It’s 2012, the world is ending and somehow it feels like I’m living in the FUTURE. We got the video calling and 3D movies, but I’m still waiting for my hoverboard. Sigh. Anyway, it’s that time of the year again. Yes, it’s painful to see myself involved in the annual tipping fair, but I just can’t turn down the chance to give you an insight into some of the bands that will have my closest attention this coming year. So, here we are. These are my sounds to take to the end of the world………and back, I hope.
///// Screaming Females /////
They are quite probably my favourite (living) band, the ones that kicked this whole music blogging lark off for me. Screaming Females make the kind of lo-fi garage rock that reminds me of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs in their early days, before Nick Zinner put down his guitar. Raw, energetic and slightly off the wall. Bordering on the possessed, in frontwoman Marissa Paternoster they have one of the most talented young guitarists in rock. Matched by an incredibly tight (yet expressive) band, with drummer Jarrett and bassist Mike playing the metronome, Marissa is given the space to let loose and explode into a solo at any given moment. Her tough yet piercing vocal cutting across the music, and adding yet another layer to their sound.
With their fifth album set for release in April 2012, recorded by Steve Albini, let me repeat STEVE fucking ALBINI, there is a hell of lot to look forward to. For those of you who don’t know (if I had my way you’d all be shot), he was responsible for the Pixies’ Surfer Rosa, PJ Harvey’s Rid of Me, and Nivana’s In Utero, amongst many of the most ferocious guitar albums of the 90’s. A match made in heaven. I can’t fucking wait.
///// Soko /////
I may appear to only listen to guitar music, but in actual fact my tastes are pretty diverse. I can enjoy anything from African music to electro. Soko is neither though. Singer-songwriter Stéphanie Sokolinski first burst onto the scene in 2007, creating a real stir, and soon touring with the likes of M.I.A., Pete Doherty, Daniel Johnston and Kate Nash. But in January 2009, she declared herself ‘dead’ via her myspace page, citing pressures from the music industry.
I remember stumbling on her and being absolutely blown away at the time. She had that classic French je ne sais quoi, both musically and visually. Out of the box and far away from any ‘pop star’ mould. Five years on and Soko is back - “ready to be a new man” - with her debut album I Thought I Was An Alien due out on February 6th 2012.
There are shades of (early) Regina Spektor about her. Although, here, we trade the piano for an acoustic guitar. And a vocal style which skips back and forth between spoken word, both delicate and angsty, with a lustful French enounciation shaping her every word. Lyrically less playful than her earlier material, there is far more darkness here as she tells us of her battles with demons, fallen relationships and loneliness.
It’s been a long wait, but her debut is sure to be one of the most interesting releases of 2012. Forget Lana Del Rey, let’s just hope we never lose Soko again.
///// Purson /////
In almost a complete u-turn, next in line are London witch rock quartet Purson who’s sound lies somewhere between psychedlia, folk, and prog, with a smattering of doom thrown in. You’d be forgiven for thinking they’d walked straight out of the 70’s. Channeling the likes of Black Sabbath and Coven.
In 21 year-old Rosalie Cunningham, they have a compelling frontwoman and one of the most enchanting voices I’ve heard in a long time. And with a strong band wrapped tightly around her, their best songs wind, build and layer upon themselves. Purson are one those discoveries that don’t come around too often. They have a bit more to go yet, but all the signs are there. They are capable of creating something truly spellbinding. A debut which could well be one of the breakthroughs of 2012.
And given the impending apocalypse, it may just be the perfect time for London to oversee the rise of doom, sludge and stoner rock. Amongst others, Throne, Old Forest and Lasers From Atlantis are sure to be a part of this. These are some of my favourite young bands right here. Expect to see more from them on here in the coming year.
///// DeLooze /////
Talking about rising themes in music, I wonder if we’re about to witness a new era of female fronted bands taking centre stage. I think it’s about time. And so I move onto the music of Stacey Delooze. An artist who I’ve been holding back on for far too long now, having first picked up on her in late 2010. Two years on and we’re nearing the release of her debut album Glass Army.
Delooze make the kind of music I’m tempted to describe as stadium rock. Big, bold and daring. Singer and guitarist Stacey has something very special about her. I find myself awestruck when I see them in the flesh. With a vocal style which is almost operatic at times, she puts everything into her performance, at times visibly showing the emotional scars behind her songs. Singularly one of the most powerful and beautiful voices you’re likely to hear this year. The slow building nature of their songs, deploying a soft-hard dynamic, and their expansive approach to rock and pop remind me most of Muse, with Matt Bellamy’s own operatic vocals serving as an interesting parallel.
If this girl doesn’t get signed up then I might just start to wonder ‘what is the point?’.