New year, new collection of new acts hotly tipped for success. Same old, same old right? Well OxStu Music’s cannily done the hard slog of assessing some of the likely-looking acts of 2013 so you don’t have to.
First mention goes to Haim because they won the BBC sound of 2013 poll. The previous three winners, Ellie Goulding, Jessie J and Michael Kiwanuka all went on to achieve at least moderate success, and in the case of Jessie J, rather too much. Lucky for us then, that Haim are an extremely exciting proposition. Three sisters from California, Haim seem to own the same 1980s record collection recently pilfered from by bands such as The Drums and Friends. Unlike both of those bands, however, style plays second fiddle to substance. The intention is explicitly to write great pop songs, and so far, across an E.P. and the brilliant single Don’t Save Me, Haim are on course to do just that. Be very excited.
Listen to: Don’t Save Me, Forever
The first time this writer sent a Laura Mvula song to a friend, he described her as ‘a kind of soul lady Bon Iver, sort of but not really’. That is a shamefully terrible description that does Laura Mvula a great disservice. Singing with gentle power over sparsely arranged orchestrations, scattered, looping beats, and occasionally startling harmonic territory, her sound is completely her own.
Listen to: ‘She’
Lots of people seem to like King Krule’s stuff, which is unsurprising until he starts singing. How one artist can write such great instrumentals and such terrible melodies is a mystery. After a while King Krule just starts to sound like Hard-Fi after a hard session in a jazz cafe. At the end of his tune Rock Bottom, King Krule drops in the words and melody from the Streets song ‘Empty Cans’, and suddenly, there are the melancholic fireworks he’s been going for. Go figure.
Listen to: ‘Rock Bottom’
Listen to Haze’s track ‘New York’ and be stunned. Aggressive, mean spirited and delivered over a worming, threatening bassline, Angel Haze has a flow to die for. Or be killed by. However, the rest of her E.P. isn’t quite as good as the lead track, which makes it an awfully disappointing listening. Haze may well be worth the hype, but the jury’s still out.
First single ‘Best of Friends’ was pretty darn good, although NME’s decision to make it their best track of 2012 was probably a little hysterical (but when have NME been known to be hysterical before?!). Having said that, their new single ‘Step Up For the Cool Cats’, posted on Wednesday, is also extremely pleasant on the ears. Nevertheless, expect this band to disappoint you, in that way that NME’s hot tips always do.
Listen to: ‘Best Friend’, ‘Step Up For the Cool Cats’
Kodaline/ Tom Odell
These two are for all the closet/not-so-closet Coldplay fans out there.
Listen to: ‘Lose Your Mind’/’Another Love’
If you like your apathy really, really apathetic then have a listen to FIDLAR’s Cheap Beer, or indeed any of their other songs.
Even if that sounds a little tedious – and admittedly occasionally it is – give FIDLAR a go.
Their music is infectious, fun and summery. Yes, it’s been done before. Yes, it causes the odd eye-roll. But on the whole, it’s damn good.
Listen to: ‘Cheap Beer’, ‘No Ass’
Scrufizzer, Night Engine, AlunaGeorge
Avoid like the plague: