Category Archives: Ones to Watch 2012

Ones to Watch #3: Where are they now?

The third and final part of this series of posts in which I have been looking at Acts I predicted would do well this year and looking at where they are now. The original to this part is here.

11. Lucy Rose

Lucy Rose released her very lovely debut record this year ‘Like I Used To’. It failed to chart and received middle of the road reviews but I still think it is a very nice attempt at a debut and one she should be proud of. For me, it’s Lucy’s live shows which have grown and grown this year. Seeing her at Barn on the Farm festival and how the crowd reacted to her was incredible and her and her band sound so tight, it’s a wonderful show to see. Lucy has been working hard at this for years and 2012 is finally the year great things have started to happen.

12. The Staves

Like Lucy, The Staves have been around for a while now, constantly gigging and supporting just about everybody. Their debut record ‘Dead, Born and Grown’ was released at the beginning of this week. It highlights everything The Staves do well, lush harmonies, pretty songwriting, sweetness all round. It’s also got a couple of surprises like last track ‘Eagle Song’ which is a bit more exciting than the rest. Maybe next year will be the year The Staves will start to come into their own limelight, and lose that reputation of being forever the support act.

13. Peter and Kerry

Peter & Kerry didn’t really do anything for me this year. Their debut album isn’t very exciting in any way and live they are possibly even less exciting than that. Oh well your allowed one flop on the list right?

14. Rae Morris

Next come two acts which I predicted a year to early. Rae Morris is set for big things in 2013, but 2012 has been the growth year. She got signed, played a headline tour, supported the likes of Lianne La Havas and Noah and the Whale and released a rather gorgeous EP. With a debut record due next year, the best is definitely yet to come…

15. Matt Corby

Matt Corby, I also predicted a year early. But like Rae, this was the year things started to happen for Matt. He got signed, and sold out Scala (something which shocked everyone I think!). Matt is incredibly talented and has taken a long time to develop and nurture his talent. It feels like he has finally found his sound, which sits somewhere between Jeff Buckley and Bon Iver. 2013, watch out.

16. Doe Paoro

Doe was a last minute edition to my list based on me hearing her song ‘Can’t Leave You’. The rest of her debut record didn’t live up to that song and the whole thing had a bit of a rushed, unfinished feel. Doe has serious talent but I think she needs more time to let it mature.

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Ones to Watch 2012 #2: Where are they now?

The next part of me looking at what happened to the acts I predicted would make it BIG this year. See the original post here.

6. Alt-J

I first wrote about Alt-J in October of last year. It feels like they have only just exploded with the win of the Mercury Prize last week. For me, I feel like I have heard these songs so many times I have kind of lost interest. But if I remember back to when I first heard them, I thought their sound was so exciting and interesting. They are a good band, and have had a great year, but the next Radiohead I’m not so sure.

7. Michael Kiwanuka

In the last of these posts I mentioned that it had been the year of polite music. Michael Kiwanuka has been the pinnacle of that. I love ‘Tell Me A Tale’ and their is a song on one of his EP’s called ‘Worry Walks Beside Me’ which sounds lush on vinyl. But other than that it’s just not exciting. But anyway, a Mercury nominated album and a show at the Royal Albert Hall and a lot of people do really love him.

8. Kyla La Grange

Like quite a few of the artists on this list, I have just got a bit bored of Kyla La Grange. Sometimes when a band has been performing for a long time, and they don’t change their style or they don’t seem to evolve too much as an artist, you get a bit tired of it all. And unfortunately for the lovely Kyla, I am a bit bored of this. She’s got talent, but maybe its just too similar to 700,000 other female artists trying to make it at the moment. Sorry Kyla.

9. Bear Driver

If I’m honest, I absolutely have no idea what Bear Driver are doing, so let me have a look at that… Ok, so they released an album in June which The Fly called ‘A real treasure’, so maybe I should have a listen sometime. Anyway, the fact that I haven’t heard anything from them all year maybe says something about their success…

10. Daughter

By far the most exciting artist on this part of the list. I have followed Daughter since it was just Elena Tonra and she wrote pretty songs a bit like Laura Marling. Unlike with Kyla, I have not got bored of Daughter. That is because they have evolved, and continue to evolve and get better and better. Having signed to 4AD a few months ago, I think maybe I actually predicted Daughter a bit early. Maybe 2013 will be their year.

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Ones to Watch 2012 #1: Where are they now?

It’s the end of the year and the time when every music blogger and journalists goes mental over two things; the best of this year and predicting who is going to massive next year. In a few weeks both my lists will be starting, first my albums of the year and then my Ones to Watch for 2013. But what I thought I would do first is have a look at the list I wrote last year and have a recap to see where some of these artists are now. I chose 15 acts last year, and here is the first 5. You can see the original post from last year here.

