Top 5 new artists of 2011 / Ones to Watch

Photo: John Squires

One of my favourite things about music blogging is the steady stream of new and exciting music that comes my way. You never know what awaits you in your inbox each day or what might be found on another favourite blog. This year has been littered with some really impressive new and emerging artists, bands and acts – too many to be fair so bare with me and I indulge myself in yet another list, this time my top five new / breakthrough artists from 2011.

Gorilla Warfare Tactics

New York trio Gorilla Warfare Tactics broke through this year capturing the imagination of many hip-hop fans with their debut EP, Premier. The EP and subsequent singles saw them embrace the essence of old-school hip-hop, pitting Kid Dilla’s flowing verses with CakeXCrumbs’ old-school soul samples and head-nodding, bouncy beats into smooth feel good hip hop. Original beats and classic street level rap, GWT are one of the most promising hip hop acts I’ve heard in some time.

 Gorilla Warfare Tactics – The Tale of Mr. Street via ClarkWill47

By The Sea

Wirral 6-piece By The Sea come from arguably one of the richest sources of musical talent in the world, Merseyside. Their prodigious talent made itself known through the release of a slew of sublime singles in 2011. Their shimmering heart warming indie-goodness is steeped in 60′s psychedelia, as they channel in very different ways, parts The Byrds, The Coral and Shack with a joyous amalgam of lush breezy harmonies and summertime haziness. With talk of a record in 2012 we could be in for a treat.

 Download: By The Sea – Old Coasts


It has been a big year for Portadown-born hip-hop producer SertOne, who’s debut EP The View From Above received widespread and deserved praise this year. It introduced us to his undoubted talent and skillful weaving of an electronic patchwork which combines his obvious hip-hop influences with his own unique qualities and ear for fresh electronic and hip-hop beats and silky samples. His live show impressed me too as did the release free album WIDTSThis guy is destined for a very bright future.

 SertOne – Astro-Bazaar

King Krule

King Krule (formerly known as Zoo Kid) is the moniker of London teenager Archy Marshall, who made quite an impression under both pseudonyms this year. His musical style falls somewhere between that of Billy Bragg and Jamie T. It is melancholic yet warm, assured and always sounds wise beyond his tender age of 17. The King Krule EP was released in November and established this standard. Sounding like a combination of two of my favourite artists, I’m expecting big things for KK in the future.

 King Krule – Portrait In Black & Blue


It has been a remarkable year for 18 year old Newbridge native Moths, AKA Jack Colleran, who’s chilled electronica sent blogs across the world buzzing with excitement. There’s little else to be written which hasn’t been already said about the guy. His music is as simple as it is slick, it is super chilled, fresh and organic sounding electronic jams. Now signed, the next year is going to very interesting for this very talented young man.

Download: Moths – Jimmy Francis

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