THE BEGINNING

The debut albums we’re most looking forward to hearing in 2011.

MoonDuo

AS WELL AS NEW ALBUMS FROM THE STROKES, METRONOMY, BAT FOR LASHES AND BATTLES, THERE’S A HOST OF LONG-AWAITED DEBUTS ON THEIR WAY BETWEEN NOW AND DECEMBER 31ST

FAIR OHS

Inspired by Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’, and bored of the breakneck hardcore they were playing as Big Fucking Deal, London trio Fair Ohs had a busy, buzzy 2009 and a quieter 2010 that saw them choose their live slots more sparingly. The band’s island rhythms and tropical, Abe Vigoda guitars swayed on last year though, in the studio rather than on a stage too small for their giddy afro-pop.

In total, ‘Everything Is Dancing’ was one and a half years in the making, recorded in sporadic fits and starts with DIY producer du jour Rory Brattwell and named more fittingly than a Robbie Williams compilation called ‘Now That’s What I Call Desperate’.

Of the album (which is currently without an attached record deal but with a release date of “definitely this year”), singer/guitarist Eddy tells us, “It’s basically a classic.”

“There, I said it,” he confesses. “It’ll be uttered in the same breath as Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’ by future generations, that’s for certain.”

He continues: “There’s a lot of African music influence on the record, but we’ve expanded from things like East African guitar music to taking influence from stuff like West African funk, desert blues, and lots of Indian classical music, plus Brazilian tropicalia and 60s psychedelic rock. And lots of Fleetwood Mac, obviously.”

What Eddy fails to point out is that all of these strange and exotic influences (and Fleetwood Mac) have been run through a garage punk mangle once or twice to keep Fair Ohs’ hardcore spirit audibly in place. Or at least we hope they have. After all, that’s how early singles like ‘Summer Lake’ wound up sounding like Billy Childish trying out for Vampire Weekend.

Photgraphy by Dan Kendall

CEREBRAL BALLZY

Unlike Fair Ohs, Brooklyn’s Cerebral Ballzy (they’re still refusing to change that name) are not bored of playing breakneck hardcore at all. If anything they want to play it faster and harder, forever, or until one of them explodes, which could be any day now. They’re like a dog with a bone – a foamy-chopped Rottweiler, probably… in a Bad Brains T-shirt… with the sleeves ripped off…

Label and band are yet to swap signatures but London indie Moshi Moshi are linked with the band’s yet-to-be-titled debut album, which is currently being completed with Joby Ford of The Bronx (very thrash) and Rodaidh McDonald who mixed The xx’s debut album (very not).

It’s slated for a June release and, from the few tracks we’ve heard, picks up where debut single ‘Insufficient Fare’ left off in gnarly, surprisingly coherent fashion last December. ‘On The Run’ is a particularly explosive chunk of belched aggression, introduced by chug-a-chug guitars and a speech about being “just a young kid doing what I want”, while ‘Skate All Day’ neatly features the sound of the band kick-flipping in the car park and ‘Puke Song’ (rather predictably) features them chundering on some unfortunate patch of ground, y’know, as a reminder that Ballzy are lawless, give-a-shit gutterfuckers.

What’s more interesting than shock-by-numbers tactics like the ability to vomit at will though, is how completely exciting this band’s skate-park thrash can sound when recorded properly and Joby Ford appears to have done a suitably energised job.

VERONICA FALLS

They may skip through it with loosely rattling clean guitars and thudding 60s girl group drums, but Veronica Falls’ world is a macabre place to be. Singer Roxanne softly coos and it all feels rather twee, until you realise she’s singing about a necro crush (‘Found Love in a Graveyard’) and tossing yourself off of Britain’s celebrity of suicide hotspots (‘Beachy Head’).

Harbouring this sense of romantic doom that made such early singles so captivating, the London Quartet have recorded their debut album in a residential studio in the shadow of the always sinister Yorkshire Moors. Being snowed in “made the whole experience pretty intense,” says bassist Marion, while Roxanne describes the ordeal as, “like being at boarding school 20 years late.”

Having made it through the thaw, with the aid of occasional “psychedelic supplies,” as guitarist James puts it (“Apart from the actual joys of recording, very little excitement was experienced until visitors from London arrived,” he retorts), the band are now the proud owners of what promises to be a beautifully flawed, and no doubt minimal, long player.

“We like how primal and immediate bands like Beat Happening and Young Marble Giants sound on record,” explains Roxanne, “and we wanted to capture that energy that comes from us all playing live in a room together. We tried hard not to be too precious and to embrace the flaws, as sometimes that is what we liked best about our favourite songs.”

Now all they need to do is find a home for their dark, lo-fi child, which really should be as easy as hitting water when throwing yourself off a cliff.

MNDR

“I may like to talk in abstracts, but this album will get you laid, chrome a dance floor, and make you cry… well at least I hope so.” So says Amanda Warner, the bespectacled face of MNDR, who are often mistaken as a solo act, a lot like La Roux. Well, they’re not. Amanda writes with Peter Wade, and since handing back some credibility to Mark Ronson with the co-written gift of ‘Bang Bang Bang’ in 2010 the duo have been making a debut album in New York’s Chelsea neighbourhood.

It’s done and due for release this side of June, and what’s gotten us really excited about it is the recently released limited single ‘Fade To Black’: a song that slaps an FM ’80s pop melody over Chicago Junk electronics. It sounds like the first time you heard the smart dance floor hip-pop of Santogold, whom Amanda shares a certain amount of common ground with. She was also a songwriter for hire when she first moved to New York, for example, and where Santi White was endorsed by Diplo and Switch, Amanda was in turn by another named producer, Ronson. The most interesting parallel, though, is how Amanda and Peter – like Santogold – are an electro duo with post-punk influences and ideas. When asked who or what influenced their debut album Amanda reels off a list that includes Haunted Graffiti, Warpaint, Deerhoof and ‘Neu 4’, as well as Katy B, colours, The Streets, no sleeping and Boy George. The pair even write to Brian Eno’s experimental instruction aid Oblique Strategies.

There are plenty of reasons to be excited by their first record.

TEETH

When we asked Teeth what their debut album was going to be called they said, “WHATEVER.” The capital letters, we were told, are essential. Once the nervous laughter had subsided and we realised that perhaps they weren’t fucking with us, we thought, yeah, why not? Nothing says modern teenage immortality like ‘WHATEVER’, and no band make the kind of trashy, give-a-fuck party tunes that this post-nu-rave trio do. Theirs is a kind of violently playful dance music still too modern for Skins, made from one laptop, a skeletal hardcore punk drumkit and J-Pop screams. It’s why Teeth have supported the likes of Sleigh Bells before now, and why ‘WHATEVER’ (if that is its real name) will hopefully be a record to damn Cameron’s ludicrous Big Society and stop kids friending their own parents on Facebook.

MOON DUO

If ‘Mazes’ – Moon Duo’s first full length album – is half as darkly seductive as 2010’s ‘Escape’ EP, it’ll still be the most brilliantly psychotic drone record of the year, by a victim-strewn desert mile. Early reports of the San Franciscan twosome recording in Berlin suggested that their endless psychedelic kraut grooves would certainly remain in place, throbbing on way past the five-minute mark, only with an added, European austere chill. But since then synth player Sanae has explained, “we wanted to do something in a more ‘rock ‘n’ roll band’ style,” and that she “grew up a huge Stones fan.” Come April 18th, be prepared for the mumbliest, most far out tribute to Mick’n’Keef, with Silver Apples instrumentations and a sense of danger last heard coming from Suicide.

By John Carter & Stuart Stubbs

Originally published in issue 25 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. February 2011

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