Top five bands to look out for in 2012

With 2011 proving to be such a fantastic year for new music, you may be thinking that  2012 can’t possibly top that? Well you’d be wrong! There are plenty of exciting records on the horizon, so I thought I’d run you through a handful of decent prospects to whet your appetite:

1.) Freeze The Atlantic

If, like me, your early 2000s were defined by Hundred Reasons and Reuben, then you should be chomping at the bit to finally hear the debut album from Freeze The Atlantic. Featuring the mercurial drumming talents of Guy Davis (Reuben) and the solid guitar work of Andy Gilmour (bassist for HR), this five-piece looks very promising indeed, especially given they have recruited a front man with a rather fantastic voice, by the name of Chris Knott. If this sounds like an intruiging combo, then check out the video for their upoming single Volcanoes:


2.) Baddies

One of the big success stories of 2009, Baddies are back with a bang in 2012. The Southend quartet have a highly distinctive sound, which is robotic, angular and very catchy – think The Futureheads with some beefier riffs and better outfits. New music guru Zane Lowe has been lauding their latest single Bronto and you can download it here for free.

3.) Fighting With Wire

This Northern Irish trio were possibly the most underrated band of 2008, as their debut album Man Vs Monster was packed full of top choruses and fantastic riffs. Put simply, they play rock and roll just like it should be done. They have promised big things for 2012, including a stint supporting US alt-metal legends Helmet on their UK tour in March and April. What’s more, FWW album number two is shaping up nicely, with the first track Waiting On A Way To Believe already committed to record. Have a listen, you won’t regret it!

4.) James Cleaver Quintet

If you haven’t heard anything by the JCQ yet, then they could well be your surprise package of 2012. Their debut album That Was Then, This Is Now was a complete shock to the system when I stumbled across it recently, blending together a wide range of styles from hardcore to swing and from ska to punk. I can only imagine how good they would be at a summer festival…

5.) Brand New

New Jersey’s most famous gloom merchants are going happy in 2012. After three fantastic records in five years, 2009’s Daisy was a distinctly sour note for a band that sounded like they had run out of ideas. However, with an upcoming UK tour and a new album planned, all this is about the change. The band recently said they are “tired of bumming you guys out. We’re trying to write something happy.” I’m intrigued…

5 bands to watch in 2011

The way the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph have been carrying on this week, anyone would think that British rock music is about ready to pack up and go home.
While the lack of any serious Brit award nominations does reflect a shortage of successful mainstream guitar-based music in 2010, the fact that only three so-called rock songs made the top 10 of the singles chart last year is hardly a major cause for concern. If you’re looking for emerging talent in 2011, it doesn’t take long to scratch below the surface and find some hidden gems.

1.) This Town Needs Guns

This Oxford-based quartet made waves on the alt-rock scene with their 2008 debut Animals, and are set to follow that up with another, as yet untitled, record in late summer. TTNG mix mesmeric rhythms with mind-bending guitar licks to create a sound that no-one can rival.

2.) Sonic Boom Six

If you’re looking for proof that ska’s not dead, Laila Khan and co made be just the answer. This irrepressible group have been honing their sound since 2002, and with a support slot on King Blues‘ nationwide tour coming up, they could be about to take off.

3.) Jil Is Lucky

Bit of a cheat here, since Jil Bensénior is a French artist, but his Mid-Atlantic style folk tunes are definitly worth a mention. Signed to EMI, his self-titled debut album is due to reach these shores in February, after a highly successful French release. Think Conor Oberst meets Sam Duckworth and you’re not far off.

4.) Skeletons and the Empty Pockets

The effervescent new incarnation of ThisGIRL are due to finally release their debut ep this year, following up from their hugely promising first single Oh Brother! Oh Sister! Lead singer Liam Creamer’s acrobatic vocals and Mick Jagger swagger make for an unmissable live show as well.

5.) Dive Dive

Better known to many as Frank Turner‘s backing band, the Oxford quartet started life while the folk-rock troubadour was still in his previous band Million Dead. Their third album, Potential, is out tomorrow, and it has already garnered much praise from Kerrang (4Ks) and Rock Sound (9/10). Jamie Stuart’s vocals sound as sharp as ever on lead single Liar, see below for a whole host of alt-rock cameos: