Ones To Watch 2011

6 Jan

I’m not into being a clairvoyant, and I don’t think I possess the ability to see into the future. There’s no way I’ll be wearing a jewel-encrusted turban and cape under the guise of The Great Scarlet-O and trying to predict your future by reading your palms. Still, I’d like to try my hand at predicting what artists and bands will make it big this year. Only picking three means I can’t worm out of failed notions of glory but hey-ho, that’s life. So without further adieu, here’s my three hot picks for 2011:

JAMES BLAKE

Blake may have lost out, predictably, to Jessie J for the Brit Critics’ Choice Award but he’ll still be making waves in 2011 with his unique way of sampling, singing and producing pretty haunting dubsteptunes that should keep the spirit of the genre alive in the coming year. ‘CYMK’ was a slow-burning explosion of beats and sub-woofing that wouldn’t have been out of place alongside Joy Orbison and Magnetic Man and ‘Limit To Your Love’ put an entirely new spin on Feist’s original with a soulful piano and slicing slow beat that makes listening to it both amazing and unnerving at the same time. While Magnetic Man may have taken dubstep mainstream last year, Blake should take the crown away from them with his forthcoming debut album.

NIKI AND THE DOVE

It’s a real shame that with all the awe-inspiring music that Niki put out in 2010, she still hasn’t founda record deal. Still, a small buzz is forming around the Swede which can only lead down the road of success. Her work does sound a little DIY for electro-pop but there’s enough darkness embedded in it and her voice is typically enigmatic. Her recent song, ‘Mother Protect’, was filled with jungle rhythms, beats and an element of mystery. In these times of auto-tune andtransatlantic voices, it’s just nice to be able to find someone like Niki who is at ease with their unique voice andcan construct a soaring tune to go around it. As she sings on ‘Mother Protect’ you can’t keep her down.

THE NAKED & FAMOUS

You know you’re on to something when you name your band after a lyric by Tricky. One listen to any of The Naked & Famous’ songs just confirms how great their debut LP will be. Some might say that their blend of shoegaze guitars and synth-pop elements is just a rip-off of MGMT in their 2008 heydaybut after repeated listens the true glory of this five-piece from Auckland really starts to shine through. They standout well amidst the wave of Brooklyn bands that we’ve been awash with and have some killer tunes to back up the hype; ‘Bells’ even sounds like a Björksong with some big beats behind it. If you were seriously disappointed by the posturing of Congratulations after the brilliance of Oracular Spectacular then you’ll be very pleasantly surprised by The Naked & Famous.

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