Thursday, January 03, 2008

Sweeping The Nation Covermount: The Class Of '08

Ground rules first. Do not confuse this with a straight list of the artists who are going to be huge in 2008, because with a few exceptions that list would be longer and far more painful to put together once the horrible truth settled in. In addition we took out anyone who's already been within range of a hit - we had some great Foals live stuff to hand, and then Balloons had to go and make the top 40 - and anyone we've already Covermounted tracks by. So '07 In The Shade, if you remember that, has denied us Strange Idols, Those Dancing Days, Land Of Talk, The Hussy's and Friends Of The Bride, while the class of '07 contains quite a few names who haven't yet got to full-length status, although we should stress we very much still stand by Blood Red Shoes, Tokyo Police Club, Sky Larkin, I Was A Cub Scout, Pagan Wanderer Lu, Johnny Flynn, Emmy The Great, Kid Harpoon and Los Campesinos! (Uffie seems to have turned into a one trick pony, but that was always likely to happen).

No, in our minds what makes for a Class Of '08 entrant is not just, and often not at all, commercial sellability but the likelihood that over the coming twelve months they will produce records and live experiences that will overcome the mundane and mark them out under their own steam in their own ways. These are twenty-three such bands we more than likely will be giving big pushes to in the months ahead:

The Class Of '08

Gindrinker - God Of Darts
They are: DC, Graf
They're from: Cardiff
They do: Offbeat splenetic rants plus walls of jarring guitar over drum machine
They're like: The Fall, Big Black, McLusky
They're doing: Single in January/February

XX Teens - B54
They are: Rich, Anthony, Will, Ed, Sebastian
They're from: London
They do: Obtuse artrock you can dance to, or just look cool at
They're like: The Fall, The Pop Group, Rip Rig & Panic
They're doing: Album 'early' in the year

Popular Workshop - Sean
They are: Gypsy, Luke, Jake
They're from: London
They do: Fractured, abrasive but still hookish post-post-post-punk
They're like: Les Savy Fav, The Strokes, Wire
They're doing: Touring, lots

Dananananaykroyd - Totally Bone
They are: Calum, Duncan, David, Laura, John, James
They're from: Glasgow
They do: "Fight pop", pasting American post-hardcore underground into the Scottish, er, underground (and we know this features their previous singer, OK)
They're like: ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Mission Of Burma, Jetplane Landing
They're doing: Some sort of recording in the new year

Johnny Foreigner - Suicide Pact, Yeah?
They are: Alexei, Junior, Kelly
They're from: Digbeth
They do: Hyperactive, scuzzy alt-something building a cult following
They're like: Sonic Youth, Pavement, ¡Forward, Russia!
They're doing: Finishing work on their album

Black Kids - I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You
They are: Reggie, Ali, Dawn, Owen, Kevin
They're from: Jacksonville
They do: Hype Machine-bothering surging fists-aloft soul-pop
They're like: The Shins, The Cure, Arcade Fire
They're doing: Something probably when whichever major label firms up their signing

The Dirty Backbeats - Sticks'n'Bones
They are: Grant, Rob, Ian, Lee, Jess
They're from: Leicester
They do: Hyperactively eccentric garage blues-punk
They're like: Captain Beefheart, The Cramps, 80s Matchbox B-Line Disaster
They're doing: Single in spring

MGMT - Future Reflections
They are: Andrew, Ben
They're from: Brooklyn
They do: all over the place Dave Fridmann-produced synth-rock updates via glam, new wave and psychedelic disco
They're like: Of Montreal, Mercury Rev, New Order
They're doing: Album in January/February

The Spencer McGarry Season - To The Liars Take Me
They are: Spencer, Stephen, Avvon
They're from: Cardiff
They do: Smart, very English power pop from a band promising to record six albums in six different styles, McGarry helpfully describing this one as influenced by...
They're like: The Kinks, XTC, Talking Heads
They're doing: Album in March

Fanfarlo - Fire Escape
They are: Simon, Mark, Justin, Cathy, Leon, Amos
They're from: London
They do: Delicately melodic indiepop like only Swedes, of which Simon is one, seem to make now
They're like: Sufjan Stevens, the Go-Betweens, Grandaddy
They're doing: demoing an album, 7" soon

