Sounds of 2012: tastemakers’ tips revealed

Find out which artists and songwriters are going to be on everyone's lips next year with our guide to 2012's hottest talent, as chosen by top industry insiders and tastemakers.

Anita Awbi
  • By Anita Awbi
  • 19 Dec 2011
  • min read
Find out which artists and songwriters are going to be on everyone's lips next year with our guide to 2012's hottest talent, as chosen by top industry insiders and tastemakers.

Joe Frankland, Musician Support/Artist Development Manager, Generator
Ajimal
With a name inspired by a Haitian witchdoctor, Ajimal has played for Generator at Evolution Emerging and taken part in our Sound + Vision project, while building a reputation with the likes of Drowned in Sound for his grandiose orchestrated pop. Ajimal’s upcoming concept EP is produced by Mick Ross (Frankie & the Heartstrings) and features guests including Little Comets’ Rob Coles and The Lake Poets.
Ajimal on Soundcloud

Sean Devine, Vice President of Membership, UK and Europe, ASCAP
Here We Go Magic
If 2012 is not the year for Here We Go Magic, then it will surely be 2013 or 2014. This band are stunning writers and artists. Master musical apothecary, Luke Temple, melts rock, indie hipness, electronica and the next three musical genres you can think of, into four minutes of musical ambrosia. A new album produced by Nigel Godrich will be released next May and tours of the UK in early summer mean that they will be my tip for the best act of 2012. If you don’t believe me.. shame on you!
Here We Go Magic website

Pete Webber, New Music, Live Nation/Live Connection
I Dream In Colour / Mount Fabric / The Jess Hall Band
Top tips for 2012 would be: I Dream In Colour, Mount Fabric and The Jess Hall Band. They're all writing great songs with stories and meanings. If you get into any or all of those three you'll be having a great year!
I Dream in Colour website
Mount Fabric website
The Jess Hall Band on Facebook

Tasha Anderson, Head of Digital PR, PIAS
Phlo Finister / Zulu Winter
I can see Phlo Finister doing well. Her music is quite dark, bass-heavy R n’ B and judging from her very high-profile friendship circle I have a feeling she’ll be doing some interesting collaborations to lift her out of the underground next year. Zulu Winter are also creating interesting layered compositions matched with sparse beats, becoming a genre unto themselves.
Phlo Finister website
Zulu Winter blog

Bob McDade, Co-director, Manners McDade Music Publishing
Nils Frahm
Nils is a young German composer of contemporary classical music. His 2011 release Felt is a collection of melodic piano works that sound like Erik Satie interpreted by Steve Reich, mixed by Andy Votel. There is a burgeoning European audience for accessible contemporary classical music and Felt placed Nils at the forefront of the scene. His next project is eagerly anticipated.
Nils Frahm website

Gerry Lyseight, Manager, Broadcaster, DJ, PR
Thundercat
Thundercat is a virtuoso bass player, with a soupcon of Stanley Clarke about him, signed to the peerless Ninja Tune label, as well as being part of Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder posse. I arrived late at the Thundercat party so whether or not he turns out to be 2012’s breakout star I will be keeping a very close eye. Thundercat will be headlining Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Awards session at Koko, London, on 21 January 2012.
Thundercat, Ninja Tune website

Ross Godfrey, Morcheeba
The Mumlers / Fool’s Gold
My favourite band of 2011 is definitely The Mumlers from San Jose, California. They are a crazy mix of old soul, Tom Waits, Oompah brass and funny fancy dress. We toured the West Coast with them and they were super-fun and their live show is awesome. They are going to make a cool album in 2012. Other highlights of 2011 were Fool's Gold, I love going to see their indie take on afrobeat.
The Mumlers website
Fool’s Gold on MySpace

Chris Coco, DJ, Producer, Musician, Journalist
Samantha Whates
I first met Samantha when she was singing backing vocals with Blue Rose Code. I loved her smooth, heartfelt vocal style and decided to investigate further. It turned out she had made a wonderful album called Dark Nights Make For Brighter Days, filled with sparkling modern folk that made me feel a little dreamy. Next year should see her talent bloom.
Samantha Whates' website

