As with last year's London trip, I headed over to the Rough Trade Shop in Notting Hill to see who the new bands to be buzzed about by myself and other bloggers. Last year, Serena Maneesh and The Boy Least Likely To became well known bands in the music scene. I'm still hoping The Shortwave Set and King Creosote make a name for themselves in these parts.
Anyway, I think what makes the shop so special, besides it associated with the record label that spawned from it, is their "Tastemaker" status. It's a shop you can walk into a talk shop. They won't force the popular CDs on you, but merely point out to you. You can buy the new Robbie Williams and HMV, Fopp or Virgin MegaStore, but you come to Rough Trade to fine an obscure new band that might not become house hold names, but bring a little joy into your music world.
This year the U.K. mecca for all us music snobs turns 30 years old. To mark the occasion, the shops has complied a CD of cuts complied by the customers rather than people who work there. Their customers include Jarvis Cocker, Bjork, Thurston Moore, James Murphy, Bobby Gillespie and Seymour Stein. The 2CD set comes with linear notes from the customers and some history of the store. I actually didn't buy the CD there. I found it cheaper at the duty free HMV in airport. Hey, £12.99, that's a damn good price.
Anyway, so I was talking with the lads behind the counter and they exposed me to what's selling well and recommended some stuff that I purchased. I asked, "Do you have any punky, electronic, kind of grime, but kind of new wave grime, maybe like sort of broken beats, kind of dub-y broken beats, but a little soulful, like kind of drum-n-bass, but broken drum-n-bass, but breakbeat sort of broken break beats?"
Here are a few you should pay a listen to if you can:
Lords, This Ain't a Hate Thing, It's a Love Thing: When the clerk gave the CD to me this, he said, "You'll definitely get this." He was right. It didn't take long for me to have my mouth open and saying, "Damn, this is the shit." The band is three guys from Nottingham who turn out deep, heavy blues riffs that will make Jack White and Jon Spencer fall to their knees and peg for mercy. Just when you are basking in all that blues rock glory, they drop that out and bring is some dissonant strings to keep you on your toes. They also have a fondness for ZZ Top, you can't go wrong with that. My hope is that the people who latched onto one trick pony Wolfmother will discover Lords and see how much better Lords is. Check out the ass kicking on their myspace page.
Loney, Dear, Sologne: From Sweden, we have Emil Svanängen, who resently signed to Sub Pop. That news should give the indie pop kids a boner. It took me a while to get into him, but about three songs in I started to slowly come to. The song is called "The City, The Airport" and no wonder it got me interested. It's also the first single from the album and first song listed on his myspace profile. He has that Sufjan Stevens meets Grandaddy thing going for it. He can be soft and contemplative, then hit that pop melody vibe that gets you nodding along. He'll be folking up CMJ this week so do check him out during the Sub Pop thing at Bowery. The Sologne album came out last year, so Loney, Noir comes out in February 2007.
Treecreeper, Grain: Who would ever thunk it that a decent roots, alt-country band would come from England? Treecreeper sound like the third, unknown band to come out of the break-up of Uncle Tupelo. The foursome was formed by brothers Will and Greg Burns. It's got that heavy smoking, hungover on whisky feeling that's indicative of the No Depression scene. The band also name checks Dinosaur, Jr. on their myspace page.
I've also picked up Peter Bjorn and John, Howling Bells and I'm From Barcelona. Thus I saved a few cents rather than getting those pesky imports.