Memory Tapes

Bit of a mystery this one… Memory Tapes seems to be pretty much anonymous; there are no photos and no live shows. Not even the names of anyone involved have been shared. Not sure if this is a good thing or a pose or if they are just shy. It does make a change though. They have been showcasing tunes on blogs like Gorilla Vs Bear, 20 JazzFunk Greats and I Guess I’m Floating under various names, including Weird Tapes. There is a dreamy, hazy (ok, druggy) feel to all of the music and it seems to have Donna Summer on one arm and Kevin Shields on the other and be hurtling toward something truly great. There is even one song that sounds a little like Smashing Pumpkins pre-egomania. There are songs but they are just a little out of focus, out of reach. They seep into your subconscious and wrap themselves around your heartstrings. It’s toe tapping too. It’s kind of excellent sex music too. Or maybe that is just me. The one thing it definitely is is compelling. And sensual. And pretty damned beautiful. It bypasses a lot of my usual analysis and just hops straight into Favourite Music. There is a short EP on Something In Construction doing the rounds that is coming out in the New Year, that sums them up very nicely. Or just head over to Hype Machine and hoover up the goodness.

It Hugs Back

Having spent most of 2008 keeping my head above water in terms of music (it becomes a surreal experience running a website like TLOBF when you’re constantly bombarded by THE NEXT BIG THING), my tips for 2009 might not be as left-field as some of the other choices included here. One band I really want to see do well are It Hugs Back. Their debut will be unleashed at the beginning of next year, and for those of you crying over the demise of The American Analog Set, be depressed no longer. This is what you’ve been waiting for. Gorgeously simple and smooth grooves that can cause the pulse to rise, fall and flatline to the sound of beauty. It’s not going to set the World alight, but for those of you who haven’t heard ‘Other Cars Go’, you’ve missed out on the single of 2008.

Crystal Antlers

Another band I can’t wait to hear a long player from are California’s Crystal Antlers. Their boozy shake up of 70′s prog rock and Black Keys blues had me looping their recent EP constantly. What on earth the album will sound like will be anyone’s guess. One thing IS for certain though; it won’t be boring. Personally, there’s only two things that can pip all that and it’s the fact that 2009 is an M. Ward and Andrew Bird album year. Unless Mr. Ward does something VERY stupid, Hold Time might be the only thing to knock Andrew Bird off his lofty perch. I think 2009 is shaping up to be a rather great year…

The Empty Set

with an album provisionally due out on Tough Love Records early next year, the Manchester/London duo should be surefire contenders for overlooked indie-pop gem of 2009. Tommy Ogden’s science textbookworm-y Magnetic Fieldsianisms are the stuff of songwriting magic, holding hands with Belle & Sebastian as they skip firmly into the same tradition as Cole Porter.


Next up, Tubelord. Our writer Ro Cemm thinks they’re just “Hundred Reasons filtered through Los Campesinos and A” but I see nothing that isn’t awesome about that triumvirate (well, maybe A in practice but still, IN THEORY) and besides it’s not even really accurate. Whilst there might be something distinctly ‘pop-punk’ about Tubelord, they’re forged in somewhere much more cryptic and arcane and schizophrenic really.