Noah And The Whale - Jocasta
They are: Charlie, Matt, Tom, Laura, Doug
They're from: London
They do: Breezily wistful, emotionally indistinct folkpop
They're like: Daniel Johnston, Adam Green, Johnny Flynn & the Sussex Wit
They're doing: Single in January

Eugene McGuinness - A Child Lost In Tesco
He's from: Liverpool
He does: Intricately catchy, lyrically observational, darker sublime singer-songwriterliness
He's like: Beck, Syd Barrett, Jeremy Warmsley
They're doing: Dunno. Still touring the mini-album in January

Lightspeed Champion - No Surprise (live)
'They' are: Dev
They're from: London
'They' do: Emotionally wracked country-tinged acoustic pop
They're like: Lou Barlow, Bright Eyes, Badly Drawn Boy
They're doing: Album in January

Slow Club - Because We're Dead
They are: Charles, Rebecca
They're from: Rotherham/Sheffield
They do: Lo-fi, almost twee harmonic romantics
They're like: Tilly And The Wall, The Moldy Peaches, Monkey Swallows The Universe
They're doing: Recording their album in early '08

The Young Republic - Girl From The Northern States
They are: Julian, Bob, Kristin, Chris, Nate, Katherine, MJ, Matt
They're from: Boston
They do: Lilting power-pop Americana with orchestration and post-Beatles influences
They're like: the Shins, Belle & Sebastian, Broken Family Band
They're doing: Album given a full UK release in January

The School - Let It Slip
They are: Liz, Ceri, Rosie, Ryan, Steph, Ryan, (TBC)
They're from: Cardiff
They do: Warm post-girl group indiepop, currently looking for a new drummer
They're like: Camera Obscura, Belle & Sebastian, Apples In Stereo
They're doing: single soonish

Club 8 - Heaven
They are: Karolina, Johan
They're from: Sweden
They do: Sunshine melancholia via folkpop, bossa nova and the early 80s
They're like: New Order, Aztec Camera, Peter Bjorn & John
They're doing: Sixth (!) album came out in Sweden in September, awaiting UK issue

Vampire Weekend - Bryn
They are: Ezra, Rostam, Christopher, Chris
They're from: New York
They do: "Upper West Side Soweto" - percussive Afrobeat-aware clever college rock
They're like: Talking Heads, Strokes, Paul Simon's Graceland
They're doing: Album in January (US)/February (UK)

The Wave Pictures - Long Island
They are: Dave, Franic, Jonny
They're from: London via Leicestershire and Cardiff
They do: Smartly penned lo-fi bedsit paens to love and worse things
They're like: Hefner, Herman Dune, Jonathan Richman
They're doing: Second album as soon as a deal is in place

Laura Marling - London Town
She's from: Reading
She does: Enchanting adolescent folk melodrama; is also in Noah And The Whale
She's like: Joni Mitchell, Martha Wainwright, Beth Orton
She's doing: Album in February

Broken Records - If The News Makes You Sad, Don't Watch It
They are: Jamie, Ian, Gill, Dave, Rory, Arne, Andy
They're from: Edinburgh
They do: probably the closest we've come in Britain to the orchestral chorality of America's new wave
They're like: Arcade Fire, Beirut, the Waterboys
They're doing: Self-made EP currently available from their Myspace

A Classic Education - Stay, Son
They are: Jonathan, Paul, Luca, Giulia, Stefano, Federico
They're from: Bologna
They do: Expansive string-stroked grandiosity with their own introspective spectrality
They're like: Arcade Fire, Modest Mouse, The National
They're doing: Recently recorded new songs with Jeremy Warmsley and looking for UK dates at the end of January, if there's any promoters reading

The Indelicates - The Last Significant Statement To Be Made In Rock'n'Roll
They are: Simon, Julia, Al, Kate, Ed
They're from: Brighton
They do: "Despicable folk-rock cabaret with a mission to end all music", they say, and we can't improve on that
They're like: Luke Haines, Pulp, Art Brut
They're doing: Album in April

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