This time last year DiS was outlining its tips for the following twelve. Next week we’ll be doing a similar thing – bringing to your attention the bands we think will matter in various ways in 2008 – but before we get stuck into the future, let’s dwell upon the past a little, yes?
Who triumphed and who faltered? Who succeeded and who stalled? Who slayed stages left, right and centre and who should’ve stayed at home? DiS goes time-travelling to check on the progress of our Tips for 2007.
_ Part One…_
Then: Oxford-based Foals have a particularly busy beginning to 2007 lined up: the quintet – Yannis, Jack, Edwin, Jimmy and Walter – are to tour themselves silly from the end of January until the end of March. Fingers crossed for a long-player, as DiS rates their jerky polyrhythms and foot-tapping party beats very highly indeed.
Now: Said long-player is due out this spring and will be called Antidotes. Firmly entrenched in buzz-band territory since a series of scintillating shows at last year’s South By Southwest conference in Texas, Foals are likely to make good on all the promise they’ve shown to date with one of the albums of 2008. Fingers crossed, again.
I Was A Cub Scout
Then: From Nottingham they come, fresh of face and delicate of emotions, this indie duo of no little acclaim already. But deem them emo at your peril, for Messrs Toddy and William write songs far removed from what is today considered that much-maligned of contemporary genres.
Now: A succession of high-profile tours and decently received singles throughout 2007 has set IWACS up nicely for a full-scale assault on the mainstream in 2008. Their debut album, I Want You To Know That There Is Always Hope, is ready to roll out in February, and they tour in the same month with Rolo Tomassi.
Then:_ This writer found Esiotrot through another band's ‘Space, and it made him happy. Happy enough to write about himself in the third person. Anyway, Brighton's Esiotrot are presumably named after the Roald Dahl novel of the same name (it's Tortoise backwards, innit) and make the kind of twinkly indie-pop that's far too rare on these rainy shores. Think Pavement and The Shins, 'praps._
Now: Although Esiotrot hardly set the wider music world alight in 2007, their steady progression has been recognised by critics and now, with ties with the always interesting Mentalist Association evident (Yeborobo, Noise Bitch, Team B), they’re well placed to build on an already admirable reputation over the course of this year.
Then: A spunky young quartet (three guys and a gal) from Leeds (as ever), who so far have recorded only one tune of note. It's called 'We'll Be Detectives For The Day'. Sounds like a stoned Alkaline Trio fighting off the indie ghetto.
Now: Despite us booking them for a DiScover Club date, Mother Vulpine split up in 2007 before they could play for us. Members are presently pursuing new projects, which can be investigated via the original MV MySpace, which still features a handful of cracking tunes.
Meet Me In St Louis
Then: DiS has been watching Meet Me In St Louis from not really afar for some time now – in addition to catching them in support slots with some of the best rockers around (These Arms Are Snakes for one), we put them on at one of our regular DiScover Clubs in Notting Hill back in June. Chances are we’ll be seeing them again soon too, listening out for new songs from their forthcoming debut album, set to be produced by Alex Newport.
Now: That Alex Newport-produced LP, Variations On Swing, emerged as one of the finest rock albums of 2007 from a domestic act, and despite losing vocalist Toby at the end of the year, MMISL seem set to build upon their already considerable appeal over the next twelve months. With plaudits under their belts from NME, Kerrang!, DiS, Rock Sound and more, MMISL should find a great many more fans flocking their way in 2008.
Then: The fact of the matter is that Gallows exploded onto the scene with their vitriolic punk rock in such a fierce manner that they forced everyone to take notice. You ignore this band like you ignore a suspicious bunch of hooded teens outside your house just as you're leaving for a fortnight in Majorca with the family. Fuck, even if you acknowledge them they'll still kick your head in and shag your daughter.
Now: They’re the biggest punk band in Britain, simple as. From playing to 50 kids last December to a full Brixton Academy last month, their progress has been amazing. Orchestra Of Wolves was re-released via a newly acquired major label, mags like NME fell for the band’s charms, South By Southwest shat itself a new arsehole in March 2007 through love and fear, vocalist Frank Carter became the coolest man in rock n roll or something… pretty good year, all told.
Then: You can hate the nature of their hideously contrived music as much as you want, but we can guarantee that if you see this band live you will struggle to find another set quite as exhilarating for a while either side of it. Just like Klaxons – the other dance-rock hybrid due to hit it big in '07 – Enter Shikari are amazing live and bring their songs to life.
Now: Debut album Take To The Skies sold a lot, and kids the country over continued to go mental at Enter Shikari shows throughout 2007. They’ve over 180,000 MySpace friends, and the band’s DIY approach to releasing their music earned them a credibility that their lightweight dance-rock alone wouldn’t normally. Sure, their method of material release was trumped in 2007 by a certain Oxford-based group, but at the time: wow.
