Top Artists of 2010 Part 1
Tame Impala After Impressing many young things with their cover of Blue Boy's 'Remember Me', the future looked bright for Tame Impala, especially after signing with Modular. But would they go the way of Wolfmother, throwing away their psychedelic dreamscapes for a poppier 'Sports-Tonight-montage' Sound? With all eyes awaiting their Debut LP in May, it could have gone terribly wrong, but what was released was an amazingly modern take on a classic sound. It wasn't breaking any barriers, but it wasn't simply retreading a much trodden path. Stoners and dancers united as one as Innerspeaker spewed up its technicolour guts.
Foals Foals released their debut album early 2008, but it took a good 2 years to get them down under. Appearing on the stellar Splendour line-up, and promoting their sophomore album (which one critic labelled the best British album since OK Computer), Foals kicked goals across Australia with their high energy math-rock. Singer Yannis proved he sounded as amazing live as on the album, even when diving into the crowd feet first, or journeying to the bar mid-song, guitar in hand. Math-rock is clearly not just for people with beards and elbow-patches.
Arcade Fire After the Neon Bible tour wrapped up in 2008, fans eagerly awaited the next move for Win Butler and his zany troop. Rumours were afloat that they would be recording the soundtrack to Richard Kelly's Donnie Darko follow-up 'The Box', but they were quickly quashed. A re-recorded version of “Wake-Up” appeared in Where the Wild Things Are, but it was barely enough to feed ravished fans. Then it all happened at once, with announcements of shows and new album “The Suburbs”. The album was released to similar acclaim as their previous albums (which was 'hipsteriffic' in case you missed them), and hit number 1 in the US, UK and Canada. Rumoured heavily to be playing Big Day Out 2011, get your extinguishers ready, because this fire ain't burning out any time soon. Yep...we went there!
LCD Soundsystem Head honcho James Murphy got American Apparel victims all fidgety when the soundtrack to Noah Baumbauch film Greenberg was released earlier this year, featuring many songs written by him, and a 'Floydesque' LCD Soundsystem tune 'Oh You (Christmas Blues)'. Slowly the video footage from the recording sessions of their third album began to trickle through the internets, until finally in May 'This is Happening' was released to high acclaim. Sure, many of the melodies, sounds and beats were familiar, but the combo of Murphy, drummer Patrick Mahony and electro-cash princess Nancy Whang pulled together what many have labelled ‘album of the year’, even back in May. When Murphy went on to announce the following tour would be the last, fans went beserk, selling out the two splendour side-shows in Melbourne and Sydney. Murphy went on to announce that even though it was the final tour, they would be returning to Australia again before the tour was over, if not twice, and LCD Soundsystem will continue to release tunes.
MIA All we wanted to do was 'boom boom boom' ourselves after hearing Paper Plans for the billionth time, but there's no denying that MIA continues to be a lotta fun. Even pro-terrorism accusations failed to dull the buzz surrounding her third album, /\/\/\Y/\ (incorrectly pronounced Maya... it's actually called ‘Y’ with a bunch of slashes'). First thing we heard off it was the Suicide-sampling track Born Free, with its ultra-violent video featuring Gingernut Genocide. She performed the song on the Tonight Show with David Letterman, obviously reaching beyond the Pop audience Kala won her, with a number of MIA clones, and even had a spectacularly old looking Martin Rev (Suicide member) on keyboards. That's our kind of party.
Gorillaz After a short hiatus writing operas based on Far Eastern fairytales and whatnot, Damon Albarn and his animated brethren pulled together the third Gorillaz album earlier this year. Apparently more than 100 tracks were recorded for the album, with only 16 making the final cut. As with previous Gorillaz albums, it was guests aplenty, including members of the Clash, Mark E Smith, Snoop Dogg, Mos Def, Bobby Womack and Lou Reed. First single 'Stylo' was released with an amazing animated/real life video featuring Bruce Willis in full bad-assery. the show is coming down under in December this year and will be one show to go ape-shit for. Stop monkeying around and get a ticket. It's as chimple as that. We're done.
Washington At the end of 2009, Pikelet was Melbourne's favourite glasses-sporting, cardigan-wearing, sweet voiced musician. But after releasing a bunch of successfull EP's, winning Triple J Unearthed, and making Alan Brough cry on Spicks and Specks (it was a NQR version of No Surprises which opened the teary floodgates), Megan Washington is quickly pipping Pikelet at the post. With the debut album 'I Believe You Liar' hitting number 3 on the charts, and appearances at almost every single festival over the next 12 months (Still waiting for the second Soundwave Announcement – duet with Iron Maiden perhaps?), Washington is set to be the President of the United States of Lovely.
Wavves What would a 2010 music list be without something lo-fi and indie-blog approved? This year’s lead contenders are Wavves-a Californian surf-punk-noise band that just released their third record ‘King of the Beach’. It could have all gone wrong for Wavves after a nightmare gig in Spain which ended with a good ol' fashioned Iraqi-style shoe pelting, but instead Nathan Williams and members of late Jay Reatard’s band have put together an album which perfectly match the band name- beachy with an extra V. It's a Beach Boys influenced release, with punchy guitars and angsty lyrics... the perfect way to escape a lousy Melbourne Winter.
The National The Brooklyn-based band of brothers (literally) have been one of the most successful bands of the year (so far) with the release of their fifth studio album ‘High Violet’, selling over 300,000 copies worldwide. Pitchfork Magazine honoured the band by giving the LP 8.7 out of 10, describing them as a meaningful rock band who ought to be taken seriously. This was aided by the fact that they’ve used their fame to good use, putting in some serious support for Barack Obama during the run-up to the election by making their own t-shirts bearing his image above the words ‘Mr November’. All the proceeds from the t-shirts were then generously donated to Obama’s campaign. They have also thrown their weight behind the AIDS/HIV and anti-nuclear weapons causes. Let’s just hope they don’t start burning the midnight oil by becoming politicians.
Grinderman Whilst this is more of a prediction due to the early release of their new single ‘Heathen Child’ along with a disturbing yet artful video clip, we expect Nick Cave will be leading his motley group of wiry rock ‘n roll troubadours all the way to the top of indie and mainstream charts alike. The new video clip for ‘Heathen Child’ has been shot short-film horror style which opens with a pretty girl in a bath and the band dancing around in armour. Intrigued? Have a look for yourself. The album, imaginatively titled ‘Grinderman 2’, is due to be released on 13 September worldwide by Mute.
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