Monday, January 08, 2007

Big in 2007? Second time lucky?

Just because your debut album didn't make it to the top of the charts doesn’t always mean that you’re doomed to a career of being largely ignored and playing indie toilet venues. I mean, look at the likes of Travis and Snow Patrol. They slogged around in the foothills for a while before someone took notice of them. Now I’m not wishing that the two bands featured in this post follow the path of the above outfits into mainstream blandness, but I am hoping that this year, they can build on the critical success of their first albums, and attract a load more record-buying fans to launch them, at least to mid-table if not right to the top.

The Shortwave Set

I first stumbled across The Shortwave Set's debut album The Debt Collection in a second hand record shop in their home borough of Greenwich as I made my slow, painstaking way home after the London bombings on 7 July 2005. I immediately fell in love with its whimsical charms, and particularly the forgotten classic that is Is it any Wonder? It helps that I’m a fan of Saint Etienne and 60s pop music, but I reckon there’s something there for most pop-loving music fans. They style themselves as ‘Victorian funk’ which doesn’t mean very much, and probably tells you more about their thrift shop DIY analogue type aesthetic rather than their music. Certainly, their Pawn Shop gigs last year tapped into that slightly arcane vein. Their new album, due this year should hopefully see their sweet pop music on the nation's airwaves and in their iPods to a much greater extent than before. The limited edition 7 inch they released as a taster at the end of last year is a good sign of what’s to come.

Download: The Shortwave Set – Casual Use
Download: The Shortwave Set – Is it any Wonder?

Watch: Can it really be true that there are no Shortwave Set videos on YouTube?
Buy: The Debt Collection, Casual Use/ Billy 7"
See them live: Nothing planned yet. Come on folks!

The Earlies

Another band who’ve started to sneak out limited edition tasters of their new album is The Earlies, who in having a couple of Texans in their line-up, give the only transatlantic flavour to my tips for 2007. The part US, part Manchester band brought some critics to their knees in 2004 with their debut album, These Were The Earlies. As I said recently, their follow-up has been delayed, but it’s almost here. What I’ve heard so far hasn’t marked a radical departure from their previous sound, but given that their sound falls somewhere between dub, psychedelia, country and 60s pop, they don’t have very many peers they could be accused of imitating. Or being imitated by. So more of the same is good for me. I just hope that they can convince some others of their greatness. Their gig with Micah P Hinson at The Scala in October 2004 was one of my favourites of recent years, and at the time I predicted that their next shows would be in much bigger venues, but it hasn’t been the case. They’re actually back at The Scala on 6 March. Hopefully if I make the same prediction in my review of that one, it will come true.

Download: The Earlies – No Love in Your Heart
Download: The Earlies – Breaking Point

Watch: Clip of Morning Wonder at Bestival 2005
Buy: These Were The Earlies, EPs, Pre-order The Enemy Chorus
See them live: The Scala on 6 March, and a heap of other UK and European dates (see their myspace)

No comments: