[Elevator 2011] :: Bands On The Rise

As is the custom in the indie rock universe in this coming second decade of the 21st century, it is not simply enough to know about something, you must know about it first. Furthermore, you must make outlandish predictions regarding the future success of said thing. In this case, it is music. In this case, it is 2011 and our predictions for the bands and artists who will be taking off wildly in the coming year. After the jump in no order, with regard for your future listening and the wisdom of the crowd, your Elevator 2011 bands.

1. James Blake

"Limit To Your Love"

Having now heard an advance copy of James Blake's eponymous debut LP, it fully delivers on the promise of the 2010 material that already garnered the attention of everyone who was anyone who had a blog. It is the soft-center between Bon Iver and the XX over vocoder. This is a record that NPR is going to be drooling over by March and when "Lindesfarne II" is showing up at the end of every serious HBO and Showtime original drama by mid-summer, you'll know Blake has arrived. It isn't an album for everyone, but it is beautiful, and will certainly be the critical darling of 2011, even if he sounds like an electronica D'Angelo.


"I Go Away"

With her start as a DJ in the Bay Area, MNDR landed in New York as one of the "it" girls in the electronic music scene. Except, this isn't quite so esoteric as to not sell. With certifiable hits like "Fade To Black" already on her 2010 EP, it seems like 2011 could be the year that Amanda crosses over and becomes 85% of what La Roux was last year. It doesn't mean that every high school girl will be playing her version of "Bulletproof" - we assume she is working on whatever this song will sound like as we speak - but it does mean she'll generate the fun, electronic dance music that has everyone by the hair right now. She'll be paying her rent off the sync from "I Go Away," just as soon as everyone hears it.

3. Yuck


When we first wrote about Yuck last January, we were certain they were going to break out like a zombie-version of Pains of Being Pure At Heart. This was, in retrospect, insulting. They are much more Sonic Youth than a post-twee rock band. Yuck proceeded to release a series of increasingly challenging singles forecasting a critical smash of an LP in 2011. This is the record you won't put on until it ends up on Someone Important's end of year list eleven months from now. Then you'll download it and try to "get it." Don't try so hard; it's just fuzzy rock music.

4. The Vaccines

"Blow It Up"

If you're reading this, you're almost too late to talk about how cool the Vaccines are right now. Think of how uncool it will be to talk about them by March! They've already had their sold-out Mercury Lounge date in January upgraded to a Bowery Ballroom gig. They have excellent PR backing and their first demos showed so much promise they're making an early foray into the States on someone else's dime. And then there's early single, "Post Breakup Sex," which is so straight-faced, it hurts, sounding like a more fun Interpol circa 2003. If there was a straight rock band to bet on in 2011, it is the Vaccines.

5. Mr. Little Jeans

"Rescue Song"

In the spirit of not getting ahead of ourselves, I am reminded that my initial reaction to Mr. Little Jeans was extremely negative. She was pushed with considerable hype and first track I heard was an essentially a capella version of "Single Ladies," which was somewhat underwhelming. But then came "Rescue Song," and the fluttering electro-clash, "Angel," two singles that can hold their own with anything that came out of a similar niche in 2010. This girl could be more indie-rock Santigold, or less challenging Lykke Li, basically someone who Cadillac's advertising firm is going to give 50,000 dollars for broad use in a series of dimly shot, cool looking ads.

6. Jonquil

"Fighting Smiles"
Sounding like a radio-ready version of the angular, beachy pop that took over so many music collections from 2008-2010, Jonquil have wrinkles and hooks to set them apart. As recent signees to New York's Dovecote Records, the band released their One Hundred Suns EP stateside with more to come in 2011. Their guitars are set on 78 and sunny, the influences are the Smiths and Paul Simon, songs like "Fighting Smiles," "Get Up" and the stunning "It Never Rains" represent the first glimpse of a band built to take off this year.



We spent a lot of time with GROUPLOVE's music in 2010, especially the top-of-the-world single, "Colours." We liked their story and we were surprised by how explosive their live show was on a lazy weeknight in LA. We liked Hannah's art and we liked the kind words they threw to us over email about how we "got it". We were flattered. We like that they're going to make a full-length in 2011 and it's going to grab you by the collar and kiss you on both cheeks. You've been warned.

8. The Jezabels

"Hurt Me"

"Mace Spray"

A CMJ basement on the Lower East Side, and there is only one band on the bill you want to see, and yes, you want to like them based this one song you heard that kind of sounds like Kate Bush. But, this is no one-song-wonder, as the Jezabels fill the room with a spacious pop that reads like a less electronic Metric mixed with those shades of Kate Bush circa "Running Up That Hill". The vocal is huge and their stage presence so honed that it puts these little indie bands to shame. You came to see "Mace Spray" but it will be "Hurt Me," a 2009 release, which will feature the biggest keyboard progression you'll hear this year. They're from Australia, so it will be up to them - and also those people in big offices on 5th Avenue - if they come back and break big in this country. More than anything I heard in 2010, this is a band that just needs a sliver of an audience; the rest will take care of itself.

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