Albums of the year is always an incredibly difficult list to compile. A lot of these albums were released early on in the year, and maybe some records which have only just been released or I’ve only just got round to listen to have been neglected from the list.
Also, as a student with little money or time, I do not own every album released this year, and I haven’t got the time to listen to every single one. So in lots and lots of ways, this list is fairly biased. 9 out of 10 of my albums were female fronted or had female singers, and 6 out of 10 were debuts. I am proud of both of these facts.
I hope you enjoyed reading my posts and I hope maybe you discovered an album is new to you. If you missed it, here are my top 10 albums of the year.
1. Hannah Cohen- Child Bride
2. Grimes- Visions
3. Sharon Van Etten- Tramp
4. Keaton Henson- Dear…
5. Lana Del Rey- Born to Die
6. Purity Ring- Shrines
7. The Civil Wars- Barton Hollow
8. Beach House- Bloom
9. Taylor Swift- RED
10. Jessie Ware- Devotion
Some albums narrowly missed out on a place on the list. Here are a couple of those records…
Tame Impala- Lonerism
Melody’s Echo Chamber- Melody’s Echo Chamber
Father John Misty- Fear Fun
First Aid Kit- The Lion’s Roar
Lianne La Havas- Is Your Love Big Enough?
Niki & The Dove- Instinct
Julia Holter- Ekstasis
Ellie Goulding- Halcyon
Tomorrow my Ones to Watch for 2013 will be starting!
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.
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.
My day started with Martha Paton. I’d never heard her music before and a friend recommended her so I went a lot. The main thing that stood out to me about Martha is her songwriting which is very strong for someone so young. She has a beautiful voice too, I was most impressed and it was such a lovely way to start the day.
After Thursday’s Friends disaster, I realised that if I wanted to see a hype band I was going to get there really early, otherwise I just wasn’t going to get in. So I decided that I definitely wanted to go and see Grimes, and so although she was on at 9, I arrived at 7. I quite like this way of working as you get to see a number of bands that you otherwise wouldn’t have and it sometimes turns out to be a nice surprise.
All night Digital was presented by M for Montreal and Brooklyn Vegan. So it was basically really cool and really good American and Canadian bands. My Best Fiend played first. I really enjoyed their set, heavy psych-grunge-rock with great melodies. The next band I had never heard of before and were called Half Moon Run and were utterly brilliant. It was a very unusual sound, holding elements of rock, dream folk and electronica. The songs were great and I think the whole crowd were totally into their set.
Next up, Grimes. Basically, she blew my mind a little bit. She spent the set jumping around, still singing and playing brilliantly. She was joined on stage by two Japanese backing dancers who basically were fairly shambolic dancers but just added to the high energy set. It was incredible, if you can catch her live this summer she is a must see. Probably my favourite gig of the year so far.
After Grimes I didn’t really wanna do anything except for watch Grimes again, but unfortunately she wasn’t playing again, so I headed to Horatio’s for another ‘buzz band’, Wild Belle. I love their sound and she is a really fantastic singer, their are elements of Amy Winehouse in her voice. They were good live but they need a bit more spark. The songs are excellent though and one song towards the end of the set was sung by Elliot, and although his voice is not as strong as his sisters, the song was so well written I hope it makes the record.
My night ended with Lianne La Havas. Unfortunately the crowd were a bit chatty, I think it was too late at night for such a quiet gig. She was lovely and ‘Lost & Found’ was absolutely stunning, by far the highlight of the set.
Friday is the day where I think my Great Escape could get a little bit wild. SO many good bands to see. I’ve limited this post to 5 bands, but follow me on Twitter for updates all day of who I am running around trying to catch.
Looking forward to this! I love their reggae pop sounds and looking forward to seeing how it comes across live.
This girl is incredible, such a lot of talent for someone so young. Catch her while you can.
I have fallen in love with Grimes’ song Genesis so am really hoping I can see it live this week. Plus she’s so interesting.