Then: Already one of the finest instrumental acts in this country – a fact backed up by praise on these pages and those of more inky publications – Yndi Halda’s 2007 begins with the release of their debut EP-cum-album _Enjoy Eternal Bliss; if it doesn’t have critics stunned into adoration at its almost unprecedented beauty, then said individuals are most certainly deaf._
Now: Their debut EP/album certainly did attract a number of fans from across the critical spectrum, and with a selection of fine labels sniffing around the quintet’s new material – some of which was showcased at a recently rammed-out show at London’s Luminaire – it’s more than likely that 2008 will be a year to remember for these Kentish star-chasers.
Blood Red Shoes
Then: Responsible for DiS Recordings’ final release of 2006, the exhilarating ‘You Bring Me Down’, Blood Red Shoes’ horizons in 2007 look set to be even brighter than those they’ve left behind. The punk-pop-rocking two-piece – it’s hardcore you can dance to, fo’real! – are habitually regularly on the road, and they’re all over the country during the first few weeks of this new year.
Now: They toured, hard, and the work’s paid off – a sizeable following is to be rewarded for their patience and support in April when BRS release their delayed debut album Box Of Secrets through Mercury. The Brighton duo’s album is a little firecracker and no mistake – we’re plenty excited. Be sure to catch them on tour in January and February.
Wires On Fire
Then: Basically the best band to blast their way out of Los Angeles since The Icarus Line unleashed all manner of unholy punk-rock hell with their _Mono album, Wires On Fire have been getting certain DiS writers all hot under the collar for months now. We’ve got our fingers and toes crossed for some UK tour dates in the not-too-distant future._
Now: They never made it over, save for bassist Michael Shuman who joined Queens of the Stone Age shortly after the domestic release of Wires On Fire’s self-titled debut album. Hopefully this’ll change in 2008 – rumours of a co-headline tour with another super stateside punk act persist (although if you know not of whom we speak, we’re keeping quiet to preserve our relationship with certain booking agents…!), and we’d like to think their immediate bombast could find many a UK-based fan in 2008 since the last year was something of a foreign touring letdown for the LA outfit.
Then: Nottingham punk-rockers formed from select ashes of The Murder Of Rosa Luxemburg, Lovvers have been high on DiS’s list of ones to watch since we witnessed them for the first time supporting US hardcore loons xbxrx at London’s Luminaire in September. What should the uninitiated expect? Noisy riffs, discordance, vocals full of anger and aggression, and tunes enough to have the slowest mover breaking into a rock and roll sweat.
Now: Simply one of the most exhilarating live bands in the country, Lovvers have come to the attentions of the wider industry while never not doing things their own way. Their next single – out in a couple of weeks via Jonson Family – showcases their recent incorporation of pop sensibilities. Dare we say they’ve Nirvana-sized potential nowadays? Yes, we dare… if the debut album’s a winner, the (punk-rock loving corners of the) world had better watch out.
Then: While his music isn’t yet entirely his own – it’s impossible to listen to anything on the aforementioned release and his new _Hollow EP without tracing the roots of each song to the influences listed on his MySpace page – 2007 should see Culprit One develop into a very special talent indeed, finding his own unique voice along the way._
Now: The Welsh hip-hopper’s 2007 was relatively muted following some early year fanfare. Still, a strong underground following has kept his name and reputation blossoming, and a remix for Kaiser Chiefs has opened up new audiences to his laidback avant-ambient beatscapes.
Then: 2007 will see the band release their first-ever album proper, and we, frankly, can’t wait; a new song on 2006’s Truck compilation, _‘TNGIAM’, only whetted the appetite further. Watch this space is all we’re going to say…_
Now: Oxford’s most highly-regarded inventive-rockers will finally release that debut album, Good Nature, in 2008. We’ve heard it, and it’s pretty damn good to say the least. It is, of course, coming your way via DiS’s Recordings wing, but nonetheless: it’s a great long-player, soaked in ambition and soul. Expect a few singles in 2008, starting with ‘The Naughtiest Girl Is A Monitor’ in February, and plenty of touring.
Then: With certain members still too young to vote, it took DiS totally by surprise that Rolo Tomassi are so damn good_ – their self-titled EP of late 2006 left us so breathless we had to e-mail the Sheffield quintet to ask if they’d play a DiScover Club for us. (They did.) If you’re a fan of the freakish art-punk purveyed by the likes of Blood Brothers and An Albatross and haven’t yet picked up their EP, do yourself a favour and do so, immediately._
Now: Hardcore touring throughout 2007, including a number of dates with 65daysofstatic and a DiS-sponsored jaunt in the summer with Meet Me In St Louis, has seen Rolo Tomassi’s audience swell considerably. Their EP sold out of its initial pressing, and their debut album’s hotly anticipated by a number of DiS readers and writers alike. The fireworks look set to continue, then, for another year.
