The music industry has taken a bit of a pounding of late. Despite the UK singles chart celebrating it’s 60th birthday last week, single sales still wallow way below previous standards with digital downloads accounting for 99.7% of all sales.
In these cash-strapped times it seems there’s not too much to get excited about in the world of music aside from the odd reunion tour or X-factor chart battle.
Frankly, nothing could be further from the truth. The increasing weakness of major labels gives the power back to music makers and music lovers alike and if you look a little closer you’ll find some incredible bands worth getting very excited about.
Here’s 10 bands you really need in your life:[one_third] 1.Cloud Nothings
The indie rockers from Cleveland Ohio released their third full-length record ‘Attack on Memory’ earlier this year sparking a wave of excitement for their particular blend of heavy rock. Drawing comparisons to Mudhoney, Cloud Nothings’ sound references the chaotic nature of the Seattle grunge movement but brings it up to date with psychedelic wig-outs and killer vocal hooks. ‘Wasted Days’ is a perfect example of the band at their best, combining a raucous punk sound with an extended instrumental jam that builds into an epic conclusion. If you buy one record this year, buy ‘Attack on Memory’!
[/one_third] [two_third_last] [/two_third_last] [two_third] [/two_third] [one_third_last] 2. Japandroids
Channeling the spirit of Springsteen, the Vancouver duo made their major breakthrough with the release of their second LP ‘Celebration Rock’ earlier this year. Boasting a guitar and drum combination to rival The White Stripes, Japandroids’ fist in the air, balls-out rock seems destined to soundtrack many a festival sing-a-long. ‘Fire’s Highway’ the second track from ‘Celebration Rock’ is their most Boss-like track complete with a handful of ‘whoas’ to boot, despite this it’s a fantastic song and the best moment on what is a fantastic sophomore record.
[/one_third_last] [one_third] 3. M83
Named after the spiral galaxy Messier 83, the French electronic band from Antibes managed to do something almost impossible last year: make a good double-album. The format of a double-disc record is often consigned to pompous prog-rock bands or greedy rock legends but M83’s sixth album, the fantastically named ‘Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming’ was a game changer. Creating dreamy electronic dance-rock, M83’s sound translates perfectly into an epic double disc LP with lead-single ‘Midnight City’ winning fans over with its pounding beat and cheesy sax solo.
[/one_third] [two_third_last] [/two_third_last] [two_third] [/two_third] [one_third_last] 4. Paul Thomas Saunders
Hailing from the exciting Leeds music scene, Paul Thomas Saunders takes his cue from such famous high-voiced singers as Jeff Buckley and Thom Yorke. His simplistic, reverb-drenched music provides a dreamy backdrop for his exquisite voice to wander freely. Now signed to Warner, Saunders released his second proper EP, the fantastically-named ‘Descartes Highlands’ earlier this year with plans afoot to release an album. This acoustic version of ‘Let The Carousel Display You and I’ showcases Saunders’ distinctive vocal harmonies and challenging lyrics.
[/one_third_last] [one_third] 5. Wild Nothing
Capitalising on the nostalgic shoe-gaze rock which seems all the rage nowadays, Wild Nothing, the brain child of lead-singer Jack Tatum took a giant step forward with their second record’s release ‘Nocturne’ in August this year. Hailing from Blacksburg, Virginia, Wild Nothing’s sound is both nostalgic and forward thinking, slotting neatly amongst other bands of their style such as Real Estate and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. ‘Shadow’, the first track on ‘Nocturne’, comes complete with soaring strings and the trademark delayed guitars which have characterised Wild Nothing’s style.
[/one_third] [two_third_last] [/two_third_last] [two_third] [/two_third] [one_third_last] 6. Local Natives
Boasting harmonies akin to Grizzly Bear and Fleet Foxes, Local Natives from Silver Lake LA, create fantastic soaring music that is both poppy and epic. Their debut album, 2009’s Gorilla Manor, won praise from fans and critics alike for its varied style and inventive musical influences. By the signs of recent single ‘Breaker’, their follow-up record ‘Hummingbird’, slated for a 2013 release, looks set to push the band’s career even further. ‘Who Knows Who Cares’, the fifth single from their debut, perfectly showcases the combination of west coast guitars and soaring harmonies for which Local Natives have become known.
[/one_third_last] [one_third] 7. The Antlers
Beginning as the project of lead-singer Pete Silberman, The Antlers released their fourth full-length record ‘Burst Apart’ in May of last year. However, the new record was not a patch on 2009’s ‘Hospice’, a majestic atmospheric post-rock concept album about caring for a dying loved one. The record’s success is all the more shocking due to the format of the concept album most regularly being confined to awful drug-addled prog-rock bands rather than thoughtful post-rock groups. ‘Kettering’ is the second track on ‘Hospice’ and sets the scene for what is a breathtakingly beautiful record.
[/one_third] [two_third_last] [/two_third_last] [two_third] [/two_third] [one_third_last] 8. Frightened Rabbit
Boasting a Scottish brogue to die for, Frightened Rabbit’s particular brand of mopey break-up indie rock is about as enjoyable as you’d imagine such genre as this could ever be. ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’, released in 2009, brought the band (Frabbit to their fans) to an adoring global audience and subsequent tours with American’s Death Cab For Cutie did no harm to their reputation. Having released an EP named ‘State Hospital’ back in September, the band are now gearing up for their release of forth full length album which is slated for an early 2013 release.
[/one_third_last] [one_third] 9. First Aid Kit
Whilst sounding like they are from Nashville, the sister-duo of Johanna and Klara Söderberg that make up First Aid Kit actually hail from Stockholm in Sweden. They first were brought to everyone’s attention with the release of their debut EP ‘Drunken Trees’ back in 2009 via indie label Wichita. However, it was not till the release of this year’s ‘The Lion’s Roar’, produced by Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes fame, that their music reached a wider audience. The title track from the ‘The Lion’s Roar’ is a perfect powerful folk tune showcasing the girl’s distinctive vocal combinations.
[/one_third] [two_third_last] [/two_third_last] [two_third] [/two_third] [one_third_last] 10. Yeasayer
Despite being widely eclipsed by their Brooklyn buddies MGMT, Yeasayer have been plugging away at their distinctive dance tunes for years now. Their recent release, August’s ‘Fragrant World’ met with mixed reviews due to it’s change in style to more of a minimalist Radiohead-sounding direction. To really experience Yeasayer at their best, I recommend heading back to debut album ‘All Hour Cymbals’, released in 2007 to great praise from scenester bibles NME and Pitchfork. The slide of ‘2080’ from that debut record exhibits Yeasayer at their best, complete with an awesome rolling bass-line.