Bands to Watch 2011 :: Jason Jurgens, The Owl Mag

Say hi to the man with the plan – Jason Jurgens, publisher of the San Francisco-based music blog, The Owl Mag. Whether he’s writing, blogging, editing, promoting or filming Jason’s always got his ear to the ground when it comes to music. Check out his band picks for 2011.

The Dodos

“90’s riffs influenced by Billy Corgan and a shit ton of vocal servings from Neko Case. Sounds good to me.


New EP set to drop 1/18 and a tour with Surfer Blood (my fave from 2009). Shoegaze-y lo-fi that will make you see trails.
Excited to hear more from the SoCal band. Gritty and soulful folk with a hint of Ben Folds and The Weepies.
The Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros frontman is dropping a solo debut influenced by mouth sounds and children’s hand capping games. What a hippie.
Touring with Beach house, dropping a full-length. If Quever’s breathy and ambient tone and generally upbeat vibe on “Do What You Will” are any indication of what’s to come, then I’m hooked once again.

Bands to Watch 2011 :: Steve Brodsky, Figurehead Management

Steve is a partner at Figurehead Management, a San Francisco-based artist management company that currently manages bands like The Heavy, Orgone, A B & The Sea and Wallpaper.Here are Steve’s picks for 2011.

Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr: I’ve been hooked on this group since I heard their song Vocal Chords from their debut EP.  I’ve listened to these songs so much that it’s borderline embarrassing and can’t wait for their full length.  There is something so current and progressive with an underlying pop sensibility about what they’re doing.  I can see them playing with everyone from Local Natives to Vampire Weekend in 2011.  Wonder how long it will be before NASCAR fans join the already growing party?


Odd Future (OFWGKTA) : The subject matter addressed by this grimy West Coast skate rap crew is certainly not for the faint of heart.  They mix raw emotion and reckless abandon that can only come from youth and a level of creativity that the hip hop world hasn’t seen in a ages.  Bands like The XX already have copped to listening to the group and there will be labels lined up for a piece of Odd Future in 2011.

One of the best twitter handles out.  http://twitter.com/fucktyler


Gordon Voidwell: I had the pleasure of meeting and seeing Will Johnson aka Gordon Voidwell perform a few times in 2010 and I’ve been a huge fan ever since. His mix tape has been on repeat in my headphones and I anxiously await his full length in 2011. His style to me combines a little Zapp a little Prince and a little Cameo and even New Edition.  While clearly well versed in his history he manages to create a unique and Original sound at the same time and his live show could make even the biggest wallflower shake their ass. Download “White Friends” on RCRDLBL.


Tennis: I certainly can’t claim to be a fan of all of the “lo-fi” acts that ruled the indie landscape in 2010.  Aside from the fact it left audio engineers in well-fare lines it’s a trend I’ve been happy to see even some of it’s forefathers ditch in favor of glossier production recently.  That said when I first heard this bands song ‘Marathon” I was blown away by it’s beauty and simplicity.  This band will be a break out band in 2011 in a similar way to how 2010 belonged to Best Coast.  Aside from fantastic songs they have a great back-story to build on.  They have me ready to break out my wooden racket and booty shorts .


Foster The People: “Pumped Up Kicks” is a flat out HIT record.  It combines a sense of indie cool with a true mainstream sensibility. I see it being one of those songs that hits mainstream radio and breaks format much the way Broken Bells“The High Road” did In 2010.  It’s type of record you hope will come on while you’re in the car and your iPod lost charge and your  subscription to Sirius has expired.  Word has it they’re in the studio with super producer Paul Epworth so I see no stopping this band in 2011.


Bands to Watch 2011 :: Ben Van Houten, The Bay Bridged

Meet Ben, co-founder and programming director of San Francisco’s esteemed The Bay Bridged, a non-profit arts organization and online music publication chartered to educate the world on the awesomeness of the Bay Area’s independent music scene. And we love them for it. They curate some great showcases and festivals around town and make The City a better place musically. Here are Ben’s picks for the (mostly) Bay Area bands to watch in 2011. And for the record, I agree with all of them.

