GARY DOWNING, CHRYSALIS
Director: of synchronisation, Chrysalis Music
Name: Does It Offend You, Yeah?
Signed to: Virgin Records/Chrysalis Music
Style: Sounds rather like an arcade machine being thrown into a lake.
Lowdown: This Reading-based electro-punk outfit sounds like the Sex Pistols covering Daft Punk. Their blistering live show was voted the second best of this year's Reading & Leeds Festivals and, aside from writing and recording their own material, they have been busy mixing the likes of Bloc Party, Muse and The Raconteurs. Their debut, self-produced album is expected in early 2008.
Featured track: We Are Rockstars
Name: Steven Lindsay
Signed to: Echo Records/Chrysalis Music
Style: An epic singer-songwriter.
Lowdown: Along with Craig Armstrong, Lindsay was one of the members of the Scottish band The Big Dish, which disbanded in the 90s. Now writing and recording as a solo artist, he has an emotionally charged and cinematic style. In his new album, Kite, he finds beauty and creativity through simple introspection.
Featured Track: Kite
Name: The Sonic Hearts
Signed to: EMI/Chrysalis Music
Style: Liverpool's answer to The Magic Numbers.
Lowdown: With a Mersey-beat-meets-Americana sound, and a mesmerising frontman in Sean Butler, this quintet is destined to capture hearts with its summery feel-good tunes. A touch Neil Young, a touch Ryan Adams, gorgeous melodies and rasping harmonies are set to make a massive impact next year.
Featured track: Honey
Name: Mexican Institute Of Sound
Signed to: Cooking Vinyl
Style: Funky Latino electronica.
Lowdown: Camilo Lara is the one-man dynamo behind M.I.S., which hails from Mexico. Blending hip-hop, electronica, spoken word, old-school samples and cha-cha-cha, the new album, Pinata, is a carefully constructed collage of musical influences that combine to reflect Lara's unique impression of life in bustling Mexico City.
Featured track: Escribeme Pronto
MARC ROBINSON, UNIVERSAL
Head of film, TV & advertising, Universal Music UK
Name: Joe Lean & The Jing Jang Jong
Signed to: Young & Lost Club/Mercury Records
Style: Glorious indie rock and pop.
Lowdown: Without doubt, a truly special band has arrived. Joe Lean & The Jing Jang Jong combine classic pop lyrics with fizzing guitars and a melody that sticks like glue. Their lively shows channel the spirit of every rock and pop giant of the past 50 years. Their EP is out this month (October), followed by an album in the new year.
Featured track: Lucio Starts Fires
Signed to: Island Records
Style: An eclectic and eccentric mix.
Lowdown: Malakai is the Bristol-based Scott & G, a studio-based act using electronic and live instrumentation. The duo fuse an enormous range of influences to create music that's diverse and compelling. A cosmic soup of sounds and flavours that's already whetting the appetites of music fans and media. The skits in between tracks on the website are an essential part of the artists' make-up - they like things a little off-kilter.
Featured track: Snow Flake
Name: Alberta Cross
Signed to: Fiction Records/Sony ATV
Style: Pure Americana.
Lowdown: Songwriters Petter Ericson Stakee and Terry Wolfers draw inspiration from rootsy gospel, blues and soul, along with The Band, Van Morrison and Leonard Cohen. With a contemporary twist, their sound invokes elements of the White Stripes and The Shins. They sound like nothing else going on around them, but are not trying to be different. They just are different. And very special.
Featured track: Leave Us or Forgive Us
Name: Beth Rowley
Signed to: Universal Classics & Jazz
Style: A soupy mixture of roots, blues, soul, country, folk and gospel.
Lowdown: Beth Rowley has one of those voices, full of pure emotion, that commands you shut up and listen. Rowley writes and co-writes earthy, rough-round-the-edges tracks, drawing from folk, soul and blues. You can hear her sources of inspiration with hints of Emmylou Harris, Aretha Franklin, The Beatles, PP Arnold, Jill Scott and Karen Carpenter.
Featured track: Nobody's Fault But Mine
MELANIE JOHNSON, EMI
Head of sales and promotions, EMI Music Publishing
Name: Reverend & The Makers
Signed to: Wall Of Sound/EMI Music Publishing
Lowdown: Jon McClure, aka The Reverend, may be many different people. A poet. A gobshite to his enemies. A genius to his friends. The bloke working in the Sheffield Steel Factory with the Trotsky pamphlets in his back pocket. The bloke who sets out to save the world with a mouse and a blogspot account. A 25-year-old pop revolutionary. Yes, a friend of the Arctic Monkeys. And now, a top-ten pop star. The Reverend and his band The Makers have just made The State Of Things, their first album produced by Jagz Kooner (of Primal Scream's Swastika Eyes fame).
Featured track: Heavy Weight Champion of the World
Name: Remi Nicole
Signed to: Island/EMI Music Publishing
Style: Guitar pop.
Lowdown: Remi Nicole has just about completed her debut album ("What's it called? Not telling," she says) after a whirlwind year of songwriting. Among her breakneck guitar pop gems is the feel-good hit of the summer, Go Mr Sunshine. She is a direct descendant of the Mike Skinner school of refashioning pop vocabulary into something totally of her own, and of her generation.
Featured track: Go Mr Sunshine
Name: Ida Maria
Signed to: Nesna Records/EMI Music Publishing
Lowdown: Hailing from the mountains of Norway, Ida Maria mixes a dash of 70s New York garage with bold, brazen lyrics and a pop chic musical sensibility. Oh My God, Ida's first single, is described by the lady herself as "a song to have a panic attack to - like a desperate shout."
Featured track: Oh My God
Name: Scouting For Girls
Signed to: Epic/EMI Music Publishing
Style: Indie pop.
Lowdown: This three-piece band from Ruislip specialises in vibrant, buoyant piano pop. After scooping the Innocent Smoothie Unsigned Band Award, a music industry scrum to sign them up ensued. Inspirational, quirky, escapist, and friendly, they're unashamedly nostalgic, with feel-good factor high on the agenda.
Featured track: Elvis Is Dead