With the new year (and a new decade) starting in just a few days, I wanted to close out this year by looking forward to next year in music. I won’t be making too many predictions as to where music trends are going — mostly because last year I thought Gary Go was going to be a bigger deal than Lady Ga Ga, so, well, I guess I’m off the prognosticator bandwagon for now.
For the last week or so, I’ve been trolling music sites, My Space (yeah, My Space) and music blogs to check out recommendations on new music. Some songs and bands I had to just chuck out the proverbial window (I’m talking to you Spin magazine!) because what they were saying was going to be the next big thing was more sizzle than steak, in my opinion. But I was able to find six songs to feature that, for one reason or another, caught my ear and have been on high rotation on my iPod for the last few days.
“We Are the Band,” the Valentines (Download)
I suppose since Bon Scott is dead and Vince Lovegrove is probably trying to figure out how to make the Divinyls eek out another album, the name of their mid- ‘60s group, The Valentines, wasn’t copyright protected anymore. Enter these kids from the UK who have co-opted the name, but have really glammed up the sound with Christian Jegard’s vocals kind of channeling Ian Curtis at the outset of “We Are the Band” — which has a real infectious quality that hooks you with the way Jegard pronounces “band.” The Valentines are currently unsigned, but I really hope their fortunes change in 2010.
“Easy to Fall,” the Hype Theory (Download)
I guess it was only a matter of time before Paramore knock-off bands started sprouting up. The Hype Theory is London-based band who are also unsigned, but their pop-rock sound, while a bit softer than Hayley Williams’ band, has radio-friendly written all over it. Their EP is quite good, they’ve been adding songs to their My Space since they started recording new tracks in late November, and I’m sure once they start touring, their presence outside of the club circuit will blossom.
“Under the Sheets,” Ellie Goulding (Download)
Goulding’s pop-electronic tune is a stylistic cross between Dido, Sia and twist of Kate Bush during the “Hounds of Love” period — except it’s far more upbeat. “Under the Sheets” is currently available as a single (in the UK only), but I gotta say that there’s something about her vocal phrasing that is kind of haunting for a pop song — which, I imagine, will make it more alluring when it starts getting repeated spins on the radio.
“Beaches and Friends,” French Horn Rebellion (Download)
French Horn Rebellion are two brothers (Robert and David Perlick-Molinari) who are based in Brooklyn, New York but are originally from Wisconsin. I gotta say, these Cheeseheads have real knack for some catchy dance floor songs — and brother Robert plays, yes, the French horn on many of their compositions. The Beaches and Friends EP has three variations of the title track, but out of the three featured, I’m partial to this one. French Horn Rebellion are currently on tour with Database (from Brazil), but if you’re wondering where, I have no idea since their website doesn’t really say. Nevertheless, if you can catch these guys playing at a club, I imagine you won’t be disappointed.
“Enemy,” the Loaded Dice (Download)
In keeping with my apparent anglophile tendencies, here comes the Loaded Gun — another UK band. These guys rock pretty hard, and they have integrity, too. From their My Space page, I learned that even though they were winners on the program “Live & Unsigned,” the lads said “No thank you” to the recording contract they won (Seems the contract was too restrictive). They are currently working on a new album and will certainly have something out in 2010, but in the meantime, I think you’ll really dig “Enemy.”
“Summer Bonfire,” Great Lakes Myth Society (Download)
Out of the American heartland (Michigan) comes this band whose songs not only have cool bass lines (like on this tune), but (stylistically speaking) alternate between folk and a kind of XTC-inspired psychedelia. “Summer Bonfire” was actually released in 2007, but if I may make a prediction here (and I know I said I would try and refrain from doing so) I think once they release another album, it’s only a matter of time that their songs start showing up on AAA format stations in 2010 — or so I hope.