Last year London band Django Django topped our list of acts to watch out for in 2011. As autumn came they didn’t disappoint as they began unveiling tracks from their forthcoming highly promising debut album.
Another to justify their place on the 2011 list was The Miserable Rich, who unveiled their superb third album Miss You In the Days in October.
This year we look at our top ten bands to watch out for in 2012. Some have already being wowing festival crowds and attracting attention in the blogosphere. As 2012 progresses we predict these bunch will climb up the festival bills and garner even more praise. Sit back and enjoy Neonfiller.com’s top ten acts to look out for in 2012.
10. Alice Gun
Just before the 2011 Mercury nominations were revealed a few names cropped up among bloggers, including ourselves, for possible inclusion. One of those names was little known singer -songwriter Alice Gun, whose debut album Blood and Bone impressed us greatly when it was released early in 2011. It’s sparse, it’s eerie and a beautiful debut that was sadly overlooked by the Mercury panel. Comparisons to PJ Harvey are inevitable, but Gun is her own artist and we are expecting big things of her in 2012 as word of her talent spreads.
Tigercats from London are that rarest of bands, an indie-pop act that you can actually dance to. After a string of singles and EPs they are finally ready to release their debut album in 2012. We’ve had a sneak listen to a couple of tracks already and we predict it will bring them to a far wider audience than the small band of wise indie-kids that have already discovered them.
The album will be backed by a series of tour dates. Among our favourite Tigercats tracks, and one we are keen to see live is Easter Island, which was released in August 2010.
8. Free Swim
Free Swim are one of those unusual bands that pop up in our inbox occasionally that leave us lost for words. The first email we received was to promote their debut EP Two Hands Is Ok, about a man who was so busy he had to graft another set of arms onto his torso. The next time it was to tell us of EP #2 Yolanda the Panda, about the adventures of a mountain climbing Panda. The subject matter may be comical, but they are serious about their music, sounding like a cross between Super Furry Animals and King Missile. A whole bunch of other reviewers from 6Music to XFM also agree. Live they are a force to be reckoned with as their bassist becomes a real life Super Furry Animal by donning a giant panda costume. A funny, interesting band that are set to release their third EP in 2012 and continue wowing crowds with their unusual live show. Here’s some footage we took at one of their 2011 gigs, in Brighton.
7.Kill It Kid
How Kill It Kid are not already one of the UK’s biggest bands is a mystery. Their 2009 self titled debut album’s mix of rootsy blues and rock wowed critics, but failed to shift CDs. But 2012 could prove to be their year as they continue touring to promote 2011′s excellent second album Feet Fall Heavy, which features a bigger and bolder sound. We predict a main stage slot at one of the major festivals in 2012, surely the perfect stage for their ballsy approach to rock. What’s more in Chris Turpin and Stephanie Ward the band, which formed at Bath Spa University, are blessed with two excellent singers.
During our visit to Glastonbury this year we made sure we spent alot of time at the BBC Introducing stage. First up on the Friday were Brighton’s Twin Brother and what a performance they put on. Held together by the sumptious vocals of singer songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Alex Wells, the band evoke classic mid 1980s sounds of Aztec Camera and Lloyd Cole and the Commotions. Twin Brother also played the Anglo-French White Nights festival during 2011 and a string of dates are booked in for 2012.
Here’s an acoustic version by Wells of Send Me A Letter, a track from one of their planned releases during 2012.
5.Two Wounded Birds
Margate’s Two Wounded Birds were another act that dazzled us at the BBC Introducing stage at Glastonbury. Surf-punk is probably the best way to describe them as they mix classic punk, with surf and rock and roll. They are also gaining alot of attention from national radio stations and online broadcasters, including 6Music and NME online.
4. Dry the River
Festivals have been key to Dry The River’s excellent 2011, bringing their energetic live sets to events such as Glastonbury and Brighton’s Great Escape. Gradually they’ve been building up a solid fan base thanks to their mix of accessible classic rock with an alternative, folk edge. They start 2012 as part of the Q:Now the Sessions events playing XOYO, London in January and are certain to start climbing up the festival bills during the summer. In a few years time we wouldn’t be surprised to see this band, which formed in East London in 2009, headlining a festival main stage.
Already Idaho 20-something Trevor Powers, who performs under the name Youth Lagoon, has generated plenty of buzz in the US. His debut album The Year of Hibernation, which has been released on the influential Fat Possum label, has been given near universal critical praise, including a coveted Best New Music tag from Pitchfork. His subject matter of love, loss and anxiety is still immature at times, but he is at the start of what promises to be a long career. We are confident that the US buzz around Powers will soon spread to the UK. Watch out for European tour dates in 2012.
2.The Revival Hour
DM Stith is one of the gems of US label Athmatic Kitty’s roster. The multi-instrumentalist has spent much of 2011 supporting label mate Sufjan Stevens on tour and promoting his dramatic debut album Heavy Ghost. For 2012 he is taken a slightly different direction with his new porject The Revival Hour. This collaboration with John Mark Lapham from The Earlies was formed through a mutual love of Roy Orbison and judging by their first single Hold Back they have been heavily influenced by the 1960s. An album is due out in 2012 and is set to feature contributions from Stevens, My Brightest Diamond and Shearwater. Hold Back is one of our highlights of 2011 and we anticipate the album to be one of the best of 2012.
1. Singing Adams
After splitting from the Broken Family Band its songwriter and lead singer Steven Adams (pic: second from left) has taken an indie pop direction with his next project Singing Adams. Bringing in indie stalwarts Matthew Ashton, Melinda Bronstein and Michael Wood the band perfectly compliment Adam’s bittersweet and often humourous song writing. We saw them in September in Bristol play to about 70 people, a far cry from Adams’ time with festival favourites Broken Family Band. This meagre crowd is set to grow in 2012 once word spreads. They are a well drilled and engaging live act and in 2012 are set to release their second album. Some tracks were trialled at the gig we saw in September and we were left impressed. Watch out for this band at a festival or venue near you, they could soon be your next favourite band.
The band’s debut album Everybody Friends Now was one of our highlights of 2011. Here’s one of our favourite tracks from the album, I Need Your Mind.
by Joe Lepper