Never mind the here and now, presenting my tips for 2012!
No, it isn’t a typo and yes, you have read it correctly – this is a post telling you who very well may be big in 2012; two thousand and twelve, twenty twelve, the big two zero one two or however you fancy pronouncing it.
2012 is already shaping up to be a big year for us over in blighty; we have an Olympic games we can ill afford, I’m planning on finally starting a pension scheme of sorts and, of course, the world could possibly end according to my 2nd cousin who has recently started telling people he’s half Mayan (thus only ‘possibly’ rather than ‘definitely’ – he’s always been scared of commitment).
So what could be our soundtrack to all these wondrous events? What will be making primetime local radio DJ’s squeal with delight? Who will play a Reading Festival set so ‘phat’ that it will make Edith Bowman and Reggie Yates do that thing where they tell you just ‘how amazing’ it is this year and actually make the viewer feel ashamed for not being there in person.
(Honestly; during Glastonbury’s coverage in 2010 I was certain at one point they were going to grab hold of the camera, come face to face with it and just start shouting “WHY AREN’T YOU HERE?! THIS IS AMAZING! IS THERE SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOU?! AAAAARRRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!1!!1!1!ONE!!1”)
Regular readers will be fully aware that I did this post last year (which you can see here) so if you’re wondering why I’m doing a post for 2012 rather than 2011 then read the intro to that and it should explain all.
So here are some suggestions from myself to kick off with and then we’ll have some contributions from my industry chums.
(if you receive this via RSS or email you might want to go to the actual post as it contains SoundCloud widgets)
Who – Polarsets
Why – ‘Leave Argentina’ has been played *a lot* on my iTunes over the past couple of months and they’ve recently got a manager on board who knows their stuff. The only way is up methinks.
Music – Leave Argentina
Who – Stagecoach
Why – It’s not often you find an emerging artist who has a collection of genuinely strong songs that goes into the double figures, but these guys have exactly that. If they carry on writing with the finesse they’re currently showing then I’m rather looking forward to hearing what they come up with next.
Music – Axe Behind My Back
Who – Sunbirds
Why – Because their ‘River Run’ EP contains three of the strongest tracks I’ve heard from an emerging artist in years (you can listen to it on Spotify here). Brilliant production values and a band that well and truly appear to have found their ‘sound’. Very excited to hear more from these in the future.
Music – River Run
Who – Rokhsan
Why – Beautiful voice, pretty face and, most importantly, insanely catchy pop songs. She’s now got the same people behind her as some of the most successful pop acts this country has seen in the past decade and there is no reason why she can’t follow suit.
Music – Soldier
Who – Washington Irving
Why – 2010 say a new height for my love affair with Scottish music; my favourite album was by a Scottish act (Frightened Rabbit’s ‘The Winter Of Mixed Drinks’), my business trip to Glasgow ending up in the awesome Copy Haho coming on board at Sentric Music and I discovered these guys. I love the lyric “…is it your 19 inch waist or your husband that hates you”. In my mind the Scots have a way with words that make them fantastic lyricists.
Music – SiSi
Who – David’s Lyre
Why – He managed to get the industries attention by donning various masks and posting Youtube clips of himself doing stripped down versions of current pop classics. Not the obvious route to take, but hey – it got him a shedload of BBC Introducing airplay so it worked. This single came out earlier on in the year and judging by the new tracks I was sent last week; he’s only going to continue getting stronger.
Music – Tear Them Down
Who – Minnaars
Why – Leicester’s finest export since Walkers Crisps, these lads have been on the scene for a while but only recently have they got the recordings done that do their rather huge sound the justice it deserves. Causing a bit of a stir in the industry at the moment and going down a storm in Germany. Expect a lot of touring next year.
Music – Capricorns
Who – Gallops
Why – I’ve harped on about these for a while and since playing Sentric Music’s In The City showcase in 2009 they seemed to have gone from strength to strength. Headlining the BBC Introducing stages at Reading/Leeds and landing syncs on adverts for major brands in mainline Europe; when these guys get their debut album ready to go it could well and truly be a list topper of many a musos chart.
Music – Miami Spider
Who – Kowalski
Why – One of my favourite artists I work with here at Sentric Music; these guys write beautifully crafted songs and are thoroughly talented chaps. They released their third EP this year and it’s about time someone whacked some investment into them so they can finally write and record that full LP I so desperately want to hear. They toured with Two Door Cinema Club recently so hopefully that will have got them a bunch of new fans. Make these your new favourite band now before everyone else does.
Music – Get Back
Who – Catherine A.D.
Why – You may have already noticed, but there are quite a lot of artists in this industry who are trying to make a living from music. So much so that you to stand out you need to be rather unique, and unique is exactly what Catherine A.D. is. A highly skilled songwriter who can make you feel instantly melancholic with a simple and subtle chord change; it’s only a matter of time until she gets the diehard fanbase she deserves. This track ‘Judas’ was co-written with Bernard Butler of Suede fame who is quite the fan of her work.
Music – Judas
Who – The Guilty Hands
Why – These guys raised £15k of fan funding through the Slice The Pie so in theory they’ve already got the thumbs up from the general public. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG? I’ve been treated to a copy of the album and it’s synth pop tastic. Like Duran Duran on a bad acid trip.
Music – Razor
Who – Bastille
Why – I really don’t know much about this guy and he’s the only one on the list we don’t work with here at Sentric. Trust me though; he’s going to make waves.