1. Lana Del Rey

Something happened to Lana Del Rey at the end of last year that I have never seen happen before. Over hype. It got a bit ridiculous and completely backlashed on her. It was a shame because so much attention was put on her image and it detracted from the real reason she came into the limelight in the first place; the music. So it’s been an interesting year for Lana. Her debut album ‘Born to Die’ was released in January to mostly positive reviews and it hit No. 1 in the UK charts. I love the record. I think it’s smart and interesting pop music. She is releasing a ‘Paradise Edition’ of the record on Monday (basically it’s just a new album) which includes the wonderful ‘Ride’ and ‘Bel Air’. I honestly think Lana Del Rey is an artist that will be with us for a long time.

2. Alabama Shakes

Unfortunately the debut Alabama Shakes record failed to shake me but live they shake the whole room! This band give incredible performances and that is why so many people love them. I can see them going from huge stage to huge stage. A very exciting prospect.

3. Friends

Friends were maybe a bit too hyped based on only a couple of songs. Their debut album, like the Shakes record failed to cause a stir, receiving middle of the road reviews and their live capacity hasn’t grown too much either. However, I still really like their sound, and you can’t deny that ‘I’m his Girl’ isn’t a killer tune. So maybe when album No. 2 comes around, the pressure will be off a little allowing them to create a more well rounded record.

4. Ren Harvieu

The reason I liked Ren Harvieu so much this time last year was because I thought she had a bit of a dark side. We’ve had a Duffy, Adele and Rumer but I thought maybe Ren Harvieu would do something a little different. There was something quite rock chic-ish about her. Unfortunately  what I wanted to happen with her, didn’t take shape. It’s not that she hasn’t had a good year. Her debut album, although didn’t achieve much commercial success, received pretty good reviews and she played a headline show at Shepherds Bush Empire. But I feel now that she might just fade away…

5. Lianne La Havas

It’s been a great year for the lovely and very talented Lianne La Havas. A Mercury nominated album, slots at almost all the major UK festivals and supporting Bon Iver on tour. It was been the year of ‘polite music’ but this is the best kind of polite. It’s not staggering, but it’s not a step backwards. Lianne’s debut record mixed what Corrine Bailey Rae doing a few years ago with electronic sounds on songs like ‘Forget’ and breathtaking songwriting on the album highlight ‘Gone’. It’s not a great record, but it’s a good record. And I think she has more to come.

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BBC Sound of 2012 Top 5: My Verdict

Today was the day that the winner of BBC’s Sound of 2012 was announced. Michael Kiwanuka was crowned, which unsurprisingly, I was super happy about! I was also quite surprised, I expected Frank Ocean or Azealia Banks to win (who were 2nd and 3rd).

I have supported Michael’s music ever since May 2011, when I saw him play at Marcus Foster’s EP launch at Hoxton Bar & Grill. He has come such a long way since then, and has released three stunning EP’s through Communion. He isn’t your obvious winner, the first male to win since 2007, and he has a much more rootsy homegrown feel than past winners (which include Jessie J, Ellie Goulding and Little Boots). A well deserved win though, proving that all you need is a guitar, a gorgeous voice and some beautiful songs to win over the public/a bunch of industry professionals.

The 4 other artists in the Top 5 were Niki and the Dove, Skrillex, Azealia Banks and Frank Ocean. You can see who a bunch of music bloggers (including myself) listed as their top 5 here.  Friends topped that one, and not one artist alike to the BBC shortlist!

I already have a feeling 2012 is going to be a great year for music, and with the Olympics coming to London it’s sure to be a fine year of culture. I am already excited for so many albums to be released, so many festival line-ups to be announced, and to see where artists like Michael Kiwanuka take their sound.

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Blog Sound of 2012: Top 5

So you may well remember, before Christmas ,we announced who had made it onto the longlist for the Blog Sound of 2012. This was an alternative list to the BBC Sound of 2012, voted for by music bloggers, including myself. I am now delighted to announce the Top 5, and what a great 5 it is! I am especially happy that Friends came first and Daughter 5th, two artists I love the music of and have high hopes for.

I am also really pleased with how different it is from the BBC Sound of 2012, only Friends was included in that list from the five below. It will be interested to see who got it right at the end of the year. The top 5 of the BBC Sound of 2012 is also being announced today, so a blog on my verdict of that coming later.

