I’ve been wanting to do one of these lists for a while now. I’ll pick 20 bands/artists that will be on everyone’s lips come this time next year. Or something like that we hope…
These will be in no particular order…
1. DRY THE RIVER
One of my most anticipated album releases of the year. Comes out at the start of March and this band is destined for huge, huge things. They’ve been compared to Mumford & Sons on numerous occasions and though I doubt they’ll have the same impact they do bare some similarities and are perhaps just as talented. A rockier version would be a bit more accurate I suppose though if you’ve only ever listened to the first minute or two of their songs you probably wouldn’t know that. They tend to build tracks brilliantly, creating captivating but hushed intros and deafening, breathtaking outros. None more so on the song Lion’s Den - a song the band seem to frequently close with - which is really quite something to see live! I’ve seen them 4 times this year and each time I’ve been blown away at just how good this band is. 2011 was a big year for the Londoners (and Norwegian frontman!?), but the BBC Sound of 2012 nominees will surely shoot to stardom in this coming 12 months. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see the album on many a Best of 2012 list as they really are that good.
This Camden band have got a fantastic sound. Their album is also out this year, though in January so expect to hear a lot about them very soon indeed; if you haven’t already. In Coming of Age they have an anthem that you could quite easily see 70,000 people singing their hearts to and the rest of the tracks I’ve heard so far don’t disappoint either. Himalaya in particular is one that I’m really looking forward to when the album drops. This week it’s come out that the guitarist is getting a bit kinky with Scarlett Johansson which will surely no doubt only do the band good in terms of coverage and press. When I saw them at Electric Ballroom this year it was probably one of the liveliest gigs of the year and they seem to have a big fanbase growing very quickly indeed. I suggest you jump on while it’s “cool” ladies & gents!
3. KEATON HENSON
If this guy could get over his fear of playing live then surely he’d be huge right? I mean to my knowledge he’s only ever played live once or twice and he’s still got a pretty good following. You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are was in my top 5 tracks of 2011. An absolutely beautiful song from a seemingly troubled but ultimately very talented man. Got some great coverage from Radio 1 late in the year and with his album Deer getting a wider release - it sold out it’s limited release very quick I believe - he could become a cult hero amongst the indie crowd, very much in the mould of when Justin Vernon had cabin fever.
4. CLOUD CONTROL
I have a feeling that this wonderful Australian band have an album coming out this year though I’m not certain. Either way, after supporting The Drums on their recent tour as well as having their own headline tour late this year they are sure to become a part of every person’s party playlist soon. Their tracks are just as infectious as indie darling’s Two Door Cinema Club but with a rocky and more exciting edge. Already won a few awards in Aussie land and will do very well on the Festival scene this year if they play UK ones.
5. BEN HOWARD
I’m quite pleased that 4 of the first 5 mentioned are UK acts. The majority of my top 40 albums of 2011 were American, so hopefully 2012 can prove better in the eyes of Josh for the Brits. Ben Howard has already had a great 2011 but I’m pretty sure he’ll go mainstream this year. The man has an absolutely golden voice, a seemingly great personality - I mean I haven’t personally spoken to him! - and just makes fantastic music. One of my favourite live acts of the year and albums. It’s almost a little disheartening to see the attention Ed Sheeran (I have nothing against Ed) gets when there’s someone as talented as Ben looming in the background. However with a headline tour to come, the Festival season ahead, and that great thing called word of mouth, whether it’s 2012 or not I’m pretty sure Ben Howard will soon be a superstar.
6. THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM
Okay, so they’re an established band and why would they have a big 2012? Three albums in and they still haven’t really had a big hit record… Well boys & girls, their my favourite band and I can put in whomever I want. And let’s not forget 2012 is going to be a big year for Bruce Springsteen with Hyde Park & Isle of Wight on the way. Who knows, maybe Brian Fallon might jump on stage with him again! And let’s also not forget that TGA’s first three albums were all released independently. 2012 will be the first album release with a major record label. Perhaps it could be the spark for something big. After all, this band deserve it as much as anyone. Yes, I’m wearing my biased hat right now, but all my points are valid, and if you haven’t listened to The Gaslight Anthem now then you should. And if you haven’t listened to The Gaslight Anthem come the end of 2012, then frankly your opinions are invalid.
7. THE CHEVIN
I saw this band support The Airborne Toxic Event at Shepherd’s Bush recently having never heard of them and thought they sounded like something special. I went home, looked them up and saw they had a total of 800 fans! I started to doubt my judgement until I saw that they were not only the one and only support for TATE but also for The Pigeon Detectives. Not only that, they were opening for White Lies at Wembley Arena. All in the space of two months! I’m pretty sure I won’t be the only one to see anything in this band who really do have a great sound. The lead singer’s voice is fantastic, especially live and while I haven’t seen much of their stuff yet, if they get a few singles and an album out then 2012 could see them blow up out of absolutely nowhere! I suppose you could call them my wildcard pick!
