DIANA VICKERS: Once.The 18-year-old’s debut single somehow combines rock, pop and electro in one chart-promising cauldron that works surprisingly well as the poppy verse is ripped asunder by the rock chorus which unashamedly batters its way into the consciousness. Born in Blackburn, she was on X Factor in 2008 and then starred in West End show Little Voice.
DEFTONES: Diamond Eyes.Certainly nothing particularly deft about this muscle-flexing grinding subliminal rock that curls its way around the senses before gently crushing them.
ALAN POWNALL: Chasing Time.Sounds a lot older than his 25 years – and so does the low-key jazzy pop that takes on a laidback, timeless air.
CONCHITAS: Butterflies.An electro-indie duo from east London with frontwoman El’s husky part-growl voice something to behold while guitarist Ed Sonsino is the ideal foil.
SANDI THOM featuring JOE BONAMASSA: This Ol' World.Sandi saved the day when blues maestro Joe Bonamassa lost his voice last year. Now the pair duet on guitar-sobbing blues as upbeat as it’s ever going to get.
ANGUS AND JULIA STONE: Down The Way.If you’re feeling fragile or slightly down then this isn’t for you. They’ll not lift you up with their all-enveloping sence of darkness, only broken by the odd glimmer of light with Julia’s achingly innocent voice. Graceful and crafted it may be and, after a few listens, the gloom certainly feels to lift – but there’s only one way to take them and that’s seriously.
N’DAMBI: Pink Elephant.Think of Stax records and the mind shoots back to the 60s and early 70s. N’Dambi hails from Dallas and has immersed herself in the spirit of those days here with the latest offering from Stax, but the promise of some early tracks that this is a throwback to those heydays diminishes as her deep contralto voice and expanding jazz and blues influence start to make it heavy going.
MATTHEW GLENN THOMPSON: The Garden And The Arcade.The title alone is enough to tell you the US songsmith is one deep thinker, but the Memphis-born son of a concert pianist is a great example of how to put your heart and soul into music. Most start off low-key, but by the end they’ve blossomed into songs you can’t help but find yourself humming along to, never more so than on the melody-driven Ordinary Girl and January Day. One for those into ‘proper’ music.