On the first week of the year, the BBC website runs its BBC Sound of 2011 (for example) poll. With the greatest of respect - IGNORE IT. Here are the five acts to look out for this year - ending with the "Sound of 2011".
Botulism is the project of Swansea-based audio technician Marcus Smith. Rather than embracing traditional instruments, Smith "tuned" twenty-four full-size hot air balloons then shot them with a cannon, sampling each explosion and using the resultant notes as the sole basis for his songs. A recent tour with Scouting For Girls showed that the act could also work in mid-sized venues. Look out for his 'Melt Their Faces' single at the end of the month, with an album due in March.
4. Macadamia 4000
Macadamia 4000's Pa'ul Welch and Nancy Bosson met working at Williamsburg's notorious 'Pies And Thighs' restaurant, where they discovered a mutual love of Prince, The Simpsons, and unfashionable right-wing politics. They've toned down the Tea Party rhetoric of their early indie EPs, but the synthetic funk of their major label debut "Palin" is still expected to make a few pinkos nervous.
3. Tunnel Under
Portsmouth hasn't been this hip since Telly Savalas popped in during the 1970s! Pompey three-piece Tunnel Under (formerly of S Club Juniors and Fightstar) throw off the shackles of their previous bands to create a sound blending ESG, Tom Tom Club and Oliver Postgate theme tunes! Their Mary Roze club night has had lines out of the door for a year, and the April release of their "Duttons For Buttons" mini-album ought to make them the toast of the festivals.
Described by Radio 1's Zane Lowe as "the sound of a giant, musical fist smashing the Eastern Bloc", Poland-via-Coventry outfit Stu*Stu*Studioline's non-traditional approach, advertising mostly in delicatessens and independent supermarkets, turned out to be the start of a whirlwind 2010, leading to them being asked to accompany Roxy Music on their tour of abandoned London bandstands. Their 15-minute "Ghost Wheel" single was an indelible calling card, with its sonic maelstrom frequently described as "indescribable". Album "Magic Void" should stir a few hearts in February.
1. Maisie Blakefield
Championed by figures as diverse as Nigella Lawson and new Tory MP Zach Goldsmith, Maisie Blakefield has been writing songs since her early teens. After spells at Italia Conti and RADA, she decided to turn her attention to her first love - music. Citing Kate Bush, Annie Lennox, Alison Moyet and Crass among her influences, a bidding war in September saw her signed to Universal. Her first single "Spangle Stars" is out tomorrow.