I’ve never been all that big a fan of compiling lists as to which brand new artist is to break in a given new year.  There’s no doubt I’ve picked musicians and producers to watch, but the odd ceremonial coronation of polls like the BBC’s Sound of 2011 seems to generate inorganic hype around artists that may not actually deserve it.  The lists may serve as nice indicator for music fans to either religious subscribe to or reject in outrage that a certain buzz band wasn’t included but the idea of music and the “sound of 2011” is far to fluid a concept to be condensed down into a list of 15 decidedly hit and miss artists.  Still, one can afford a chuckle that the winner of BBC poll this year, Jessie J, has previously written songs for Rihanna and Miley Cyrus, while the runner-up James Blake, has been creating heartbreaking music that sounds like nothing anyone has ever heard before.

 

POP
Rebecca & Fiona – Bullets
Single – Out Now

Scandinavians just have it all don’t they.  Great schools, amazing public transport, booming economies, the right to an internet connection enshrined in law, and a ridiculously high proportion of attractive women.  It’s also been the case that the vast majority of forward thinking pop music has come from Scandinavia (in many cases performed by those attractive women I may have mentioned earlier).  “Bullets” from Rebecca and Fiona is 3 minutes of perfectly packaged pop that puts Britney’s bro-step experiment to shame.  

Christian TV – When She Turns 18
Single – Out Now

Genuinely, what did the Dads of the world out there do to deserve this track?  Ok, so you don’t like your Dad, he didn’t let you go on that date with that boy you’ve totally had a crush on since he smiled at you in math class, but even that horrible man doesn’t deserve a song like “When She Turns 18”.  This Christian TV character creates a story that when that milestone age comes, his girl is obliged to decide between the man who raised her and the one who just took her round the back of the bikes sheds.

HiPHoP

Lil B – Angel Exodus
Mixtape – Out Now

Lil B is a character that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to understand.  After following “The Based God” on twitter, I was able to bear about 20 caps lock typed, nonsensical tweets before clicking the “unfollow” button.  Yet despite his erratic behavior, Lil B’s new mixtape “Angle Exodus” serves up a solid selection of fresh beats to marvel in.  It may not reach the heights of previous mixtapes “I’m Thraxx” or “6 Kiss”, but it proves Lil B still has much to offer.

Ludacris ft. Nicki Minaj – My Chick Bad
Single – February 23rd

Why did Nicki Minaj have to go and tarnish her pretty stellar reputation by appearing on this second rate, two-bit track from a rapper that really should know better.  The rhymes are tacky and obvious and the beats so stale and boring that I advise you to quickly listen to the latest Kanye record after subjecting your ears to “My Chick Bad” –
just to remind you that not all hip hop has to sound this bad. 

indie

The Soft Moon – The Soft Moon
Album – Out Now

On his debut album, Luis Vasquez aka The Soft Moon has created a shadowy, tense and dark atmosphere more akin to the ambience of a future dystopian empire than a recording studio in San Francisco.  From the visceral “Circles” to the haunting “Tiny Spiders”, Vasquez possesses an innate ability at building soundscapes of a post-apocalyptic world.

Brother – Darling Buds of May
Single – Out Now

Roll up, roll up, depressed fans of Oasis, and prepare to be remedied by the second-rate, Brit pop ruffians of Brother.  Despite being able to claim with a straight face that he thinks they will one day be the biggest band in the world (well at least big enough to play Loftus Road), the front man of Brother seems desperate to breathe new life into a dead, rotting corpse of a genre.  It all seems in a rather bad taste to rejuvenate Brit pop again, and judging from the facial expressions of the drummer in TV interviews, we’re not the only one feeling embarrassed.

 

electro

Unkown – Sicko Cell
Single – TBC

Ever since Burial, it’s been a little bit edgy to remain anonymous, if the track’s as good as “Sicko Cell” it can even go on to create buzz that exceeds all expectation.  It’s true that anonymity brings with it a certain added mystery to the music, and the style of this current hype track seems well suited to the producer’s reluctance to reveal his identity.  With hypnotic, pitch-shifted vocals announcing, “I’m the information – cocaine powder”, and the dark blend of samples and opposing bouncy synth line, the track is perfectly suited to shady, inner city basement dance floors.

Fenech-Soler – Demons (Sigma Remix)
Single – February 6th

It’s easy to sit back and denounce dubstep in it’s current form, the “filthy” drops, the “dirty” beats, while sitting in a rocking chair claiming that things where better back in the day.  The reason it’s so easy, is because it’s so true.  The current label of dubstep represents a brutish, loutish culture of moshing to the most repulsive sounding beat and remixes like Sigma’s of “Demons” keep on perpetuating a scene and sound that have been in artistic decline for years, yet somehow are able to draw in the previously mephedroned masses. One can only help that “dubstep” doesn’t stick around for much longer.