I saw Prince Rama open for Grimes in the basement of a Buddhist Temple in Toronto during NXNE and thought they were pretty amazing. Only after did I learn the back-story- "signed" to Paw Tracks, "discovered" during SXSW, and, most importantly- album to be released in the fall.
Personally, I agree with HIPSTER RUNOFF that we are in the midst of a buzz drought. In the same way that the Mayans had both 22 year cycles called "KATANS" and then cycles comprised of the cycles, Buzz is at a low point in two cycles.
First, there is the yearly cycle that has been created by the new gatekeepers of the internet. Specifically, the calendar begins with strong buzz and new buzz bands, and then there is a decline, with the buzz generators exhausted by the start of the fall. The months of september to november are given over almost entirely to "established" Artists, and little buzz is generated. December, is, of course, a waste land for new music and that time is used by gatekeepers to 'recharge their batteries' and results in new buzz for the months of January and February.
Second, there is the three year cycle for trends. As I've said on this blog before, this is an end period for the larger "LO FI" movement that emerged in 2008. The cycle ends in different ways for Artists and Audiences. For Artists, some bands emerge out of the trend cycle and move into the regular music industry, for other Artists, they lose steam as the trend they are associated with loses stream. For Audiences of those Artists, some move along with them, others begin their search for the next big thing.
In terms of the Artists I write about on this blog and the associated trend of "LO FI" (2008-2011) here are some events that are hallmarks of the end of the period:
1. Nathan Williams of Wavves is making a video game.
2. The next Best Coast record is being produced by John Brion.
3. The new Dum Dum Girls record was number one on the new artist chart.
The end of the longer three year cycle coinciding with the petering out of the shorter calendar year cycle combines to create a "buzz drought." I would suggest that it will resolve itself by mid January of 2012, by which time a new trend will emerge, but until then- relax, go back to roots, check out local bands. Chill.
Personally, I believe that Prince Rama represents the potential start of a new buzz trend, that of the incorporation of non-western song styles and motifs into the buzzosphere. It's too soon to tell which Artist or Artists will fully develop this trend, or how it will be received by the public, but such a trend would provide a counter point to the low cost production and trad rock roots of most of the successful lo fi acts.
Certainly, based on their performance last night, Prince Rama has what it takes to emerge into the wider consciousness of the general public. The packed audience- obviously there early for the headliner Gang Gang Dance, was quite appreciative and there was little of the "outside drift" that I've often observed at the Casbah (outside drift is when people drift outside to the smoking patio DURING an opening band's set.)
Their two person sister act is portable and seems built for the long haul- an absolute necessity in a period where regular touring is a substitute for advertising dollars and label driven publicity. I am personally hopeful that the new Prince Rama record, TRUST NOW will be a critical and sales success and that more people will be exposed to their excellent sound.