1. Friends

2. Theme Park

3. Beth Jeans Houghton

4. French Wives

5. Daughter

Here again, is the list of bloggers that took part…

A Tidal Wave Of Indifference ,  Breaking More Waves, My Band Is Better Than Your Band,God Is In the TV,  Sweeping The Nation, The Von Pip Musical ExpressThe RecommenderFaded GlamourDrunken WerewolfFlying With Anna, Not Many Experts, Under-classed Idle IdeasSonic MasalaMudkissThe Ring MasterBoth Bars OnMusic From A Green WindowDots And Dashes, The Daily Growl,And Everyone’s A DJ,  Kowalskiy! Just Music I Like, Cruel Rhythms,  The Blue Walrus, Music Fans Mic17 SecondsEaten By Monsters,Seven Sevens, UnpeeledNuRave Brain Wave, Peenko, Music LiberationSong, By Toad.

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Ones to Watch 2012: Part 3

11. Lucy Rose

Lovely Lucy Rose. Voice of an angel. Songs of a sweetheart. But she’s more than that, their is something deeper and darker about the music of Lucy Rose. She has now sung on two Bombay Bicycle Club albums, but 2012 will be time for Lucy to grow into her own success. I hope anyway.

12. The Staves

The music of the three Staves is breathtakingly beautiful. The three sisters create harmonies to die for, and songs to melt into. After seeing them three times at their Enterprise residency in Camden, it is clear to see that their debut will be going down a sort of ‘female Fleet Foxes’ direction. Which will be wonderful.

13. Peter and Kerry

Peter and Kerry is the collaborative project of two (very talented) solo artists. It’s got an urban edge, but the tunes of these two are pretty indie stuff. Over the last year, their has been a lot of boy-girl duos doing very well for themselves, these two have the potential to fill that slot in 2012.

14. Rae Morris

The amount of talent this girl has is incredible. Each time I have seen Rae Morris live, I am blown away. Flawless voice, songwriting maturity beyond her years. And only 18 years old. I think its fair to use the term ‘Adele’ potential. I don’t know if 2012 will be too early for an album, it might be a 2013 thing, but still, catch her now while you can.

15. Matt Corby

If the music world was measured on talent, not record sales, I recon Matt Corby would be a front runner. When I first saw Matt Corby live, its one of those experiences you’ll never really forget. Jeff Buckley meets Bon Iver but with a unique twist. He’s now released 4 EP’s so who knows if he’ll release another 4 before an album, but when it comes, I recon it’ll be special.

16. Doe Paoro

I found this lady after I’d already written my list, but really didn’t want to miss her off. So she’s No. 16. Doe Paoro makes ethereal, beautiful and incredible unique music mixing folk, piano balladry, alternative pop and dubstep. I love it, and with an album due at the end of January, it could be a great year for Doe.

Thats the end of my 16. Also check out Rachel Sermanni, Cold Specks, Giovanna and Delilah.

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Ones to Watch 2012: Part 2

6. Alt-J

Alt-J are quietly causing a stir. Their song ‘Tessellate’ has been picked up by many ‘Songs of the Year’ polls, and rightly so. It’s an incredible track, and shows of their incredibly unique sound at its best. On their Facebook page, Alt-J describe their influences as ‘Haha’, but they seem to mix folk, ambience, indie, rich harmonies and the end result is something very special.

7. Michael Kiwanuka

I thought Michael might have been missed off a lot of Sound of 2012 lists, but how wrong I was. He was featured in the BBC Sound of 2012 and also in the BBC Critics Choice final 3. His gorgeous blend of folk and soul sounds like it comes from long in the past, and his stage presence is mesmerising.

8. Kyla La Grange

I was a bit unsure about Kyla when I first heard her, there is a lot of female singers doing this whole dark and mysterious pop thing at the moment and I wasn’t sure if she stood out. That was until I saw her live a few weeks ago and she blew that out of the water. She completely stands out, mostly because of her voice, which is incredibly unique. I also saw her play an acoustic set at the Daughter and Friends show at St. Giles and boy it was incredible.

9. Bear Driver

Bear Driver are from mighty Leeds. And they make woozy psychedelic folk rock. They have recently just released a song called ‘Never Never’ which is a wonderful track, the dreamy opening grabs your attention immediately and keeps you hooked. If they produce a debut album full of songs like that, they’re onto a win.

10. Daughter

Ah the stunning Elena Tonra. Her songwriting first grabbed me back ont the Communion compilation when ‘Peter’ was an standout track for me. Since then she has matured her sound and perfected her songs and her latest EP ‘The Wild Youth’ is an incredible listen. After seeing her play at St. Giles church last week, I think her sound works best when its heavy, her voice can cope with a lot of sound when a lot of female singer/songwriters fail at this. I hope she goes down a Bon Iver, Sigur Ros sort of route. For me, this will be one of the most anticipated albums of 2012.

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