Lianne La Havas
I still haven’t see Lianne La Havas live despite falling in love with her Lost & Found EP.
Pale Seas are great, and a lot of people are starting to realise that, so see them now while you can.
Go and get your tickets for The Great Escape here. Saturdays recommendations coming tomorrow.
And here comes another one of those lists that everyone loves to hate. Pretty much every blogger, magazine, press publication etc. etc. has, or will do, a Ones to Watch list for the next year. And this is mine. Some are predictable, but I’ve not tried to be clever, or chose artists just because no one else has. I’ve just chosen artists I like, and artists that I hope will make great records in 2012.
You can see the list of the Blog Sound of 2012 here, and my opinions on the BBC Sound of 2012 here. I have chosen 15 artists, and they will come in 3 parts. This is the first 5. Please not that these are in no particular order.
Too much hype? Yes, probably. And whether its all been justified is yet to be seen. But I love her. Lana Del Rey has caused more internet hype than anything I have ever seen in my time as a blogger. After only releasing 1 single, she already has 18 times more Facebook ‘likes’ than Nancy Sinatra. It’s all gone a bit crazy, and in some cases, a bit mean. In my opinion, she has a great voice, great songs and sounds a damn lot more interesting than more of the stuff on the radio at the moment.
A new love of mine are Brittany Howard and her band Alabama Shakes. The band blend Janis Joplin vocals, blues guitar riffs and soul songs for an astoundingly good effect. If they make an album as good as the songs already released, I really think his could be huge, huge stuff.
Friends are from Brooklyn and make super cool pop music. It will be interesting to see which direction they go in with the debut, as the songs at the moment range from psychedelic to 90′s r’n'b inspired stuff. Really like them anyway.
This girl has the voice to die for, and some killer songs. The next Duffy? No, I hope not. The next Amy Winehouse? Don’t think so. But I think despite all the comparisons, Ren Harvieu could become her own icon.
Another stunning, stunning voice and some charming songs. Lianne is currently on tour with Bon Iver in the US and plays a host of London dates early next year, most of which have now sold out. I’ve found a lot of love for this song.
Today is a pretty exciting day of the year for music, as it is the day which the BBC Sound of 2012 longlist is published. The list highlights who some experts in the industry, think is gonna make is massive in 2012. As usual, the results were fairly predictable. Here is the full list and some of my thoughts on them.
ASAP Rocky- Standard slightly annoying, slightly credible rap artist from New York. All his song names sound like he’s speaking a different language and his songs will have to be bleeped out so much, there won’t be much point putting him on the radio.
Azealia Banks- Topped NME’s cool list and sounds a lot like Nicki Minaj. She is working on a debut with producer of the moment, Paul Epworth. Probably my prediction to top this list.
Dot Rotton- Another rapper, a slightly more commercial sounding one. Could possibly do the Dizzee Rascel thing all over again and bridge pop-dance with rap music.
Dry the River- Thank god, not another rapper. Dry the River make music a bit like Mumford & Sons but they rock out a bit more. Frontman Peter Liddle’s voice is wonderful but theres something a bit too familiar sounding about them. Good live though. I first discovered them back in May 2010, see my post here.
Flux Pavilion- One of the two artists on the list I was not familiar with. It’s dubstep, but as I don’t know anything about dubstep, I won’t say anything else.
Frank Ocean- Frank Ocean has been hyped about for ages it seems, he is a member of OFWGKTA. It’s like hip-hop but he sings more like an R ‘n’ B artist. His videos are really interesting but I’m not too bothered about the music.
Friends- They’re pretty good this band. They met as co-workers in a vegan restaurants and hail from Brooklyn. They’ve got that total, I’m so cool and I like in Brooklyn vibe about them. But if I’m honest, they are cool and I would like to live in Brooklyn too. The music is indie but really really alternative. Singer Samantha Urbani could become quite an icon.
