Monday, 2 January 2012

Blog Sound of 2012 - Results

The votes are in, counted and verified and today Brooklyn's girl-fronted indiefunk-pop kids Friends are named as the winners of the very first UK blog 'tips' poll - the Blog Sound of 2012.

The Blog Sound of 2012 canvassed a group of UK music bloggers to see what artists they would like to see being successful this year. The idea had originally been discussed in 2010 by the authors of this very blog, The Von Pip Musical Express and Sweeping the Nation and was rolled out for the first time at the end of 2011. The intention was to provide an alternative to the high profile BBC Sound of list, but not to compete with it. Consider it if you will as a complimentary dish on the menu. The BBC Sound of list may be the main course but the Blog Sound of 2012 is a side dish with a few different musical flavours that flesh out the taste palette.

The Blog Sound of 2012 list was always seen as an experiment as it could never be guaranteed to provide a full alternative to the BBC list – voting took place at the same time as the BBC’s – there was a strong possibility that some artists may crop up on both. The end result was just so, with 2 acts (Lianne La Havas and eventual winners Friends) duplicating on each. For the full list of the 15 nominated acts chosen by the 30+ bloggers involved and links to the bloggers sites look here.

It’s no surprise to see Friends winning the Blog Sound of 2012.They are after all a band that has been the subject of an online frenzy during the later part of 2011. Of the 800+ worldwide blogs listed on Hype Machine over 50 of them have featured the group's song I’m His Girl and nearly as many have posted the track Friends Crush, which for a new band is a massive number. Music bloggers are often accused of jumping on the same bandwagon and in the case of Friends they would be guilty as charged. Winning the first ever Blog Sound of 2012 poll seems highly appropriate.

However let’s not take jumping on the bandwagon as a criticism. The vast majority of music bloggers write their blogs because they are passionate and excited about new music. When they hear a track that moves them, they want tell the world about it. That’s why sometimes ‘blog buzz’ occurs, because the song has excited the musical taste buds of lots of bloggers listening and writing. ‘Blog buzz’ is seen by cynics as something false and lacking in long term depth, but hell, if you’re a lover of music you’ll know that sometimes not everything can be carefully considered with a view to the long term. The very essence of pop music as an art form requires people to fall in (and out) of love with it, often over quick timespans.

So Friends are popular with music bloggers. The tracks they’ve put out so far create a neat bridge between pop, r ‘n’b and indie. Their percussive jams have a clattering dance floor sassiness with funky disco grooves merging creamily with big cool pop overtones. Imagine Friendly Fires and Lisa Lisa And The Cult Jam getting down in some sort of hip club - that is the sound of Friends.

They might end up blowing up and being one of the most exciting bands of 2012 or we may all wonder ‘just what were those bloggers thinking’? More often than not blog buzz doesn't translate into mainstream popularity. That is the beauty of pop music. Nobody is actually an expert, some of us just think we are.

This is the run down of the Top 5 most voted for artists on the Blog Sound of 2012. If you missed it, you can see the our own Ones to Watch 2012 using that link, from which our 5 nominations for the Blog Sound List were chosen.

Brooklyn’s coolest new kids on the block.  The winners of the UK Blog Sound of 2012. The big question is do they have a bucket or thimble full of pop hooks and grooves to keep us satisfied after the buzz dies?

2.Theme Park
Runners up in the Blog Sound 2012 are this twin brother fronted London band that first featured on Breaking More Waves in May. Their Talking Heads / Orange Juice flavoured blend of indie rock has recently been picked up by a number of US bloggers after initially being covered by UK blogs. Rather like Friends, the question remains have they got more than a couple of decent starters to keep us satisfied until dessert and coffee?

3.Beth Jeans Houghton
Showing that blogs are not all just about ‘buzz’, Beth Jeans Houghton may surprise some with a high third place positioning having been around for some time now. In fact she was first featured on this blog way back in 2009 but will finally release her album in 2012. We’re looking forward towards hearing how her warped folk pop translates into a full record.

4.French Wives
We suspect that for the Blog Sound poll Glasgow based French Wives received a number of votes from Scottish blogs, but deservedly so. Creating rollicking, powerful, passionate indie rock songs that fans of the likes of Arcade Fire and Broken Records will enjoy immensely, French Wives trajectory can surely only be upwards as more people discover them, particularly when they play live. An album is also forthcoming.

Elena Tonra and her band create sparse, frosted, haunting songs full of space and texture. There’s a flat-out sadness to what Daughter are creating – it’s music that’s very still, yet very emotional. With a couple of well received EP’s under the belt in 2011, 2012 holds much promise for Daughter


Alex S said...

Funny that apart from Friends this list is a lot less 'buzzy' than the BBC list.

Nice to see no Azelia Banks or Frank Ocean on this.

French Wives are totally new to me and sound very good, so for that alone, thanks.

Anonymous said...

They all sound shit.

Breaking More Waves Blog said...

Alex - the whole point of this poll is to try to draw attention to new music that a bunch of us (by majority rule / vote) think is worth listening to. So if you've discovered French Wives through the process, then it's been a worthwhile exercise :)


Richard G said...

Good idea,this list! New acts/artists need this and I'm grateful for you making me take note of several more.
That said, I am not one who is surprised to see Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves of Destiny right up here. I first saw them live at End Of The Road 2009, albeit in the somewhat mouldy 'The Local' tent, but it was still quite unforgettable.

Richard - Thoughts on Music

The Recommender said...

Interesting point about the difference between the negatively-viewed 'blog buzz' and the fact that some blogs post what everyone else is posting simply because they too adore the music. It's a fine but important line, and I guess the difference is the purpose of why one is blogging a particular artist.

Anyway, the real reason for me leaving a comment on here is to simply say thank you for another wonderful year's content. As you know, I read your blog on a regular basis and I thought I'd just say thanks and congratulate you on another year of awesome coverage. Happy new year, and hope 2012 is just as brilliant for you.


Scryst said...

"Nobody is actually an expert, some of us just think we are."

Brilliant - brutally honest!

Looking forward to seeing / hearing your expertise in 2012 !

Breaking More Waves Blog said...

Thanks Mike. Yes, I agree, the reason why a blog is writing about an artist is important I think. I'm sure there are some blogs who post 'buzz' acts to generate traffic, gain peer group approval or to look cool irrespective of if they actually like them or not, but blogs that have integrity and only post music because it falls within their taste / style / vision etc are the ones that readers are more likely to re-visit rather than one quick hump 'em and dump em' play off a Hype Machine most popular chart link. I believe readers get a sense of the author and their passion / ideas / personality and effectively 'make friends' with the blog and its author, making return visits and form an ongoing relationship.

Certainly all the blogs I read (which are listed on my blog roll to the right) do this. Obviously this includes The Recommender :)

Likewise to you for 2012, keep up the good work and I am looking forward to your 'recommendations' as the year goes on....

Scryst - thanks for the comment. As a regular comment maker here it's good to have you on board.