Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Eurosonic 2012 – it’s the new rock’n'roll

If it’s January, it must be Groningen and time for OTR to return to the lovely Dutch city for the annual Eurosonic festival. For a couple of nighrs. festival bookers, radio programmers, agents, promoters, media folk and your ordinary decent …

Fri, Jan 13, 2012, 10:44


If it’s January, it must be Groningen and time for OTR to return to the lovely Dutch city for the annual Eurosonic festival. For a couple of nighrs. festival bookers, radio programmers, agents, promoters, media folk and your ordinary decent music fan run around the city to try to see as many of the acts playing as possible. OTR has decided to be at least 21 per cent more productive this year by hiring a bike to get around. Now, that’s the new rock’n'roll.

2012 is the year of the Irish at Eurosonic as Ireland becomes the festival’s focus country. There are 21 Irish acts playing – 22, if you count the Irish-born and Bristol-bred 2:54 (a lot of twos in there) – as well as various Irish-themed events in the convention (I’m moderating the We’re Not At Eurovision Now, Dorothy panel later today). You can’t avoid the Irish this weekend, bud. It will be interesting to see, though, what effect this Irish exposure will have overall. The main way to guage a band’s success at Eurosonic is in the amount of summer festival bookings received afterwards, which is one of the main props of the European Talent Exchange Program (ETEP). Given the amount of festival bookers in attendance last night, I’d say God Is An Astronaut will be in clover afterwards, while Lisa Hannigan’s name has come up several times already.

Highlights from the first two nights zipping around the city include the aforementioned 2:54 (spellbinding, bootgazing swirlscapes from the Thurlow sisters with hues of Belly and The xx in the mix) and God Is An Astronaut (“Remembrance Day” alone was worth the price of admission as the hugely under-rated band – at home, at least – instrumentally rocked out with great aplomb). It was also hugely significant to see James Vincent McMorrow in one of the biggest rooms at the festival, especially as he played one of the smallest rooms here last year. McMorrow also won an European Border Breakers Award to cap a great year for him – and that album campaign ain’t over yet either.

Others to check out from sightings include Francois & The Atlas Mountains (alluring bang of Beta Band and Animal Collective from these merry pranksters who also specialise in Kraut-fro grooves and oddly sweet synchronised dancing), Theme Park (lovely breezy tropical pop with “Wax” as the hit tune of the night), Lianne La Havas (stunning songs and perfectly pitched performance from one of the brighest tips for 2012) and Boy (cute-as-a-button new-school pop from a German duo armed with a fine band).

More from the despatches: Tove Styrke (name-drop clanger alert: it was Lykke Li who tipped me off to this Swedish popster already turning out some wild songs like “Million Pieces” and “Call My Name” at this early stage), Rocketnumbernine (incandescent improvtronica and renegade soundwaves with the oomph factor from the Page brothers), Thulebasen (hat tip to from Lizzie Newton from SXSW for alerting me ages ago to these Danish freak-scensters with oodles of out-there notions to their filthy synth jams) and Spector (bespoke crombie-indie with dashing hooks and interesting stitching from the sharp-dressed men).

Proof of 21 per cent increase in OTR productivity this year: Redinho (soulful, grimey cuts and bleeps from the Numbers-affiliated dude who may well “do a SBTRKT” but without the mask), Jessie Ware (old-fashioned soul with new-school footing from one of the finest new voices you’ll hear right now) and, leaving one of the best till last, Madeon (17 year old Nantes’ producer tearing up the gaff with crazily addictive pop-dance hooks and big-room bangers. Hit!)

More reports to come. You’ll find a full list of acts playing here and if you want to recommend some non-Irish and UK acts (I’m up to speed on those ones), please do so below.

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