Neon Gold is a 21st century story. Like counterpart Modular in Australia (Ladyhawke, Cut Copy, Van She, etc), they're bringing out incredible new music that manages to straddle indie, pop and other genres, usually with a keen sense of melody. Based in New York, Neon Gold was started in 2008 by two college students: Lizzy Plapinger (Vassar '10) and Derek Davies (NYU, yr?). Back in the early days of blogging they did a music blog I read called Good Weather For Air Strikes. Despite their New York home base, most of the Neon Gold "roster" comes from outside the US. They told Zaz Report they "spend as much time in London as we possibly can... if we have so much as a few days off school we bolt over to London."
Neon Gold specializes at catching artists at the start of their careers; the singers/groups below are potentially big names for 2010, when they release full length records on other labels. They're starting with vinyl releases via the label. If you are a vinyl junkie, Neon Gold sells their 7 inch singles here.
Ellie Goulding Under The Sheets:
Ellie Goulding is unique for creating a sort of hybrid of electropop and folk-pop. She's even covered Bon Iver, so it'll be interesting see how her debut album disperses electronic sounds across the arrangements. She also has an element of Bjork to her voice that cannot be ignored, though it's perhaps stronger on the blindingly brilliant Under The Sheets, now up for pre-order on iTunes UK with remixes and b-side called Fighter Plane. Follow Ellie @elliegoulding
Marina + The Diamonds Mowgli's Road:
Marina is Welsh, feisty and very funny. She's also very ambitious. Her debut album is out next winter and it's produced by Liam Howe, along with Biffco. Mowgli's Road is a teaser designed to show that she naturally creates left of center pop, but the first major single will be Hollywood, which no one has heard yet. My favorite song is Obsessions. That video, from 2008, captures her intelligence and creativity. If a record biz suit ever suggested Marina dye her hair blond, you jut know she'd give him the finger or worse. Follow Marina @MarinasDiamonds or on her blog.
Penguin Prison A Funny Thing:
Penguin Prison has gained early attention for their remixes, especially the slinky bass-heavy mix of Erik Hassle's Hurtful, which completely re-imagines an already perfect song. Risky, but it worked. Now they have a brilliant debut single - my personal favorite is A Funny Thing, an indie-pop earworm you can download for free here.
Starsmith On Second Thoughts:
Though he's not on the Neon Gold label [update: he is an NG act], 21-yr old Starsmith has worked extensively with their artists, producing and remixing. His real name is Fin Dow Smith and he's a saucer eyed boy(ish) genius who most recently produced Ellie Goulding's Under the Sheets. He's more than a producer, however (see fan-created video above) and he's just signed a record deal, on what looks like a Madmen set. Next up is a Lady Gaga remix and production on Frankmusik's 2010 album, Follow The Leader. I assume a solo record is in the mix too... let's hope. Follow him @starsmiff
Finally, another non-Neon act that sort of is a Neon act by association, Ellie Goulding + Starsmith = Goldsmith. Their best known track is the lush Starry Eyed, but check out the snippet of a beautiful new ballad below.
Also keep an eye in 2010 on NG act Yes Giantess and their lovely ginger friend Erik Hassle - his debut album launches in the UK in early 2010.