Never mind the here and now, presenting my tips for 2011!
January of every year brings with it a mélange of ‘Tips For 20XX’ articles in newspapers, magazines and blogs where they inform us of their (usually rather safe) bets on who is going to be constantly blaring out on daytime BBC Radio 1 inbetween innate banter in where Fearne Cotton constantly agrees with whoever she appears to be interviewing that day; “You like food?! So do I!!! LET’S BE SUPER BEST FRIENDS!” etc.
So why do I say ‘usually safe’? Well the fact of the matter is the artists featured usually (and please not the word usually here, this isn’t gospel before you start spitting proverbial feathers) have had the right team behind them for a good 6 months already so therefore the ‘people in the know’ are aware that it’s going to be pretty much impossible to avoid them so they might as well put them down as a tip so in 12 months time they can look back with a faux sense of achievement on their Nostradamus-esq prediction skills.
It isn’t brain surgery at the end of the day; if you become aware that Major Label ‘X’ have just signed ‘GENERIC POP BAND Z’ for ‘QUITE LARGE SUM OF MONEY’ in say, July of that year, then you can pretty much guarantee that the money they’re set to invest in marketing that artist means that joe public are going to be more then aware of them the following year.
Take the BBC Sound of 2010 list for example (which you can read here); many years ago when I was a student knocking on the door of this elusive industry I used to rather look forward to seeing that list as chances were I would only know a couple of the acts featured and therefore it would be an opportunity for me to discover plenty of new and exciting music. Nowadays thanks to a triumvirate of my work, my inherent passion/interest for music and having friends whose job it is to discover new music, by the time it makes the BBC list it’s all old news to gubbins over here.
For example on this years list you have Everything Everything who I first witnessed on a snowy March Friday night back in 2008 in the geographical anomaly that is Barrow-in-Furness and have keenly followed their falsetto shenanigans since. Delphic also make an appearance who I was made aware of by an industry friend in the summer of 2008 and after hearing a few of their initial demos it was plain to see that eventually they’d be causing a fuss with the right investment.
I must point out here; please don’t read this in a ‘holier than thou’ internal monologue as I’m not intending this to be a ‘OH LOOK HOW BLOODY CLEVER I AM?’ post, I’m just saying that due to the factors above I’m lucky enough to pick up on these things earlier then say, my mum (although she’s been harping on about Giggs for months now).
So here is my twist on all these lists. A twisty list. A tlist. I present to you the sP Sound of 2011 shortlist! Artists who I think will be in your collective iTunes libraries and Spotify playlists 12-18 months time.
The Jane Bradfords are a band about to blossom. Their debut album was a very strong introduction which helped them gather a loyal following in their native Northern Ireland, but after hearing a couple of tracks from their next release they appear to well and truly found their ‘sound’ (which is somewhere in between The National and Echo and the Bunnymen). I expect these to be slow burners, along the likes of Snow Patrol, not because of their home country, but because they’ll hit the big time after 2 or 3 albums just like Lightbody & co did.
I’ve harped on about Kid Adrift for a little while now and rightly so. He’s bloody brilliant. Although he’s only been making music for less than a year he’s already making tracks that demand listeners attention and he’s beginning to get a rather formidable bunch of music industry heavyweights behind him who’ll no doubt help catapult him straight on to playlists around the country once his sound has developed even more over the next year. A dead cert in my books.
The brain child of front man Alex Thompson and musician Harry Robinson, I’ve been following their shenanigans for a couple of years now and they’ve gone through more ‘sounds’ then I’ve made bad puns (which regular readers will struggle to quantify); from their early tracks in the ilk of The Streets which saw them receive plenty of Radio One play from Colin Murray and the likes, to a pop-ier sound which had hints of Mystery Jets and early Noah and the Whale to what would appear settling somewhere in-between. Very cool, very talented and extremely hard working.
One of the ‘must see’ bands at In The City in 09, the Uncles finished the year on quite a bang after supporting Bombay Bicycle Club on their UK wide tour and gaining quite few new fans from it. They’ve recently got a manager who knows his stuff behind them and after listening to their first album quite heavily in the Sentric office, it’ll be interesting to hear how their sound develops next for their following long player.
