Monday, 9 January 2012

Obligatory Ones To Watch In 2012 Blog Post

I really don't like these lists very much. It is pretty much impossible to say who will have a good year, who will plod along as usual, who will split up or vanish without a trace, or anything else. It's also hard to say what counts as having a good year. Playing to a wee tent at at festival? A "triumphant" sell out gig to about 150 people in Glasgow or Edinburgh? The whole exercise always seems a tad pointless to me, you'd be better off sticking some band names on the wall and throwing darts to select them. That may or may not be the same way that bands land those wee tent at festival gigs anyway.

So, with all my grumbling out of the way, here I go being a hypocrite and making a list of bands to keep an eye on anyway. To remove some of the guess work - and the temptation to randomly pick folk that I just happen to like - I'm msotly concentrating on bands who are confirmed, or at least likely, to have new material out this year. Less "Ones To Watch In 2012" then, more "Ones To Watch In the next couple of months when their LP comes out". Of course, since some of these bands aren't even Scottish that moany first paragraph makes even less sense, but I'm not going back to change it now.

First Timers:

I could pretty much have just written a list with PAWS on it and no one else and been satisfied with my choices, really. One of the most entertaining live bands in Scotland, PAWS are heading into the studio at the end of January to do some work on their debut album. I already can barely wait to hear some results.
PAWS - Winners Don't Bleed (Toad Session)

Black Books
It took me forever to get round to featuring Black Books here, so now I'm determined to make up for lost time. My favourite Texans release their debut album on February 14th this year, and if it carries on quality wise from their first EP it should be a darn fine record.
Black Books - Out The Door

Staying in America, shifting over to California, Sneakpeak are a band that I heard some time around the middle of 2011, listened to loads, and promptly completely forgot to ever mention on here. Falling into the dreamy lo-fi grungey pop genre that I seem to have become a wee bit obsessed with, Sneakpeek have been teasing tracks off their first album over on Youtube of late, and it all sounds quite fab.
Sneakpeek - Walk All Over Me

Rumour Cubes
Post rock, more or less, done beautifully. Debut album The Narrow State is out at the end of February, and currently sitting high on my "most anticipated" list.
Rumour Cubes - Rain On Titan

French Wives
It feels a bit odd including French Wives here, I've been listening to them for so long they are practically part of the furniture. This year however ought to be a good one for them, with the release of their debut album, and a trip to Austin for SXSW already on the cards. Still no sign of them turning into Simple Minds either, which is a nice added bonus.
French Wives - Covered In Grace

Difficult Second Album:

RM Hubbert
Hubby hardly needs mentioned by me, but he's getting included anyway. There's often an album that comes along early in the year that lays a marker for everything else to follow, and with his second album Thirteen Lost & Found Hubby has staked that claim for this year. For Thirteen Lost & Found Hubby has roped in some friends - Aidan Moffat, Emma Pollock, Luke Sutherland and more - to lend a hand, and the album both picks up where First & Last left off, and wanders into interesting new areas. Thirteen Lost & Found is released by Chemikal Underground on January 30th.
RM Hubbert - Tipsy Tapsy

Miaoux Miaoux
It took a minute to remember that Miaoux Miaoux belonged down here, and not with the first timers, but his debut album Rainbow Bubbles came out aaaaages ago. Miaoux Miaoux is another one of the artists I've been following for ages - at one point almost literally, as I bumped into Julian on a near weekly basis, which I swear was an accident - and from what I heard at his preview gig at the tail end of last year his second album should be something quite special. Chemikal Underground have just snapped up Miaoux Miaoux, and  if we don't see that second album this year I will, I don't know, complain on the internet or something.
Miaoux Miaoux - Hrvatski

The Last Battle
Since debut album Heart of the Land, Soul of the Sea The Last Battle have rejigged their line-up and sound quite a fair bit. Last year's Springwell EP was a much noisier affair, and I'm keen to see what approach they'll take on their second album, which is currently being recorded.
The Last Battle - 365 Days

Oh go on then, let's have some folk that I just like.


Hector Bizerk
I've said before that I often struggle to get my head around Scottish hip-hop, but I don't have any trouble with Hector Bizerk. And MC and a drummer, they keep things pretty simple (my brain won't allow me to complete this sentence without saying "no rabbit in a hat tricks", so there, it's done, let me move on now brain), and do it very, very well. They've got two EPs under their belt already, both worth a listen.
Hector Bizerk - Man Up (Ally McCrae Session)

Shouty, bitchy, London girls that sound something like what would happen if Kenickie and Shampoo had children together.. By goodness I love them. Unashamedly pop, I keep using Pris to cheer myself up when my inbox gets too full over self indulgent over serious navel gazing nonsense. Long may they continue.
Pris - The Better You Look The More You See

Loch Awe
As I write this Loch Awe are locked up in Hamilton, recording at Chem19 studios. Their first EP (or is it a mini album? I can never tell) back in 2010 was pretty ace. Since the release of that the band have changed the way they sound a fair bit, meaning we can't get away with describing them as dead folky any more.
Loch Awe - I Will Drift into 10,000 Streams (demo)

The Spook School
As with Loch Awe, The Spook School were a band I wanted to see live so much that I practically begged them to come and do a gig for me so I could watch them. Despite having very little recorded yet they've made a pretty decent impression with more than just me, shown by them ramraiding the readers' poll at the end of last year. As a band they are still rough around the edges, which - at least for now - just adds to their charm for me. Fingers crossed we hear much more of them this year, and other people than me make them come and play in Glasgow.
The Spook School - Are You Who You Think You Are?

This is a picture of Mýa, apparently she's going to kill us all this year, or something.