The Guardian's New band of the day
Hometown: The Guardian's website
The lineup: Cobra Dukes, White Rabbits, Goldspot, The Japanese Popstars etc.
The background: Every day for the past two and a bit years (baring weekends and public holidays), ex-Melody Maker writer Paul Lester has been posting at The Guardian's website with a recommendation for a new band or singer that might be the next big thing. He offered a good explanation of his mission recently on the occasion of the column winning a 'Record of the Day' award for his troubles:
"I'd known for some time that the music industry's future depends not on the glory that is the back catalogue of The Beatles, but on the new Strokes or the next Amy Winehouse. Luckily there was a stack of CDs of new, young or unsigned bands on my desk halfway up to the ceiling that I could use as an argument for a new daily column assessing the artistic worth and/or commercial potential of such new musicians and groups."The selections are only part of the story; each day Paul also offers an incredible little music columns, which as well as offering a biography of the musician also describes where they fit in musical terms or ruminates on the state of the art form. I'd love to know how he manages to be this perceptive on a daily basis, yet here he is on day five-oh-five ruminating on how music isn't as deliberately pretentious as it used to be.
Last week, the column reached five hundred so to celebrate I decided to try and construct a Spotify playlist which included all of his choices. As you'd expect, not everything is on there -- some unsigned bands remained unsigned, others have produced music which is only available on vinyl and the rest probably just hasn't been licensed yet. The 'not' list (see below) is extensive, but considering how much of this music didn't chart, get airplay, has been ignored, it shows the depth of Spotify's catalogue. Some of the EPs are obscure enough that they're only illustrated using a picture of the centre of the 7-inch.
It's an eclectic selection; though there is a fair amount of guitar and garage bands, Paul has been careful to balance out the genres, with a little bit of country, some folk and even the soft centre of All Angels. He admits that he's not always been successful -- some of these bands prove how poignantly truthful the fictions created using the random album cover meme can be, with albums and tracks called 'You're supposed To Be My Friend', 'Waited Up 'til It Was Light' & 'Gee Wiz But This Is Lonesome' and bands with names like Prinzhorn Dance School, The Orange Lights, Annuals and The Tough Alliance presumably still trying to chip away at edifice of the music industry trying to create a foothold.
Paul has also been very successful in his predictions; on this list you'll also find New Young Pony Club, Just Jack, The Maccabees, Robyn, Dragonette, Amy Macdonald, The Hooiers, Scouting for Girls, Eugene McGuiness, The Ting Tings, Adele, MGMT, Duffy, Little Boots, Lady Gaga and The Maybes? who are all at least famous enough that I've heard of them. If you decide choose to listen to the playlist from top to bottom -- they're in the order that they appear on the website -- it's quite exciting to turn up on something familiar after a mysterious half hour. Reminds me of the moment in John Peel's programme when he'd suddenly decided to drop in something by The Clash.
But I think what this collection shows is that there isn't really a formula for success; compare the work of any of the artists who have 'made it' with some of the others and there's not that much difference, it's just that Kate Nash happened to know the right people or be in the right place at the right time or is just that little bit more commercial. In fact there are plenty of hidden gems, like Janelle Monae who manages to traverse a dozen different genres sometimes in the same track, The Checks with their glam rock revivalism and Skeletons whose 'Fill My Pockets Full' turns the raw sounds of the city into an avant guard backing track to something that might be dance. I guess.
The buzz: "As far as I'm concerned, the Guardian's "new band of the day feature" makes the world go round." -- Lizzy Minneapolis
The truth: Very little duff music and some real gems you've never heard before.
Most likely to: Find the next Lady GaGa, god help us.
Least likely to: David Vandervelde, Love Minus Zero, Late Night Movies, Goldenboy, Jack Savoretti, Alex Delivery, Last man Standing, Shakes, Malpractice, Tussle, Heloise & The Savoir Faire, Parka, The Procession, The Lionheart Brothers, Radar, Low vs Diamond, Sister, Taylor Mills, The Tigerpicks, Jacob Golden, Bjorn Torske, Patrick Cleandenim, Dúné, Sorcerer, My Federation, The Daniel Pemberton TV Orchestra, Lord God, The Heavy, How I Became The Bomb, Erika Jayne, A Thief, Good Neighbour, Chris Letcher, The Lovers, Alloy Mental, Arthur & Yu, Circuits, Oh No Ono, Green Pitch, Black Daniel, Forever Like Red, Kennedy, Swimmer One, Sam Champion, This City, Liz Green, I Am Finn, The Cloud Room, Nelson, SoundOfzZz, The Broken Hearts, Big Linda, The Brightlights, Ben Esser, USE, XX Teens, The Author, Sarabeth Tucek, Morton Valence, Lauren Rose, Slow Club, Bombay Bicycle Club, Dude 'N Nem, Thao, Elle s'appelle, The Outside Royalty, Friends of the Bride, The Holy Ghost Revival, Asa, One eskimO, Paper Round Kid, The Elephants, Ebony Bones, Primary 1, Josh Weller, The Beasts of Eden, Temposhark, Grant Langston & The Supermodels, Lesser Panda, NiTasha Jackson, The Wave Pictures, Idle Lovers, Kav, The Explorers Club, OK Tokyo, Oh Laura, The Postmarks, GoldieLocks, Isosceles, Lucy & The Caterpillar, Mumford & Sons, Nicole Atkins And The Sea, Arms, Barringtone, Trouble Over Tokyo, Sian Alice Group, Collapsing Cities, Underground Heroes, Get Well Soon, Rosie and the Goldbug, Cashier No 9, Magistrates, James Combs, Pygmy Globetrotters, Boy Crisis, The Winchell Riots, Babygod, Oh, Atoms, Charli XCX, Pavilion, The War On Drugs, James Yuill, Archangel, Mama Shamone, All the Saints, Petit Mal, Hearts Revolution, Fenech-Soler, Hockey, To the Bones, Daniel Land & the Modern Painters, Amazing Baby, The Fantastic Laura B, The Coast, Stonefoxx, Les Gars, Stars and Sons, Women, Kenan Bell, Girl Talk, Burning Pilot, Soda Boys, The Operators, The Tenants Supermen, Deadfisch, Jay Jay Pistolet, The Jessie Rose Trip, The Big Pink, The Chemists, Chew Lips, Plugs, Alex Roots, Cosmo Jarvis, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The Temper Trap, Hothouse, Solid Gold, Catherine AD, Deer Tracks, The Invisible, Milke, Will and the People, Sad Day for Puppets, Apes & Androids, The Voluntary Butler Scheme, Absent Elk, DM Stith, The dø, Ellie Goulding, Terry Lynn, My Toys Like Me, Sky Ferreira, The Good Natured, Kidbass featuring Sincere, Goldheart Assembly, Banjo Or Freakout, Steve Appleton, Fredo Viola, Dave I.D., Daisy Dares You, Sonos and Mirrors are not on Spotify. Yet.
What to buy: The playlist includes the tracks which Paul has mentioned in this section. Unless he's suggested an album or EP, which case I picked the top item on the artist's page. Unless they're not on Spotify. Obviously.
File next to: The Unsigned Band Review, Daily Tunes, Pop Justice Song of the Day
Next Saturday's new playlist: The Big Chill