"Britpop has become a dirty word. Bands don't want to be pigeon-holed any more. I think things are going to be a bit more eccentric in 1996 - bands will strive to be more original. Music papers like NME seem to be championing lo-fi music, which I don't think will be particularly big. There are claims that Wales will be the new Manchester with bands like 60ft Dolls, Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, Super Furry Animals and Catatonia. Also, a lot of people say that American bands are going to make a comeback. It's the sort of music I describe as Seattle on Prozac - happy grunge bands like The Presidents of the United States Of America."
Polly Birkbeck, spokesman for Savage & Best - music PR consultancy.
"I think this year we're going to feel the Britpop backlash with people doing slightly more interesting things. Rather than producing straightforward pop, bands are trying to be a bit more experimental again. Even the established bands are going to react against what happened last year and do things that are less predictable. Everyone's sick to death of smiley Britpop. People will think more about innovation rather than worrying about chart positions. Hopefully people will take their cue from musicians like Tricky rather than Echobelly."
Mark Bowen A & R Manager. Creation Records
"This year we're really interested in The Brotherhood - the first credible black British rap act. In the past, black American rap has been perceived as not transferable, but this lot seem to have pulled it off. A group being hotly touted as a successor to the wave of Britpop bands are the new rock act Placebo. There is a huge interest in them and everyone wants to sign them up. It's adventurous guitar rock - their songs are more oblique and interestingly constructed than Blur, Oasis and all that stuff. We seem to be moving two steps forward and one step back with the Sex Pistols going on tour - which is intensely regressive. But pop music has become a multi-generational thing. It doesn't move in a linear way like it did in the 1960s and no one expects it to. We're really looking forward to the new Future Sound of London record and Massive Attack's forthcoming album. And with Oasis just cracking the Top 40 in America, Britpop may have a lot more mileage than we thought."
Robert Sandall, director of press, Virgin Records.
"I think pure pop will continue to do really well. The interesting thing about the British music scene at the moment is that it's shown how much nonsense Tony Parsons was talking two or three years ago when he said pop was dead. It's difficult to imagine a period when pop was more alive. Everyone's raving about the The Presidents of the United States of America - a serious act. Definitely the post-grunge sound has come back with renewed enthusiasm. I'd like to see Addis Black Widow doing well. It's another facet of new music, very much in the style of Arrested Development.
The Sex Pistols reforming is something we should all treat with great indifference. Another band to break open wide this year will be Leftfield - they're really brilliant. For 1996, Black Grape's next album is the one I'm looking forward to most."
Mark Goodyear, Radio 1 DJ.
"The band we're trying to sign is Placebo - a three-piece archetypal rock act. For '96, I think David McAlmont will be a good tip - he's finely primed for this year. We've also got Richard Ashcroft recording again who I've got big hopes for. I haven't got my ears or eyes on a movement as such, just really good music."
David Boyd, general manager of Hut and High Rise labels (part of Virgin).
"Bands tipped for 1996 are: The Gyres - they're being billed as the Scottish Oasis; and Moloko - they're a dubby trip-hop band from Sheffield. Goa Trance from Germany will be massively popular this year. It's ordinary trance music with ethnic noises under the beat. The Bluetones will be huge - the album is the one that the Stone Roses should have made after their debut. It's powerful guitar pop with a strong Byrds influence. Manic banging techno - what I call 'happy hard core' - is still exceedingly popular in Scotland and the North East. In the South, soul and swing is doing well. They're aIso into trendy house music on the trendier labels like Tribal UK, Junior Boy's Own and Masters At Work. Addis Black Widow are set to succeed, as is Robert Miles with his excellent trancey-techno single 'Children'. I don't believe in genres like Britpop - I see it as a popular resurgence in guitar-based music which will continue. It's a strange time at the moment because in the wake of Blur, Oasis and Pulp, there doesn't seem to be anybody immediately in their slipstream in terms of talent. You have to drop down about six notches before you get to the next lot. The Bluetones are all right but they haven't got anything like the star quality and talent that bands like Pulp, Blur and Oasis have. The same goes for Cast, Ash and Northern Uproar. Unfortunately, they're a little bit too anonymous and run of the mill. They all have this element of being crushingly OK. Britpop fever still reigns although one or two groups in the early stages who might threaten your Blurs and Oasis's is Mansun, a band from Chester. British rap has never happened and never will: the British are congenitally useless at rap music and congenitally very good at guitar music. The British are much better at styles that they can adapt and mutate. If I was an A&R man I'd go out looking for another Tricky or Portishead - buy trip-hop and sell Britpop."
Spokesman for HMV product department
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