Today I share the pleasure of presenting a look into 2011 with Denton. Here is the links to the previous parts (and future parts) in case you’re just tuning in now:
Today’s topic we’re covering is who is going to break out in 2011 which includes not only national picks but local standouts too. I present the back half of the conversation in which Nadia, Moe, Chuck and myself respond. Ultimately, I felt like 2010 was a strong year but there’s a lot to look forward to in 2011.
The bands that seem posed for big things in 2011 are Death on Two Wheels, Back Pockets, and Jungol. Death on Two Wheels are a quintessential rock band that have the charisma, sound, and frontman to make it happen. With an album titled Separation from Church and Fate, performances at CMJ this year, an extensive tour schedule, and label support from Favorite Gentlemen, they’re prospects look very fine. Back Pockets have really set things in motion, and if they continue on their path, the world will be sucked into their vortex of musical art in no time. The originality, spontaneity, and sincerity of their music and performance should be celebrated. Jungol released one of the best albums to come out of Atlanta this year, Over the Sun and Under the Radar. The band has been steadfast in the music scene for over 10 years, doing it up DIY and managing to build a large and devoted fanbase. This past year saw Jungol sell out The Earl and Highland Inn Ballroom, and I expect this will continue in 2011 at venues beyond Atlanta.
My early worries that 2011 might not live up to 2010 are slowly being dismissed as I see what shows Tight Bros and OK Production are bringing just in January, February and March alone. 2011 will be the breakout year for Smith Westerns, as their sophomore (and more produced) record is released in January and Pitchfork has their hands all over those kids. March sees releases from Rural Alberta Advantage, Wye Oak (Merge darlings who are primed to explode), Mountain Goats (my personal favorite), and Those Darlins.
Locally, I only hope some of the breakouts of this year are able to make it on the national radar. Janelle Monae will continue to explode, and I think a lot of others will catch on to Deerhunter (and I highly doubt Bradford Cox will let himself go the whole year without a new release with at least one of his projects). I hope to see bands like Oryx and Crake, Mermaids, Book of Colors and Little Tybee get more exposure too. I’m eagerly anticipating SXSW 2011 and hope some of my favorite Atlanta bands get represented there. Even if Emily and I have to throw our own SXSW house party (which we surely will).
My biggest hope for 2011: Tame Impala’s vinyl for Innerspeaker makes it to the United States, as well as a live show in Atlanta.
I think Rube made some important points as far as what it really means for a band to breakout. Although I think there are quite a few bands in Atlanta that have the talent, the heart and the songs to stake a claim to something bigger (Oryx and Crake, Sorry No Ferrari, Qurious and the Back Pockets are some that come to mind), the question is: do they also have the drive? Who really wants to achieve that next level of success and is willing to go out and earn it? In my mind, for any of these bands to truly break out would mean a lot more touring—maybe not on a national level, but definitely regionally. Their circles of influence would have to start expanding out of Atlanta—out of Georgia, really—and start encompassing a lot more of the Southeast region. I’ll be interested in seeing which bands decide to become road dogs this year, because that’s as good an indication as any as to who’s priming to move to better things.
And to be honest, a lot of the time (most of the time, actually), talent and desire are not enough. Luck certainly plays a considerable role, as does a little help from one’s friends. Some questions for 2011 will be: who’s got the in with the clubs to pick up the prime opening slots for incoming national acts? Who’s going to be able to jump aboard a tour opening for an already established band or artist? Which bands possess the social media savvy and skills necessary to communicate with and expand one’s fan base? Who’s got label support? Blog support? And so on an so forth.
With some of these thoughts in mind, I’m looking at two bands to really make waves this year. The first is O’Brother who have been steadily building momentum since the release of their excellent Death of Day EP in 2009. These guys write epic, dynamic songs with strong melodies, they absolutely just kill it live, and they have the backing of Andy Hull/Manchester Orchestra plus label support from Favorite Gentlemen. They’ve also earned a lot of their reputation on the road where they have been fortunate enough to tour with the likes of Thrice, Manchester Orchestra and Circa Survive. I don’t think you can overestimate the value of that sort of big stage experience. The five-piece are currently at work on their first full-length record tentatively titled Garden Window. The word-of-mouth has been spreading all year and I wouldn’t be surprised if the new album catapults them into the limelight.
The second band I can see blowing up this year is Royal Thunder. There are a lot of reasons to get behind this band—crushing guitars, killer grooves, dramatic solos, and Mlny Parsonz’s sexy, sultry vocals are just a few—but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the band’s recent signing with metal giant, Relapse Records—home to the likes of Baroness, Black Tusk, Cephalic Carnage and Red Fang—didn’t play a significant role in my prediction. There are few labels left that can consistently break a band into the spotlight; Relapse is one of them, at least when it comes to diehard metal listeners. Royal Thunder definitely has the skills, Relapse will ensure that they get the exposure.
There’s so much new music hitting in Q1 that it’s hard to get my head around this. La Femme (from France), La Sera (Vivian Girls side project), and Hot Sugar are some that I like. Plus, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. and Girls might both take the next step. Violens, too.
That’s it for today. Check with Dead Journalist and The Moon and Pluto tomorrow for the final part. I’ll be posting a recap of everything later on and then a few of my favorite music related events from 2010.