Then:_ We're firmly behind this Brighton five-piece and their jagged indie-rock in 2007. We first enjoyed them back at In The City in 2005 when things looked bright, but few could have predicted their continued rise in the public eye. With an NME _tour that won them friends and fans, a slew of blinding singles and arsenal of more behind them, The Maccabees - replete with their personal, introspective lyricism and a penchant for tight-as-you-like guitar music - soundtracked the second half of the DiS office's 2006.
Now: The band’s debut album, Colour It In, was fantastically received by a series of critics, eventually ranking at number 16 in our Albums of 2007 list. Consistently excellent live, they’re a feel-good indie outfit perfectly in tune with our times, and we can’t see their successes to date stalling as we move into 2008.
Then: At the start of 2006, DiS played the host with the most at a sell-out (and then some) event at Camden's Barfly. We were showcasing some of the acts likely to see their stars rise that year, and appearing alongside The Maccabees and Jeniferever was this solo artist, Jamie T. Finally, the Wimbledon musician’s debut album, _Panic Prevention, is upon us. It’s released at the end of this month, and is everything we hoped it would be._
Now: Almost without exception, Panic Prevention proved to be a critical hit, ranking at number five in DiS’s Albums of 2007 and picking up a Mercury Prize nomination. Jamie T’s ascension to Radio 1 playlisting and Q attention almost certainly paved the way for similar success stories: Kate Nash, Jack Penate and, now, Adele, whose first single was released through Jamie’s own imprint.
Then: Fields are part London, part Birmingham and part Reykjavik. That taken into account it must also be noted that they are all parts magnificent. As 2005 became 2006, their almost-eponymous debut single _'Song for the Fields' was just the beginning - and we loved that _long time.
Now: Debut album Everything Last Winter proved to be something of a shrug amongst a few too many critics, and despite a degree of positivity for live shows, Fields’ 2007 never really took off in the way many were anticipating at the turn of the year. Pleasant though their released material was last year, it wasn’t memorable enough for them to feature in our end-of-2007 best-of musings.
Then: Rather than jumping on where others have been before, we've taken a step back and sucked in this band as much as we can. The result is, as we hoped, the same as it was beforehand: Klaxons produce fun, danceable pop and, if you can get over yourself and the indie-o-meter on your head, you might just enjoy them as much as they seem to enjoy themselves.
Now: Well, they won the Mercury, didn’t they. Nuff sed.
Emmy The Great
Then: Continuing to build her passionate underground fanbase and winning hearts everywhere she goes, Emmy The Great's blend of cutting, succinct lyricism and delicate guitar tones builds a fire in your heart and spreads a wry grin across your face. Even fashion bible _Vogue selected the lady as their singer/songwriter tip for 2007, and who are we to argue with them?_
Now: Although Emmy didn’t entirely break through as some were hoping last year, her gradually established fanbase is now at a level where an album’s a genuine likelihood in 2008. She went out on her first-ever headline tour in October 2007, and we’re still of the opinion that great things await this talented singer/songwriter.
Then: A little over six months ago, a post hit the DiS music boards about a great, but next to unheard of, local band. So far, so what. But this time it was different. A Broken Social Scene support slot, a DiScover show in Camden and a record deal (with the ever-wonderful Wichita) later and here we are: Cardiff's best new band.
Now: Los Camp’s debut album, Hold On Now, Youngster..., will be out next month via Wichita, and the group tour alongside one of 2008’s hottest tips, Johnny Foreigner, from February 11. With great reviews for their singles to date already in the scrapbook, the next year is likely to be the brightest yet for Gareth Campesinos! and his merry cohorts.
Then: Crystal Castles seemed to waltz in a startlingly carefree gait into the hearts and minds of the many in 2006. Their first release was a demo on which the title track, _‘Alice Practice’, was indeed just a vocal practice that came out so well they decided to keep it. Delicious retro beeps belied a fierce, danceably dark, shrill and penetrating electronic-punk sound, and before you knew it they were blowing away established club nights like Motherfucker on a whistle-stop UK tour._
Now: The duo’s debut album is scheduled for a February release – it’s self-titled and is coming your way via Last Gang in the States – and they’re on tour over here the very same month. Sure to be tips for 2008 in a variety of publications, they’ve worked their way into an enviable position of being able to attract attention from ‘fashion’-end magazines and po-faced journals alike.
