This is not a list extolling the best bands in New York, rather the bands that you need to watch out for, the ones that are on the cusp of great things, and who will be the next big things hailing from the five boroughs. All of these bands are working on something right now whether it's their demo or their debut full length, they are all at the very beginning of their careers and hopefully will carry on for quite some time. A lot of these guys have been mentioned on these pages before, but really their big breakout moment is gonna be 2010! We're excited every time we listen to these guys or see them on stage and we're pretty sure most of you will be if you give them half a chance too. So get out there, download their mp3's, see their lives shows, and get to know the 10 New York Bands to Watch in 2010!!!
10. Kilgore Trout Is Dead; The only entrant from my native Staten Island, I have been telling you guys about the surf inspired synth and ukulele sounds of Kilgore Trout Is Dead for more than a year now. It seems that Ezra is just about down with his debut record, a self produced, and self released disc that has tons of promise behind it and which has this borough in a tizzy to hear what he's actually laid down on wax. Hopefully the rest of the city (and beyond!) will start to take note this year as well, as we all think Kilgore Trout Is Dead is one of the most promising acts to ever descend from the neglected and maligned Staten Island.
Kilgore Trout Is Dead - "Leave Me Alone"
9. The Vandelles; Gotta be honest, these guys juts recently sent me a download of their forthcoming, self-titled debut and we think the record is a gem of garage rock inspired mayhem. The tunes on here are raw, but aggressive and immediately addictive, the kind of combination that will have you cranking your speakers to their absolute limits before the neighbors start banging on your door begging you to turn it down. There's no way you'll want to though so you may have to start trolling Craigslist to find a new space to live in, preferably one that doesn't mind the blaring music!
The Vandelles - "Lovely Weather"
8. Dinowalrus; Having spent most of the last year either opening for rad acts like Future of the Left, Those Darlins, Screaming Females, A Place to Bury Strangers, and more, or playing guitar in Titus Andronicus, Dinowalrus have already built up a lot of buzz about their unique, psychedelic sounds. It's no wonder that Kanine Records already scooped these guys up and now we are waiting for next Saturday to celebrate the release of their new album, %, and to finally get out hands on a copy of it. This band straddles so many different sounds and genres that it's difficult to not fall for their warped sounds and animal themed attire. Seriously, we've told you about them for a while and now it's time to stand up and take note.
Dinowalrus - "Nuke Duke 'Em"
7. Sisters; The East Coast answer to No Age and Japandroids is undoubtedly Sisters. Like those two bands Sisters is just two dudes, one on drums and one on guitar, making a lot of noise and doing whatever they damn well please when they take the stage. Unlike the others, Sisters uses some recorded sounds to expand their sound, but it only heightens the sound they are trying to put out there, rather than acting like a crutch for them to fall back on. We're real excited to hear what these guys come up with for their debut slated to be released on DBA Records some time this year. Until then we'll keep our eyes peeled and try and catch them any chance we get, like next Thursday with Grant Hart at Cake Shop!
Sisters - "Street Cars"
6. Shark?; Tonight Shark? are playing the showcase I helped book over at Silent Barn so it would have been difficult to leave them off this list and face them later tonight, but the probably would have made the list without that card in their back pocket so it's not like I'm playing favorites here. Oh wait, I totally am! These guys are probably the most fun band playing music in New York right now. They let everything go on stage, and that means buckets of sweat and undeniably catchy rock tunes. No idea when we should expect their proper full length debut but you can still snag their debut EP and a 7" for free from their BandCamp page!
Shark? - "Big Wheels (It's Alright)"
5. The Sundelles; We have been in love with The Sundelles for some time now, but there really isn't all that much material out there to be in love with. We have cheerfully listened to their tunes on MySpace and watched their fantastic video for "Keep It To Yourself, but we are dying for some sort of proper release whether it be full length, an EP, or even a freakin' 7"! We just need some sort of recording to take home and wear out on our record player! So please guys, get down to business and lay some shit down soon, 'cause we're dying for it over here!
The Sundelles - "Dead Youth"
4. Wakey! Wakey!; Maybe you've heard me mention Wakey! Wakey! once or twice (or three dozen times!) in the past. Maybe you've seen lead singer/pianist Mike Grubbs playing a bartender named Grubbs on "One Tree Hill". Maybe you actually took my advice and latched on to Wakey! Wakey! already. But if you haven't don't fear because he's gonna be everywhere this year! Combining his recurring role on "One Tree Hill" with a brand new album of can't miss piano pop, Wakey! Wakey! should be able to gain the hearts and ears of teens and young adults everywhere, but his music isn't just for the radio, it's for everyone, and you really should lower your guard and let his intimate songwriting into your life.
Wakey! Wakey! - "War Sweater"
3. Freelance Whales; During the annual CMJ Music Marathon, bloggers, industry folk, and die hard music fans got a preview of things to come from two outstanding New York bands that positively blew minds during the Marathon. The first of the two is Freelance Whales a band who burst into the week and made it their own with a slew of well reviewed and raved about performances. In March Frenchkiss and Mom & Pop Records will join forces to release their debut album Weathervanes and since we've been listening to it for a couple of weeks now we can tell you that we do not envy you and the fact that you can't pop this record on anytime you want right now! Hopefully the two labels will opt to push up the release because music this good shouldn't be kept from anyone! And no, I'm not going to be the one to leak it, sorry.
Freelance Whales - "Hannah"
2. Sleigh Bells; The other CMJ fave from this year's marathon was Sleigh Bells, and act that absolutely owned the week with no exceptions. We will be honest and tell you that Sleigh Bells sound took a few listens to get into, there's something a little grating about the marriage of hip-hop and lo-fi when you first get started, but at some point we were listening to "Crown on the Ground" in the car and we just had to blast it! The song finally clicked and since then we've realized that everyone that raved about them after CMJ was 100% right! These guys are doing something that's pretty unique and definitely worth the effort to get into. It might not be immediate for all of you, but keep listening once you hit that moment where it clicks everything falls right into place.
Sleigh Bells - "Crown on the Ground"
1. Dinosaur Feathers; You probably could have seen this one coming from a mile away, at least you could have if you check this site everyday. In the past year I must have mentioned Dinosaur Feathers at least 50 times and each time I feel like I am doing a service to my music obsessed readers! In just a few short weeks Dinosaur Feathers are going to release Fantasy Memorial, their full length debut, and you're going to see everything that I've been talking about laid out in front of you. You will hear all the Beach Boys, Ruby Suns, and Animal Collective influences, you will dive into their addictive song structures, you will fall in love with Greg's songwriting, and this band should become one of your favorite discoveries of the year. Just when you're telling all your friends about this great new band you discovered can you at least hint that we had a part in it???
Dinosaur Feathers - "Vendela Vida"