The Music Fix Tips for 2012
And so it comes to our annual dusting off of the TMF crystal ball that we bought down the market ages ago because it was shiny, but never thought we'd get much use out of. Time to ID some new names for you in the world of popular music.
Names were bandied about from the start in the form of Lana Del Rey and Emeli Sandé but, after much discussion, we realised that the likes of those two had already been stars of 2011 in their own way: the former being one of the most-talked about artists of the year (both in good and bad terms) and the latter already having two top five hits and an appearance on X Factor to boot.
So, in order to make it that much more difficult for us and to make it more enlightening for you, delightful readers, we decided to put in the miles and read, listen and watch as many new artists as is humanely possible in an attempt to come up with a definitive list of 12 acts who we feel not only have the potential, but also deserve, to be your soundtrack of 2012. Agree or disagree? Let us know below but for now...onwards.
There appears to be something in the water in Leeds if there recent glut of top class heavy acts are anything to go by. Bands like Hawk Eyes, Castrovalava and Humanfly have all been pummeling audiences across the country, and now scuzzy, angular hardcore mob Blacklisters are here to spit some bile. With their debut album due out early in 2012 and a whole bunch of shows already under their collective belts, we'll no doubt be hearing a lot more noise from these guys. If recent single 'I Can Confirm' is anything to go by, it's probably best you invest in some earplugs and boxing gloves to fend off this fearsome lot. (Freddy Palmer)
One day, our heart will be too full to let in any more folk bands, but we'll happily find a space for Dry The River. It helps that they peddle in rockier sensibilities than their contemporaries, meaning that acoustic they may be, but their output tends towards the anthemic and they do a good line in glorious rackets. Don't believe us? Check out 'No Rest' below and try to tell us that you weren't lifted. Their not-so-secret weapon is Pete Liddle whose delicate, yet powerful, vocals are just extraordinary and will likely mean that while your initial response to Dry The River might be an exasperated "not another folk band", that response will be fleeting and quickly turn to the more accurate: "wow". (Ian Sandwell)
OK, so Erin K & Tash might be a quirky female duo, but that's not the reason we've included them here. Honest. Rather, we've included them because not only do they deal in songs with delightful melodies and a strong emphasis on story telling ('Coins'), but they also deliver some of the wittiest and most memorable lyrics of recent years, often with a dose of filth for good measure when the song suits ('Jiggy Miggy', 'There's Not Really Something About Mary'). It's all rather irresistible and even if you haven't the foggiest what anti-folk exactly is, give Erin K & Tash a spin and you won't give a damn as you'll be too busy smiling and nodding along. If it doesn't have that effect on you, you might want to worry as it's possible you have no soul. (IS)
All vaudeville keyboards, concrete guitars and little-girl-grown-up lyrics, FOE is the voice of the wilful outsider, the loner that won't fit in the playground. It's an age of innocence through some shattered and jagged mirror; kids who make themselves sick on sherbet and e-numbers, while 60s sci-fi and clowns in g-strings hover menacingly in dreams. Signed by Mercury on the strength of the proverbial 'couple of tracks on MySpace'; championed at an early stage by Shirley Manson; videos for 'BBC Introducing' when they'd hardly played a live gig; there's a lot of belief and expectation riding on FOE. It's easy for us to tell you they're up for it - we've had a sneaky listen to the debut album, due in January, and can guarantee that it's 100% there, not an ounce of fat. (Mike Hughes)
The stage couldn't be better set for 20-year-old Welsh singer-songwriter Jodie Marie. She's just completed a tour with Will Young, playing to an audience that is likely to lap up her gorgeous, blues-tinged pop in the same way they've taken the likes of The Pierces and Adele to their hearts. And so they might. Jodie's astonishing vocals, powerful, subtle and emotive in equal measure, belie her tender years and having worked with Bernard Butler on her debut album Mountain Echo (due next year on Decca Records), it's likely they'll be given the right platform to impress on record as much as they do live. We'll be shocked if she doesn't take over the airwaves in 2012. (IS)
Perhaps Random Impulse could follow in the same career path as his friend Ed Sheeran next year, although we highly doubt he'll be turning his hand to such lifeless pop. His recent EP No Sleep For Winners is packed with invention and killer tracks, perfectly blending rock, hip hip and drum and bass into an entirely winning blueprint. It's precisely this that could make Random Impulse as big in the charts as the dancefloors, especially after the massive success of Example this year, and as long as he keeps dropping lines like "every day feels like fate's picking on you like a cold sore", we think he has the potential to be one of 2012's most unique artists. (IS)
This self-styled 'death-drone' duo have been bubbling under the surface for a while now, threatening to burst through in a hail of percussive chaos and searing riffs. Their recent split release with sirs saw them on ferocious form as well and with the band heading into the studio in January to record their debut album, with a release on Holy Roar Records not long after, next year should see the band busier than ever. The duo will be heading out on tour throughout February, so make sure you catch their ferociously brilliant assault before the band spontaneously combust. (FP)
Is Joe Goddard still seen as "the guy from Hot Chip"? 2011 saw him release a collaboration with DELS (and Roots Manuva) plus solo single 'Gabriel' and, of course, team up with the unlikely named Raf Daddy to record as The 2 Bears; all rather excellent. It's the furry-suited duo we're interested in here. Last year's 'Bear Hug' fell somewhere between club cracker and (dare we say?) novelty tune, but you'll only have to wait until January 2012 and the release of debut album Be Strong to see how it fits into their overall plan. Our bets are on some retro-house fun crossed with the sort of pop nous that makes Hot Chip so loved. (John Donnelly)
If any act can follow in the popular footsteps of The Pierces in 2012, it's Nashville duo The Civil Wars. Not only do they specialise in luscious folk ditties with silky smooth vocal harmonies - albeit male/female instead of female/female but just as delicious - and subtle melodies reliably swoon-inducing, but after their wonderful performance on Jools Holland, their debut album Barton Hollow made an appearance on the UK album and download charts despite its official UK release not being until early 2012. The demand is clearly there and if their debut UK single 'Barton Hollow' is anything to go by, it's more than justified by the talent. (IS)
We've had a couple of spins of Camden four-piece Tribes' debut album Baby (out January 16th) and if you think you know them off the basis of 'We Were Children' or 'When My Day Comes', think again. These boys know their way around a delicate melody as well as a stadium-sized riff and alongside the chorus-driven Libertines-vibe raucous rock efforts, they're more than happy to peddle in touches of Beatles-esque psychedelia and reflective, emotive ballads. As a result, Tribes clearly have the potential to be the most exciting and interesting guitar band to develop on these shores since a bunch of cheeky Northerners pondered what happened when the sun went down. (IS)
If Blood Ceremony are 1971, then Trogons are 1968 and they're sharing cheesecloth vests with Arthur Brown down the Alexandra Palace. These London cats deal in the the most mind-bending psych pop known to man - older readers may think of Julie Driscoll or Sharon Tandy, but everyone else will be too busy dropping major hallucinogenics, jumping off bridges or whatever it is the kids do these days. Finally, an excuse to dust down the loon pants! As is the norm in this scenario: 'album to follow in 2012!' (Douglas Baptie)
Garnering favourable comparisons to the likes of The Gaslight Anthem, The Hold Steady and yes, The Boss himself, Brooklyn’s We Are Augustines showed themselves to be a cut above the countless rock wannabees with ‘Book of James’, a deeply personal, tragic yet uplifting single that helped launch themselves on the to the consciousness of rock music fans the world over. Debut album, Rise Ye Sunken Ships, in due to hit the shelves in March and will cement their position as one of the must see bands of 2012. (Greg Belton)