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New artist of the year

2006-12-20 12:18

Corinne Bailey Rae
Album: Corinne Bailey Rae

Despite a threatening set of early omens, there may still be hope for the newest UK soul talent Corinne Bailey Rae. As Alexis Petredis of the BBC sardonically points out: "...Bailey Rae has won the BBC's "sound of 2006" poll, which has previously predicted vast success for Tali, Gemma Fox, The Dears and Wiley,..." Who, you ask? Exactly. Read the review

Lupe Fiasco
Album: Food and Liquor

When most of intelligent hip-hop has remained mainly underground, Lupe emerges from the darkness with one of the best hip-hop albums of 2006. The 25-year-old from Chicago can now be mentioned in the same breath as Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Common and KRS-One. Unfortunately, like his predecessors, he may not see the same level of commercial success as other hip-hop pop artists. In a time when it’s difficult to find more than three good songs on the average release, Food is packed with hits Read the review

Love Jones
Album: Love Jones

Love Jones enlist local rock guru Dave Birch to produce one of the best pop-rock albums of the South African year. Each song is hooky and glossy – at times a tougher-talking Sixpence None the Richer at times a self-acknowledged nod to Dave Grohl's post-grunge kookiness - all the time evoking the sympathetic but punkish attitude of young, energetic suburbians. Read the review
Gnarls Barkley
Album: St. Elsewhere

This album finds the soul in rock ... and the rock in soul.
Yes, Danger Mouse, aka DJ Mouse and Cee-Lo do have a lot of experience and have been members of other groups in their long musical career. Danger Mouse produced the Gorillaz' chart topping second album, “Demon Days” and Cee-Lo as member of hip-hop group Goodie Mob. Perhaps this puts them at an advantage in a category of mostly fresh-faced artists. Read the review

Jose Gonzalez
Album: Veneer

Gonzalez would do well in Cape Town's hippie havens. His confident classical and jazz-tinged guitar, and soft, almost whispery voice are ideal for low-key, midweek evenings at places like the Independent Armchair Theatre in Observatory. Beanie-and-hemp- trouser-wearing twenty-somethings would sit cross-legged on the floor, sipping red wine, while Mr. Gonzalez would play his acoustic tunes solo by candlelight. Read the review

Missy Higgins
Album: The Sound of White

While most of today's musical radio fodder works best as background mush, some albums are still meant for listening. And The Sound of White is one such. It's essentially a vocal album, like Beth Orton's Comfort of Strangers. Not surprisingly, the respected John Porter produced it, and it was recorded in the US, ostensibly with the intention of releasing it there (what - they can't do it in Australia?). Read the review

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Album: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are a five-piece from New York who could almost legitimately claim to be self-determined. Their sound certainly doesn't fit into current radio rock formats and this album is independently made and released. Unfortunately it does fit into a "cool 'cos it's different" type of styling. A pity. Because Clap Your Hands Say Yeah does bring a tasty dish to a table of frankly bland staples. Read the review
Most first albums are a result of years of writing and trying to make it in the industry. And sometimes it’s about forging new partnerships to reinvent the sound. This list has a little of both.

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