2011 was definitely a good year for music, with fantastic records from the likes of Yuck, Cults, Trophy Wife and Chad Valley. However 2012 is almost upon us and it’s time to turn the spotlight on a whole host of new artists, that we feel will be providing us with something special over the next 12 months. We like to document musicians doing something new, something exciting, something audacious, or sometimes just something really fun, some of these have already had a profile throughout 2011 but we think that 2012 could certainly be their year.
Here’s who we think you should be keeping your ear on next year…
The Brighton trio of Regal Safari, consist of two musicians (Guy and Sean) and a visual artist, Josef, who sort of came together accidentally. Their generous, six-track debut EP was released in the summer and is probably one of the finest EPs of the year. It kind of possesses the sound of finding yourself in a lucid dream, inspiring hazy leftfield imagery, call it chillwave, call it what you want. Regal Safari tracks are full of ambient warm pop embedded by subtle beats. Totally loving their sound…
Dauwd Hailing from Wales, Dauwd grew up playing pretty much any instrument he could get his hands on before turning to electronic production. His own material explores various ambient electronica and dubbed-out bass textures with a strong focus on percussion. A more rhythm-driven James Blake, with definite nods to Burial’s urban euphoria. Dauwd creates music with a level of complexity most contemporary producers shy away from. His sounds are thickly laden over multi-timbered synths, vocal and instrumental stabs. Dauwd describes his creative process as “finding a sound, texture, or moment that you can relate to, and from there develop your narrative”.
Dramatic, chilling and emotional is the electronic noir sound from newcomers Curxes. This boy/girl duo began as a bedroom project and are now being hailed as one of the most exciting electronic acts on the scene for a very long time, in the blogosphere. After weathering comparisons to the likes of Joy Division and Depeche Mode, it’s important to understand how original their sound actually is. Acquiring support slots for the likes of Planningtorock and Creep during 2011 and with a planned single launch as well as a string of gigs booked, 2012 is shaping up to be a promising year already.
This Brighton four piece who have literally only been together a few months, all harboured the same dream, to create a band that really means something to people through their music. With just a couple of gigs to their name, Phantom Runners are already making waves across the UK with appearances on BBC Introducing and various shows on Radio 1.Phantom Runners make well written, catchy pop tunes which will leave you humming their tracks for days after. Their love-lorn, nostalgic sound….is lo-fi/dream pop at its best. Acquiring support slots with up-and-coming bands such as Summer Camp and impressively one with The Dykeenies on New Year’s Eve, we anticipate 2012 being an exciting year for the boys.
Azealia Banks This cute Harlem hip hop star is bringing her brash to the UK in Feb, after she finishes recording it over here. Self-described as ‘rap bitch shit’ and a ‘winter wonderland style of R&B. Her style and sound is sure to wake us up from our winter slumber and with the BBC having announced that Banks had been nominated for the BBC’s Sound of 2012 poll, we are sure you’ll be seeing lots more of this super talented young lady.
Friends Meet Brooklyn’s freshest, sassiest girl-fronted group, creating rhythmic, sassy funk-pop. Indie bands often pay lip service to R&B but never quite manage to avoid sounding a bit, well rubbish. But this has the polish of proper urban chart pop, With three of the most seductive alternative -R&B hits of 2011 (‘I’m His Girl’, ‘Friend Crush’, ‘My Boo’) already under their belt, it’ll be interesting to see and hear what their next move will be in the new year.
Theme Park This young five-piece, made up of twin brothers and three friends have an innocent conviction and bravado you’ve not heard since the enigmatic emergence of Theme Park’s frequent touring partners Bombay Bicycle Club, with all soulful, underplayed heart and tender rhythms. The Talking Heads comparisons are well documented, however Theme Park are just having fun making grand gestures with their understated tropical tinged pop.
Alex Starling, former “secret” fourth member of Ou Est Le Swimming Pool, decided to form a new band with drummer Ian Palmer after being introduced to each other by mutual friend Jon Brookes of the Charlatans. It was an all-time low for Starling after the suicide of his band mate and close friend, Charles Haddon. So by turning a negative into a positive he formed the band The Ghosts. However if you are expecting melancholy tracks, then think again for The Ghosts come up with a catchy synth pop sound. Starling’s stunningly fragile falsetto soaring over glacial soundscapes gives the music an unsettling yet romantic tinge. With a debut album due in April 2012, we just know we’re in store for a delightful treat.
Nikki & The Dove
Niki & The Dove is a band from Stockholm, Sweden with two members, Malin Dahlström and Gustaf Karlöf. Getting together in February 2010, Malin and Gustaf have spent the time since writing together, figuring out just how pop music works and then discovering new ways to break it.
Niki & The Dove’s songs are full of magic and light but with an unsettling darkness hidden beneath the surface. It’s pop music but a world away from the production line aesthetics of much modern chart music.
Binary Making goth-tinged post punk music and appealing to your slightly darker side, our love affair for this four piece from London began back in Autumn. Their music consists of lo-fi electronics bound together with cold, spiky guitar rhythms and smart lyrics that make you feel ever so slightly giddy…. Tapping into a British sound without sounding dated and making it their own is something that Binary does very well.
Standout track ‘Prisoner’ was mixed by Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails collaborator Sean Beavan, which definitely compliments the band’s sound and image.
Definitely ‘ones to watch’ in 2012.