Artist: Young Prisms
Album: Friends For Now
Release Date: 1/18/11
Homeland: San Francisco, CA

I always associate this SF band with Weekend because I saw them both for the first time on a joint bill at the Hemlock beginning of last year. If Weekend was last year’s breakout local shoegazey rock group, Young Prisms deserve to fill that slot in 2011. After an EP on Mexican Summer, the band’s full length Friends for Now is out this month. The record’s a little heavier than I expected, and that’s a good thing. A lot of these reverb-soaked bands are too thin and brittle to make enough of a racket.

Artist: Exray’s
Album: Exray’s
Release Date: 2/1/11
Homeland: San Francisco, CA

Jon Bernson (Ray’s Vast Basement, Window Twins) is one of these can’t-miss artists for me, and Exray’s manages to incorporate his singer-songwriter and electronic pastiche sides into one compelling project. Are they garage pop or abstract beatmakers? Both. You probably heard this duo’s music in the movie The Social Network, or you’ve seen their name around the blogs recently, gaining buzz before the anticipated release of their self-titled full length.

Artist: Bare Wires
Album: Seeking Love
Release Date: Out Now
Homeland: Oakland, CA

I feel like Seeking Love didn’t get the, um, love it deserved last year, although it may have been unreasonable to hope that “I Love You Tonite” would be blasting out of every stereo all summer. Well, there’s still next summer, although Matthew Melton and band apparently have another album coming out soon. I know the Bay Area has a bunch of garage rock bands, but these guys write amazing pop songs about love with hooks aplenty.

Artist: Sea of Bees
Album: Songs for the Ravens
Release Date: Out Now
Homeland: Sacramento, CA

Sea of Bees became one of our favorite new artists last year over at The Bay Bridged, the latest in a long track record of great performers from the Sacramento/Davis area. Jules’ voice is unbelievably emotive, and when she conveys sadness, you feel it in your gut. Late last year, she signed to a UK label, and is doing a ton of European shows in the first quarter of this year. It would not surprise me at all if she’s a deservedly bigger name when she finally returns to California.

Artist: Kurt Vile
Album: Smoke Ring For My Halo
Release Date: 3/8/11
Homeland: Philadelphia, PA

I had to sneak at least one non-local artist in my list. I recognize that there’s a certain obviousness to picking any band with a big upcoming record on Matador as a “band to watch,” but Vile’s definitely become someone I’m expecting to have a big 2011. I’d slept on Childish Prodigy, but between last year’s Square Shells EP (find me a seven-minute song as good as psych-pop gem “Invisibility: Nonexistent”) and the songs that have leaked from the new album, I’m definitely more ready this time around. I suspect Vile will be this year’s Fresh & Onlys, showing that weird pop can be recorded well and still maintain its eccentric charm.

[New Music] J. Irvin Dally – “Sun Room”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The amazing and talented J. Irvin Dally (one of my ‘Best Of’s’ for 2010) has just released a two song single, “Sun Room”. Download it now and look for him to emerge in 2011. He’ll be appearing at SXSW and has a few tour dates set for this month on the East Coast.

Jan 17 – Charlotte, NC – Sweet Tooth *
Jan 18 – Arlington, VA – IOTA *
Jan 21 – New York, NY – Googie’s Lounge ^
Jan 22 – New York, NY – Piano’s #
Jan 23 – Lynchburg, VA – White Hart %
Jan 26 – Somerville, MA – Bloc 11 *
Jan 27 – Charlottesville, VA – Christ Episcopal Church *

Bands to Watch 2011 :: Mark Schoneveld of Yvynyl

Meet Mark, the man behind Yvynyl, a Philadelphia based indie music blog that takes the term indie to a whole new level. Anytime I’m feeling all hip, smug and on top of my music game, I just head on over to his site for a dose of reality. Because quite often I haven’t even heard of many of the bands he’s recommending. And they’re all good. (GODDAMNIT!) Enjoy his picks for 2011. Most likely they are bands you’ve never heard of.

