Tips For 2013 - Part Two

Here's the second part of my 'Tips for 2013' / ones to watch / 'new' acts I like lots and lots posts with three more acts I'm expecting to be listening to lots throughout the next twelve months, the first, posted yesterday, can be found here. Parts three and four follow over the next 48 hours...

Emily and the Woods - Facebook

I'm hoping that 2013 will be the year that Emily and the Woods (or Emily Wood as it's been the last few times I've seen her perform) finally takes to step from a favourite of those within the folk world to a nationwide treasure, without doubt Emily possesses the attributes to make the jump, a beguiling voice from the heavens and intimate, introverted songs that fill your mind with a calming, sweet air.

Whether it's a solo performance or Emily with her Brother or a full band setup she always delivers live, a show with subtle guitar rhythms and mesmerising melodies that is so beautiful it leaves you with a fuzzy feeling inside. 2012 has been averagely quiet with Emily (hopefully) recording new material amongst some London shows, a late UK tour with Hot Feet and a new song "Small Song" released in early November hopefully hinting at more to come next year, that track highlights Emily's melt-your-heart vocals perfectly, I can't wait to hear more...

Fear of Men - Facbook

I think the vast majority of my tips this time around are artists that I've been following for a while and shouldn't come as much of a surprise to long-term blog readers, Fear of Men are definitely one such case, a band I've been smitten with almost from day one and an act that I have continually posted about on here since "Phantom Limb" took my fancy as long ago as March 2011.

Since there has been a continual wave of singles from the four-piece with "Doldrums", "Green Sea" and "Mosiac" all highlighting a sepia-tinged, heart felt pop sound where shimmering hangle guitars and the gorgeous tones of lead songwriter-vocalist Jess collide with rat-a-tat drums to endearing, timeless effect. A band who do all the basic things right, produce perfect, pure melodies sung beautifully and wrap them up in fuzz and reverb.

A compilation album of those early single is due on 12" marbled wax via US label Kanine Records in early 2013 with, fingers crossed, Fear of Men's debut album due later in the year.

Haim - Facebook

When I band go from relatively unknown (pre SXSW 2012) to being the band on many peoples lips I have a certain element of natural intrepidation about them, Haim were definitely one such instance. Coming to my attention shortly before The Great Escape in May I was unsure what to make of them at first, three good looking sisters who gathered blog buzz from every quarter before I'd even heard a track, it could have gone either way. Shortly before the festival I checked out their debut EP Forever, it instantly put at ease any fears, gorgeous harmonies and tight rock guitars that whilst not exactly being the Fleetwood Mac meets TLC billing I was expecting blow me away and put Haim as a 'must-see'.

Prior to that debut show I said "perhaps Haim will be one of the acts who provide an 'I was there' moment like Warpaint's show of a few years back". I was right. Haim played two (I was only at one, so the other is on say-so) sensational performances, a world apart from their recorded sound the live show is loud and intense with booming percussion and hard-hitting guitar led rock, there's a natural cohesion and confidence about the sisters harmonies and jams, perhaps it's a sister thing, perhaps it's hours and hours of practise (or both) - either way, they produced the show of The Great Escape.

"Forever", a hot, funk-laden melody and jagged guitars has got bounce, style and substance while their second release, the Don't Save Me EP proves to those who haven't seen the live show that Haim are more than a one trick pony, with effortlessly smooth grooves and "Send Me Down" combines abrasive sounds and percussion not heard from the trio before with their trademark vocal-play, sumptuous harmonies and big production, killer.

Haim will be one of the breakthroughs of 2013, of that there is no doubt. I've every faith their debut album will build on the quality of what we've heard so far, my hope for after that is that the big-wigs let the girls be and Haim remain a borderline pop act, not a full on mainstream group. Those of us who are blown away by their exhilarating live performances (Haim really are a must see live band) want them to remain just as they are, incredible.