January 03, 2007
Bands to Watch in 2007
New Pop Sensation (who is okay to love): Lily Allen. Perhaps you have heard some of the buzz that is currently swarming around pop singing/rapping star Lily Allen. Critics have hailed her across the board as the one pop sensation that has recently infused some ingenuity and new blood into contemporary pop music.
Allen is from North London, a very posh section of town, where she attended the finest private schools. On her debut album, Alright Still (2006), her lyrics reveal nothing of her privileged childhood. Her lyrics have a wry wit and honesty about a universal youth experience. Ex-boyfriends seem to be her favorite lyrical theme, but sleazy men in clubs don't trail far behind. Allen's lyrical musings demanded the attention of several critics in the summer of 2006, when her debut was first released in the UK. After that, Internet vehicles, like myspace, have propelled her into the realm of pop darling, with her myspace page flaunting more than half a million hits.
She samples from several genres, from ska to calypso, but all her songs are tightly held together by their solid pop melodies. The diverse sampling on the album, from salsa music to reggae, made her album even more intriguing. Her vocal styling has been compared to that other UK export, The Streets, although her vocals are not as rap based. Her music walks the line of not taking itself too seriously to harsh brassiness, all making for some free spirited pop music for the thinking person.
Pop Indie Rock Band
The Silversun Pickups sound would not be foreign to any seasoned indie music fan. You will find the same soothing, but with an edge, guitar melodies and lyrics that teem on bubblegum infectiousness while still keeping their rock cred.
Seattle music critic John Richards said this about Silversun's debut album Carnavas (2006), "the best album the Smashing Pumpkins never made." The musical similarities between this Southern California band to the Smashing Pumpkins are quite evident on the first listen of Carnavas.
The melodies are simple, yet are still sing-along worthy. The sound of the record also has a nice consistency to it, with all songs following a standard modern rock ballad formula. On the hit single "Lazy Eye" the building of the song, from the steady guitars to its pumping drumming, is the epitome of the Silversun Pickups.
A great deal of buzz is starting to generate around this band. They have toured with Wolfmother and OK GO, and this spring they are going on tour with Snow Patrol. In December of 2006, they also appeared on the "Late Show with David Letterman." We wouldn't be surprised if we heard more and more promising things from this band in the following year. Hopefully, they can bring back a certain authentic sound that has been missing from indie rock for a long time.
Overall Indie Debut Album
The most promising thing off of the Band of Horses debut album, Everything All the Time (2006), are the unbelievably honest and poignant lyrics. Their songs speak of loss and nostalgia, but Ben Bridwell, the lead singer, still gives the songs a certain light and carefree quality.
Band of Horses is a particular kind of dream-pop, since thematically, with their songs of funerals, they are anything but emotionally removed. In fact, the emotional reverberation that can be felt pouring out of these songs is what completes the novelty of Band of Horses. This is the kind of album that is easy to become obsessive about, because of its saccharine sweet melodies and soothing vocals. Each song from their debut album follows a light brand of indie pop that will easily have you naming Band of Horses as your new favorite band.