Monday, December 6, 2010

The Sound Of 2011 ...Today!

This is the first time in five years I've not been directly involved with the BBC's Sound Of list, but it's nice to see how a little project started (and run) by one lone journalist at his desk has blossomed into a full-on media beast with a swanky logo.

Some people - usually music writers at other publications - gripe that it's a self-fulfilling prophecy, but they're wrong. There are plenty of example of artists who failed to deliver on their promise, most notably 2005 winners The Bravery, who you'd struggle to identify in a line-up of bands called The Bravery.

Last year's list (you can't call it a poll, for a set of obscure reasons that I find very difficult to articulate) was also a bit hit-and-miss. On the basis of Adele and Florence and Lily, the critics were expecting Ellie Goulding and Marina Diamandis to be mega-massive globe conquering pop stars. Their sales haven't exactly been a disaster - but the nation apparently changed its mind about quirky solo female artists in late December 2009 without telling anyone.

Maybe its a delayed response, but this year's poll skews towards dance and indie. My favourites are The Naked And Famous - mentioned around here several times over the past year. Their new video has just hit the web - it's like a low-budget version of Michel Gondry's tower block promo for Massive Attack's Protection.

The Naked & Famous - Girls Like You

Dubstep collective Nero also get a look in... Heralded as "classically trained musicians writing fucking horrible music", they may have had an inkling they were likely to be included on the list, because their terriffic single Me & You - which I wrote about in October - has been mysteriously delayed until early 2011.

Nero ft Alana - Me And You

New to me is Anna Caalvi. She definitely fits into the pigeonhole marked "screechy drumvixen" - but with more of an indie sensibility than Florence and her ilk. Anna's current single, Jezebel, brings to mind The White Stripes Conquest. Mind your ears.

Anna Caalvi - Jezebel

The nomination for indie darlings Warpaint is a bit more puzzling. The Los Angeles quartet have already had secured an NME cover story and a clutch of five star reviews for their self-titled debut album. It's a subtle, shimmering collection of jangling guitars, brushed drums and spooky harmonies - but I don't necessarily see it finding its way onto Tesco's shelves like the band they're most often compared to, The XX.

Warpaint- Undertow

Despite the shift away from solo female pop stars, my money's on Jessie J, whose Price Tag single comes out mysteriously close to the big reveal, and Clare Maguire - because what the world needs right now is an emo Amy McDonald.

The full longlist looks like this:
James Blake
Anna Calvi
Esben & the Witch
Jessie J
Clare Maguire
The Naked & Famous
Jai Paul
The Vaccines
Jamie Woon
Wretch 32

The top five of the Sound Of 2011 will be announced in reverse order from 3rd - 8th January on Radio One and the BBC News Website. There's more information on all the longlisted acts on the official Sound Of 2011 website.

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