Bands To Watch 2009

Division Day / photo by David Greenwald

Nobody can predict the future — much less the jamz of tomorrow. But we can make some pretty good guesses. After the jump, five under-the-radar acts that will make waves (but definitely not Wavvves) in ’09.

Harlem Shakes

Harlem Shakes’ Technicolor Health sounds like everything good about 2000s indie rock: the Shins’ dorky hooks, the Arcade Fire’s bombast, the Walkmen’s gritty tones, even Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s frantic nonchalance. On the eve of the decade’s end with “indie rock” carrying about as much meaning as “alternative” did when it was applied to Limp Bizkit (pre-reunion!), it may end up being an exclamation point on a decade that, blog-hype and American Apparel aside, produced a number of albums for the ages. Somebody give these guys a high-five.

Bombay Bicycle ClubBombay Bicycle Club
The U.K. act has finished recording its debut album, and judging by their scattered singles and EPs, they’re poised to become next year’s most visceral new band. The Club plays Sunny Day Real Estate-era emo through a Britpop filter with chops and range beyond their years — I can’t wait to see what they can do over a full LP.

Also, I promise not to refer to them as Jam City again, even though they obviously are, born and raised.

Bombay Bicycle Club – “How Are We”: mp3

St. Vincent
Not so under the radar, I guess: St. Vincent’s Annie Clark is beloved by everybody, it seems — by the end of her mammoth tour for her ’07 debut, Marry Me, she was headlining a packed Echoplex and challenging Feist for crush-worthy status on Stereogum. The follow-up, Actor, is coming May 5, and the fact that Annie’s as good as Feist, maybe better, bodes well for the album’s success. And its awesomeness.

St. Vincent – “These Days” (Nico/Jackson Brown cover): mp3

Ravens & Chimes
The New York act, who became Rawkblog favorites for their still-fantastic 2007 debut, are heading up to Montreal in April to record with Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire, Godspeed You! Black Emperor) and Larry Crane (the four-track archaeologist who curated Elliott Smith’s New Moon).

Judging by the new tune I heard them play at Spaceland, there’s much to look forward to.

Ravens & Chimes – “January”: mp3

Division Day
Division Day have done everything right — two strong EPs, a self-released debut album re-released by an LA label and a sound that pays tribute to synth-pop’s darker side even as it blasts the ’80s firmly back to the future. So why have they toiled in indie purgatory for the last half-decade while the fucking Killers and their ilk sell thousands upon thousands of records? D-Day’s sophomore album may be the one that breaks the mold… and hopefully moves some units. (Admission: I think the Killers are the world’s best awful band. Which is to say I kinda love them.)

Division Day – “Colorguard”: mp3

(St. Vincent, Ravens & Chimes and Division Day photos by David Greenwald)


Looking for new music? Click below for more recent and upcoming 2009 releases, or visit our MP3-filled Album Release Calendar.