Based in: Los Angeles, California
Band Members: Zac Carp (vocals, guitar), Elvis Kuehn (vocals, guitar), Brandon Schwartzel (bass), Max Kuehn (drums)
FIDLAR established themselves as a permanent fixture on the LA underground punk scene in 2011. Given their infectious brand of surf/garage/punk rock and boundless energy it’s easy to see why. It’s also makes a successful assault on the rest of the world in 2012 a big possibility. Catch them before these guys become big :).
Based in: Devon, UK
Band Members: Ben Howard
24 year Ben Howard is a talented folk rock artist from the UK who sounds a bit like Jose Gonzales and shares Jack Johnson’ passion for surfing. There’s a quiet intensity about Ben’s music and his performances that’s extremely captivating.
Having toured extensively across the UK over the last couple of years and built up quite a following, Ben Howard released his debut album Every Kingdom in the UK in October 2011. It’s scheduled to release in the US in spring 2012 and should hopefully give him a step up in that market.
Based in: Leeds, UK
Band Members: Joe Newman (vocals, guitar), Thom Green (drums), Gwilym Sainsbury (bass, guitar), Gus Unger Hamilton (keyboards, vocals)
While not much is currently known about this Leeds quartet and not many people would have heard them, I have a feeling that’s going to change in 2012. There’s just something so bewitching about their brand of indie rock that its hard to imagine many people remaining immune to its charm.
The bands’ talent is obvious as in the words of NME ‘The fourpiece look freakishly young but have this busy, intricate sound to everything they do that makes you think they’re either all Mensa members or about 45 years old. Every song seems to have as many layers as possible – mainly revolving around unusual rhythms, weird jabby bits of guitar and lots of loping dub bass – but it all ends up sounding oddly world-weary and wise…’
Artist Links: Facebook
Based in: Seattle, Washington
Band Members: Daniel Blue (vocals, guitar), Buddy Ross (beats, keyboards), Brantley Cady (lead guitar), Forrest Mauvais (drums), Mike Notter (guitar, bass)
Motopony is the purveyor of finely crafted folk/pop melodies infused with just a touch of electronic beats. They first charmed the pants off me with their song King Of Diamonds and as I delved into their self titled debut album I discovered an extremely talented and versatile band that deserves to be heard by a lot more people.
Based in: Boise, Idaho
Band Members: Trevor Powers
I’m not a big fan of lo-fi dream pop but Youth Lagoon’ 2011 debut album The Year In Hibernation is a beautiful piece of work and very hard to ignore. That the person behind this record is only 22 years old still blows my mind!
In October 2011 I wrote that TYIH is ‘a soundtrack for lonely souls making their journey, whether it be via travelling solitary through lands foreign or familiar, or just a quiet night spent reflecting on ones day, ones life. It’s an album that works best as a whole and while the music isn’t quite immediate it does have an undeniable allure that draws you in.’
Youth Lagoon already blew up in indie music circles in 2011 but I think he’ll get a lot more listeners into his fold in 2012. Also those who think that this kind of music doesn’t sound great live should just go and check out Trevor Powers when he comes to town.