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FIFTEEN FOR TWELVE - SoundsXP's Tips for 2012
Article written by
Paul M - Dec 5, 2011
Last year we took this opportunity to shout from the rooftops about Still Corners, La Sera, Singing Adams, Cults and the History of Apple Pie (along with a few others – see the full list here). If we were not so modest (well, just poor actually) we’d probably have bought a crate of champers and booked an open top bus tour around South London, just to show off after that little lot. Still, my grandad always taught me that laurels were to be kicked over the neighbour’s outhouse rather than rested on, so here we go with our attempt at repeating that TRIUMPH with another list of bands, who may not quite be packing out Wembley Arena, but we reckon will be causing a wee murmur in the more gauche and savvy districts of the planet next year...
Alabama Shakes come from Athens, Alabama and sound like the Dirtbombs if they’d grown up on a diet of Southern Soul. There’s power, finesse and raw emotion in their songs, the cherry on top being Brittany Howard’s mighty voice. Now signed to Rough Trade, we heard that Geoff Travis thinks they’re the new White Stripes and are looking forward to testing out that theory next year.
London's answer to Grizzly Bear have already played The Albert Hall in support of Metronomy despite not having released a record. We can't find any songs or info about them online other than A grainy video which is unusual in this age of sharing everything. it all adds to the mystery though and if their forthcoming records are anything like their live shows we're in for a treat.
Being There specialise in the kind of graceful, lo-fi indiepop that made The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart such an enticing prospect a few years back. If you've being put off by that band's new, glossier direction then this London quartet could be just what you've been looking for. The two tracks on their debut single were packed with melody and an appealing jangle. With a debut album prepped and ready to go they could be 2012's underground heroes.
The name, Bos Angeles, makes more sense when you learn that Richard Board (vcls, gtr), Ben Perry (drums) and George Rothman (bass) are from Boscombe, near Bournemouth-by-the-sea. There’s nothing wrong with their sound though; their youthful take on edgy lo-fi noisepop and surf-rock should come with the sort of hallelujahs we bestow on similar bands from Brooklyn. The hint of darkness married to the downright catchiness of their Bandcamp demos and now debut single ‘Beach Slalom’ makes them stand out from the woozypop crowd as one of the bright hopes in 2012.
Cassolette is a 6-piece pop band from Sarasota, FL in the USA. They're full of big tunes with a touch of jangle in their guitars and some catchy as fuck songs. Could this be the band to reignite the indiepop boom?
Exitmusic were formed in New York by husband and wife duo Aleksa Palladino and Devon Church. They use haunting dreampop atmospherics and a strong sense of melody to make chillingly beautiful waves of sound. They cite their influences as Radiohead's Kid A, the second Sigur Ros album, Godspeed You Black Emperor and Warp Records, but the gorgeous, lush layers they create are far less boring than that list would suggest.
Glasgow collective Mummy Short Arms have been compared to Tom Waits and Captain Beefheart, thanks in part to the twisted, psychotic howl of singer James Allan, but they also share those artists' willingness to push their sound and create challenging, experimental music with plenty of depth. The result is a swampy mixture of feral indie/blues innovation and catchy hook-laden songs.
Wrapping up the scuzzy essence of the late 80s / early 90s shoegazing scene and My Bloody Valentine in particular, Novella produce a distorted fuzzfest to file alongside Veronica Falls in the box marked "Turn Up To 11".
We first reviewed a demo by The Rosie Taylor Project towards the end of 2007. They’re not the most prolific band but, even so, making them a tip for 2012 sounds a little perverse. It’s justified though by the stunning quality of their debut album proper, ‘Twin Beds’, released by Odd Box in February. Where they were diffident they’re now assertive, where sketchy, now painterly. It’s a bright, bold and confident album, a highlight of next year’s release schedule, and highly likely to put their name on everyone’s lips in 2012.
3 girls from Watford with impeccable harmonies and equally impeccable songs that make you melt into a pool of lovely Fairport/ Perhacs coloured goo. They've been playing sold out shows where even the chattiest gig goers have had their mouths seemingly glued shut by their spellbinding shows. They've just inked one of those dwindling record contract things which may propel them into the coffee table but we hope they retain their bare bones charm.
T.O.Y.S are a three piece band that formed in Leeds in 2010. David Kitchen (The Acutes, Angry Sandwich) plays a baby Yamaha keyboard through a mighty speaker, Adam John Miller (Manhattan Love Suicides, The Medusa Snare, The Wednesday Club) plays fuzz bass and Eddy Lines (Manhattan Love Suicides, Downdime) plays drums. They make a frightening racket that comes laden with heavy hooks. They've had one EP released on Dufflecoat records. It's superb. They're even better live.
I doubt Two Wounded Birds honed their love of surf through their local Margate breakers, but who cares, their Kent Coast take on the music of Dick Dale and the Ventures added to a little Spector pizzazz, makes us stoked for more.
So what do you reckon? Will we be regretting plumping for this little lot in 2012 or will we be spot on?