The last days of December are so 2009. The Alternate Side staff is looking ahead to a fresh year with new faces - and bands like Delphic, Freelance Whales, Two Door Cinema Club, Cloud Control and The Joy Formidable. And we think you'll be talking about them in 2010.
Jeff Kuprycz (TAS technical director and on-air host):
Yes, Freelance Whales' album weathervanes was released earlier this year, but when it's rereleased on March 16 on Frenchkiss Records, you'll actually hear others talk about it. Chances are you caught them at CMJ this year and were blown away; I was one of those people. Freelance Whales come out of Queens and recently toured with indie talk of the town, Fanfarlo. The band's weathervanes is my most anticipated rereleased debut record of 2010.
Russ Borris (TAS on-air host and WFUV's assistant music director):
Hailing from the Blue Mountains of Sydney, Cloud Control combines a warm Afrobeat influence with an early Talking Heads-vibe. Check out "Gold Canary" on The Alternate Side.
Kara Manning (TAS web editor/writer and on-air interviewer):
This Manchester band first caught my ear last winter when I became completely obsessed with their propulsive, keening debut single "Counterpoint," swiftly followed by the explosively restrained, Ibiza-at-dawn riser "This Momentary." And yes, whilst Delphic do evoke comparisons to New Order, Stone Roses, The Durutti Column and the wave of insouciant nu-ravers from the mid-naughties, there's an abrasive, surly guitar base to electro-kissed tracks like "Doubt." The band's debut album Acolyte, which drops in the UK on January 11, promises a enigmatic, emotive collection of ten tracks that embrace and transcend the dance floor.
Despite the sleek, beach-baby vibe (and titles) of two buoyant tracks off of The Drums' September-released EP Summertime, the quartet isn't Brooklyn's surfin', sun-starved answer to Jan and Dean. The balance of their EP - the band's debut album drops in early 2010 - glowers and gleams with a handsome, Factory Records era, Mancunian contrariness. Featuring former members of the band Elkland, The Drums triumphed this year with a reverently praised tour through the UK, winning them an unlikely fan in Boy George who enthusiastically compared them to The Smiths and The Cure. Looking to kick off the new year in grand style, The Drums will play New York's Bowery Ballroom, on a bill which also features the extremely promising The Depreciation Guild and Surfer Blood, on January 13. Another lengthy UK tour begins on February 4.
The Joy Formidable
This London-based Welsh trio, who originally hail from the curiously-named town of Mold, have dropped a succession of furiously euphoric, clattering dream-rock singles since the summer of 2008, like the wry, wiry "Austere" and the blistering sigh of "Cradle." The parade of jaunty singles culminated in an 8-track mini-album (or extended EP) released in the UK earlier in 2009 called A Balloon Called Moaning. The band's debut album is due in June. Known for their kinetic, spirited live shows, led by galvanic frontwoman and guitarist Ritzy Bryan, the band quickly won notable opening slots for White Lies and Editors in the UK and now, for their wintery New York - and Stateside - debut, Passion Pit on January 8 and 9. And thankfully, they'll also be headlining their own shows on January 11 at Union Hall and January 12 at Pianos which promise to be both joyous and formidable.
Alisa Ali (TAS on-air host and WFUV producer):
The new James Mercer and Brian Burton, aka Danger Mouse, project. I adore the Shins and am truly saddened by the idea that this band may not exist anymore. But James Mercer is the driving force behind the Shins so I have to see where he's going with this new project. I also have a lot of faith and respect for Danger Mouse and his various projects. I already love the one song that Broken Bells have already released, "The High Road." The album will come out on March 9.
Two Door Cinema Club
This Northern Irish band has released a few songs already that I really like. They sound like dancy Death Cab For Cutie. It looks like Two Door Cinema Club has a European release date for their debut album in February on Kitsuné. No info yet on a US release date, but it should be sometime in 2010 on Glassnote. Here is one the songs that I really like so far. It's called "Something Good Can Work."
The front man from the great Icelandic band, Sigur Rós is releasing a solo debut which is very exciting. Like Broken Bells, if you appreciate the original band, you have to check out the solo project. Jónsi Birgisson has released one song from his forthcoming record Go called "Boy Lillikoi" which is intriguing. I already love it and the video is cool too. The album comes out March 23.
I would be remiss if I did not mention these guys. They are my new favorite band and their album is outstanding. I love every song on the record and they put on a great live show. The vocal harmonies in this band are gorgeous and the lyrics are thoughtful, engaging and extremely catchy. The debut from Local Natives, Gorilla Manor, was released in the UK in the fall, but will finally come out in the US on February 16th. Below is a video of "Wide Eyes" which they played for us during a live session in our Studio A.