Monday, 29 November 2010

What Happened To Our Ones To Watch 2010 ?

“No one cares about your 'best of 2010' list,” Josh Weller recently tweeted. He may be correct, but that won’t stop hundreds of the things appearing throughout December and Breaking More Waves isn’t going to be any different. We’ll be running down our top ten albums of 2010 from the middle of December – but before that, at the start of the month we’re looking forward and posting our annual 10 Ones to Watch for 2011.

Prior to looking forward, here’s a recap of our 2010 selections from last year.

Ellie Goulding

We said

“With her quivering girlish vocal, an acoustic guitar, neat lyrical phrasing and stuttering laptop electro beats, Goulding could deliver commercially.”

What happened?

Goulding delivered commercially. A number one album in the UK, two top five hits and two further songs that went top thirty, sold out tours - it’s been a highly successful year for Ellie Goulding.

Ellie Goulding - Guns And Horses (Monsieur Adi Remix) by monsieuradi


We said

“….threaten to bring an ostentatious, stern, eastern European look back into fashion for bands.”

What happened?

It was Europe that really warmed to Hurts, with the band enjoying charts success in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Greece, Sweden and Finland and even an appearance on German X Factor. In the UK the band took a little longer to find their true audience, but by the time their album Happiness was released it achieved a very respectable chart placing of number four with mixed critical reaction (8/10 in the NME, 2/5 in the Guardian, 5/10 in Drowned In Sound, 3/5 in the Independent and most tellingly 9/10 by Popmatters), they also played one of our favourite gigs of the year way back in February at Wiltons Music Hall in London (here). By the end of the year they were playing sold out gigs, supporting the Scissor Sisters on their UK tour and next year are playing a tour of larger concert halls.

Beth Jeans Houghton

We said

“Quite where Beth Jeans Houghton will fit in 2010 we’re not exactly sure, but she has the voice and the songs to ensure that she can carve out her own space”

What happened?

Houghton toured with another of our Ones to Watch – Stornoway and played a string of UK festival dates. However she didn’t release any material. With her Ben Hillier (Blur, The Maccabees, Elbow) produced album now in the bag ready for release next year, Houghton can continue to carve her space in 2011.

Unicorn Kid

We said

“To the uneducated ears of an over twenty five year old or a solemn indie rock purist, the sounds of Unicorn Kid will just be considered bad music, but for his growing army of fans his electronic urgency is simply something that makes you happy.”

What happened?

In April Unicorn Kid released Dream Catcher a stunningly dirty, glitchy and energetic piece of work that became one of our favourite tracks of the year then followed it up in October with another track – Wild Life. An album is due in 2011 – it’s likely to make his growing army of hyperactive fans very happy indeed.

Unicorn Kid - Dreamcatcher - Last Japan Remix by Ministry of Sound


We said

“It is for this reason we have selected them for our ones to watch list. Not because of musical uniqueness or commercial crossover, but because we can imagine Delphic creating a perfect indie dance summer vibe in fields across the UK.”

What happened?

Delphic didn’t achieve massive commercial success – their album charted at number 8 in the UK, but then quickly disappeared. However as we predicted their moment really came in the summer – their storming set at Bestival hit all the right spots (see our review here).

Counterpoint by delphic

Clare Maguire

We said

If a 2010 release from Clare Maguire arrives and it comes anywhere near the quality of those demos, we predict she could win a lot of fans.

What happened?

It took a while but finally in October Maguire released her thunderous debut single Ain’t Nobody, that found extra love through the heavily spacious Breakage Remix. Having played Latitude this summer and supported Hurts and Plan B on tour this autumn, Clare Maguire will release an album in 2011.

Clare Maguire - Ain’t Nobody by UniversalMusicPublishing


We said

“Suitcases full of the most perfect melodies.”

What happened?

When Stornoway appeared on our ones to watch list they were still unsigned. After significant label interest they inked a deal with 4AD allowing them to open their suitcase and share their wonderful songs, releasing their debut album Beachcomber’s Windowsill. The album surprised many (but not us) by sneaking into the UK top 20 album chart. They ended the year selling out the 2,000 capacity Shepherds Bush Empire in London, a far cry from when we first saw them perform to a small crowd at the Wychwood Festival in 2009. On a more personal note, Zorbing and I Saw You Blink are two of our favourite songs this year.


We said

"The dense ambient pulse-pop of the Mirrors reflects the sounds of early OMD"

What happened?

Having signed a deal with their hometown label of Skint, Mirrors released the singles Ways to an End and Hide and Seek and played a number of gigs including support slots with OMD themselves on their 2010 European tour. The band will release an album next year and in the meantime have packaged up their early singles into a mini album which is available to purchase directly from Skints website.

Mirrors 'Hide And Seek' by skintrecords

Holly Miranda

We said

“Her dreamily atmospheric guitar based songs are certainly not the kind of tunes that are going to infiltrate the pop charts, but provide for a smouldering and sleepy listening experience.”

What happened?

Miranda’s David Sitek produced album The Magician’s Private Library was seductively warm and as sleepy as a pillow and duvet set with titles such as Sweet Dreams, Every time I Go To Sleep and Sleep On Fire combined with even more shut eye lyrical content such as “Dreamt of you again last night,” from the slow burning trumpet laden Joints and “Wake up and you’re next to nothing,” from Slow Burn Treason.

Clock Opera

We said

"We love Clock Opera more than our own children."

What happened?

Clock Opera released a number of low key singles during the year including the transcendent Once and for All, toured with Marina & The Diamonds and hope to release an album in 2011. They remain one to watch.

clock opera - once and for all (little loud remix) by little loud


lesley said...

i liked this! haha! sorry to sound out of facebook or something, but great list... some i don't know but am intrigued to check out. have to say what i did hear of hurts i didn't really get into with the exception of "better than love", although i did at least make the effort. holly's lovely as is ellie. clock opera i'm starting to get into. i'm intrigued to see your predictions for '11. love your blog. i check in pretty often.

Peter said...

Nice round up Robin. What I think it shows more than anythiong is that even bands that appear to begin the year in a similar place can be on vastly different trajectories. So while Ellie Goulding and Hurts have suceeded well this year, you could still include a lot of the acts as (Clock Opera, Unicorn Kid, Mirrors)as ones to watch for 2011.

This kind of ties in nicly with your article recently about too much new music. I guess with some blogs falling over themselves to uncover the next new thing and the fact that making music remains an artistic persuit you will always have bands that take longer to mature than rather the light speeds of the blogging world.

Breaking More Waves Blog said...

It's a very good point Peter.

"You could still include a lot of the acts as ones to watch for 2011"

All I can say is watch this space and this years Ones To Watch list :) Starts 1st Dec.