When we review the year we just had, we also like to look forward in music and what better way to do that than with our annual Bands To Look Out For list? Our list from last year predicted some acts who definitely blew up during 2010 but will we even be close with artists for 2011? Now that the new year is here check out some of the bands or artists you should be keeping an eye on!
10. Hanni El Khatib
Slapping some rock and roll with a vintage tint, Hanni El Khatib is full of honest, simple but gritty rock and roll that recalls Rumspringa’s earlier vibes. A one-man show live but a multi-instrumentalist behind the scenes when it comes to the singing, playing and producing, Khatib’s guitar lines certainly pay tribute to the 50s and 60s sliding the pop into the rock. With elements from garage rock, blues, soul, folk and even a little doo-wop, Hanni El Khatib will be the next big solo act from Los Angeles if not one of our favorite local music scene darlings.
Song To Check Out: “Dead Wrong”
9. High Highs
This Brooklyn by way of Australia duo is really one of the most recent acts to pop up on our radar but if their forthcoming album in 2011 is anything as beautiful as their track,”Open Season,” we can expect this NYC pair to take all our DIY indie venues by storm. So far, their music is delicate acoustic pop where the harmonies softly hover above the instrumentation leaving just enough room for the music to rise and fall for a tight but magnificent little package for the ears.
If they live up to their name, there will be more crescendos than decrescendos in their strengths.
Song To Check Out: “Open Season”
There may be those of you who are already familiar with MNDR, the project which Amanda Warner works under with Peter Wade. However, as of late, Warner has recently taken the name to another level as she provided vocals on Mark Ronson’s infectious hit, “Bang Bang Bang” alongside rapper Q-tip. MNDR is still working on their own electronic-based project as they are currently putting together their debut full-length, but for now the duo has begun to play a few shows overseas before the record is hopefully released in 2011.
Song such as “C.L.U.B.” and “I Go Away” have already stirred a movement in the NYC area. It won’t be long until both ends of the States will be begging her to bring that energy to every vacant stage.
Song To Check Out: “Fade To Black”
7. Cloud Nothings
Dylan Baldi has already shown us what he can do alone with a guitar and a laptop. He’s now performing with a live band under the moniker Cloud Nothings and it’s only the beginning. We did call Baldi and his crew out earlier as one of our Favs, and we have a hunch once his new album comes out Cloud Nothings will be a fav of everyone who appreciates good lo-fi turned into great polished pop morsels. Catchy songwriting will be able to shine at is fullest potential on the new album, but we’ll always remember how much we loved “Hey Cool Kid.”
Song To Check Out: “Hey Cool Kid”
Angelenos who are still unaware of this local rock “guitar-wave” quintet may have been living under a rock during the last year or so. That would be the only explanation to have escaped the raucous yet beautifully written songs by Vanaprasta floating around. With the operatic yet rock-ready vocals along with the dueling guitars, which always manage to dazzle more than distract, the band has been gaining attention from NYC and LA alike. Expect them to blow up next year as soon as they release their long-awaited full-length.
Song To Check Out: “Minnesota”
5. White Sea
Another artist not to be looked over is White Sea aka Morgan Kibby of M83. Considering the fact that she has already put out one of the greatest local EPs of 2010, we can’t even imagine how powerful a future full-length could be. Because of the down time from M83, Kibby has been able to get into the studio and tweak a few songs here and there. All five tracks on the EP are worth your listen, however, to fully experience the White Sea sound a live show must be taken in. With a mind-blowing vocal range that will wow anyone at any age with any kind of taste in music, White Sea is a must-see act. We already count four successful shows tucked under her belt, and we can only guess that her popularity will soon skyrocket even without the M83 association.
If this possible surge in recognition also serves as motivation for a faster path to a full-length, we encourage everyone to spread the word. Next big thing: Morgan Kibby aka White Sea. We can feel it in our bones!
Song To Check Out: “Mountaineer”
4. Hooray For Earth
As another one of our Favs highlighted during 2010, we have an inkling the NYC by way of Boston indie outfit, Hooray For Earth, will continue to strongly go into 2011 with their optimistic pop sound. Their name exudes happiness and positivity as much as their lyrical content and big, synth gestures to pop do. “Surrounded By Your Friends” is one of the best 2010 tracks for a nice pick me up when there are so many dark messages being sent out in the world of blue musicians, but Hooray For Earth is also backing up their smiles with talent. Their debut album, True Loves slated for release on May 3 via Dovecote Records.
Song To Check Out: “Surrounded By Your Friends”
Los Angeles-based rock quartet, Hands, released some material back in 2008 but it’s their recent material they’ve been playing at live shows that has caught our attention enough for us to want to scream this announcement to the world. Hands will be without a doubt a band you should be looking out for in 2011! Although they have been experimenting with their sound a bit more to see what type of pop they are most comfortable with, this exploration has only brought more of a punch to the mix.
As a band where every contribution from each band member can be heard and appreciated, there is a battle between serious jamming and the electronic beats that kick in about halfway through their songs. However, this battle is victorious in itself just for existing and expanding their sound.
Song To Check Out: “Brave Motion”
2. The Naked and Famous
The Naked and Famous may live the furthest away from us in regards to where they call home. Just freshly signed to Universal Republic, this New Zealand band has been making rounds with their Passion Pit and even MGMT-like song, “Young Blood” after it debuted at #1 on their country’s Singles Chart. Combining pop, electronic and rock together for some solid gold when it comes to dance music, The Naked and Famous may sound like a daring name but it beats calling your band something along the lines of The Bold and The Beautiful.
Although female vocalist Alisa Xayalith sings the lead on this track, there are boy-girl harmonies that nicely intertwine and playfully jump the lines between rock and pop on their debut album Passive Me, Aggressive You.
Song To Check Out: “Young Blood”
1. Foster The People
If there ever was a summer jam during 2010, it was definitely Foster The People’s “Pumped Up Kicks.” Complete with muffled voices in the verses, whistles cutting in and out and an accessible chorus, it’s basically where people turned to when MGMT lacked the pop elements they were searching on the Congratulations. Recently snatched up by Columbia Records, Foster The People’s reputation has basically been feeding off on how great this one track is and the band has been in hiding ever since they released it on a 12″.
However, after getting signed to a label much bigger than many of their peers care for in the scene, we can at least expect a full album with new material worth listening to. It will be something else to get “pumped up” about and if the pop rises above our expectations or even hits the same level as “Pumped Up Kicks,” then 2011 will be a very good year for the band and for listeners.
Their debut EP which shares the title of the following track is slated for release on January 25th via Startime International.
Song To Check Out: “Pumped Up Kicks”
Those are our hunches about the next big acts for 2011. Are we missing an artist? Which of these artists do you think will actually blow up with success in the next year?