On A Ragged Tip: 10 for '10
On A Ragged Tip: 10 for '10
Much as it pains RW to say "Twenty-Ten" without sounding like some tangoed idiot presenting 'E! News', it is kinda handy that the year happens to have a '10' at the end of it. Because then you can link this in to making all manner of top-ten lists. Like this one for starters. Here's 10 artists/acts that we reckon are going to wreck the gaff over the next twelve months. God, I love lists...
It’s one thing going overground through the likes of Benga and the Mercury-nominated Burial, but as we enter a new decade there’s still a need for someone to drag dubstep kicking and screaming into the mainstream. Enter 22 year-old Peter O’Grady, better known as Joy Orbison, whose bouncy, uplifting style seems more in tune with sweaty dancefloors than the night bus home. Having caused major ripples with his début 12” (‘Hyph Mngo’/’Wet Look’), not to mention a wonderfully ravey remix of Four Tet’s recent ‘Love Cry’, big things are expected from this maverick South Londoner.
"Yeah, you should definitely keep an eye on those guys," Yeasayer's Ira Wolf Tuton recently told Ragged Words of fellow Brooklynites Suckers. Okay, so maybe he would say that given bandmate Anand Wilder produced their neighbours’ debut EP(released last April), but you can be damned sure we won't be the only ones watching Suckers intently come the end of 2010.Adding another dimension to the New York borough's vast sounds - pitched somewhere between, well, Yeasayer and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - the foursome are currently recording their debut for Gigantic. The towering 'It Gets Your Body Movin'' should keep you going in the meantime.
With two EPs, a single and an impressive portfolio of remix work (Little Boots, Telepathe, Bloc Party, Simian Mobile Disco) under his belt, Essex-born East Londoner Gold Panda had a busy 2009. However, armed with the very best chopped-up electronic beats and some serious melody - the type that bangs ('Police') as much as it moves ('Fifth Avenue') - the Wichita-management signed, former sex shop worker is due an even busier 2010. As his full-length debut due out next year should well prove, lofty comparisons to Squarepusher, DJ Shadow and Four Tet are not entirely unfounded.
The toast of CMJ in October, Surfer Blood are four Floridians trading in the kind of catchy, sun-kissed slacker pop that’s bound to have radio playlist-makers foaming at the mouth in 2010. Debut album Astro Coast (in mid-January) has a real wide-eyed, first-summer-of-college feel to it, and sounds in places like Weezer before they stopped giving a shit. Tunes like ‘Harmonix’, ‘Swim (To Reach The End)’ and the semi-epic ‘Slow Jabroni’ have killer power-pop hooks to spare, while singer JP Pitts’ punchy vocals are coated in just the right amount of hazy reverb. By the time next year’s festival circuit rolls around everyone will be talking about these guys. Go tell your kid brother now.
Okay, so there's the rubbish name. And the fact that they occasionally sound a little too Death Cab for a lot of folks ‘round these parts. Everything else about Queens five-piece Freelance Whales, however, is little short of fantastic. Self-released late this year to little fanfare, the band's debut album Weathervanes is an irresistible combination of the baroque pop of Sufjan Stevens, the gutsy melancholy of Arcade Fire and the subtle possibilities of The Postal Service. We're told their live shows are every bit as impressive as anyone who lets Weathervanes under their skin might imagine them to be.Expect hearts to be stolen when Freelance Whales swim ashore in Europe next year.
Not the first band here to be given the Pitchfork seal of approval – nor the first to have penned one of our favourite songs of 2009 ('Crown On The Ground') – Florida/Brooklyn duo Sleigh Bells were another big draw among industry tastemakers at this year's CMJ festival. With backgrounds split between hardcore and cheesy teenpop, Derek Miller and Alexis Krauss quite understandably combine in a pretty unique manner. On first inspection the pair may sound like your run-of-the-mill experimental noisemakers, but just wait ‘til the tune hits you. Oh you got it? Intriguing, right?
‘Ethereal’ is one of those words bandied about by music critics far too often, but in the case of Galway native Laura Sheeran the description is entirely justified. Having long been a fixture on Ireland’s experimental/improv. scene, the 22 year-old multi-instrumentalist looks set to reach new audiences with the release of her Lust Of Pig And The Fresh Blood long-player some time in the new year. Recent myspace track ‘It’s Been A Long Day’ is the perfect introduction to her introspective sound, a serene mix of looped noise and barely-there vocals that’s sure to appeal to fans of Grouper and Laurie Anderson. Watch this space.
It’s taken nearly five years for The Middle East to gain traction outside their native Australia, but we reckon 2010 could well be their year. Debut EP The Recordings Of The Middle East has just dropped Stateside, and after a handful of live dates down under in the new year – including several support slots with kindred spirits Grizzly Bear – the band head for South By Southwest in March. Standout track ‘Blood’ has already got the broadsheets buzzing – its delicate blend of orchestral folk and beardy harmonies the musical equivalent of an open log fire on a wet winter’s day. Definitely one to namedrop at the Christmas dinner table.
Bitter old fogies that we are, we reluctantly accept that those many years our junior are more than capable of rewriting the indie rock rulebook in this post-Arctic Monkeys era. But beautiful, fully-formed country-folk songs? Kids? Nah. Only Long Beach's Avi Buffalo, averaging around 18 years of age each, make music miles beyond their years. Already signed to Sub Pop, and with an imminent debut 7" (‘What’s In It For?’) that’s sure to become an alt-rock standard, the four-piece make formerly precocious new labelmates Fleet Foxes seem as old as some of their songs sound.
There may be only one (excellent) song, one (excellent) remix and one (excellent) live YouTube clip to go on here, but hypnotic drone music from the hills of Donegal? C'mon! How could we notinclude School Tour? Truth is that 'Cat Pur', the aforementioned stand-alone tune, is deceptively simple and staggeringly great. Echoing the murky sounds of similarly doom-laden fellow countrymen Legion Of Two and spooky electronicist Hunter-Gatherer, the song is, until a terrifying breakdown at the end, just one big, evil loop slowly building over the course of five minutes. But Christ, what a loop. Go be his 112th MySpace friend.