White Fence

Selebrities

Purling Hiss

Headless Horseman

TV Girl

Bands to Watch 2011 :: Scott McDonald, Surfing On Steam

Scott McDonald runs the LA-based music blog, Surfing On Steam, and is also a contributing writer for the renowned Aquarium Drunkard. Every once in a while I need to balance my garage-psych yang with a little electro-ambient ying and Scott’s site usually has just the anecdote. I turn to it often to troll his recommendations in those categories. Here are Scott’s picks for Bands to Watch in 2011.

Young Montana?

The Vaccines

Twin Sister

Star Slinger


Ringo Deathstarr

Bands to Watch 2011 :: Bryan Duquette, Another Planet Entertainment

Bryan Duquette
Promoter, Another Planet Entertainment (APE)

If you live in the Bay Area, you know APE. For those that don’t, Another Planet is a Bay Area concert production company that organizes the best festivals in San Francisco, like Treasure Island Music Fest and Outside Lands. They also book the most coveted venues in town like The Fox Theater in Oakland and The Independent. Bryan is one of the brains behind the music we all enjoy here.  Here are his picks for 2011.

Beirut
Zach condon hasn’t released a full length since 2007’s “The Flying Cub Cup”.  He will grace us again with his orchestral beauty and french horn in 2011 with a brand new record.  The world needs more Beirut.

Okkervil River
Will Sheff may be disheveled, but he’s a lyrical genius and writes a superb pop song.  He’s backed Roky Erikson recently and will lead Okkervil River to the forefront this year.  Folk music is the new black.

Aloe Blacc

Aloe Blacc is an old soul.  He released “Good Things” in late 2010, but isn’t a household name yet.  One listen to his single “I Need A Dollar” and you know what’s next for Aloe.

Seattle (The Head and The Heart / Fleet Foxes)

The Fleet Foxes may be the critic’s darlings, but The Head and The Heart are knocking on that door.  The scene is strong in Seattle and these acts are paving the way.  Both groups dig on harmonies and flannel and will have new material in 2011.

Mexican Summer
This label is putting out the records of the best artists you have never heard of…Real Estate, Tamaryn, Kurt Vile, Best Coast, Weekend, Washed Out, Young Prisms and Tallest Man on Earth to name a few. Check out anything they put out in 2011.

The Antlers
Their complex and layered music is more accessible than you think.  If you haven’t heard them yet, you will.  Look for their sophomore album in 2011.

The OCMD :: Bands to Watch in 2011

As much fun as year end ‘Best Of’ lists are, I find the new artists releases starting in January even more exciting. For me, wrap up lists are more about catching what you’ve missed. But from now until SXSW in March there is always a building crescendo of album releases and buzz. It’s a busy time and fun to predict the bands that are going to pop. So all this week I’m featuring a series on the bands to watch in 2011 with picks from some of my favorite and trusted fellow music bloggers and industry insiders. Sharpen your pencils. Here’s mine to start things off.

ArtistAbbe May
Album: Forthcoming
Release Date: May 2011
Homeland: Australia (Perth)
Track: “Mammalian Locomotion (original)

“Mammalian Locomotion (Kevin Parker & Cam Avery of Tame Impala) Remix”

With a new album coming out this spring and the first single already remixed by Tame Impala, I expect this Aussie blues siren to become a household name.

Artist: The Vaccines
Album: What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?
Release Date: March 21, 2011
Homeland: London, England
Track: “Blow It Up”

The demo tape of this mystery band caused an industry sensation in the UK late last year. The details of the group are out, but the hype has not subsided. NME named the group as one of the 20 bands you need to hear in 2011 and BBC Sound of 2011 put them on the top of their list. Already feeling the pressure of the hype, the group has appropriately named their debut album, “What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?”. We’ll shall see.

