beats 'Your Body is A Machine' alluringly reveals a intelligent rifle through the inner thoughts of a girl who has had enough of her own dumbed down, passed out Skins generation and even couches it in an astoudingly perceptive philosophical ideology('Narcissism overwhelming/vanity is quite exhausting/Self indulgent hedonistic blame it all on your upbringing'), but most of all this is a onomatopoeic dark nugget of melodramatic pop and exactly the kind of tune that could easily sit on a Radio one playlist, if only they were listening!
The Good Natured released her second single 'Be My Animal' on KIDS in November and plans an album later in 2011.Here's what Sarah says about her plans for 2011: "I don't want to rush the album as I am really happy with the way it's all building and at the moment it is great just getting the songs together! We are releasing an EP in March then we plan for the album to be released in 2011. I am working with loads of talented writers and producers in London and I flew out to Stockholm to write at the end of November! I am taking some time to lock myself away in my bedroom and write on my own - like I did when I wrote Your Body Is A Machine (our previous single). I can't wait for you to hear everything I have been working on!'
Your Body Is A Machine by The Good Natured
North London outfit smallgang wowe'd the massive audience at last year's World International John Peel Day in London, they have since been much in demand in London. Comprising of Anglo-Japanese brothers Simon and Toshi Kobayashi on vocals and guitars, and Matt and Ruth Atkins on drums and bass respectively. Simon, Ruth and Matt worked together at the now defunct Border's bookstore on Charing Cross Road and the band formed out of their friendship. Smallgang's expansive post punk is the sound of expression crushing up against emotion, and is given life by the brothers Kobayshi's double barrelled vocal assaults, dark screeches of guitar noise redolent of everyone from Slint to Shellac shifting precisely above shifting time signatures. If their first single the crowd pleasing 'Cockpit' got people talking then their forthcoming single 'Trespasses' could potentially sear itself onto the heart's of many, possessing an authenticity and first person quality not often seen in mainstream contemporaries, from the cart wheeling percussion and menacing dark alley guitars, to the twitching, disaffected baritone vocals that instantly put you in the minds eye of both brothers in turn. Somehow familiar yet resigned they're equal parts the sound of Bill Callahan and singer/bassist Mark Burgess of The Chameleons, indeed there's even a touch of the work of the early National about these two deceptively revealing lyrical vignettes that open up a window on emotion and indecision. "Evoking Mike Leigh's eye for detail and human drama and Bresson's transgress pathos' its these voices that give a throbbing heart to smallgang's impressively powerful sound. 'Tresspasses' is lifted from smallgang's first studio album also entitled 'Tresspasses' and released on Damnably in May 2011.
smallgang- Tresspasses by godisinthetvzine.co.uk
Edinburgh based Electro wizards Ben Butler & Mousepad is Joe Gay vs You/Germlin's new project and they are a late entry wild card onto my list of 'one's to watch' if you check the press release apparently they create 'a soundtrack to a bad mother of a party with Rocky Balboa, Bootsy Collins and Triumvirat headlining.' Maybe but what makes them really stand out from the over populated electro pop herd is their ability to surprise, because they sound like the frankly schizoid, and the lead track from their new EP 'Infinite Capacity feat The Niallist" is the sound of Gary Numan playing with some new pro tools programmes with all the gleefulness of a 16 year old after their first taste of redbull and coke!
'Infinite Capacity'(below) stomps through a sea break beats and glitches, scattered with a electro prog- pop melody that constantly comes at you from different angles, reminding one of everyone from Devo to LCD Soundsystem and beyond. The rest of the EP shows the outfits' diversity and grounding in the modern dance community retaining a playful zip for experimenting with funky beats, squelching synths and cut up samples that makes us eager to see where they go next. Ben Butler & Mousepad is currently working on the finishing touches of his debut album 'Formed for Fantasy' due out on LOAF in 2011.Ben Butler & Mousepad have been invited by Deerhoof to support them in their US tour.
Ben Butler & Mousepad Infinite Capacity (For Love) Feat by godisinthetvzine.co.uk
There are problem three of four new names for you to sample on this list (and that was partly the aim) but I've also included some acts that whilst not new, deserve more attention in the coming year. One such is gloriously minimal Newcastle dream pop act Lanterns on the Lake, we've long since championed their subtle achingly gorgeous sighing pop that touches on the works of Low and <>Mazzy Star that stretches across two outstanding self-record and self-released EPs: “The Starlight EP” and “Misfortunes & Minor Victories”. Well we're pleased to inform you that they've now been snapped up by ace indie imprint Bella Union one can only hope that 2011, is the year that Lanterns on the Lake really emerge from the depths of the underground scene into the warm bosom of the wider alternative public, because they bloody deserve it! Their single from last year the heart beats of 'Lungs Quicken' (below) is but just one example of their wondrous ability to shift and move the listener with subtle cadences of instrumentation and piercingly gorgeous harmonies.
