These are some bands that you should not avoid seeing this year, as chosen by the Snipe music team

Snipe Staff | Monday 14 March, 2011 21:16

Active Child
To its critics, the democratising effect of the internet-fuelled bedroom recording and distribution revolution seems like a disaster. As a direct result of tools like Garageband and MySpace, the internet is awash with the fruits of DIY musical labour, and with the major labels and music monthlies in decline, fast-moving blog culture has accelerated discovery and eroded the traditional points of quality control. However, Pat Grossi (aka Active Child) is a walking rebuttal to this notion. His steady rise began with a flicker of interest on the now influential Transparent blog, and his is a talent that fully deserves to see the light of day. Built from synth textures, 80s inspired electronic drums and plucked harp strings, Grossi’s songs are topped with his soaring, emotive falsetto. The excellent Curtis Lane EP has already reached an international audience, and a debut album shouldn’t be far behind. John Rogers

Beat Connection
Wait, what’s this? More mystical dream pop made by a couple of mysterious American dudes? Isn’t it 2011 already? I’m being a little unfair on Beat Connection here though; lumping them in with the whole “chillwave” thing is a bit of a misconception. Yes, there may be some likeness to Memory Tapes or Millionyoung in places, but the debut EP Surf Noir (out via Moshi Moshi imprint Tender Age in April) boasts a more muscular sound that you’d expect from a genre filled with weed smoking high-school dropouts. Whilst ‘In The Water’ echoes the balearic chimes of Delorean or The Tough Alliance, single ‘Silver Screen’ is a tour de force of progressive rhythms and sweet melodies. It doesn’t really go anywhere; just meanders and floats about, steadily stealing your senses with its effortless charm and grace. Rich Thane

Finger clickingly catchy, two piece twenty-somethings Cults are doing a good job of inspiring a following. Madeline Follin’s kitsch 60s pop vocals are unobtrusively met with mimicking toy xylophones and playground chanting. While Brian Oblivion’s occasional drudgy guitar accompaniments prove they aren’t all sugar and spice. They even sample a Jim Jones speech in track ‘Most Wanted’! So I guess that means they’re serious about their name, which is a good start as we’re getting pretty serious about them. Good fun stuff from San Diego via NYC. Melanie McGovern

Pet Moon
Absurdly talented, disgustingly good looking and at the heart of the hottest music scene in the UK right now—namely, Oxford arts collective and music industry trojan horse, the Blessing Force label—things are looking rosy for Pet Moon main man Andrew Mears. Behind the gold lamé keyboard stands and heartthrob posturing lies a talent for making the weirdest post-80s pop deconstructions this side Of Montreal. Glittering guitars, tribal rhythms and thumping bass counterpoint Mears’ swooning falsetto. Hopefully 2011 will see the first of many releases from this thinking (wo)man’s pop starlet. Seb Reynolds

Puro Instinct
Puro Instinct feels like a natural progression: the sound of California 2010, and then some. Crystalline guitars, subtle synths and ambitious, yet restrained production courtesy of Kenny Gilmore (Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti), give Skylar and Piper’s music a heady, dream-like quality. Hopefully, debut album Headbangers in Ecstasy, out in February, will be a triumph, propelling them to the next level. Of course, it could turn out to be a load of LA hipster nonsense, which is also fine, as long as it’s good LA hipster nonsense. Tom Jenkins

Still Corners
Still Corners inhabit a world that’s filled with the perpetual colours of warm, golden summer days; shimmering guitars, angelic vocals and the hint of lost days in the arms of someone you love. It’s a modern spin on the quintessentially British pop music of the 60’s, warped through the dreamy psychedelic world of the early 70’s. Upon hearing their single ‘Endless Summer’ the names of Scott Walker and Siouxsie Sioux jumped into my head, the twisted but beautiful love child of an unspoken tryst. The five-piece have recently signed to Sub Pop, ensuring their music will be heard by the world… and that can only be a good thing. Rich Hughes

London trio TEETH!!! were omnipresent on the Shoreditch party scene in 2010, finally emerging to wider acclaim with “See Spaces”, their first release on the Moshi Moshi label. Reworked and given a layer of disco sheen by remixer-of-the-moment DREAMTRAK, the song shot to the top of the charts on global blog aggregator Hype Machine, becoming the internet equivalent of a hit single. Having decided to record their debut long player with DREAMTRAK at the controls, anticipation for the album is growing – their head-on collision between digital hardcore, riot grrrl and chaotic electronic punk (as pioneered by Gay Against You and their Adaadat labelmates) will open some ears in 2011. John Rogers

Wild Nothing
‘Live In Dreams’, the opening track from Wild Nothing’s debut album Gemini, is a song to remember. Lapping synths drench the surf guitar lines with sunset atmosphere, and the many-layered vocal line mumbles persuasively. It’s a thing of perfection, and a gateway to the band at large. They strike gold again on ‘Chinatown’, on which plucked strings and crashing drums meld into something resembling a summertime dream that My Bloody Valentine once had. Their debut contains a few listless compositions, but the production, the aesthetic and the dizzying high points all suggest their best is yet to come. John Rogers

Nineties grunge revivalists Yuck have been riding on the steadily intensifying shoegaze revival since they released their first blistering, analogue drenched single ‘Georgia’ almost a year ago. From recent single ‘Rubber’ to ambient, piano-led number ‘Automatic,’ the four-piece’s irresistibly infectious soundscape is fronted by vocalist Daniel Blumberg, whose twisted yelps swirl around hazy guitars, frustrated romanticism and anarchic instrumental impulses. And, having been snapped up Fat Possum/Pharmacy records for the release of their eponymous debut, the quartet’s forthcoming live dates are set to be just as vociferous. Lauren Down

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Darren Atwater

About this writer

Darren Atwater

Darren is the editor and publisher of Snipe.

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