Although it’s a saturated genre, BBC Radio 2 will always need a good bit of Americana/Folk on its playlist and there is no reason that Mr Speight can’t fill that gap. With tours coming up in mainland Europe, UK and New York and a few recordings underway with some rather exciting people, 2011 could very well be the year your girlfriend buys Thomas J Speight’s album, listens to it and wishes you were just as bloody emotional as him.
A journeyman of the music industry, Ian Britt has had a rather loyal following for the past decade but after hearing demos of his latest album he finally appears to be molding all of his influences into a continuing and fluid ‘sound’ which could help him break into the mainstream. It all very nearly happened for Ian in 2008; on the verge of a worldwide sync deal for a well known car brand, a whole bunch of showcases lined up and with high profile press/radio showing interest, his manager suddenly and tragically died causing quite a disruption to proceedings. Back and stronger then ever with recordings featuring contributions from Sheffield and the northwest’s finest including Liam Frost, Lucy of Lucy and the Caterpillar fame, Little Lost David and many more it’s about time Mr Britt’s hard work paid off.
I also asked some friends to chip in and being bloody lovely they all did:
Krause, Dark Mean , Le Corps Mince de Francoise, John Shelley and the Creatures, Sola Rosa, Kyteman, Ogo Nzeakor, SJD, Vertigo Smyth, Pentagram, Caitlin Smith, Audiotransparent, Jean Parlette, Undying Inc, Swarathma, Friends of the Stars
Louise Sargeant – Platinum Sound
I’d say Neeta Sarl. She has been described as an Asian Kate Bush although I think her new stuff is more like an Asian Zero 7. Here is her myspace though evidently she is having some image rights issues. She has been on a couple of BBC radio shows and we have a couple of contacts who are interested in working with her.
I detest tips and I’ve not seen or heard anything exceptional for quite some time. A few years ago it was easy because bands had world changing aspirations but most acts I’ve seen and heard lately are self-interested or the respect of a niche orientated. It’s well and good, and bringing us some great music but few acts are able to develop into something incredible. And to be honest, if a half decent band are on anyone’s radar right now, they’ll be written off as failures by June. Much more interested in returning bands with potential crossover albums (if Sufjan’s or The National’s new album is out early 2011, then I tip them) rather than adding to the churnover of promising but essentially just another-new-band, bands.
Dutch Uncles – Perhaps an obvious one, but we have followed and loved these guys since they were The Headlines. They’re getting better and better all the time, and we think they’re on the brink of even bigger things.
Young British Artists – A great band. I only discovered them this year and just love them. On a great little independent label from Manchester, Red Deer, and I’d love them all to get the recognition they deserve!
Jim Warburton – Music Supervisor for Lime Pictures
Mt Eden – A dubstep producer from NZ who created my favourite track of the last year. A beautiful, original mix of melody and harsh beats. Still in his infancy as an artist, mainly remixing at the moment, but with the right exposure and the right project, deserves to be massive. Not on myspace or Spotify yet so you’ll have to look at his youtube channel here.
Chew Lips – Already quite well known, young three-piece with huge potential. Real song writing quality displayed on their debut album, tipping for 2011 because I think they might do even bigger and better things in the future once they develop their sound further. Particular highlights: “Solo” “Salt Air” and “Karen” .
The Jane Bradfords – Widescreen epic indie-pop from Belfast armed with strong, insistent and memorable melodies. Show potential to write a couple of simple minds/bunnymen tinged stadium-sized anthems over the next few years if they so choose to.
Jen McCullough – Bruised Fruit Promotions – Twitter
Strait Laces – Who? A punk rock trio from the North West of Ireland, described as “chunky, ballsy and a little bit sinister” by the BBC. Why? Championed by Bruised Fruit, they’ve already managed to record with EMI, put out a debut single and play festivals across the UK. They’ll also be at SXSW in 2010
Yes Cadets – Who? Out of the ashes of The Elliotts arose indie hipsters Yes Cadets. Skinny jeans, quirky haircuts and a female drummer, they make great indie pop music. Why? Championed by BBC NI, they played Oxegen Festival in 2009 and MTV Presents Belfast with General Fiasco in 2010
There you go then. Did I miss anything? Let me know if you sincerely believe I did.
What I’m reading this week: The Stars Tennis Balls by Stephen Fry