2010 was the year of Bandcamp, EPs, and Tumblrs. Wise DIY musicians gave away their music and in turn gained support from music blogs and tumblrs. The trend will continue in 2011 and will significantly reduce digital LP releases by indie artists. To our regular readers, we promise to retire all of these tracks in the new year.
1. Lord Huron – Into The Sun EP
Lord Huron – We Went Wild
Notes: I can guarantee that this will be one of my favorite EPs of the Decade. Look for Huron to sign a deal with a mid-major label in 2011.
2. Cults – 7″
Label: Columbia Records via Forest Family Records
Cults – Most Wanted
Notes: Originally mysterious duo from Brooklyn blew up in 2010. Groomed by Gorilla Vs. Bear’s Forest Family Records, until they found greener pastures with Columbia Records. They will have an enormous 2011. Question? Will Columbia go on the warpath to remove Cults’ singles from blogs? The same singles that helped Cults gain attention for their major label contract?
3. Kurt Vile – Square Shells EP
Kurt Vile – I Know I Got Religion
Notes: In 2010, prolific singer-songwriter Kurt Vile released two of my favorite EPs and a LP on Mexican Summer.
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – Horsepower EP
Label: Quite Scientific Records
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – God Only Knows
Notes: Detroit band named after famed redneck Nascar driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.
5. Levek – Self-Titled 7″
Label: Father/Daughter Records
Levek – Look on the Bright Side
Notes: Immensely talented Floridian David Levesque is a guy that throws down Motown jams and sometimes sounds like Sade.
6. We Are Trees – Boyfriend EP
Label: Collective Crowd Records
We Are Trees – Sunrise Sunset
Notes: Virginia Beach native James Nee’s music sounds like Grizzly Bear – in a non-generic way; EP contains beautiful arrangements. Bright future ahead for Nee.
7. Yu(c)k – Weakend EP (Tape)
Label: Fat Possum Records
Yuck – Automatic
Notes: Newly signed Fat Possum artist is another band that will have a breakout year in 2011. Weakend was released on tape, and is currently sold out. You can find a digital copy on the web. Hopefully the tape format goes away in 2011.
11. JEFF The Brotherhood – Mellow Out 7″
Label: Suicide Squeeze
JEFF the Brotherhood – Mellow Out
Notes: One of the most kickass rock ‘n’ roll bands in the country. Album art by my friend Patrice Jackson.