Music – Icarus
So there are my humble musings. Please feel free to agree, tell me I need my ears checking or contribute your own to the discussion via the usual methods.
And now for some thoughts by a few industry chums of mine. Take it away ladies and gents…
Tom Robinson – BBC 6Music Introducing DJ – Twitter
I don’t have the foggiest idea who is going to be big in 2011; but then I don’t have much idea of who’s big in 2010. Surely the much more interesting question is who’d going to be GOOD in 2011… with regard to that you can be dead certain of at least two from my neck of the woods:
LET’S BUY HAPPINESS for their ethereal, memorable North-Eastern guitar pop with standout performances from the ludicrously overtalented siblings Sarah and James Hall on vocals and lead guitar. But the whole band are a wonderful unit, with s pecial mention for the drumming of James King propelling the whole thing along.
COSMO JARVIS for his omnivorous curiosity about the world, astonishing mental inventiveness and the scattergun sweep of his talent. He’s spent the past year blasting a unique path of his own across the blogosphere with his astonishing songs and videos. I don’t have the smallest notion of what his second album will be like this Spring, but you can be certain it won’t be either dull or predictable.
Whether or not either of them achieves widespread recognition in 2011 will basically be down to what songs they decide to write in the coming months. Both of them are capable of composing a killer pop classic that would take the world by storm if they really wanted to. But do they really want to, or would that constitute “selling out” and losing their current credibility? Only they can know.
Considering I stared blankly at the Sound of 2011 list for several minutes (Yuck? Daly? Mona?) I’m probably not best qualified to tip anyone for any years, never mind 2012.
I will say I’m very surprised that IDIOT GLEE hasn’t been mentioned by more people, so he’d probably be a tip for 2012 (although he’ll no doubt have an album out in 2011). On Moshi Moshi, so guarantee of quality, he sounds like a lo-fi version of 50s doo-wop music. That sounds pretty awful, does it not? It’s not, he’s very good.
Also quite surprised more people haven’t been raving about SUMMER CAMP who are my favourite new band – it’s Jeremy Warmsley and his other half and they do 80s-tinged pop with lots of references to John Hughes films. Elizabeth (the singer) has a really nice voice and they call their songs things like Veronica Sawyer and Jake Ryan (more 80s film references). And Elizabeth always replies to me through Twitter without fail, so I’m a bit biased.
Having said that, I’m pretty sure both bands will do a lot in 2011 and we probably won’t wait have to wait till 2012. I tend to only hear of bands when their first single is sent, I don’t tend to do much looking around blogs and MySpaces (do they still have them?) just purely down to time constraints.
Jim Warburton – Music Supervisor for Lime Pictures (Hollyoaks)
My tip for 2012 is ‘HEART-SHIPS‘
‘ An original and powerful band based in Leeds. Heart-ships are a beguiling blend of impassioned, poetic vocals with an expansive line-up including violin and clarinet. They create swirling, beautiful, epic songs which are not only unique but expertly structured. They have the potential to be very popular in the next couple of years with the right backing and support.’
Natalie Shaw – Music Journo/Label Owner/DJ/Raconteur – Twitter
Unless the money’s on it in 2011, Canadian two-piece BONJAY should do pretty well come 2012. Their music’s less based on the thump and throb of dancehall than actually being it. 2011 might see more copy and pasting, which’ll make this lot stand out. And duly; Alanna’s vocals range from ethereal, quiet head voice to a loud, piercing stab. and their cover of Caribou’s ‘Jamelia’ transports the song into an ecstatic rave-up, bodies pressing against each other until it all begins to crumble. The breakdown features fragmented, layered vocals and an awkwardly jutting Chicago synth line. That’s just the cover though… there’ll be more. More for people to listen to while they watch folks pole vaulting on their TVs.
I reckon by the time 2012 kicks in, SLOW CLUB will be making chart-topping pop. The upcoming second album will touch on it, but give them another year and they’ll have morphed into Elton and Kiki. There’ll be a full band and Rebecca Taylor will be on the front cover of Heat.
Becoming a successful musician is, for a large part, about being in the right place at the right time. A little bit is talent, but mainly it’s situation. To an extent that can be engineered with the right investment behind you, but that doesn’t mean everyone who has been left to gestate for a while before being launched on the public hits the big time. It’ll be interesting to see if JESSE J really does live up to expectations, given that her launch has been held back for two years while a back story (she’s a credible songwriter, don’t you know?) was created for her. Not to mention the failed launch before that.
Anyway, so, artists I think could be big in 2012. FRONTIERS are the only band I’d actually be thinking to myself might be big in 2012 before I was asked to write this. At some point the world is going to want another big, British rock band, and I think these guys could be it. Although they’re not ready to be thrust into the mainstream just yet, they have a good batch of Cure and Interpol-influenced songs and are really good live performers. As well as them, I’m going to go for FLORRIE (even though she’ll either sink or swim in 2011), LABYRINTH EAR, JOSEPHINE, POLLY MACKEY, RUSSELL DEAN STONE, THE GOOD NATURED, MABEL LOVE and YOUTHLESS.
Well there you go – hopefully there is a bit of audio goodness for you to sink your ears into.
What I’m listening to this week: all of the above.
What I’m reading this week: Kaftka On The Shore by Haruki Murakami