No short­age of tal­ent in 2013

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Hobson’s Choice - By Andy­welch

I never make pre­dic­tions and I never will.

Ah, the unique wis­dom and in­sight of Paul Gas­coigne, there for all to see.

But maybe the Ge­ordie ge­nius had a point, whether or not he­re­alisedtheirony­ofhisstate­ment.

Pre­dic­tions in mu­sic are an odd­busi­ness. At­theend­ofeach year a raft of crit­ics, tastemak­ers and in­dus­try sooth­say­ers prof­fer their pick of the artists they be­lieve will be big in the sub­se­quent 12 months.

There are even awards in place to back up the claims - theBRITsCrit­ics’ChoiceAward and The BBC’s Sound Of poll, which both show­case promis­ing young tal­ent, as cho­sen by a panel of jour­nal­ists, broad­cast­er­sand­in­flu­en­tial­mu­sicin­dus­try work­ers. ( Quick­dis­claimer: I vote in both.)

Both have an air of the self­ful­fill­ing prophe­cyabout­them. Af­ter all, if the jour­nal­ists who sin­gle out th­ese artists sub­se­quently write co­pi­ous amounts about them, surely they’re go­ing to suc­ceed?

Well, in the cases of Adele, Florence + The Ma­chine, El­lie Gould­ing, Jessie J and Emeli Sande, the five re­cip­i­ents of the Crit­ics’ ChoiceBRITs­in­ceit­was in­tro­duced in 2008, that’s very much the case.

All five have gone on to mas­sive success, although that was likely to have hap­pened­withor with­out this award.

Lau­raMvula, TomOdel­land Alu­naGe­orge have been short­listed for the 2013 prize, and all three are wor­thy of your time, not least Alu­naGe­orge, whose sin­gle Your Drums, Your Love was one of the mu­si­cal high­lights of 2012.

Tom Odell, who also ap­pear­son­th­e­longlist­fortheBBC Sound Of 2013 poll, has been cham­pi­oned by Lily Cooper ( or Allen as she was pre­vi­ously known). He’s signed to her la­bel and writes haunt­ing pi­ano bal­lads, per­haps per­fect in the post- Some­one Like You mu­si­cal land­scape we now find our­selves in.

Thep­eo­ple whosigned Laura Mvula, mean­while, will also be­hop­ing­tosell­her­tothe­same soul­ful voice lovers whobought Adele’s 21, although Mvula’s idio­syn­cratic, off­beat ar­range­ments make her mu­sic more in­ter­est­ing than Adele’s, and there­fore less palat­able to the mass mar­ket.

The­band­most­likely to suc­ceed next year, how­ever, aren’t Bri­tish. They’re Los An­ge­les sis­ter trio Haim. Their de­but EP For­ever was re­leased early in the year, while a string of live shows in the UK over the sum­mer cre­ated the kind of mu­sic in­dus­try buzz that many thought­wouldn’thap­pe­na­gain.

They even­tu­ally signed to Poly­dor, and will re­lease their de­but al­bum in the spring with the help of pro­duc­ers James Ford, who has worked with Arc­tic Mon­keys in the past, andPaulEp­worth, whomas­ter­mind­edAdele’s 21. If there is go­ing to be a sound of 2013, i t’s l i kely to be theirs, like Des­tiny’s Child­cov­er­ing Fleet­wood Mac.

Gui­tar bands haven’t been hav­ing a good time of it over the past few years. Of course, when we say ‘ guit a r bands’, we don’t j ust mean bandswho­hap­pen to play gui­tars - that’s never go­ing to go out of fash­ion.

The term more refers to groups, pre­dom­i­nantly male, who make at­ti­tude- heavy mu­sic and wish they’d been old enoughto­live throughBrit­pop. There are al­ways a hand­ful of ex­cep­tions, The Vac­cines be­ing the most re­cent, but on the whole the genre has been in a dire place.

Ge­orge Er­ga­toudis re­cently said he be­lieved gui­tar bands were­on­their way­back, putting the horse slightly be­fore the cart. Af­ter all, he is head of mu- sic at BBC Ra­dio 1, the most in­flu­en­tial sta­tion in the coun­try, and in th­ese days of de­clin­ing mu­sic press cir­cu­la­tions one of the few out­lets still ca­pa­ble of dic­tat­ing taste to the na­tion. If hesays­gui­tar­band­sare­com­ing back, then that’s what’s go­ing to hap­pen.

Thank­fully, there’s noshort­age in qual­ity, and if the likes of Do­gIs Dead, Peace, SwimDeep, Kodaline, Char­lie Boyer And The Voyeurs, Em­bers, Tem­ples, Black­eye and The Strypes get t he ai r play, they’ll al­most cer­tainly win the fans. Thanks to the success of TameIm­pala’s sec­ond al­bum Loner­ismthisyear, ex­pec­tapsychedelic tint to any gui­tar mu­sic that breaks through. In more straight­for­ward pop, there’s A* M* E, or Amy Kabba to her friends. Orig­i­nally from Sierra Leone, Kabba moved to Lewisham in south west Lon­don when she was eight. Now, she’s signed to Gary Bar­low’s la­bel Fu­ture, and­hasa batchofquirky, chart- ready­pop songs to her name. GameBoyis es­pe­cially good.

Ofall there­cordsI’mex­cited about be­ing re­leased next year, Night Beds is at the top of the pile. It’s the vi­sion of one man, Win­ston Yellen, a 23- year- old from Colorado Springs who, by the sounds of his de­but Coun­try Sleep, own­sa­lotof mu­sicby Jeff Buck­ley, MyMorn­ingJacket and Big Star.

He must have re­cently had his­heart­bro­ken, too, and­wants to sing about it. But­far frombe­ing mo­rose, the al­bum is pos­i­tively joy­ous. Make the ef­fort to hear it in Fe­bru­ary when it’s re­leased, you won’t be dis­ap­pointed.

Enough of the new bands. What of es­tab­lished acts re­turn­ing with new al­bums?

Ev­ery­thing Ev­ery­thing, The Joy For­mi­da­ble, Vil­lagers, AdamAnt, BiffyC­ly­roandLo­cal Na­tives are all re­leas­ing al­bums in Jan­uary, putting paid to the idea noth­ing much­hap­pen­safter Christ­mas, whileFe­bru­ary’s big re­leases come from Foals, who un­veil their phe­nom­e­nal newal­bumHolyFire­on­the11th of the­month, andJohn­nyMarr, who de­liv­ers The Mes­sen­ger two weeks later.

It will be the first solo al­bum proper from Marr, who of course ce­mented him­self in mu­si­cal his­tory as one of The Smiths.

Hav­ing heard the al­bum, it’s no van­ity project and he def­i­nitely de­serves his time in the spot­light.

Later in the year there are new re­leases from Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Ar­cade Fire, Queens Of The Stone Age, Lady Gaga, Eminem and even Jimi Hen­drix, whose es­tate has found an en­tire al­bum of un­re­leased ma­te­rial, Peo­ple, Hell And An­gels.

Ones to look out for . . . Peace ( above), Tom Odell ( in­set) and A* M* E ( be­low)

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