DiS's writing community has a variety of opinions and ideas as to what makes a great band. Here, one of our writers, head of e-content Colin Weston, highlights his picks of 2004, all of whom could go on to bigger, brighter things in the new year...
Can you believe it's November already? With the end of the year fast approaching I have been rummaging around my record collection to tell you about a few bands, each of whom is just simmering away under the surface of the mainstream, that have impressed me in 2004.
In my opinion, Emma is the future of urban folk. On top of that, she comes from London. After wowing me with her acoustic performance at this year's TMF festival, things have really stepped up a notch with a tour of Europe being finalised as we speak. Her stunning debut album 'Kamikaze Birdie' was released on her own label Impatio Sound, but is now distributed through Genepool/Universal.
Website: Emma McGlynn Online
Where can I hear her? She has numerous MP3s on her site, but my recommendation would be Whole Heap
Where can I see her? Emma and her band The Monorails are taking some time out to prepare for their European trip.
If there was ever a girl who wouldn't grow up, it has to be this one. With a childlike charm and softly spoken voice, it's hard to believe that this lady can perform country, indie and electro sleaze as well as anyone, and all with a touch of individual kitsch! She's been around in various guises over the years (remember Vic 20?), but now seems to have finally found her niche.
Website: Piney Online
Where can I see her? She is on the road from the 10th November supporting Brave Captain and Blue State. A list of dates is on her site.
Electro-pop has made a real comeback in the past year or so and Trademark are one of the bands I feel can make a big impression on the scene. Owing as much to old school Pet Shop Boys as they do the new wave of electro, these three men from Oxford have produced one of the finest albums of 2004. With a 20-date winter tour in support of The Human League confirmed, 2005 might just break the band to a wider audience.
Website: Trademark Online
Where can I hear them? They have several full MP3s on their website, with my recommendation for Trademark virgins being Hold That Thought.
Where can I see them? Supporting The Human League throughout November and December. The full list of dates is here
Peace Burial At Sea
Captains Of Industry have an eye for snapping up talented bands but I don't think even they expected these guys' album to be as good as 'This Is Such A Quiet Town'. Hailing from Northumberland, PBAS draw from a wide range of influences, from the likes of Spacemen 3 and Aphex Twin through to …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead and Mogwai, but all the while remain unique.
Website: PBAS Online
Where can I hear them? They have a few MP3s on their site. My choice, if I had to pick just one of them, would be Cygnus X-1
Where can I see them? The band have just finished a tour with 65daysofstatic, but on the 18th of December the band are playing a Distraction Records all-dayer in Newcastle, so you can check them out there.
From London, Arco have been around for over five years (Melody Maker tipped them as one to watch in 1999!). For the past three the band had been quietly working on their 2004-released album 'Restraint', and what an album it is. Beautifuly fragile and melodic, it is the soundtrack to a thousand daydreams, yet with a slightly dark lyrical edge to it.
Website: Arco Homepage
Where can I hear them? Again, several tracks are on their site, with my personal choice being Happy New Year
Where can I see them? The only gig they have coming up is on the 18th of November... in Barcelona. They will no doubt play the capital again soon though.
That ends my personal round up. I hope, if nothing else, that we as a website have turned you on to something new and interesting because, as a regular DiS reader once said, "the (mainstream) press is only interested in the next big thing, not the next good thing".