To be completely honest, despite there being enough hype-laced writings about Chad Valley to make the amount of data seized from Bin Laden’s compound look like the rushed homework of a 12 year old, we weren’t expecting much. We definitely weren’t expecting his smooth balearic charm and his powerful and propulsive beats to hit with such poignancy. We weren’t expecting him to sound like what Friendly Fires would have sounded like if they’d turned towards their tropical tendencies rather than their popularist ones on their second album. And we really weren’t expecting for the Kazimier to be filled by such a striking and inescapably enormous voice every time he opened his mouth. Whether it be twiddly electronic trickery or not, it sounded undeniably perfect, leaving us with the conclusion that we really really didn’t expect; ironically, despite all of the hype, Chad Valley was the unexpected highlight of our first day at Sound City.
It would be easy to construct a case for Liverpool having gone through a musical revolution in the past few years, sort of like the Egyptian revolution, just with fewer camel charges and more burnt down venues. (In fact, so easy would it be to make a case that that’s exactly what Getintothis did, and very, very well, too) Mere years ago young & old people from the city gifted with discerning music taste floated the city hoping for the announcement of gigs from the bands of the day who’s tours seemed to travel the entire country, whilst skilfully circumventing Liverpool as if it were a foreign country or leper colony.
Things have changed. The many, many contributory reasons are cross-examined in far more comprehensive detail than I am able to at the link above, but without a doubt, the ascendancy of Liverpool Sound City has a lot to answer for. In a good way. The success of the festival itself is complex and, frankly, irrelevant, but a diverse and exciting line-up, along with venues crammed with character and the successful organisation and structure have much to do with it. As a result, all of the right tour managers, promoters and bands have been passing through Liverpool; and the festival itself has provided an excuse for the city’s ears to drag their friends into a slightly less mainstream world of music.
This year, again, will provide an opportunity for this process to continue, and if the announcement of the first acts are anything to go by (which… they are, of course) then it looks like the success of the festival itself is beyond doubt this year. Below is a deliciously listenable compilation of our picks from the first announcements, but before we go, it’s worth mentioning that this year the dramatic decision has been made to make all shows wristband-only shows which… may or may not be a good decision, we’re no experts (no pun intended) and it is unimportant – from May 19th many of the most promising names in music shall be in Liverpool, so bring your camels, comrades – it looks a lot like this particular “revolution” is continuing for another year, at least.
Wristbands are cheaper than 11 double cheeseburgers from Hardman’s at £35, until March 1st when, presumably, the price will go up. So if you’ve already pre-ordered The King of Limbs, then what could you possibly be waiting for? Water is free on tap by law and food is a bit of an unnecessary luxury so get cracking.
Tracks after le jumpe, comrades.
For those of you who felt like Part I just wasn’t enough, here’s Part II to calm your nerves – because all of the best series are duologies, just like… … The Miss Congeniality series and… the world wars? Struggling for evidence here, maybe the following music will prove that I’m right.
Without a doubt this is one of the strangest mixture of bands that I’ve ever put together, and shows a eclecticism in music taste that may make me slightly worried for my mental stability. However, fans of organisation, don’t be scared off, my OCD-like tendencies have forced me to put them into some sort of logical order. Closer to these words you will find the most obvious or accessible, and the more left-field, obscure and unlikely are towards the bottom. As if I even need to mention it, but they’re all predictably brilliant, in my personal opinion, so if you don’t agree then just assume that you’re wrong and move on (for the avoidance of doubt, my tongue is in my cheek). I should also say that I’d love to write many a rambling paragraph on all of them, but one of the things about time is that there is just simply not enough of it. Fact. Over the year, though, we’re going to be following these artists and letting you know whether they prefer Frosties or Corn Flakes, why they chose the name that they chose, which other artists they sound like, and all of those other little details that any music lover needs.
Just to be clear, there were absolutely no criteria, with the one exception that Brother, Mona, and anyone else who is written about purely because men in suits threw cash at them had to be excluded, deleted from my iTunes, and their drum kits stolen to stop the noise. The final measure did not quite go according to plan, though. So instead, fill your ears with the below to keep them safe; 18 new artists who have the potential to make our years. And if they don’t Radiohead will, so it’s win-win.
Wooden Heart by The Kill Van Kulls
I could go on forever, so I should stop. If this shows anything, it’s just that posting 10 new acts for 2011 that you’re excited just can’t be enough because, in reality, no matter how good 3 demos are, nobody could have really known that the Drums’ record would turn out more tepid than… tepid water. Or that Sleigh Bells’ album would have turned out to be one of the best of the year. If anything, that just makes the prospect of how things are going to turn out this year just that bit more exciting… Following them all closely… But not as menacingly as that sounds…