London Calling: January 2009

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It’s been some time people, and for that I am sorry, but much news is coming in from the frosty streets of London. As 2008 drew to a bitter cold and dark end, album of the year polls rolled in with Australian and New Zealand artists popping up in most lists though disappointingly not as frequent as previous years. The most popular album of the year from Australian artists was easily Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, who featured on CLASH Magazine (#37), NME (#29), Rockfeedback (#2), Mojo (#5) and Q Magazines (#10) top 50 lists with ‘Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!’ Cave’s success comes after fourteen records and almost fifteen years of experience and exposure with The Seed’s in the UK, this experience making Ladyhawke by far the break through success story of 2008, featuring on not only NME’s top 50 (coming in at #16 ain’t too shabby) but also the only Kiwi or Australian on Rough Trade’s prestigious mention, coming in at a wonderful tenth spot. Though I’m not wholly into the siren’s synthy coy bash at 80’s pop, the blonde has truly been embraced in the UK and interestingly, 2009 has been penned as the year of the ‘unique female solo artist’ with Ladyhawke being named as just one of the acts that has inspired the surge of attention and signing’s of pop friendly females.

Though getting back to lists I was somewhat sad to see Cut Copy only mentioned once; (this said, they landed an impressive #4 on Pitchfork’s list) #17 on the Rockfeedback list. The Preset’s, sadly were not mentioned at all (unless someone can prove me wrong?) and that wonderful Pivot record was ranked #79 on Rockfeedback’s Top 80. Though some might argue that end of year polls are a load of bullocks, none can deny their role in shaping an artists career in the eye of the public and setting precedents for music in the years following. I think the results of 2008 indicate a number of things for Australian and New Zealand music but mainly reveal just how hard it is to break through the market. None can doubt Pip’s presence on the live circuit and her commitment to making an impression internationally and for that she is rewarded. Though here I’d similarly like to mention Snowman as this posse is making considerable ground on the uber-hip East London front with their kooky clash of horror rock and goo-punk.

And so, here we are in 2009 with the whole years worth of new music ahead of us. Just think of all those unheard gems waiting in the midst! And of course in London tails are already wagging for two great new Aussie acts, the first being Empire of the Sun. Yep, most of us have heard the album and seen the vid and know that these kids are HOT and are well on their way to riding the avalanche of success started by their predecessors (ie. MGMT and Yeasayer). This must be particularly exciting for Nick Littlemore whose prolific career as both a producer and as a member of Teenager and PNAU has yet to be fully acclaimed in the UK. Though equally HOT and tipped for success in 2009 is The Temper Trap. These boys have been knocking about the sticks for what seems like a lifetime, but this incubation period has obviously done the band justice, having provided the space to develop a sound that has nabbed the attention of not just NME but also the BBC. My bets are on Temper Trap!

And another Operator Please record would be great also, but hey it’s still only January!



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