Dede’s breakout song, “My Secret Sweet” induces nostalgia for childhood Saturday- afternoon-play-time with the neighbors - and brings to mind one of our favorite British band of the aughts, Broadcast. Maybe it’s the “chopsticks” piano chords on repeat, or the chimes cuing the her suggestion, “let’s play pretend.” Or is it the hand clapping, or her sweet, almost adolescent voice? It could be the fact that her appearance draws comparisons to Allison Wonderland, or her name sounds like a child’s first word. Either way, the youthful overtones of her music don’t imply juvenile musical skill. Our strong desire to reminisce upon hearing her songs is a result of expert composition and intuition as to what sounds people are uncontrollably drawn to. - Katie Bennett
Waking Lights’ music immediately jumps out at you: it’s catchy, stomping, energetic and head bobbing inducing. Their songs contain both rock and folk elements, sometimes alternating between the two while still retaining their unforgettable feel. Waking Lights is based in New Jersey and playing New York venues frequently. Their music stays in your head long after their songs have ended, so be sure to check them out at Bruars Falls on January 8! - Leah Tribbett
Shake the Baron reels you in from the start, the music danceable without losing the alternative rock sound and the lyrics (sample: “I’m not much good at changing/I’m afraid of the cold rush time against my feet” from “Rest of Reaction”) just as impressive. Their self-titled debut displays the band’s talent for layering harmonies and creating an unmistakably good vibe throughout. Though the band only formed three years ago - 2007, while all four members attended college in Connecticut - their debut has the polished, established feel of a sophomore or junior album. Shake the Baron’s sound is particularly catchy, and sure to spark many toes tapping and heads bobbing across the city. They play live at Spike Hill tonight (January 7)! - Leah Tribbett
High-energy,vocals, aggressive guitar, imposing drumbeats, and a bass-line so thick you could walk across it, MiniBoone know how to start a party. Essentially kids sporting facial hair and square-rimmed glasses, the members of MiniBoonehaven’t forgotten the day when Weezer used to produce power-pop anthems and Blink 182 would jump around on stage and yell throughout their entire set. And neither have their fans: the band’s scored a line-up of gigs along the east coast an beyond, as a result of acclaim for their debut EP, “Big Changes” (Drug Front Records). See them live at Brooklyn Bowl on january 18. - Katie Bennett
"Uptempo" and "Pop" are by themselves two concepts that - in the business of being an indie band - can take you quite far; but if on top of that you add to the equation also comparisons to The Smiths, then the hype can get out of control. Brooklyn's Drowners have more than one similarity with Morrisey's act, and although they will surely feel belittled by such comparison, they should not, because no artists really managed to be The Smiths' worthy musical heir yet (like, for example, XTC were for The Beatles, Robin Hitchcock for Syd Barrett, and The Strokes for Lou Reed - uhm, maybe...).
The band's 3 songs debut EP features the remarkable single "Between Us Girls" (streaming below) which immediately throws us back to the days of "Meat is Murder," with the electric guitar alternating between jangly parts and arpeggios, and Welsh frontman Matt Hitt singing semi-melancholically about some girls' hair length - rather than about how big they are... The edge is slightly punkier, while the songwriting reveals an almost clinical concision (the song clocks in just under 2 minutes, with the first chorus coming in after 26" - A&R allergic to intros will dig that).
The second song, "You've Got it All Wrong," beats a similar musical path, tackling the infinite well of inspiration that (for Brits) is life at the pub, with the difference of a slower bridge, which acts as a breather for the final chorus. Final track "A Shell Across the Tongue" is the punkier of the bunch, but also the one with the least memorable melody.
This is obviously a band with enormous songwriting potential. If they'll manage to write songs as good as these and integrate their influences in a more mature and personal sound, the world can be theirs. - PDG