ArtistSun Airway
AlbumNocturne of Exploded Crystal Chandelier
Release Date: Out Now
Homeland: Philadelphia, PA
Featured TracksPut the Days Away”

My jaw dropped the first time I saw this band live. They were the first of three openers. But I predict they will not be a supporting act for long and will follow a similar trajectory to that of, say, Animal Collective.

Artist: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
AlbumHorse Power EP
Release Date: Out Now
Homeland: Detroit, MI
Featured Tracks: “Nothing But Our Love

With their race car getups and feel good Beach Boys inspired music, I think you’ll be hearing more good vibrations from this band in 2011.

ArtistNew Mexico (formally Apes of Wrath)
AlbumHave You Met My Friend? EP
Release Date: Out Now
Homeland: San Diego, CA
Track“Abused and Amused”

Simply because I love them. So much.

Artist: Lia Ices
AlbumGrown Unknown
Release Date: 1/25/11
Label: Jagjaguwar
Featured Track: Grown Unknown”

Signed by a tastemaker label, represented by the right publicist, highlighted in the NY Times for her CMJ performance, already on the shortlist for SXSW with a debut album set to release this month. And oh, it includes a track with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. Sounds like a recipe for success to me.

My Top 25 Albums of 2010

ArtistDeerhunter
AlbumHalcyon Digest
Track“Desire Lines”

ArtistTame Impala
AlbumInnerspeaker
Track“Vital Signs”

ArtistNew Mexico (formally Apes of Wrath)
AlbumHave You Met My Friend?
Track“Abused and Amused”

ArtistTy Segall
AlbumMelted
Track: “Imaginary Person”

ArtistLower Dens
AlbumTwin Hand Movement
Track“A Dog’s Dick”

ArtistFuture Islands
AlbumIn the Evening Air
Track“As I Fall”

ArtistThe Radio Dept.
AlbumClinging to a Scheme
Track: “This Time Around”

Artist: Woods
Album: At Echo Lake
Track: “Blood Dries Quicker”


Artist: Mount Kimbie
AlbumCrooks & Lovers
Track: “Blind Night Errand”

ArtistSea of Bees
AlbumSongs for the Raven
Track: “Marmalade

ArtistSonny & The Sunsets
AlbumTomorrow is Alright
Track“Lovin’ on an Older Gal”

ArtistTamaryn
AlbumThe Waves
Track: “Mild Confusion”

ArtistSun Airway
AlbumNocturne of Exploded Crystal Chandelier
Featured TracksPut the Days Away”

Artist: J. Irvin Dally
Album: Despistado
Track:  “The Little Ones”

Artist: Royal Baths
AlbumLitanies
Track: “Nikki Don’t”

Artist: The Dig
Album: Electric Toys
Track: “You’re Already Gone


Artist: Phantogram
Album: Eyelid Movies
Track“When I’m Small”


Artist: Caribou
Album: Swim
Track: “Sun


Artist: Local Natives
Album: Gorilla Manor
Track“Sun Hands”


Artist: Twin Tigers
Album: Gray Waves
Track“Everyday


Artist: The National
Album: High Violet
Track“Afraid of Everyone”


Artist: The Black Keys
AlbumBrothers

Artist: The Black Ryder
AlbumBuy the Ticket, Take the Ride
Track: “Gone Without Feeling

ArtistWarpaint
AlbumThe Fool
Track: “Undertow

ArtistGeographer
AlbumAnimal Shapes
Track: “Original Sin”

Tame Impala – “Lucidity (Pilooski Remix)”

Tame Impala – “Lucidity (Pilooski Remix)

Rarely do I get excited over remixes, but the Tame Impala versions are categorically good. This one from Pilooski is no exception, just adding the the psychedelic Beatles-esque flavor of the group. Innerspeaker is one of my favorite albums this year. Get it if you don’t have it yet.  And for the local SF crew, the band is coming back to the US so be sure to get tickets to their show at The Independent on December 13.