The world of new music is a very impatient place to hang out. It’s like the London Underground at rush hour, or the taxi rank at the end of a Saturday evening’s bar crawl. Everyone is keen to be first, or at the very minimum not to be last, please anything but last. There’s a clamour to cover artists when a hot new track appears on the horizon, especially when it’s as hot as today’s. Just look here at The Guardian’s refusal to wait for a second track, or our UK blog bros, My Bands Better Than Your Band, and their tongue-in-cheek apology for posting about them this week, even after Radio One had played them – that blog is famed for being particularly early to artists. The clamour seems even stranger when you see that the tune has been up on their Soundcloud for months. It seems like the fumbling rush kicked off after Brooklyn Vegan covered the band and then blogs such as Cruel Rhythm posted them on this side of the pond, resulting in a small mention in a recent NME and the rest has spread from there. All over one tune and a couple of live shows. Impressive clamour if ever we saw it.
Because this blog chooses to veer towards more of an in-depth spot of coverage of any selected artists, we couldn’t possibly post about a band on the back of just one song. It’s not a strict rule for us, as some songs really do cause a dizzying reaction, as happened last year with Lana Del Rey‘s Video Games. More recently we had the same issue with Elliphant‘s debut tune, In The Jungle, which is so strikingly awesome that holding back on posting about them is as hard to resist as a smack covered doughnut is to a hungry junkie. But hold back we will, so expect coverage the moment the next tune is made available. We figure that it’s got to be better for our blog to wait, so we can understand them more, in order to write more interesting editorial and gain the context that a second tune can bring to the artist’s sound. This is especially important as the history of music is littered with one-hit-wonders who shine for one song, then plummet like a broken submarine on future releases. Today’s recommendation, Wild Belle, allowed us to hear further tunes recently, two of which are below and on this occasion it seems like patience is indeed a virtue.
They’re basically the brother and sister duo, Natalie and Elliot Bergman, who used to feature in the band Nomo. When Wild Belle are seen playing live they’re still joined by fellow Nomo members, Erik Hall (guitar) and Quin Kircher (drums), who are also known to play with Elliott in the band, In Tall Buildings, so you may have seen their faces in a multitude of guises. With so many musical outlets, it’s a fair sign of their obvious creative genes – their sister, Elise, is a clothing designer showing what a colourful, creative bunch this family really are, but it seems everyone’s new outfits are the best fit yet. The debut single got it’s official release this week and the A-side, Keep You, is worthy of the hype it stirred. It’s a heady concoction, mixing up alternative pop and dub in a manner not heard since the likes of Santigold and MIA were trumpeting their roots. It has origins in black music, with a heavy saxophone line played throughout by Elliot, but as you can see this is very much a Caucasian family, from Chicago, so we’re not sure where the dub tinge comes from other than their wonderfully experimental creativity.
This may go some way to explaining the shift in tone for the single’s B-side, the playful track, Take Me Away. It still has Natalie’s sweet, 1960s, breathy vocals, this time adopting more of a Sesame Street-cuteness and Elliot’s saxophone takes on a rump-a-pump stomp behind her once again, but the ska’d dub has all but disappeared. The healthy sign is that it’s still a strong tune, showing us they have variety and breadth in their armoury as well as a keen ear for a catchy melody and genre-bending appeal. Both tunes are effortless and rich, it’s like floating in a sea of warm tomato soup and just as tasty. The current hype is sure to carry them to full shows at the likes of SXSW, which they’ve already ensured us they’re due to appear at, but whether we get to see them any time soon this side of the Atlantic is yet to be confirmed. Hype is certainly a rapid cross-Atlantic vehicle, but one that’s sadly prone to sinking on regular occasions. The real trick is to build your own ship, full of substance and integrity and sail around on your own steam. If nothing else ‘Wild Belle’ seems like a good name for a large boat, but on the basis of these early songs we’re confident they’ll sail beyond the tricky one-hit-wonder waters, so we’re most certainly happy to now climb on board. (MB)
WILD BELLE – KEEP YOU
WILD BELLE – TAKE ME AWAY