Tips For 2013 - Part One

The next four posts are going to be my Tips for 2013 posts, I know some people find these sort of posts pointless but I'm a geek at heart and geeks do love a list... I know many of you will feel the same, I'm limiting myself to a thirteen acts this year - well it will be 2013 -  which meant a few difficult decisions and the acts will be listed alphabetically, starting with four today and then three acts following in each of the next three posts.

As with last years posts, my tips aren't necessarily acts I'm tipping for stardom (though a few perhaps will hit / already are close to the mainstream) but are a thirteen new acts (I'm not tipping artists that have already released an album) that I believe you should follow over the year ahead, without further rambling...

Just Music That I Like's 13 for 2013 - Part One:

Alice Jemima - Facebook

I think I blogged about Alice Jemima more than any other artist in 2012 so her inclusion in my tips for next year is the logical next step, a year which has seen an increasing number of people become equally smitten with Alice and her sublime music ("By Your Side" taken from her recent, self-released EP All The Boyfriends has amassed some ten thousand plays in a couple of months), if you're not yourself, taken a listen below and you'll soon understand why...

Possessing a voice that defies beauty, Alice's calm, soft whispers will caress and charm even the hardest of souls as her intimate lyrics melt glaciers. We've been spoilt throughout the year with Alice releasing a number of tracks on her soundcloud page, tracks like the aforementioned "By Your Side", "Far From Here" and "First Love" are all as close to perfect as you can get, delivered with her trademark grace and elegance throughout, Alice's gorgeous, tender vocals and shimmering guitar patterns create the sort of music that can only become to backdrop to dozen (hundreds/thousands soon?) of people falling in love.

I'm sure 2013 will see Alice to continue to grow as an artist and performer, perhaps it's too soon to be demanding an album, she's still only nineteen, and I'll be here saying similar words this time next year in my tips for 2014 posts, still one thing I do know is that I'll be amongst those first in line to hear what Alice delivers next.

Bird - Facebook

Bird were guaranteed their place amongst my bands to watch after two recent live performances blew me away, firstly upstaging Tamaryn at the Lexington and then just a week later playing another stunning with the wonderful PINS.

The Liverpool three piece are led the celestial voice of songwriter/bassist/guitarist Adele Emmas with Sian Williams providing stunning guitarscapes and complimenting harmonies alongside Alexis Samata on the doom-laden drums. Those live sets saw the trio bring to life their recent Shadows EP with a live power and grace, equally dark and mystical with rich swirling guitar tapestries and superlative defying harmonies, it was like being transported to an otherworldly place of pure, spiritual beauty.

On record Bird offer the perfect combination of delicate ethereality and melancholy, the haunting "Shadows" will intoxicate while "Monsters" is another that hints at future greatness where intricate guitar plucks weave around repeating kick drums to create the chilly ambience in which Adele's vocals soar and entrance. Bird's music is dripped in emotion where ghostly harmonies and textured arrangement beguile in their beauty.

I'm very much looking forward to hearing more of their eerie fairy-tales in 2013.

Daughter - Facebook

'I almost picked Daughter in my 2011 tips, I did include them in my tips for 2012 list, when in-so-fact it's going to be 2013 when Daughter becomes a household name'. I said that just a few days ago on my review of 2012's tips. This time around I'm positive I'm right.

2012 saw Daughter sign to the mighty 4AD and sell out shows on both sides of the Atlantic while releasing just the one single (the incredible "Smother"), with an early 2013 UK tour similarly close to selling out two months in advance and various TV placements the trio are perfectly placed to make a mark as one of the acts of 2013 (this post was written prior to the announcement of the BBC Sound of 2013 poll but surely a place their beckons?).

2011's EP's The Wild Youth and His Young Heart highlighted Elena Tonra as a prodigious talent, possessing such natural beauty and grace with her breathy vocals and spellbinding songs, backed by deftly subtle instrumentation Daughter's haunting melodies, combined with some of the most intimate, remarkable lyrics of this generation that will, in my opinion,take Daughter as far as they want to go.

If Daughter aren't on the short-list for the Mercury album prize with their debut album (as yet unannounced but due in 2013), I'll eat my proverbial hat....

Embers - Facebook

Another act returning from last years choices (I did say they probably would) are Manchester's Embers, a band I've mentioned twice in the past couple of weeks so it's quite difficult not to repeat some of my words of gushing praise "a ground-breaking, a seven minute journey beyond comprehension that is truly, truly stunning". That's the sort of superlatives the quartet must have got used to after a few weeks of positive reactions to their incredible live video "Hollow Cage"...

I've read comparisons to Muse when they were good and Hope of the States time and time again, it's easy to see why but "Hollow Cage" isn't the only majestic thing these Northern boys have done. Exuding ambitions far beyond most of their peers their early demos "Days Turn Into Weeks" and "Without Fear of Favour" introduced dark aural storms capable of rendering you speechless, building and building upon unsettling atmospheres, ferocious, powerful and hugely complex. Their now sold out debut 7" Tunnel Visions added some studio polish to the terrifying soundscapes and through colossal crescendos of echoing sounds came across like the end of the world. Epic, cinematic and extraordinary.

Now "Hollow Cage" seemingly has given Embers some breakthrough from UK blogs to column inches in the sort of things that A&R guys look at and I'm pretty sure Embers have had more than a couple of availability inquiries recently. Will 2013 bring their debut album? I don't know, it may still be too soon, I do know that Embers are one of those rare bands that you need to embrace, physically moving, emotionally touching, I can't wait to sample their live show.