Thursday 8 January 2009

Tips from the Stable...

Is it just me or are the current crop of "Tips for 2009" lists becoming increasingly samey & uninspired? It seems like no one has really looked beyond a certain limited pool of artists and to be honest, with the exception of Little Boots and maybe La Roux, the pool in question has left me pretty cold. They all seem more like pushes from record companies rather than genuine discoveries made by your Average (music-loving) Joe. It is with this in mind that I have compiled my own humble list of tips for this year. Some are blossoming artists I have discovered across the blogosphere this year that may already be headed for stardom anyway and some have been around for a while, still plugging away and trying to break into the mainstream. Most of them may not even end up anymore famous this time next year then they did at the start of this one but the point is they are still equally deserving of your attention (if not more so) as the acts currently being hyped by the broadsheets and more influential blogs. Here they are...


Any band that who describe their genre on their myspace as death metal / disco house and who's influences include a mixture of The Human League and Nine Inch Nails is definitely worth anyone's attention. This Manchester based synth band quietly released one of the best pop singles of last year called Money (a double A-side with another track called Magazine) which was of course deservedly made the short list for the 2008 Popjustice 20 Quid Music Prize. Amazingly, the other tracks on their myspace are even better, epic synth pop masterpieces and according to a recent blog entry, they've written a "clutch of simple songs that pissed all over the ones that got us noticed to begin with"...


This duo from Melbourne, Australia have only been together since February 2008 but they've already written and released "Electricity", one of the more notable electro-pop albums of this year and any one of the tracks on it could easily be a hit for Kylie if she bothered to work with people like this. Staggeringly, the duo are set to release a SECOND album in mid-2009 following the release of the single "Sharper Than a Knife" this Febuary. Here is their myspace.


This 2 piece from Portsmouth describe themselves as country / folk rock etc which doesn't sound like a promising prospect but they're just so charming and lovely that they just about get away with it. They're also notable for their hauntingly gorgeous track "Girl You Never Knew" which has to be the most heartbreaking song EVER written about un-requited love. Fact. If you go onto their official website you can download the whole of their recently released "Hello Stranger" EP for free.


Don't let the slightly low budget video and hint of fake tan put you off cos this trio are still an independant group and a girlband with a difference. They released their first single "You Made Your Bed" last August, a pulsating electro club styley number which I've been addicted to recently. The other tracks on their myspace are pretty solid electro-pop club numbers and certainly better than anything on the new Sugababes album...


The lead singer may look like hes been transported from 1977 into the present ( he has EXCELLENT hair)but really this London based 2 piece specialize in a more Duran Duran / Adam & The Ants style synth pop affair. Check out "Time Kills" over at their myspace. No releases as of yet but watch this space...


I'm afraid the much hyped Florence & The Machine has induced no more than a big yawn from yours truly. She is a classic case of style over substance... The amazing Marina & The Diamonds however (whom I did a post on a couple of weeks ago) is where its at and her current single "Obsessions" is melodramatic popular song (her words not mine!) at it's very best. Check out more of her tracks here...

Marina & The Diamonds, "Obsessions" from Neon Gold Records on Vimeo.


Poor old Annie. She has been plugging away for some years now after she released her debut album "Anniemal" back in 2005 which spawned the genius pop singles "Chewing Gum" and "Heartbeat". She was due to release her sophmore long player "Don't Stop", which featured tracks written by Xenomania as well long term producer Richard X, back in October 2008. However the date continued to be pushed forward and forward by Island Records until eventually Annie decided it would be best to part with the company. It is one of the great pop injustices of 2008 that "Don't Stop wasn't released as it has to have been one of the most perfect pop albums ever produced... however the Norwegian songstress has not let this set back stop her and has wasted no time in hooking up with Richard X's own label to release forthcoming single "Anthonio" which I haven't heard yet but is sure to be a corker! She is also hoping to bring the long awaited "Don't Stop" sometime in 2009 as an independant release.


I did a post a few weeks ago on the sublime Lou Hayter (keyboardist from New Young Pony Club) and her super-cool side project The New Sins but I really am surprised I haven't seen them feature on any tips for 09' lists as they are truly bringing sexy back to pop. Yeah baby... Look out for forthcoming single "Feelings (Have Changed)


Neon Hitch is notable for 2 things: firstly, she shares a flat with Amy Winehouse, and second, she used to perform as a trapeze artist and fire swinger in a travelling circus with her family as a kid. She also makes some very intersting alternative pop music thats kind of a cross between Lily Allen and old skool Nelly Furtado. Very good indeed...


God Moto Boy is just so lovely... Hes basically a Swedish one man tribute to the more tender moments of the Beach Boys and I defy you to find a more beguiling song than "Young Love" on this earth... He has other very pretty songs also.


Cowboy X are one of the those rare Irish bands that sound far too amazing to actually BE an Irish band (no offence intended, majority of Irish bands...:O)and why they remain so underrated is still the biggest mystery to me since I discovered them in 2007. They are also really sound and gave me and Chris free CDs and penguin bars in their dressing room at their last gig in Crawdaddy a couple of months ago:D They released their debut album "Who Are These People?" back in 2006 and released the awesome "Japanese Toy" single last October. There are hopes for a new album sometime this year or the next but for the moment they will hopefully be releasing a new single called "Ignore The Sick" in order to coincide with some live dates in the new year. GO SEE THEM!!!


Italo-disco inspired duo Heartbreak released their debut album "Lies" towards the end of last year and also toured with the lovely Little Boots on the Automatic Lovers tour last November which was pretty amazing by all accounts. They really deserve to get some decent exposure in 09' though purely because "We're Back" was one of THE best singles of 2008 and the fact that the lead singer has an AMAZING MOUSTACHE.


These guys are cute as a (gold) bug and supported Cyndi Lauper on her recent tour for her new album (which was actually really amazing. They also claim they sound like "Kate Bush on crack", which can only be a good thing really... Their self titled debut album is pretty good too but I'd highly recommend "You've Changed" and "Heartbreak" in particular.


Frankmusik has been building up a name for himself for the last couple of years doing unbelievably good remixes for the likes of Alphabeat, Dead Disco and the Clik Clik amongst others but he has recently emerged as a frigging epic 80's synth pop genius in the last few months with last year's "In Step/ Done Done" double a-side single and the current single "3 Little Words" where he dances around on top of a giant keyboard... A GIANT KEYBOARD PEOPLE!!

Phew! Well, I believe that's enough for you all to be getting on with! But I would also welcome Happiness Machine readers to contribute any of their discoveries cos whatever way you look at it & what ever you're into, its gonna be a great year for music fans methinks :D


Clockwork Rob said...

Tee hee- You mention Little Boots in this one.

3 posts! You didn't make one!
(she is quite good though)

sodthemachine said...

ah feck... :D