The Naked and Famous
It’s been a while since I’ve felt an instant connection with any band that was even remotely describable as indie, but I definitely felt that with The Naked and Famous. They’re from New Zealand but if you had to guess their nationality I expect most would say Swedish or perhaps Canadian. Their music’s atmospheric feel and sharp, almost shouty female vocals are reminiscent of The Knife, but it’s much more accessible. The sound is still powerful, emotional and kind of tribal, but the melodies are satisfying to my pop ears in a way that sadly The Knife’s have not been for a while. Their debut UK single Young Blood (out in September) is a good taster of their sound, but current New Zealand single Punching in My Sleep is more likely to be a hit. If you’ve ever tried and failed to become a fan of The Knife, or even if you do like them but wish they’d be a bit less serious sometimes, you need to listen to The Naked and Famous.
Hit potential: 65% Poptasticness: 82%
Over the past few years I’ve become much more interested in British R&B music, but the only songs that have really grabbed me have been Taio Cruz and/or Fraser T Smith creations. Therefore I’m very pleased to see several new artists come through who make this kind of music but are also able to capture a mainstream audience and earn the recognition their talent deserves. Tinie Tempah has done very well but his music is a little harsh-sounding for my tastes. However, there are three new male artists I’m very excited about: Talay Riley, Labrinth and my no.1 favourite Loick Essien. At first I found his single Love Drunk messy and difficult, but on second listen it clicked into place and by the third I was obsessed. It’s such an intricately clever song with so many different sections which give you something new to discover with each listen. It sounds like several songs in one and could even be mistaken for an album megamix (or a mixtape as cool people call them). Of course my admiration is so far just based on Love Drunk, but if Loick carries on like this he’s going to be in the big leagues in no time at all.
Hit potential: 97% Poptasticness: 92%