Monday, March 30, 2009


Surprise surprise: SXSW 2009 ruled. It was our first experience in Austin and it was one to remember for sure. Four nights of sleeping on floors and four days of around-the-clock drinking later, our livers are in disrepair and our necks/backs/everything are in need of some serious chiropractic love. We'd planned a big South By rundown but between school starting back again and Marina Diamond's visit to NYC we just haven't had the time. There wasn't much in the way of breakout acts at SXSW this year you hadn't already heard of anyway (save for Local Natives, who we didn't actually get a chance to see at the festival), so we'll save us all some time and just focus on our favorite act of South By '09, the inimitable Mumford & Sons.

Hands down the most pleasant surprise of the week for us, Mumford & Sons' delighted with an incredible string of performances, all of which left us breathless and all hot and bothered at the prospect of a debut LP from the London quartet. We spent quite a bit of time with them in New York and Austin, first tasting their brilliance at two NYC shows leading up to South By and then further indulging at the festival itself. We've long been fans of their Fleet Foxes meets Jeff Buckley take on British folk, but it's their live show that's just un-fucking-believable. EP favorites like "Roll Away Your Stone", "White Blank Page" and "Little Lion Man" didn't disappoint, but it's unreleased set closer "Dust Bowl Dance" that's sounding like the best track we've heard all year. No mp3 available as of yet, but this HD YouTube clip from their March 4th ICA show gives you a good idea of just how unreal this song is. Below is "White Blank Page" to whet your appetite until Mumford & Bros' feel like unleashing "Dust Bowl" on the unsuspecting masses later this year.

MP3: "White Blank Page" - Mumford & Sons

In other news, Passion Pit have gone ahead and lifted the veil on "The Reeling", which will serve as the lead single on Manners, the Neon Gold alums' upcoming debut full length. No mp3 clearance as of yet, but head to the myspace to give it a spin and start getting pumped for Manners' May 19th release date. "The Reeling" is a great track, but it doesn't hold a candle to some of the other jams on the record (holler "Little Secrets" and "Folds In Your Hands"), so trust us when we say it's only the tip of the iceberg. What do we think?

// Steve Hopson //

Saturday, March 21, 2009


We're currently raging at South By Southwest, hence the silence. Back soon.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


We love the Body Language kids here at Neon Gold. Good people, talented musicians, not to mention one of them even owns a Goosebumps shirt... What more can you ask for? We recently asked them to have a go at a remix of Marina Diamond's "Obsessions" and the result sounds like a late night jam session with Junior Boys on electronics, Phil Collins on drums and Kate Bush doing her thing on the mic. Eclectic as fuck, but we like it that way.

MP3: "Obsessions" (Body Language Remix) - Marina & The Diamonds

Body Language headline Piano's at midnight this Saturday with amazing support coming from two of the UK's finest in Post War Years and We Have Band. Do. Not. Miss.

// NAVIS //

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Dark and vulnerable, Kurran & The Wolfnotes' songs are emotive accounts of betrayal and deception laid over sparse arrangements and sung in ominous tones that recall everyone from Jesse Lacey to Iron & Wine. Travelling songs for the wronged and the woeful, Kurran's output to date is nothing short of phenomenal and his international upbringing (New York, Switizerland, Dubai, London) lends him a unique voice in the crowded London folk scene. It's still early days for sure, but Kurran & The Wolfnotes are absolutely ones to watch in the months to come.

MP3: "Your Four Limbs" - Kurran & The Wolfnotes

Monday, March 9, 2009


Whilst in London for a spell last month we spent some time with teen pop sensation Ellie Goulding, who wasted no time passing along her latest output, a cover of Sam Sparro's #1 hit "Black & Gold" that finds her teaming up with 20 year old Frankmusik protege Starsmith on production duties. The duo has taken to calling themselves Goldsmith for the time being, and you should go ahead and start readying yourselves now for the torrent of pop brilliance these two will be unleashing on you in the months to come.

In the first installment of our hot tips for '09 feature we hinted at some as-yet-unheard amazing new material Ms. Goulding had waiting in the wings and we were referring to "Starry Eyed" (another Starsmith collab), which has since been aired for teasing purposes on YouTube here. We're not even kidding a little bit when we say it's the best song we've heard all year, so keep your eyes on this space for when we're given the go ahead to share it's perfection with the world. In the meantime, here's the duo's ice cold take on "Black & Gold" for all your bliss pop needs.

MP3: "Black & Gold" - Goldsmith

// You Don't Matter //

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


We're not quite sold on Little Boots as the second coming that the British media are making her out to be, but we're not gonna front like she's not going to be all kinds of huge in 2009. Between the five massive singles (and counting) she's already got in her arsenal and the sexy math teacher video that's just begging to be made for "Mathematics", expect Ms. Hesketh to be wreaking all kinds of havoc on the charts in the months to come. The next two singles coming down the pike will be "New In Town" and "Every Little Earthquake" (both incredible), and 679 have pulled out all the stops on the remix front, enlisting the services of The Golden Filter, Fred Falke, Drop The Lime and our boys Dekker & Johan with even more mixes supposedly on the way.