Lanterns on the Lake- Lungs quicken by godisinthetvzine.co.uk
Another who has already been well covered on this site is startling Norwegian talent Pål Moddi Knutsen or Moddi for short, his Rubbles EP last year earned him rave reviews on GIITTV, and shone a light on his future movements, including the release of his debut album 'Floriography' in this country in April.
The title track from his EP 'Rubbles'(below) is an outstanding piece of melodramatic composition, written at the dead of night its undulating percussion that traces the vast
landscapes of his homeland. Moddi's utterly unique voice drawing into you his spindling web through intriguing couplets and sudden bursts of accordion and a sea-blue guitar but it's his spellbinding vocals that are the key to understanding the majesty of his song writing switching effortlessly from tenderly enigmatic to skyscrapingly dramatic in the space of a few verses. Moddi has been compared favourably to everyone from Bjork to Scott Walker and Patrick Wolf but is an utterly unique talent. Moving ahead, Moddi is preparing for the international release of “Floriography” (on Propeller records in April 2011), and will be touring extensively with his band throughout Europe in conjunction with the release.
Moddi- Rubbles by godisinthetvzine.co.uk
Sure, new Heavenly signings Sea of Bees have been widely touted elsewhere but I just couldn't resist including the work of Sea of Bees small-town Sacremento's very own Julie Ann Baenziger (known as Jules to her friends) her cowering voice is entrancing and 'off-kilter-folk' song writing irresistibly enigmatic, if you're looking for short hands you can mention the southern twang of Kristin Hersh or the elegance of the work of Cat Power, but essentially multi instrumentalist Sea of Bees is an beguiling incomparable new talent and her forthcoming 'Songs For the Ravens' album is delightful and: "influenced by rebels, nomads and the beloved people in Jules' life. Short stories, films, even colours and shapes help richly weave 'Songs For The Ravens' into the epically beautiful and deeply personal piece of work it is. It is full of songs Jules wrote when she was emerging from her chrysalis, the work of someone who wanted to put her entire life on record. As she made it, she even learned to play the marimba, the glockenspiel and the slide guitar."
Take the her forthcoming single the utterly spellbinding country tinged strum of 'Wizbot' (below), possesses an irresistibly coquettish vocals that sigh and twinge they are the magical sound of being enveloped in the pools of that special someone's eyes and yet being left with only unrequited feelings, a perfectly encapsulated lament told through vivid imagery and references to the book Huckleberry Finn. Jules aka Sea of Bees' forthcoming album 'Songs for the Ravens' is a utterly glorious record and gets its released on Heavenly Recordings on 7 February.
Scotland has something of a track record of late, when it comes to being the birthplace of emotionally scorched indie rock groups of late, and the encouraging thing is they are all so different! Whether its been the insistent melodic throb of Frightened Rabbit's emotionally torn streams of consciousness' or the scorched almost post rock cadences of There Will Be Fireworks or the emotive primal scream of Muersault producers one of 2010's sleeper albums of the year.
Glaswegian Sextet Admiral Fallow exist somewhere between the gaps of all of these aforementioned acts, but yet are utterly unique, delicate folky instrumentation reveals itself like a flower in spring, each carefully executed line built layer by layer each player or flute, guitar, shivering percussive cymbals and strings that arch and release. Each player ushering in a new motif and removing themselves delightfully to give the song space to breath. But its singer/lyricist Louis Abbott, a proud Scot whose accent is familiar and comforting yet filled with a melancholia (contrasted with the Northumbrian tones of Sarah Hayes) that sows these songs with hard worn tales of growing up as a under achiever and being pushed away at every turn, a theme that is both personal and yet universal and sung in intricate poetic detail, moving from the minute tiny details of the everyday, toward utterly wide screen rushes of emotional reward.
Admiral Fallow's album 'Boots met my face' got a low key release last year, but now gets its full UK release on March the 21st! Preceded by their new single 'These Barren Years' on January 31st. The album track 'Delivered' (below) is one such fine example of their expert song writing and the redemptive power of their music, that skirts the edges of folk pop revival and ushers in a tenderness, sense of place and hope through struggle, that is life affirming and heart warming.
Admiral Fallow- Delivered (Alt Version) by godisinthetvzine.co.uk