This list has been in the works for far too long, as we’ve been adding more and more bands. Thus, here is part one, and we’ll get your part two very soon. Promise.
These are bands that are still early in their careers, maybe this is their first album, maybe it’s their sophomore work, either way, they’re artists on the rise. Each of these bands has us crazy excited to see what comes next, in what will hopefully be long careers marked by innovation and talent.
Brian: The Local Natives make catchy indie pop tunes with tight harmonies, and catchy melodies. I’m trying hard not to compare them to other bands, but that proves be to a bit hard, anyway. Scott does a fantastic job of articulating this better than I could.
The record is really catchy. I feel like The Local Natives are one of only a handful of bands (a large handful, considering how many bands are out there) that can make an album full of songs where none deserve to be skipped. Every song could be a hit.
Scott: I got this album thanks to last.fm. “Sun Hands” kept playing on my listener radio, and before I knew it, I’d bought the CD and was hooked. With all the bands I’ve been hearing about forever, only to finally get around to listening, it was nice to have a band come completely out of left field like this. They weren’t on my radar at all, and I went from having never heard of them to having them constantly in my playlists in mere days.
Gorilla Manor reminds me of Vampire Weekend, in that the band plays with various “World” rhythm styles at times. The album also reminds me again of Vampire Weekend, and also of Grizzly Bear, in that they are at once fun and earnest. According to Wikipedia, they are actually at times referred to as a sort of “West Coast Grizzly Bear.” Which, in one sense, is fair, while in another is a bit too dismissive of what The Local Natives bring to the table.
Either way, this album is good listening!
B: Holy Fuck are a different type of electronic band … when you think of the electronic genre, maybe you first think of instrument loops and programmed elements. Holy Fuck does whatever they can to leave those conventions behind for live instrumentation. This aspect almost lends an organic, improvisational feel to their music as compared to more traditional electronic acts.
Latin, Holy Fuck’s latest offering, is fun and energetic. It possesses the raw, live feel of a show, but it is also polished and tight. They seem to have found their niche, and are clearly excelling. It is very safe to say that we here at RtM are excited to see what else Holy Fuck comes to the table with moving forward.
S: Holy Fuck offer exactly what I would expect from a band called Holy Fuck, a fun, sexy, electronic party in musical form.
Like Brian said, you won’t find electronica here. We get a band who avoids that overused subgenre to remind us all that electronic music is far bigger than music for a rave, a big part of it is using real drums and bass. It sounds like these guys love playing music together, and the fun they have making it works its way into your earholes and keeps your mind-grapes juicy.
S: Sparse, gentle, adorable American folk/country… from Iceland. Lay Low is great music for the dreary days of Reykjavík or Seattle.
Like so many great artists, this music can be the soundtrack for a broken heart. Not angry, no wallowing, this is a lullaby, a gentle kiss to see you off to sleep in the hopes that things will be a little better in the morning.
B: I agree. Lay Low’s music is bluesy, folky, and country all wrapped into a nice little package that sounds like the music you’d hear on 1970s AM radio. She plays music that sounds old, and seems to sing from the heart of an old soul. The way the record was recorded sounds as if it should be played on vinyl and would totally blend in seamlessly when played after that George Jones record your dad used to play.
S: I fell fast. I fell hard. This love was made to last forever.
I’ve already written enough about this album here.
B: These guys are pretty awesome. We knew this after 2007’s All Hour Cymbals. But, if there was any question, they’ve left no doubts now. Odd Blood is a complete album. It is dynamic in its pacing and contrast. There may not be a better pair of back to back songs than “Madder Red” and “O.N.E.”, though each track prior and after is pretty damn awesome too. The trajectory of Yeasayer after their first two albums is straight up, with no slump in site. To quote Spin magazine’s review of Odd Blood, “Where did this come from, and what’s coming next?”
B: Beardy, caped goodness.
Apparently, Breathe Owl Breathe have been known to wear capes while performing. Lead vocalist Micah Middaugh has a pretty epic beard (even by indie standards). I will not be convinced otherwise that these two factors lead to the greatness of this band. Magic Central is an album full of acoustic guitars, cello, banjo, and soothing male/female vocals. It’s lovely Michigan-made music that sounds like it was made in and for the Pacific Northwest.
S: I’ve already done this with Local Natives, but I need to give credit where credit is due. Whereas I got into The Local Natives because of last.fm, I discovered Breathe Owl Breathe thanks to the greatest radio station in the universe, KEXP. Afternoon DJ Kevin Cole kept playing their music and singing the praises of this year’s album, Magic Central.
I enjoyed “Dogwalkers of the New Age” enough to pick up the whole album, and the rest is history. Brian’s right, you can practically hear the beard in Micah’s vocals, which are sweet and soft and perfect for story-time. I have really terrible insomnia, but I bet that if this man read to me every night, I would be sleeping peacefully in no time.
Really folks, this is beautiful stuff.