Jamie N Commons- A blues man with lots of commercial appeal. Some really gorgeous sounding songs and potentially a great album on the horizon. Have a listen, you might love.
Lianne La Havas- I really love Lianne, I think she’s quite a treat. Smooth voice and the sweetest of songs. I wrote a bit about her here a few months back.
Michael Kiwanuka- I am so happy Michael has been included in this list. His music is divine and deserves to be heard by more people. It’s got a wonderful Otis Reading nostalgic feel about it which is so refreshing to hear.
Niki & the Dove- To me, this sounds like Zola Jesus and any other dark and mysterious act of the last year. I don’t really see it at the moment, she’ll have to pump out some much better songs to get some acclaim from me.
Ren Harvieu- You can compare Ren to a lot of people, namely Duffy and Adele. However, the reason why I like her so much, is because she also sounds like Carole King, and NO ONE has sounded like Carole King in a long time. ‘Through the Night’ would have been a classic 70′s hit, but unfortunately (or fortunately?) we don’t live in the 1970′s so how well she’ll do is a bit up in the air.
Skrillex- I don’t think there was any doubt in anyones mind that Skrillex would be on this list. It’s like dance/electronic/Prodigy sort of stuff. Probably gonna be massive (hopefully not for the sake of my ears).
Spector- Spector make indie pop music, but its a bit more interesting than last years indie-pop hyped bands such as Viva Brother and Mona. Not that much more interesting though.
Stooshe- When I saw a photo of Stooshe, I thought they would actually be my worst nightmare. It’s not as horrendous as first expected, but its the sort of thing that is very likely to be over played and become extremely irritating.
So thats my thoughts. You can also check out the Blog Sound of 2012 in the post below which I was involved in voting for. In my opinion, the list is much better.
I shall be compiling my own list which will start after my Albums of 2011 posts end (and it shall be better than all other Sound of 2012 lists).
Today is the day that the BBC announce there Sound of 2012 longlist. It’s a pretty exciting day for anyone who follows all the ‘Next Big Thing’ hype. This year, a bunch of us bloggers, have decided to put together our own list of who we think will be big in 2012, then you can compare it and we can see who ends up being right. Bloggers voted who they think will be the Sound of 2012, and this list was compiled based on the bands with the most votes.
There will be a post coming later today about the BBC Sound of 2012, and my own predictions for next year will start after my albums of 2011 series ends. So here’s the longlist (in no particular order!).
Lianne La Havas
The Good Natured
Beth Jeans Houghton
And this is the list of bloggers involved…
Breaking More Waves, God Is In the TV, Sweeping The Nation, The Von Pip Musical Express, The Recommender, Faded Glamour, Drunken Werewolf, Flying With Anna, Not Many Experts, Underclassed idle Ideas, Sonic Masala, Mudkiss, The Pop Cop, The Ring Master, Both Bars On, Music From A Green Window, Dots And Dashes, The Daily Growl, And Everyones A DJ, Kowolskiy, Just Music I Like, Cruel Rhythms, The Blue Walrus, Music Fans Mic, Seventeen Seconds, Eaten By Monsters, Seven Sevens, Unpeeled, New Rave Brain Wave, Peenko Music Liberation.
As if the female singer-songwriter shelf isn’t already heaving, I introduce to you someone you might wanna make room for. But fortunately, you can’t compare Lianne La Havas to Kate Bush, Amy Winehouse or Bjork. Think smooth jazz vocals, love songs and a raw beautiful sound.
Lianne is from London, Hackney to be precise, and has already released an EP entitled ‘Lost and Found’ which you can buy on iTunes. Her new single ‘No Room For Doubt’ is features the wonderful Willy Mason and is such a pretty song, see the video below. Lianne will be touring the UK in November, ending with a London show, you can see all the dates below. You can also, quite nicely, download a free live EP, and all you have to do is sign up to her mailing list. Sounds like a good deal to me, sign up here.