London's domination of 2012 is already under way. You got the Olympics and the Queen's thing-a-ma-jig, but this weekend is the annual Camden Crawl. It's their version of SXSW, but not as douchey, geeky or sponsory. It's better curated festival in a concentrated two-day period of buzz bands on top of buzz bands vying to be the next big thing.
In the past, White Lies, Florence and the Machine, Arctic Monkeys, Wolfmother, Guillemots, Hard-Fi, Hot Chip, Maximo Park, Magic Numbers, Art Brut, Kate Nash, Calvin Harris, New Young Pony Club, Foals and Adele started their buzz machine with their intimate sets.
This year, the big name acts include The Futureheads, Gaz Coombs, Glasvegas, Niki & The Dove, The Big Pink, Death in Vegas and The Cribs. Come on, you'll go to see the hot new band before they become sell-outs. A few of the bands on the line-ups have already been featured here, reviewed or name dropped. They include my buddy Lucy Rose, Veronica Falls, Clock Opera, Charli XCX, Dutch Uncles, Theme Park, Two Wounded Birds, Francois & The Atlas Mountains and Toy.
I have extensively reviewed the line-up of 150+ bands, and narrowed the list down to seven I think you'll love in the months to come. I'm always proud that I picked up a young Kate Nash before anybody ever heard of her back in 2005. It's what I do.
Willy Moon -- Of all the solo artists performing this week, this guy seems to have the greatest buzz. He's a shape-shipping, body moving, singer/DJ with classic 50s style and banging beats. I guess it's time to bring back that Fatboy Slim/Avalanches sound. The 21-year old New Zealand native have a trio of crazy cross-genre pollination that combines classic rockabilly, 60s R&B, 80s hip hop, fat dance beats, swagger and some post-production derring-do. Once you get around the WTF factor, you'll see that he's carving a unique sound. Above everything, he seems to be quite a live performer using a live backing band.
This is his latest single, "Yeah Yeah" You've been warned.
Echo Lake-- Either I have some sort of snobbery spider sense or I've been doing this too long, but when I first listened to Echo Lake, I said to myself, "This is something Slumberland Records would put out."
A look through my unread e-mails pointed out the obvious, Slumberland Records will release their debut album, Wild Peace, on June 26th. It's lushous shoe-gaze, dream pop that the label is known to bring into its fold. The band hail from London, and consists of art students Thom Hill and Linda Jarvis.
The band opened up for Real Estate on their last UK tour. Thus, I'm hoping they can come visit us. In the meantime, take a listen to a previous single which will be on the album, Another Day:
Bastille -- I've mentioned this one man band before, but hearing his latest single made me want to emphasize the quality. Since I wrote about his in June 2011, Dan Smith signed to Virgin Records, which will release his debut album later this year. His latest single, Overjoyed, was released this past Monday.
He sold out two nights at Hoxton Hall in 20 minutes, which forced another show at the much larger Scala. While Overjoyed is lovely song with soaring vocals and sweet strings, it's his six-minute opus "Love Don't Live Here" that will make you hit the repeat nothing. At the three-minute mark, the song warped into a banger of a track. I'm just preparing you for the sucker punch.
FOE -- I just need to get this really bad joke out of the way.
"You going to the Foe show?"
"Foe show? Fo sho."
Yes, I am pathetic man.
Anyway, Hannah Clark (no relation to Annie) is the FOE in question. She has the snarl of Alison Mosshart and the lyrical prowess of Polly Jean Harvey. On her debut album, Bad Dream Hotline (Mercury Records) she combines the sinister with the sexy, the sweet with the sour, the sly with the sad. The BBC says: "This debut is a polished pop gem that could elevate Clark into the mainstream. Her template is simple but effective: cribbing a delicious gloominess from Nirvana and Nine Inch Nails, and sugar-coating it with catchy choruses."
Take a look at the video for A Handsome Stranger Called Death:
Swiss Lips-- Not to be confused with Black Lips or Chew Lips, Swiss Lips has the distinction of signing a major label deal with only a couple of songs available and when nobody knows who they are (ex. Ting Tings, Cults, Vaccines). We do know that the five-piece Manchester band is already at work on their debut album for Sony. We also know that they are going to make a lot of people happy with their catchy psyched-out, synth pop and just a hint of 80s nostalgia. Think the bastard child of Passion Pit and MGMT.
You need visual evidence? How about their debut video where they get to show their movies. Well, not really, but enjoy their re-editing of Breakin' for the song, "U Got the Power".
The Milk -- I almost didn't include them because they have a dumb band name. Really? The Milk? If I didn't write about bands with dumb names, I would have much to write about. In any event, the four lads from Essex create ramshackle soul/blues pop with a lot of piano-pounding, fuzzy guitars and sing-a-long choruses.
Like Swiss Lips, they are at work on their debut album for Sony.
They just released a barn-burner of a tune called "Broke Up The Family".
Team Me-- We'll head over to Norway for our next Camden Crawl buzz band. Team Me have already visited our land for SXSW, but not sure if they came through NYC. The peppy pop band make youthful and harmony-drenched happy/sad that either want to fall in love or break-up with your partner -- depending on your mood. If anything, I'm giving them props for the best photo I've seen all year.
They'll remind you of Fanfarlo or The Boy Least Likely To with their full-sound and hint of folk undertones. To The Treetops is their debut album, and one of the songs on that that album is called "Dear Sister":