The Chicago born, Brooklyn based sibling duo started making waves at SXSW this year as word of their slinking retro rhythms spread thick and fast on the sweltering ground. A hybrid breed of pop, psych, reggae and R&B – Natalie and Elliot Bergman’s output to date has the capacity to be original in its revivalism. Yes it does have hints of Saint Etienne and rootsy jazz stalwarts, the influences of Miles Davis, Cold Train and a lot of Studio 1 artists shining though, but what it smacks of most is Wild Belle, which is a pretty rare thing.
Coming together whilst Natalie was recording vocals in a Michigan studio for her brother’s Afrobeat band Nomo, the pair’s aesthetic dynamics just seemed to click, as they realised they heightened each others ideas. And when a demo version of ‘Keep You’ was enough to make everyone fall head over heels they promptly realised they were onto a good thing. With rich, dreamy vocals that wrap themselves around laid back ska piano keys and saxophone wails we completely understand why. It’s just so effortlessly irresistible.
Their debut album Isles is set for release on 18 March and we can’t wait. - Lauren Down
As with everything in life, music goes round in cycles. At the end of the day, there’s only so many notes, and that’s not even mentioning the human inclination towards nostalgia. 2012, over anything else, will be remembered for its fascination with R&B. As with the year prior’s reconfiguration of 80s synth-pop into the over-subscribed and swiftly ridiculed micro-genre of chillwave, these last twelve months have seen many rummaging through their old mix CDs up in their parents’ attic, finding beloved compilations of years past. With home recording and uploading easier than ever, the past few years have seen a whole host of bedroom producers blossom into stars before our very eyes, with The Weeknd and Frank Ocean just two of these examples.
AlunaGeorge are also indicative of this, and a lot closer to home. The London-based pair have grown over the past year, attracting excitement on the back of debut track ‘Just A Touch’ – laid back, seductive and silky smooth but laden with glass-shattering levels of bass. But more than just R&B nostalgists, the pair (comprising, unsurprisingly, of Aluna Francis and George Reid) have bloomed into one of the brightest new sparks in the ever-merging worlds of pop, grime and electronic music. Their tracks render 90s car-mixtape R&B through a modern filter of dub and glitch production whilst packing irresistible airwaves-friendly choruses.
2013 should prepare itself for more of the same, but on a far greater scale. Their upcoming debut record is destined to propel the pair closer to Radio 1 than 6 Music, if they’re not halfway there already. “3 things you will definitely hear on the album”, the band portend. “1. Explosion sound FX. 2. A Bad – ass synth solo. 3. George on a talkbox. Hopefully it will prove that those who’ve got behind us so far aren’t wrong.” We, for one, are ready to be proven right. - Luke Morgan Britton
“Bad-ass bitches who know how to shred”. Their words not ours, but we can’t (or wouldn’t possibly dare) argue with them.
Meet Deap Vally. The house-band for some yet-to-be-scripted Tarantino movie where the two Californian gals sweat out the spirit of rock n roll in short, gin-soaked bursts while fists fly and blood stains the floorboards. While the band has only existed for just over a year, Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards already sound like they’ve been playing together for several lifetimes. Lindsey used sing for The Troys (alongside her sister) while Edwards is a veteran of the LA music scene, clocking up half a decade with Pity Party (as well as a stint drumming for The Raveonettes). The duo apparently met in a needlework class.
Producing brilliantly raw rock n roll that soars in all of the right places, it was lust at first listen when the pair fell into our laps earlier on in the year. Completely smitten with debut single ‘Gonna Make My Own Money’, we simply had to film them for our series of sessions and, upon encountering their vivacious personalities and face melting riffs first hand – they were always destined to be an important part of this year’s Ones To Watch list.
We don’t know too much about what 2013 will bring musically, but one thing’s for sure – with Deap Vally around, we’re sure going to have one hell of a party finding out. - Rich Thane