The Barometer: Clare Maguire; British Sea Power; Susan Philipsz; Various Cruelties; Esben and the Witch; Chalk and Numbers; Alex Clare; Happy Mondays

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The Independent Culture


Clare Maguire

Ain't Nobody

A favourite from the BBC Sound of 2011 Award shortlist which was announced earlier this week. Think brooding Patti Smith meets Florence Welch.

British Sea Power

Living Is So Easy

A return to the tense indie rock that served them well early in their career. Hints of Grandaddy-esque electronic experimentation, too.

Susan Philipsz

Surround Me

Sixteenth- and 17th-century madrigals inspired this Turner Prize-winning soundscape. Haunting and desolate.

Various Cruelties

If It Wasn't for You

Sophisticated neu-soul rhythms recall Amy Winehouse, while the tremolo-heavy guitar is worthy of a Quentin Tarantino soundtrack.

Esben and the Witch

Marching Song

Another BBC Sound of 2011 contender. Equally ethereal, it seems the Sound of 2011 is actually the sound of P J Harvey, circa 2000.

Chalk and Numbers

He Knew

Retro-by-numbers but with a nonchalance and catchy hook that prevents total pastiche.

Alex Clare

Up All Night

Heavy-metal guitars, a vocal-style reminiscent of Sting and a synthesised string section may sound like an odd mix, but this song is a real grower.

Happy Mondays

Bob's Yer Uncle

Back from a successful PR exercise in the jungle, Shaun Ryder is rumoured to be considering a 'Fairytale of New York' duet with Stacey Solomon. Before the myth is destroyed once and for all, let's take seven minutes with Shaun at his sleaziest.