Jon Webster, Chief Executive, Music Managers Forum
Auction for the Promise Club
An unusual bass-less trio from Cornwall – but so were the Doors – well they were bass-less! They make hook-filled rock. I saw them at the Bull and Gate in Kentish Town recently and the female guitarist/vocalist Zoe was the focal point, but perfectly balanced by Toby and Perran. Their next London gig is at 100 Club on 24 February.
Auction for the Promise Club website

Natalie Wade, Director, Small Green Shoots
King Krule
With his debut single Out Getting Ribs/ Has This Hit, King Krule announced himself as the startling voice of a new generation. Formerly known as Zoo Kid, King Krule is the musical alias of 17 year-old Londoner Archy Marshall. His unexpectedly deep and mournful baritone traces fissures of disappointment and disorientation to devastating effect. His latest EP is the sound of a young man growing up and attempting to grapple with the realities of the world he inhabits, and a fascinating, brutal journey it is too.
King Krule website

Steve Redmond, Communications and Strategy Consultant
Catfish and the Bottlemen
A young rock ‘n’ roll band from Llandudno with the swagger of The Libertines and the kind of lyrical hotline to teenage Britain which brought us the Arctic Monkeys. Over 95 gigs in the past 12 months they’ve honed their live shows into an explosive treat. Expect big things from them in 2012.
Catfish and the Bottlemen on Facebook

Hiatus, Producer, Musician
Stumbleine / Synkro
Bristol’s Stumbleine is a gifted post-dubstep producer bringing an ethereal live sound and euphoria to a musical genre too often mired in stereotypes and low frequencies. He’s got an album out next year, and if recent EPs are anything to go by, it’s going to be a belter. Meanwhile, Synkro deftly weaves streetwise future garage beats with haunting vocal samples and powerful chord progressions. He recently teamed up with Mindset label boss Indigo to drop some beautiful tracks on D-Bridge’s Exit imprint, and it looks like he’s only going to get stronger in 2012.
Stumbleine on Bandcamp
Listen to Synkro on YouTube

Hector Barley, New Music Editor, The 405
Saskatchewan
Five-piece Saskatchewan have crafted an irresistible dream pop world. Composed of wistful, haunting organs and soaring, hazy vocals, it is a world showered in reverb, melody and lush soundscapes. Dream pop is one of those genres that seems flooded with similar sounding bands but Saskatchewan have created a unique sound injected with equal parts eeriness and beauty. The band are soon to release their debut LP, and if their recently released single Skinny Dipping is anything to go by, it should be fantastic.

Laura Bradley, Invader Music
Little Bear / Alex Nagshineh
Ursa Minor, aka Little Bear, brings you music influenced by the golden age of house music; dancing, beats, bass, songs, love, life, the universe and everything! A new single is expected in February and EP will be out April time. Also, up-and-coming house music producer Alex Nagshineh is one to watch. He’s part of the Lo*kee collective and his remixes for Cologne imprint Trapez, James Teej, MarcAshken's and Penguin Prison are all gaining widespread support from industry heads.
Little Bear’s website
Alex Nagshineh on Soundcloud

Bertie B, Founder, Editor, Just Like Honey
Oh Minnows
I came across Oh Minnows last summer, the project of Chris Steel-Nicholson. Their debut album For Shadows is beautifully produced but only available as a download. In 2012, they're releasing a physical version and also working on a new EP and film. They have recorded a cover of Jesus and Mary Chain's Just Like Honey for the Just Like Honey charity compilation too! Definitely a London band to follow next year…
Oh Minnows website

Paul Bradshaw, Editor, Ancient to Future blog
Spatial AKA Orchestra / Digital Mystikz
After seeing a three-hour performance by the Spatial AKA Orchestra at the Barbican how could I not say 2012 is going to be special year for Jerry Dammers? Let's pray the AKA finally release some of the music! On the hip hop front we are all awaiting the arrival of Jay Electronica's debut. And I’m looking forward to hearing what Mala, aka Digital Mystikz, is going to do with Gilles Peterson on the latest batch of Cuban recordings.
Jerry Dammers and Spatial AKA Orchestra website
Digital Mystikz Myspace

Ryan McCann, Double Six
Trailer Trash Traceys
Inhabiting their own beautifully dark, ethereal corner of the musical universe, poised somewhere at the crossroads between the nocturnal, rolling soundscapes of Angelo Badalamenti and the sublime, naive melodies of 50s pop, Trailer Trash Tracys are a deliciously unique proposition. Their debut album Ester is released in January.
www.trailertrashtracys.com