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Page last updated at 15:55 GMT, Tuesday, 7 December 2010
Manchester music blogger helps shape new music list
Matthew Britton
Matthew writes his own blog and for a number of other music publications

The annual BBC Sound Of… list is always a source of debate amongst music fans, but who are the tastemakers who make it and how do they decide who to include?

Amongst those with an input into this year's list is Matthew Britton, a 22 year old music blogger from Manchester.

Matthew is the writer of The Pigeon Post, an outlet for both his love of new music and the skills he gained while studying creative writing.

He said the list is "always something I've looked forward to."

So how does a young writer come to be among the '161 influential UK-based music critics, editors, broadcasters and bloggers' who helped put this year's list together?

Matthew said he wasn't really sure, but thought it may have come from his own ongoing interest in the annual lists.

"I've been writing The Pigeon Post for about 18 months now and a few weeks ago I received an e-mail asking me if I would like to take part in the voting for Sound of 2011.

"Obviously I was thrilled to do so.

The best bands are the ones that don't stick around for too long
Matthew Britton

"It's always something that I have wanted to be involved in and always something I've looked forward to.

"It's like a shortcut to being a little bit ahead of the game, about knowing about a potentially big band before anyone else does.

"For a certain kind of person, that's irresistible, and I am definitely one of those kinds of people."

'A decent enough guide'

He said he had been following the lists every year since they began in 2003 and that "every year's list just shows how much of it all is guesswork and nonsense."

"In all honesty, everyone involved is far too 'in' to music to make a proper judgement.

The BBC Sound Of... list has been tipping up-and-coming musicians since 2003
A longlist is published in December of the preceding year, before a top five is chosen in the following January
Previous top spots have gone to 50 Cent, Mika, Adele, Corinne Bailey Rae and Ellie Goulding
Mancunian acts Delphic, Hurts and The Ting Tings have all been previous 'top five' inclusions
2011's longlist includes Manchester-born singer-songwriter Daley

"If you'd have got my mum to listen to the Sound of 2010, she'd have probably been able to tell you Daisy Dares You was going to go nowhere and that, for all his brilliance, Gold Panda didn't really have a mainstream, breakthrough sound.

"That said, it does offer a decent enough guide to who you should expect to be bothering your stereo in the next 12 months.

"From 2009, pretty much everyone mentioned got somewhere, even if the ordering was a little bit messed up in retrospect - Little Boots might be alright, but it's the only time she is ever going to be ranked above Lady Gaga at anything."

He added that the lists also give an insight into the wider opinions of the music industry and show where it thinks "it is going to end up."

"Last year's list showed how much the 80s revivalist sounds were going to be big news - with The Drums and Hurts featuring - whereas the 2011 nominees show how fractured everything is becoming, with post-dubstep playing a huge role and guitar pop making a slight return.

"Even when it's wrong, it's always interesting."

Three choices

Which brings up the big question - who were his tips for the Sound Of 2011 list?

He said the three he went for "if memory serves" were Spectrals , Zola Jesus and D/R/U/G/S .

"I've been a huge fan of Spectrals for so long and they're one of those bands that you don't tire of seeing live.

D/R/U/G/S were one of the hits of 2010's In The City

"Maybe 2011 is a bit early, especially considering they've only had one proper release, but they make the best pop music I've heard in the past year.

"Nika of Zola Jesus is a phenomenal talent, easily the most impressive voice in music at the moment.

"She trained herself classically and manages to condense the whole witch-house scene into one overwhelmingly powerful and moving blast.

"And she certainly has the ability to make the step up to the big time - there hasn't been a good weirdo female frontwoman making waves since The Knife, so it's definitely time.

"Of the three I chose, D/R/U/G/S are definitely the smallest, and probably the most niche.

"On paper, it doesn't really make much sense - two men on stage with mini synths, usually with their hoods up, but when they play live, they usually steal the show.

"What they've got ahead of all the other bedroom-DJ style bands is that they never seem to play the same set twice."

'So little money in music'

D/R/U/G/S may be the only Manchester band he put forward for the list, but he said there were plenty more local bands worth considering.

"For ages, the big money would've been on WU LYF being the biggest thing to come out of the city in the past decade, but it's starting to feel like they might have missed their chance.

Young British Artists
Young British Artists are favourites of BBC 6 Music's Marc Riley too

"The mystery and intrigue has certainly started to wear off, but they've still got some amazing tracks and a staggeringly brilliant singer, so it's far from curtains for them yet.

"Them aside, I can never hide my love of Brown Brogues , who have remained ramshackle despite playing about three gigs a day, a facet they seem to be starting to utilise as well.

"And there's always Mazes - and Young British Artists look like they're getting their stuff together after a year in hibernation too - whilst Star Slinger is certainly destined for much greater things than opening up the occasional show at The Deaf Institute."

So does he think he has backed winners both on and off the list? He said that he "would be surprised" if any of them 'made it big'.

"There's so little money in music that there's almost no chance that any band is going to get further than a first album or a few limited run vinyl pressings.

"The best bands are the ones that don't stick around for too long, anyway.

"It would be nice if some of them could make a living doing what they love, but there's so much competition and the rewards are quickly diminishing, so it's more a case of fingers crossed than anything else."

The BBC Sound of 2011 longlist was published on Monday 6 December




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