Now that we’ve all recovered from our New Year’s hangovers, it’s time to start looking at the year to come. As we do habitually at this time of the year, we’re putting our heads on the “artists to watch” chopping block and picking the acts that we reckon will blow up big in 2013. After the jump you’ll find our run-down of the ten bands we’re tipping to rule 2013, or at least do pretty damn well for themselves — so go on, tell us that we’re right/wrong/have forgotten someone who we shouldn’t have.
This London four-piece have been getting plenty of good press across the Atlantic — the good folk at The Quietus adore them, which is usually more than enough of a recommendation for us — but they’ve yet to really get a heap of attention in the US, largely because of their dearth of recorded material (there’s only a 7″ and a four-song live EP to be had thus far.) But take it from us, too: they’re amazing. We saw them at CMJ and they were fantastic, even at a show they were clearly hating every minute of because of sound problems. A band this good can’t stay under the radar for this long, and we’re expecting 2013 to be the year their career really takes off.
We’ve been banging on for most of the last two years to anyone who’ll listen about how great Lost Animal’s Ex-Tropical is — we named it one of our best debut albums of 2011, which indeed it was, and we’ve barely had it off our stereo since. So why are we talking about it now? Because, dear readers, it’s finally getting a US release — excellent Sub Pop offshoot Hardly Art is putting the album out in late January. As your attorneys, we advise you to get on this action ASAP.
Devon Welsh’s name has usually been accompanied in the music press with a qualifier like “Grimes collaborator,” but his music is more than good enough to stand on its own. In fact, we might just like him better than Claire Boucher, mainly because at the end of the day we’re unrepentant sadsacks who ultimately like melancholy introspection a lot more than jumping around dancing. Welsh’s songs inhabit a place somewhere near the likes of Magnetic Fields and a synth-wielding version of The National, and his EP Turns Turns Turns was a significant leap forward for his sound, cleaner and more direct than his previous work and hinting at very good things for his next full-length record.
Icy, distinctly Knife-inspired synths; bubblegum vocals; and a pretty vocal melody disguising a deceptively melancholy lyric… CHVRCHES remind us a lot of Purity Ring, and indeed, their single “The Mother We Share” is already shaping up as 2013′s answer to “Belispeak.” Whether CHVRCHES’ album will be any better than Shrines remains to be seen, although we’re rather hoping it will be — but either way, we can see them doing very well for themselves in the new year.
Scott & Charlene’s Wedding
The ever-evolving solo project of Australian transplant Craig Dermody, Scott & Charlene’s Wedding have been on Flavorwire’s radar for years, and it’s great to see them gaining traction stateside. Dermody is a fine songwriter — his lyrics are as direct and down-home as they come, but like all the best songwriters, his songs manage to tap into a well of truth and sentiment that elevates them from being personal reflections into being universally relatable works of art. They’ve had love from Pitchfork and the ever-excellent Oh My Rockness, and the Washington Post, of all places, put them atop a remarkably solid list of the year’s best Australian indie songs. They’ve got a new album due out in 2013, one that we’re very much looking forward to hearing.
Autre Ne Veut
Of all the artists on this list, Arthur “Autre Ne Veut” Ashin is perhaps the one most likely to cross over into bona fide commercial success. He’s been purveying his endearingly DIY take on R&B for a couple of years now, but it became increasingly polished in 2012, and it feels like 2013 is the year when things will really happen — so long as his famously intense live performances don’t completely burn out his voice. He has an album out in February, and his collaboration with Mykki Blanco (above) exposed him to an entirely new audience. Watch this space.
A former member of compatriot Jónsi’s touring band, Icelandic solo artist Úlfur Hansson’s debut album White Mountain got a release in Japan last year — he is, legitimately, Big In Japan — and it’s due out in the US in March via Western Vinyl. It’s a fascinating and beautiful piece of work, built around field recordings from around the world, disparate sounds that blend to create a world of their own. There’s also talk of a collaboration with the aforementioned Jónsi later in the year.
We came across this LA-based duo via the video for their debut single “Death Teeth” (above). It captures their moody, neo-noir aesthetic perfectly, and their debut album Disco to Die To — which is out in February — is home to plenty more beautifully lush, atmospheric music. The record was apparently recorded on a road trip throughout Europe, and rather impressively, it contains orchestral contributions from the Prague Symphony Orchestra. (The band name is pronounced “O of J,” by the way.)
We’ve spoken before about how much we’re looking forward to Hilly Eye’s debut album, so let’s just say again that it’s definitely on our shopping list for January, and you’d be wise to put it on your radar too.
And finally, whatever your views on Ferreira’s major label credentials and what they mean for her “authenticity” — whatever that actually means in 2013 — she’s definitely one to watch this year. Her much-delayed debut album I’m Not Alright is apparently finally going to get a release in “early 2013,” although no one’s sure of a concrete release date as yet, and it could make her this year’s crossover pop success. Let’s just hope she doesn’t involve Terry Richardson in her career any further, because this was creepy as hell.