Words: Saam Das
When it comes to new year tips/ones to watch lists, there are generally three types of onlookers - the ones who eagerly proffer their own tips, ones who just don't care and those that consider such lists as an affront to music. At FADED GLAMOUR, we're very much in the first camp. But before looking forward, we're here to look back at last year's ones to watch.
A band revered for their electric live performances, they continued that reputation throughout 2012. Unfortunately, their recorded material suffered a little by way of comparison but debut album 'Boys & Girls' still went Gold in the UK.
We weren't the only ones to have tipped Alt-J for success in 2012 but tellingly, they didn't even appear in the BBC Sound Of longlist. So their subsequent success should be considered quite the achievement, culminating in a Mercury Music Prize victory. And being our album of the year.
2012 was the calm before the storm for BASTILLE, who have entered 2013 with strong momentum - appearing on the Radio 1 Live Lounge, no less. Their re-release of 'Flaws' hit #21 on the UK singles chart but topped our own tracks of the year list. We're very excited about March's upcoming debut album, 'Bad Blood'.
Last year saw Charli XCX go global. To a small extent, anyway. She made a splash in the US with her mixtapes and 'You're The One' EP, while appearing on Icona Pop's 'I Love It' gave her success in Scandanavia and down under.
From one to three. 2012 was the year where Daughter truly become a band, and a force to be reckoned with, as Igor Haefeli and Remi Aguilella flanking Elena Tonra. Having wowed audiences all over the UK, 4AD stepped in to sign the band and soon they were incredibly appearing on the likes of 'Late Night With David Letterman'.
Honestly, I hadn't even realised that Friends released an album in 2012. The hype of their initial singles did translate somewhat, with their performance at The Great Escape festival in May 2012 being quite ridiculously over-subscribed. However, a peak chart placing of #100 in the UK Albums Chart perhaps tells its own story.
The winner of the BBC Sound Of 2012 poll, amid heavy competition - Frank Ocean came second, and Skrillex fourth. Arguably, Kiwanuka justified his tag with his debut album not only selling over 100,000 copies in the UK but also receiving a Mercury nom.
Niki & The Dove
Another member of the BBC Sound Of 2012, the fifth placed Scandinavians delivered a critically well-received album but one that failed to achieve much, if any, commercial success worldwide. Their live shows still remains a spectacle worth seeking out.
A relatively quiet year for the enigmatic Australian musician, with only a vinyl re-release of his 'Dreams' EP and a couple of new tracks - 'Help You Breathe' and 'Past Present Future'. Both were unsurprisingly amazing. And his first live gigs in the UK proved similarly mesmerising.
Frontman Fred MacPherson recently was nominated as NME Villain Of The Year in a quite baffling line up involving Psy and David Cameron. Just another piece of evidence of Spector's place as one of the most divisive guitar bands of recent times, the band have nonetheless seen a fair amount of commercial success - debut album 'Enjoy It While It Lasts' peaking at #12 in the UK Albums Chart.
The trio of London sisters spend a great deal of 2012 establishing a presence in the US, most notably supporting Bon Iver on tour. An album emerged toward the end of the year to largely positive reviews, although its critical and commercial reception was perhaps not quite as strong as expected. Still early days though.
Perhaps the least heralded of the twelve bands on offer here and the only band to have lost a member during the year. Yet their album 'To The Treetops!' generally received good reviews from those who listened. Perhaps 2013 will be kinder to the Norwegians.