MUSIC: Can punk or rock push divas off the top?

Fri Jan 6, 2012 8:35am EST
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - Never heard of Milk Music? That may be about to change after the unsigned punk rockers from Olympia, Washington appeared on a leading music magazine's acts-to-watch list.

Rising stars like Lana Del Rey, A$AP Rocky and Howler are also tipped to make it big this year and beyond as pop pickers and record labels search the airwaves for hitmakers of tomorrow.

With guitar bands and solo male artists featuring so prominently in a series of new music polls published at the start of the year, chart-topping divas like Lady Gaga, Adele and Beyonce could see their crowns slip.

And once again the United States looks like setting the pace, leaving Britain, the other global music powerhouse, playing catch-up.

"From doing this issue what I've realized is that there is a really wide scope of stuff out there," said Matt Wilkinson, new music editor at British music magazine NME who has just compiled a list of 100 bands to watch in 2012.

"In the last 12 months the United States has been on top of its game in terms of guitar bands and indie music so I kind of hope and expect the UK to react to that this year," he told Reuters. "We are in a bit of a lull at the moment over here."

One leading female act set for stardom in 2012 is Del Rey, real name Elizabeth Grant, an American who caused a stir last year with her haunting YouTube hit "Video Games."

Britain's NME music magazine decided not to feature her in its 2012 survey because it felt she was already established -- in fact many acts on this month's "next big thing" lists are well on their way to fame and fortune.   Continued...