Traditionally, the time of the year for tipping artists is December/January. That's not how we roll. After taking a breather from doing an edition of Futuresounds last year (instead tipping The Drums, The Joy Formidable and Two Door Cinema Club in the BBC Sound Of 2010 poll), we're back.
And I mean "we", because I did actually consult with the fellow members of Team FG for these tips for 2011. Admittedly, this is still very much my selection but some of these choices have been seconded. Much of the list shouldn't be a surprise following my appearance on the Mud Hut Digital podcast, where I chatted about some of these artists. But do read on for some other choices, all of which are artists that I both want to succeed and think have a decent chance of doing so.
We whittled a ridiculously long list to these 11 acts - some of which have had a great deal of support from other media outlets, some of which haven't. We tried to avoid the most obvious choices and hopefully, you'll share our enthusiasm for at least a couple of the featured choices. Despite my tardiness in putting this together.
Caused ripples through the blogosphere with her wonderful covers and then released the brilliant 'Choice Notes', which appeared on a Hyundai advert. But these days appearing on adverts is generally considered a good thing so full speed ahead. Time for wonky pop to make a comeback.
MP3 DOWNLOAD: The Cave (Mumford & Sons Cover) by Alex Winston
One of the most difficult bands around to describe, yet one of the most brilliant. Hypnotic experimental pop with electronic leanings. Whether an album comes out this year or not is anyone's guess. I'll be happy as long as they keep pumping out quality singles like 'White Noise' and 'Once And For All'. And some more majestic remixes, like their Marina & The Diamonds one, which I love.
MP3 DOWNLOAD: Marina & The Diamonds - I Am Not A Robot (Clock Opera Remix)
I rarely mention UK hip hop on this blog. In fact, I rarely mention hip hop here at all. But what got me interested in Kieran "DELS" Dickins was the news that he was working with Hot Chip's Joe Goddard. And those tracks turned out rather well - singles 'Shapeshift' and 'Trumpalump' being a testament to this. Having also worked with Micachu, Kwes and Sampha, the forthcoming debut album should at least prove musically intriguing, if not successful.
STREAM: Shapeshift (Produced by Joe Hot Chip) by DELS
Dog Is Dead
We first mentioned the band in our June singles round up. They've been bubbling along nicely since. I compared them to Mystery Jets and The Rumble Strips on the Mud Hut podcast, and I'm hoping that they replicate the (relative) success of the former, rather than the latter.
MP3 DOWNLOAD: Dog Is Dead - Motel
Esben & The Witch
So Simon wasn't exactly a fan of the debut album but we're going to stick with this pick anyway. I was of the album and following the unexpected success of The xx - we bigged them up back in 2008 - I can see the band making something of an impact at some stage this year. 'The Marching Song' still sounds incredible.
STREAM: Esben and The Witch - Marching Song
The Good Natured
I feel like I've gone on a bit about Sarah McIntosh and her outfit on here but it seems almost inevitable that'll she'll break through any minute now. Except it's kinda felt like that for ages so throwing my support behind her absorbing electro-pop probably won't hurt.
MP3 DOWNLOAD: The Good Natured - Lovesong (The Cure Cover)
I made 'Love Lust' my favourite song of 2009 in the Festive Fifty but even now HRH Charles seems criminally underrated. Admittedly, his prog-folk-pop vibes might be a bit hard to take but hopefully 2011 will see him carve out a suitable niche.
STREAM: King Charles - Time Of Eternity
Let's Buy Happiness
2011 might be a year too early for this Newcastle band but they continue to produce supremely engaging material. They've been compared to Cocteau Twins meets Bjork, which I'm not really sure is accurate but either way, it's more interesting than your everyday guitar band.
STREAM: Let's Buy Happiness - Works Better on Paper
The Naked & Famous
I wasn't that impressed by their live show recently but in 'Young Blood' and 'Punching In A Dream', they have two singles that could blow up in a similar way to the likes of 'Time To Pretend' and 'Kids' did for MGMT. Their other material sounds much less like MGMT or Passion Pit (i.e generally not as good) but amazing singles can still propel a band to success. Just ask The Temper Trap. And to tie in with the next tipped act...
MP3 DOWNLOAD: The Naked & Famous - Young Blood (The Sound of Arrows Remix)
The Sound Of Arrows
This Swedish duo were quiet for a long time but having heard some murmurings of a resurrection, I went for a punt and bigged them up on my Mud Hut podcast appearance. And then followed the news that their debut album finally drops at the end of April. Huzzah! Their magical brand of dance music certainly deserves a wider audience than the Popjustice forums.
MP3 DOWNLOAD: The Sound of Arrows - M.A.G.I.C. by Labrador Records
I've seen YouTube comments comparing Jess Morgan to Lady GaGa, Rihanna and Florence & The Machine - which seems to suggest some kind of star potential, while also being a bit of a backhanded compliment. But there's plenty to be excited here with her sassy electro-pop. Oh and I'm not hugely into the below remix but its creator, MNEK, has been one to watch for a while now - and he's still at school. He might even appear in Futuresounds 2012.
MP3 DOWNLOAD: Spark - Crave (MNEK's Floor Owner Mix)
Return Of The Jedi?
Will any of this lot break into the mainstream or are our tipping skills miserable at best? Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments, and your own tips if you like.