BBC Sound of 2013 – The Skinny

Snipers and gripers about the state of music in 2012 can be cheered by the BBC’s Sound of 2013 longlist. It’s a world away from the dullard-heavy Mercury prize nominations.


You’ve got the new class of rock in Savages, Palma Violets, Haim and Peace. Hip-hop’s represented by virtuoso rapper Angel Haze. Electro-pop’s got its CHVRCHES, AlunaGeorge and King Krule’s electric soul. A*M*E, Arlissa and Laura Mvula are a little more straightforward (but way more interesting than previous pop singers Mika, Jessie J, Ellie Goulding). Little Green Cars should be grateful to be nominated with such a terrible name and of course it’s great The Weeknd’s finally getting all the attention he deserves (ahem).


If I had my way, I’d have liked to see Merchandise, Young Magic, Rustie, Hudson Mohawke, Twigs or Girls Names on there. Although many of the artists are good, there’s a distinct lack of subversive rebellion. Savages live are almost illegally electrifying, Angel Haze opened up about sexual abuse in her chilling take on Eminem’s ‘Cleanin’ Out My Closet’, and Haim talk dirty, but the ante needs upping.

Here’s a little guide. Who do you think should win?


Buzz around Björk’s favourites Aluna Francis (ex My Toys Like Me) and George Reid has accelerated through the year – and for good reason. Read more about their slick electro-R&B in our Radar feature.


Aminata ‘Amy’ Kabba moved from Sierra Leone to Lewisham when she was eight. Spotted by Gary Barlow, she signed to his label in 2010 and released her first single last month. Loves K-Pop, aged 17.

Angel Haze

The rapper’s third mixtape ‘Reservations’ catapulted her from the underground to an audience desperate for ballsy, sassy hip-hop that Azealia Banks seemed unable to deliver after ‘212’. Read more.

The Londoner duetted with Nas and wants to be Kate Bush. Compared to Florence. Likes avocado and chorizo sandwiches.


Punchy electro-pop trio from Glasgow only played their first gig together in the summer. Here’s some footage, confirming why they’re on this list.


It wouldn’t be a surprise if the three Haim sisters scooped the prize. They’re the cat’s pyjamas.

Read more.


King Krule

‘The Noose of Jah City’, released this time last year, was the track that made people sit up and really take notice of Archy Marshall AKA Zoo Kid AKA King Krule AKA DJ JD Sports. It brought his rich, world-weary voice to the public and marked him out as a lot more interesting than other Brit school alumni.
Read more.


“Four young gentlemen from Dublin who play music. x” says their Twitter biography. They’ve covered LCD Soundsystem, Everything Everything remixed them and, from a brief spy at their Twitter feed, they like pizza.

Laura Mvula

Mvula’s first EP is more than pleasant. Layered vocals, percussive twinkles and cracking vocal chords combine with songs that twist and turn unexpectedly make her a talent to keep an eye on.

Little Green Cars

This Dublin country-rock five-piece could do well. They’ve just been signed to the same label as Mumford & Sons and Two Door Cinema Club.

Palma Violets

Winners of NME’s Best Track of the Year ‘Best Of Friends’, this howling, brash four-piece are riding the crest of the new scene wave.

Read more.



They’ve already have a pretty good 2012, but it looks like things will ramp up in 2013. Shit jobs, boredom and gloom inspired single ‘California Daze’, a love song that went back to basics.

Read more.


Savages played the first slot on the main stage at Field Day at 12.30pm this summer. It was rainy and grey and I’d just been charged £4.75 to use the cash machine. The crowd was small and flat. Yet it was one of the best live shows I saw this year. Bring on the new album.

Read more.


The Weeknd

A strange inclusion considering Abel Tesfaye’s already released three popular mixtapes over the last couple of years and doesn’t exactly need the platform, but hey. His alt-R&B is certainly one of the defining sounds of the moment.

Read more.

Tom Odell

Mumford & Sons with swears.

The nice people at Share My Playlist gathered some of the best tracks together. Have a listen and let me know what you think in the comments.