Then: Fragile, joyous and energetic are three adjectives certain to feature in an appraisal of this band-cum-solo artist. 2006 saw the release of Loney, Dear's UK debut album through Something in Construction; _Sologne garnered a healthy amount of respect and acclaim upon its October release. In 2007, freshly signed to Sub Pop in the US and a major over this side of the pond, Emil Svanängen and his group are ready to convert that acclaim into wave after wave of fans._
Now: The follow-up to Sologne, Loney, Noir, was well received upon its April release, but Loney, dear’s overall profile never really rose from its turn-of-2007 level. Then again, this isn’t music that demands widespread attention; it’s delicate stuff that suits the quietest of quiet times, and we look forward to more of the same from Svanängen in the future.
Then: Recently signed up by Bella Union, Texan troubadour Robert Gomez looks certain to send further success the way of the London label, following standout 2006 albums from Midlake and Howling Bells. Echoing the work of both Sparklehorse and Eels, Gomez’s music is immediate yet possesses the sort of haunting qualities that keep the listener coming back for more.
Now: Gomez spent a portion of 2007 recording the follow-up to the decently received Brand New Towns, and will return with said new material in 2008. Touring with Midlake in 2007 brought him to the attention of a fair few souls enraptured by his scorched melancholia, so expect his audience to have grown when album two arrives.
Then: Regularly praised by DiS critics and messageboarders alike, Leeds’ iLiKETRAiNS craft the sort of ethereal _post-post-rock that the average astronaut hears in their mind’s ear while staring down at Earth from an orbiting space station. Newly signed up to Beggars Banquet, the quintet look certain to build upon their already sizeable profile in 2007._
Now: The band’s debut album, Elegies to Lessons Learnt, met with favourable reviews upon its early October release, and persistent touring throughout 2007 has elevated iLiKETRAiNS to a fine level of appreciation indeed. Sure, there’s much bleakness to their history-inspired tunes, but engrossing stories are weaved within compositions that bluster tumultuously. We’re expecting their dark star to rise higher in 2008, too, perhaps carrying the likes of Shady Bard and Her Name Is Calla with it.
The Besnard Lakes
Then: DiS was lucky enough to be whisked to Montréal this year, for the inaugural M for Montréal event. An overriding highlight of this trek was the live experience that was The Besnard Lakes. Try to imagine the most beautiful avalanche you can, filling a room with glorious noise and soaring vocal melodies. Add to that the intensity of a My Bloody Valentine live experience and the kind of anxious energy that surrounds a funeral and you've got an idea of what The Besnard Lakes are all about.
Now: The band’s Is The Dark Horse picked up a 9/10 DiS review – one of many of a favourable variety – and was nominated for the Polaris Prize (essentially Canada’s take on the Mercury). Some consider it to be one of the very best LPs of 2007, and listening back it’s hard to find a fault with its elegance and glacial wizardry.
Then: A great signal of being a revered songwriter now appears to be the Christian name 'Patrick' and, joyously, Watson is no exception. Having wowed crowds with his performances at Iceland Airwaves last year and securing the support of NME along the way, the Montréal boy is ready to take on the world.
Now: He/they won the aforementioned Polaris Prize (news) with Close To Paradise. Blindingly bright horizons surely beckon from here onwards.
Cold War Kids
Then: Ignore those intent on proclaiming them to be 'the new Maroon 5' and nothing more: Cold War Kids eclipse their pop-rock peers, with vocals to _die for, melodies that throw a heart into disarray and choruses that render any personal attempts at songwriting completely pointless. Are we overdoing this? Well that's for you to decide, but put it this way: DiS’s editor was heard uttering that they were_ "the best band I've seen for the first time in 2006. They blew my head off".
Now: Said editor departed, and with him disappeared pretty much all office-bound appreciation of Cold War Kids. Harsh, but fair. In hindsight, how they’d have killed to have been the new Maroon 5. Sadly for them, Maroon 5 returned to record-releasing ways and cleaned up while Cold War Kids… um… toured a bit. And did Later… with that piano-tinkling fella. And that’s about all we can remember. That ‘Hang Me Up To Dry’ single’s a corker, though.
Then: Now that the Yorkshire mania has receded somewhat, and wave after wave of ¡Forward, Russia! copyists, Long Blondes-lites and Faketic Monkeys have been and gone, the cream is left on the top (notably those three bands) and we're finally able to take the area seriously again. Step to Sky Larkin: three pretty kids with many pretty songs.
Now: An album in 2008, maybe? We’ve got to choose our words carefully here, as Sky Larkin’s big boss man might just have something to do with DiS, but all nepotism aside this trio_ are bright young things in a sea of shite indie-rock makeweights. Nothing really happened for them in 2007 – a seven-inch earned a thumbs-up, and live dates went down well, but that was it – but the next year should, hopefully, see this beautiful little band emerge from the underground alongside other tips like Blood Red Shoes and Joe Lean and his _whatevers.