8. THE MACCABEES
Another well known band in the list but this year is going to be huge for them. Definitely coming back with a bang and I wouldn’t be surprised if they headlined a festival or two this summer. Such a well loved band who continue to grow in sound and from what I heard the other night the third album won’t let anyone down. Not going to go into great deal about them as you’ve probably heard of The Maccabees and my eyes are starting to strain at all these words but if you haven’t heard PELICAN yet then GO AND LISTEN TO IT.
9. MICHAEL KIWANUKA
A pretty obvious one. But I guess in a world where Adele rules all right now, Michael could be the successor. He’s already been voted into the BBC Sound of 2012 and wait for it… won! A pretty good start to 2012 if ever there could be. He supported Adele on her tour so no doubt will have won over some of her fans. The so called fans of the “new-boring” or whatever that nonsense is that Emily keeps going on to me about! Michael is a soul musician and his voice is his asset. It’s absolutely fantastic and Kiwanuka has obviously been influenced by some great artists. His album drops on the 23rd of March and expect it to chart very well. I think he’ll go down very well in America too later on.
10. LANA DEL REY
If you haven’t heard of her where have you been in the last 6 months? Obviously not using the internet anyway. Her albums out in a few weeks too.
11. AZEALIA BANKS
NME made it cool to hate her by putting her at number 1 of their ridiculous cool list. But how can you hate a girl who repeats the word “cunt” over and over again on the catchiest beat of 2011?
First saw Spector at Get Loaded In The Park in June. I had no expectations and only stumbled upon them because it was bucketing down with rain and there happened to be music on inside of this tent. For the next 20 minutes I was very impressed with both the lead singers stage presence and the band’s sound in general. It seems as though since then the band has gone from strength to strength. Championed by the BBC somewhat - from Introducing stage at Reading to Sound of 2012 nominees - but for good reason, this band are definitely one to watch this coming year.
13. BAND OF SKULLS
With a new album on the way and a support slot for The Black Keys this is set to be a big year for Band Of Skulls. My music reviewing friend knows them and used to tell me I should check them out but I always ignored his calls. 2012 should be the year everyone stands up to take notice of their fantastic sound. He also told me that they used to be called something else and it was only when they changed their name to Band Of Skulls that they started to gain recognition.
14. SELAH SUE
Already making major moves about Europe this Belgian singer is surely going to break the UK at some point. I think 2012 could be the year. What with the internet and YouTube these days you never know when someone is going to get their big break! I have no idea if she has an album coming out this year but I’m a huge fan having been introduced to her pretty recently and will stick my neck out and say that by the end of 2012 she’ll be pretty well known around these parts!
15. ALABAMA SHAKES
A big black woman with an absolutely incredible booming voice fronting a band full of guitars. What’s not to like? I mean I personally can’t wait to see this band live next month! They are currently touring the US and playing some shows with DRY THE RIVER (see number 1). If you haven’t listened to them then YouTube yourself silly and prepare to be blown away.
15 will do me just fine though some notable mentions should go to the following:
- The Black Keys - Touring their new album, headlining Coachella. They’re back and bigger than ever.
- Bloc Party - When the supposed reform happens - and it will - they’ll be huge again. Due a headline slot at Reading.
- Brother & Bones - Really impressed by a support slot they did for Ben Howard at Scala.
- Bruce Springsteen - A new album, Hyde Park dates and headlining Isle of Wight. Everyone get your best Courtney Cox/Carlton impressions at the ready.
- Frank Ocean - BBC Sound of 2012 runner up. Member of OFWGKTA. Sung on Jay-Z/Kanye album. Will end up manufactured mainstream probably!
- The Jezabels - Aussie indie pop. Charismatic and attractive female lead singer. Albums gone platinum over there. I’d be surprised if they don’t pick up a strong following in 2012.
- The Killers - New album due in 2012. Festival headline slots. One big lead off single and they’ll be the biggest band around again.
- M83 - Midnight City - arguably the song of 2011. Critically acclaimed album. Tickets for their shows this year in very high demand. Playing Coachella. By the end of Festival season this year expect them to be on everyone’s lips.
- Monument Valley - Kind of Mumford sounding guy. Been listening a lot lately and loved it. Wildcard pick I suppose!
- Niki & The Dove - Electro pop duo. BBC Sound of 2012 - 5th place.
- The Rolling Stones!? - 50 years till they formed. Surely something must happen right? Oh wait there’s that little thing called the Olympics. Jagger may have strongly denied it, but everyone’s reforming or touring again these days aren’t they!?
- The Shins - All these comebacks eh. Loved Broken Bells but adored The Shins. Can’t wait for the new album and tour.
- The Stone Roses - I may not have been around when The Stone Roses made it big. But I’m glad to say I’ll certainly be hearing a lot of them this summer whether I’m seeing them live or not.
- Youth Lagoon - Album did well in the year end charts, especially mine. Expect this one to gain a cult following.
- The xx - If the new album comes out this year then Mercury winners The xx will have a big say in 2012.