Monday, March 2, 2009


It's no secret Chess Club have the London folk scene on lock 24/7, so it should come as no surprise to find a band like Ex Lovers sporting their badge in the vinyl section of your favorite independent record store. Wistful sentiments and acoustic meanderings underpinned by playful boy-girl harmonies are the name of the game here, and while these ingredients aren't exactly groundbreaking, we're pretty smitten with the results. The band's debut single "Just A Silhouette" isn't quite breaking news (it dropped last December), but it's the exact kind of wintry pop that felt highly appropriate on our headphones as we braved the frosty abyss and navigated the snowed in ghost town that was downtown Manhattan this morning. We still can't feel our fingers but at least the soundtrack's nice.

MP3: "Just A Silhouette" - Ex Lovers

In other news, "I Am Not A Robot" is one of the more wonderful things you'll hear all week and demands your attention at the Marina & The Diamonds myspace, uh, now. Vocoder? Check. Strings? Check. Actual fucking human heartbeat? Check. New favorite band? Check.

// i.anton //

Sunday, March 1, 2009


We've been talking up our hot tips for '09 for a minute now, but we decided it was high time we took action and threw together a proper list. Here are some bands you're going to give a fuck about over the next 12 months.

We've said it once, we'll say it again: Clare Maguire will reign supreme in 2009. Anyone uncertain look no further than her Primary 1-produced demo of "Strangest Thing" and hear the voice that will be dropping jaws all year long.

MP3: "Strangest Thing" (Demo) - Clare Maguire

It's hard to know where to begin with Miss Marina Diamond. She's easily the loveliest person we've come across in our music industry travels, not to mention one of the most promising songwriting talents we've ever heard. Marina's beautiful, charismatic and one of the most brilliant performers we've ever had the pleasure of seeing live, and we've genuinely never met someone so driven and determined to succeed - having turned away countless management offers over the last year, she's managing herself and doing everything on her own terms. Earlier this month she dropped by Radio 1 to perform a four song live session for Huw Stephens and then followed it up with a two song solo performance for Dermot O'Leary on Radio 2 a few weeks back, in which she treated listeners to a stripped down version of "Obsessions" and a special cover of Gwen Stefani's "What You Waiting For". Also be sure to keep an eye out for her in this month's issues of Dazed & Confused and Arena Magazine.

2009's a bit of a crapshoot what with the sheer number of talented girl singers who've secured major label deals in the last six to ten months, but our money's on Marina to rise to the top on the strength of some of the most wonderfully unique pop songs we've ever heard. Sure we're biased, given her debut single "Obsessions" dropped on Neon Gold earlier this month (buy. that. shit.), so we'll just let the songs speak for themselves. To celebrate we're hitting you with a special double drop in the form of the best B-side you'll hear all year (that'd be "Mowgli's Road") and an unreal remix of "Obsessions" courtesy of up-and-coming electro maestro The Aspirins For My Children.

MP3: "Mowgli's Road" - Marina & The Diamonds
MP3: "Obsessions" (The Aspirins For My Children Remix) - Marina & The Diamonds

Your Twenties like the Beatles and care about backing vocals. This is all they choose to make known about themselves on their myspace page, but further digging reveals frontman Gabriel Stebbing's previous endeavors as lead guitarist and backing vocalist in Metronomy. Stebbing has since left Metronomy to focus on Your Twenties full time, and the results have been nothing short of amazing. Debut single "Caught Wheel" dropped last November and wasted no time flying off the shelves, and has just been re-pressed for those who arrived a little too late to the party. "Caught Wheel" comes off as a timeless slice of breezy indie pop fun, recalling The Shins and the Beach Boys in equal parts, and if demos like "Billionaires" and "Gold" on the myspace are any indication, it's only the tip of the iceberg for this bunch. Expect huge things this year.

MP3: "Caught Wheel" - Your Twenties

The cyclical nature of musical styles and trends is no secret in this day and age, and we're pretty sure grunge is just about due to make a comeback. Only time will tell, but Dinosaur Pile Up are doing their best to lead the resurgence, as the demo of "Love Is A Boat And We're Sinking" ably demonstrates. We could be wrong about this whole grunge renaissance, but we stocked up on plaid and stopped bathing weeks ago just in case.

MP3: "Love Is A Boat And We're Sinking" (Demo) - Dinosaur Pile Up

We've been pushing their wares since last autumn, and Little Comets have since wrangled a nice little major label deal for themselves after putting out debut single "One Night In October" with our friends at Lucky Number Music last month. Bursting at the seams with fresh-faced vitality, "October" bounces along on a buoyant rhythm section and clattering percussion, shouty Wombats vocals and sunny guitars converging to make the four-piece out to be something of limey Vampire Weekend. With the lone exception of Pete & The Pirates, UK indie had a bit off an off year in 2008, but with on-the-rise acts like Little Comets and Two Door Cinema Club leading the charge in '09, expect to hear a lot more noise from the long-haired, skinny-jeaned crowd this year.

MP3: "One Night In October" - Little Comets

Previously: Reasons Not To End It All In 2009 Pt. I and Pt. II