Who's The Hot Shit in 2012?
We live in a time where we all predict who is going to be the big thing before the end of the year, we all do it, whether we manage artists, book artists, do PR, write for a magazine/zine or just love music.
I also have no clue what is going on with certain genres, so looking through kerrang/hammer/rock sound whatever is kinda pointless for me because I've been out of the loop on metal/hardcore etc for literally a decade now.
As much as I ride it, NME is still a pretty respected in the industry sources for breaking artists, and no they don't get it right all the time and a lot of the stuff that is pushed within it's pages is utter dross....
But this week's issue is about the 100 bands you must listen to in 2012, so given the influence it has or has had over the industry and over my musical growth as a teenager (as I'm sure is still the case with a lot of indie teens today) I'm going to check out those 100 artists...
Day 1- 1-10
Howler look and sound like a NME band, they sound a bit like a garage rock Drums (Strokes/Libertines) etc, got Rough Trade's A&R wet and have already supported NME's boner of 2011 The Vaccines. And although I'm not too sure how much anyone listens to (or respects) Johnny Marr's opinion in 2012 but he like's them too.
Howler sound exactly what you'd expect from them... competent indie rock and roll to bounce along to at a summer festival, not challenging in the slightest, but what they do they do pretty well, good harmonies and nice guitar lines. Will they save music? NO FUCKING WAY! But it's enjoyable enough for the youth of now to fall in love with this year before they forget and move on to whoever sounds exactly like this in 2013.
2) DZ DEATHRAYS
"Thrash pop band from Brisbane" states their Tumblr, I like Brisbane (home of my favourite Australian band The Grates) and their in your face house party owes more than a fiver to Death From Above 1979, which would be a lazy comparison if it were not so fucking spot on. Of course it's meant to be "brutal, uncompromising etc" but its also disposable, and not in that party time way, as nothing hits in the same way of the much more impressive two piece sing-a-long "BFF vibe" of Japandroids. Not to say that it is terrible, just you've heard it all before, much better... So while the noise matches DFA1979, it resonates with the same emptiness of Test-icicles, like a joke you thought was really funny but now have forgotten the punchline. I'll wait for the album.... I'd rather hear this that probably 60% of this list...
Pharrell, Nas, Beyonce, Jay-Z and Kanye West all in the headline and all in love with him, certainly an impressive batch of names... Frank Ocean's background from Odd Future and creating music since he was a teenager also work to his advantage. Ocean's vast collection of You Tube hits present a slick vibe which is certainly intriguing, a nice vibe for 2012, I cant imagine this is really appropiate for me, but I wouldn't turn off Kiss FM if this came on.
4) A$AP ROCKY
Sounds like the plot of a movie, Harlem's "spoiled-ass motherfucker" saw his bro capped and turned to drug dealer before coming "the future of hip hop" and signing a mega bucks deal. He raps about the usual guns, drugs and bitches, so if you havent heard enough of that... you'll fucking love this.
5) ALABAMA SHAKES
Alabama Shakes appear to be Alex Turner's choice for 2012, and that's an interesting place to start because that reveals nothing about the band. Whether they like it or not, Alabama Shakes are "soul revivalists" and whether she likes it or not frontwoman Brittany Howard voice is from another time, that glorified American image of the rise of civil rights movement, the true african american deep south and of proper soul. Alabama Shakes stand out on this list because they are the first band with soul, real soul and thank Jesus, Howard hasn't kept up with modern music because 2012 is better for it. All the best to them, Thanks Alex, good that we can rely on you. Recommended.
And after that little break in cynicism, comes Spector, who are garbage, garbage in that there's at least one of these bands every year, over-stylised, no substance, well-dressed, "gosh he's dating Peaches Geldolf" (because of course Peaches Geldolf is the most talented of all people with a huge knowledge of music, a tastemaker if ever such person existed, I mean she's the london style/music/talent everything isn't she?) and come on by now hasn't everyone dated her! Good God!
Spector aren't really about the music though are they... these douchebags never are, they hypnotize teenage girls with their fringes into beliving that there is something more than a song you've heard before with lyrics fresh from the recycling bin. Dev Hynes is the NME Champion for them which explains a lot... and they claim their musical cues are taken from the Strokes, but at least they had one and a half good records, I suspect Spector may struggle to find 1 and a half second of one. Spector don't just talk bullshit, they are bullshit.
7) WILLIS EARL BEAL
Okay, I love a suprise, while the previous 6 have been familiar to me, Willis Earl Beal is out of the blue. Big New Signing to XL, Beal has natural talent, easy to spot on his acapella you tube videos, the "NME buzz story" TM is as follows discharged from the US Army for medical reasons, slipped into depression, his first gig was 6 months ago while previously he had only left engimatic CD's around town for people to pick up in attempt to find a girlfriend. Beal's voice recalls the raw power of Otis Redding but his claims to have no particular style yet. NME states he wants to work with Cat Power, could front a soul band or go experimental, but basically Beal doesn't know what he wants to be yet and no-one else does either... so maybe it's a little early to pass judgement just yet, but the raw energy of this one is enough to make his first album released in March, worth a listen. Watch. This. Space.
UK Based Ghostly Female-Fronted 2:54 have so far backed up their buzz status with a list of atmospheric ethereal singles which sets them apart from their obvious comparisons. They are the sum of their parts and every review will of course include "sounds like Warpaint, sounds like PJ, sounds like girls fronting My Bloody Valentine, sounds like Lush, sounds like Howling Bells (albeit with more than one song tbc...)" Alan Moulder is of course involved and while Zola Jesus, Chelsea Wolfe et al have got this covered, it's got a epic hook to it that will seem them taking this to the mainstream in the new year with the "authenticity" that other's could not and would not, because 2:54 are within their own realm.
9) AZEALIA BANKS
"I can be the answer..." begins Azealia Bank's already smash hit 212, with it's 1.6 million views regularly requested in clubs everywhere. 212 sets the bar satellite high so only time will tell if the record is as strong as her epic introduction. Banks has a huge voice (It's my personal highlight of the track), can spit with the best of them, and if all of her tracks can explode genres as much as 212, I have to agree that 2012 will be Azealia Bank's year... I cannot fucking wait for this record!
NME is a bit late to this party, as Claire Boucher's Halfaxa featured on many best of the year lists but something tells me that this introduction will be the first for many. Nothing can really be said that hasn't already, Halfaxa and Geidi Primes speak for themselves, Boucher is an incredibly talented musician who i can only imagine will only grow in 2012. But I cannot imagine her having the same mainstream impact as most of this list just yet...
More Tomorrow....With P-Money, Teeth, Sharks, The Internet, Y Niwl, Connie Fucking Francis, Fear of Men, Bos Angeles, Brown Brogues and Ghost Outfit... Seems the NME is a little slow on some of these as well...