- Thu, 2011-01-06 16:30
Following an unpredictable and constantly exciting 2010, the new year promises to deliver some real indie treats. We start things off by looking at some upcoming releases we think you should know about.
Artist: Little Comets Album: Joanna Release: 17th January Label: Dirty Hit
Little Comets were all set to release their debut album a full year ago, at which point they had already made a name for themselves with their high-energy, afrobeat-infused indie. Things went somewhat awry, however, when their label at the time put pressure on the boys to provide something that they considered to be more widely marketable, which, thankfully, they were not prepared to do. Twelve months and a whole lot of hassle down the line they have finally found themselves in a position to release the album, called In Search Of Elusive Little Comets, on their own terms. Paving the way for the album is the new single, Joanna, already a firmly-established live favourite and a perfect introduction to their angular indie for those not already in the know.
Artist: Chapel Club Track: Surfacing Release: 24th January Label: Polydor
January sees the release of Surfacing, the track that first got people excited about East London’s Chapel Club back in 2009. A momentous slab of atmospheric sound, it perfectly showcases the band’s moody noise-pop, and in particular the gravitas of frontman Lewis Bowman’s vocals. The chorus borrows from the Mama Cass classic Dream A Little Dream Of Me, masterfully turning the lullaby qualities of the original into an eerie and epic anthem. Unfortunately it was precisely this element of the song and the consequent copyright issues that prevented its release the first time around, but with the legal problems now sorted it can finally hit the proverbial shelves and we can wallow in its dark beauty once more.
Artist: The Vaccines Track: Post Break-Up Sex Release: 31st January Label: Columbia
At the tail end of 2010 the nation’s music press were getting mighty hot under the collar for a certain new outfit by the name of The Vaccines. Purveyors of raw blasts of rock and roll, the British foursome, fronted by the charismatic Justin Hayward-Young (previously known as the acoustic-guitar toting Jay Jay Pistolet), have played just about every one of their relatively small number of gigs to packed-out crowds, as well as seeing their debut 7” single – Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra) – sell out all 300 copies in a blink of an eye. The follow-up, going by the name of Post Break-Up Sex, is to be released at the end of January and will no doubt be plastered across the airwaves.
Artist: Dum Dum Girls Track: He Gets Me High Release: 1st March Label: Sub Pop
In a year that saw lo-fi garage pop-rock experience a remarkable resurgence, Dum Dum Girls’ debut album I Will Be was one of the picks of the pack. The only down-side, in fact, was the album’s diminutive length, clocking in as it did at less than half an hour. For those craving just a wee bit more from the Californian crew, the news is good: on March 1st a four-track EP entitled He Gets Me High will go some way to satisfying those urges. Featuring three new originals and a cover of The Smiths’ tune There Is A Light That Never Goes Out, He Gets Me High promises to stoke the fire and tide us over for just a little bit longer as we eagerly await news of the band’s sophomore album.
Artist: James Blake Album: James Blake Release: 7th February Label: Atlas
As the evolution of dubstep continues apace the genre has found its first singer-songwriter in the young producer James Blake. A strange, perhaps faintly ridiculous, notion though that may seem, the reality is in fact pure unbridled brilliance. First making a name for himself with a series of more conventional if no less innovative dubstep productions that would more appropriately appear in our Dance pages than here in Indie, November of last year saw the release of Blake’s cover of Feist’s Limit To Your Love. The stunningly soulful vocal and sparse piano arrangement would have been straightforwardly indie had it not been for the deep bass and spacious rhythms that provided its backbone. Blake subsequently identified Laura Marling and Bon Iver as key influences for self-titled debut due out in early February. Sure to be a unique and game-changing release.
Artist: Toro Y Moi Album: Underneath The Pine Release: 21st February Label: Carpark Records
One of the pioneers of the so-called chillwave movement, South Carolina’s Toro Y Moi (a.k.a. Chaz Bundick) followed a series of hype-inducing early EPs with his debut album Causers of This, released in early 2010. His intention at the time had been to pair that album – created predominantly with computers – with one recorded predominantly using live instruments. Sadly Chaz was not able to see through his vision at the time, but one year on the latter of the two albums is ready to see the light of day under the title Underneath The Pine. Preserving the nostalgic yet groovy aesthetic found on Causers Of This, the change of equipment on the new album lends it a more organic feel, leaving those elements of the Toro Y Moi sound that take their lead from the world of dance music to Chaz’s new production alias, Les Sins.
Artist: Yuck Album: Yuck Release: 21st February Label: Fat Possum Records
The debut album from Londoners Yuck is without doubt one of the most hotly-anticipated releases of 2011 among indie circles. Barely a year old, the band have won themselves an army of fans with their rough-around-the-edges, hook-laden pop, not to mention a sideline in heartbreaking and skeletal piano-based ballads under the alias Yu(c)k. Despite the large degree of hype that has grown around the band and no doubt generated more than a few contract-offers from big-name labels, they have chosen to maintain their DIY ethic, self-recording their debut and releasing it through the independent label Fat Possum in Febraury.
Artist: Lykke Li Album: Wounded Rhymes Release: 1st March Label: Warner
In recent years a string of independently-minded female indie-pop stars have emerged, among whom Sweden’s Lykke Li stands as one of the most striking. Her debut album, Youth Novels, was a rare mix of poignancy and elation, suggesting the potential arrival of a personality and creative character as compelling and idiosyncratic as the great Kate Bush. March heralds the arrival of Lykke Li’s follow-up; Wounded Rhymes. Preceded by the free single Get Some, signs point to a slight change in tone, the hints of underlying coyness replaced by a newly self-possessed air of confidence.
Artist: Kurt Vile Album: Smoke Ring For My Halo Release: 7th March Label: Matador
A lot of hyperbole has been levelled at American singer-songwriter Kurt Vile since he signed to Matador records in 2009. His name has been mentioned in the same breath as Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and Tom Petty, which for a young man from the States with a guitar in his hand is about as high as praise goes. With two albums and an EP under his belt already he’s certainly living up to the prolific output of some of the elder statesmen of the U.S. alternative scene, and though one should always avoid grouping those at the start of their career together with those several decades in, it’s hard to deny that something about Vile’s weary Americana does mark him out as a rare talent. What the future holds for him only time will tell, but a little part of it is coming our way in the shape Smoke Ring For My Halo, which will be released on March 7th and is bound to be another dusty gem of an album.