2012 Tasting Notes
By: Rob Gannon
When the time comes to start compiling your end-of-year best-ofs, so too is it time to stick your neck out predicting future successes for the year ahead. This inevitably invites hoards (or ones) of those keen to disagree with one man’s subjective choice. “With one glaring omission“, they shout. “You must be kidding“, another will interject. “[Insert band of choice] are shite“. It goes with the territory.
Naturally, it pays to stay away from the obvious for fear of being branded lazy. As such, out the window go the sultry come-hithers of sure-thing Lana Del Rey. So too go the unquestionably chart-bound Friends, as well the simply-cannot-fail R&B credibility of hit-maker The Weeknd. Likewise, there’s no room for Niki & The Dove‘s certain synth-pop success.
So, with those formalities out of the way, here goes nothing:
Even though the album is due late 2011, 2012 ought to be the year of Blouse. Featuring the services of a sometimes Unknown Mortal Orchestra member, the band’s pulsing new-wave synths come tempered with diaphanous dream-pop overlays courtesy of a suitably hazy vocal, as well as swooning, wistful drone washes.
True to the angles and gloom of antiquity, Cold Showers make post-punk the way it should be played in the near future. With proper punk tempos, mesmeric guitar lines ripped from the likes of Little Girls and Weekend, not to mention male-female repartees to die for, the only way is up.
With a current Beach Fossil and a former Smith Western in their ranks, Dive mine that lovely seem of 80s nostalgia so many been putting to good use in 2011. And, with a proper indie jangle and iconic sounding echo to its foppish proceedings, they’re more than worth a punt.
Beneath their hyper-cool frosting, the 2:54 sinister sisters offer moody pop structures with a reliance on atmospheric guitar chimes and prominent basslines. Consequently, they nail the trick of sounding contemporary and classic with ease.
Thankfully not having to entirely rely on a weak pun based on the Anglicisation of a district in the cash-strapped Greek capital, the Keep Shelly In Athens duo are now stepping out into increasingly glorious Balearica, and they have the world at their feet as a result.
No-one dislikes frazzled girl-group melodies and their inevitable drum pattern partners, and, by my reckoning, 2012 has room for some more, particularly when those of Night Manager come with blown-out percussion and bring forgotten Best Coast garage jams to mind.
Doing themselves plenty of favours with cardboard-box drums, trashcan production and the faintest whiff of Japandroids noise-rock, Wellington Downs can’t fail to please, chucking in some dreamy segues to lo-fi psyche for good measure.
This sometimes Cloud Nothings member puts his past to good use with Total Babes and their resultant fuzzed-up low-budget clatter. It’s garage. It’s punk. There are pop hooks aplenty, and searching for them online always yields a surprise.
Along the lines of the sensational How To Dress Well et al, Guerre‘s lingering, pedal–driven sound is rounded out by spectral soul and/or ravaged R&B. This Canadian exile’s wonderful windblown vocal is something to behold too.
Finally, here’s another outfit with a late 2011 release that should catapult them into the New Year nicely. Lyonnais‘s rough-edged guitars, dynamic bass and their lost-down-a-well vocal delay all allow them to breathe glorious life into a niche marked motorik-heavy post-punk.
Let the backlash begin.