New York Daily News (MCT)
Most of them haven't even released their first albums yet &8212#; not in this country, anyway. But that hasn't stopped the world's early adapters from murmuring their names with awe. Below we bring you those singers and musicians, poised to splash down on our shores, each graced and cursed with the charge of advance buzz. Consider them music's new faces of `07.
Album: "Hats Off to Buskers"
Release date: March 13
Sound: Brisk and catchy snot-nosed punk-pop, fired by the singer's blatant Scottish brogue. Even their ballads have kick as well as melodic flair.
Background: The four high-spirited lads (average age: 18) grew up in Dundee, Scotland, where they played Sex Pistols and Squeeze covers. Their own songs land in the garage-punk zone of the Undertones or Libertines (they were signed by the same guy who discovered that scrappy band).
Prognosis: If the world comes to its senses, the View will become the Arctic Monkeys of `07.
Album: "Ocean Drive"
Release date: Feb. 7
Sound: Erotically attuned, nooky-worthy R&B. Is there any other kind?
Background: Austin has already scaled the Everest of the charts, at least as a songwriter. He co-penned Mariah Carey's hits "We Belong Together," "It's Like That" and "Don't Forget About Us," as well as Mary J. Blige's smash "Be Without You," plus songs on Chris Brown's breakthrough debut.
Prognosis: Austin's songs can get pretty cliched (think R. Kelly, only lower), but they've got a proven commercial spark.
THE CAT EMPIRE
Album: "Two Shoes"
Release date: Feb. 6
Sound: A manic mix of blustery Afro-Cuban jazz, scratchy hip hop and inebriated pub rock. In short, they sounds like no one else.
Background: Melbourne's The Cat Empire started as a trio in late `99, but they kept expanding and tweaking their sound into a more-is-more approach. In a single song, you'll hear Stax-like horns over scratching turntables, a piano that sounds like something off an old Faces song, and vocals that could have come from AC/DC. This six-piece Aussie band recorded their debut in an unlikely spot: the same Cuban studios that brought the world the Buena Vista Social Club.
Prognosis: Ace fodder for lovers of hyperactive musical polyglots.
Album: "Alright, Still"
Release date: Jan. 30
Sound: Bright Brit-pop with a cheeky bravado.
Background: The 22-year-old London native made the most of her Myspace page, earning tens of thousands of "friends" with her demos drawn to her sarcastic lyrics and insousiant music. That led to airplay on national British radio and a record deal last year. Her debut CD became a U.K. hit while Allen got equal attention for her mud-slinging blog.
Prognosis: Though British pop smashes often fizzle here, Allen already has the U.S. press on her side, and God knows American radio could use something sassy right now.
Album: "The Undisputed Truth"
Release date: April
Sound: Hard-core hip hop with a scent of soul.
Background: Born Ali Newman, the rapper known as Brother Ali couldn't be whiter. (He's an albino.) But this Minneapolis-based MC has built a devoted following for his two indie CDs over the past five years. He has also opened for hip-hop stars as credible as Rakim and Kid Capri.
Prognosis: His work isn't honed, or slick enough, to bum-rush the mainstream. But he should catch major props, and chatter, when his latest CD drops this spring.
Album: "Back of My Lac"
Release date: March 6
Sound: R&B with a nod to old-school soul plus a dash of street rap.
Background: A Washington, D.C-born singer, Holiday is the son of a preacher man but a devotee of R&B boy groups, from Boyz II Men to Jodeci. As a teen, he formed the act 295 (named after the D.C.-area highway), but after they broke up three years ago, he went solo and soon got signed to the potent management behind Ciara and Teairra Mari.
Prognosis: With his good looks, baby-thug attitude and silky voice, Holiday could become R&B's next post-teen idol.
Album: "Wincing the Night Away"
Release date: Jan. 23
Sound: The place where shimmering indie rock meets singer-songwriter pop.
Background: The Albuquerque-born band, led by songwriter James Mercer, became underground heroes with their first two albums on Seattle's Sub Pop label. But they didn't sideswipe mainstream success until two of their songs turned up on the platinum "Garden State" soundtrack. In the time since, their music has appeared everywhere from episodes of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" to a Guinness ad.
Prognosis: Brilliant, especially since this weekend they'll be anointed with an appearance on "Saturday Night Live."
Album: "These Streets"
Release date: Jan. 30
Sound: Classic northern U.K. soul. The scratchy voiced Nutini sounds like a young Terry Reid mixed with prime Rod Stewart.
Background: Nutini's name may suggest an Italian soccer star, but he was born in Scotland (his dad's ancestors hail from Tuscany). At 18, the handsome lad nailed a recording contract. By 19, he had a U.K. hit with the catchy and urgent "Jenny Don't Be Hasty," about an older woman (she was 22).
Prognosis: Given his talent, looks and critical cred, Nutini could be the biggest Scottish breakout since KT Tunstall.
THE BIRD AND THE BEE
Album: "The Bird and the Bee"
Release date: Jan. 23
Sound: Helium-light pop-jazz with a hipster's edge. Think: Everything But the Girl meets "The Girl From Ipanema."
Background: L.A. musician Greg Kurstin formed the duo with local vocalist Inara George (daughter of Little Feet's late Lowell George). The group bonded on their love of American jazz and Brazilian tropicalia. Kurstin honed his chops playing with stars like Beck and synth pioneer Robert Moog.
Prognosis: Good, once their catchy ditty "Again & Again" finds its inevitable place in some buzzworthy TV ad.
Album: To be announced
Release date: Spring
Sound: Electro-clash, but with tunes as hot as their beat.
Background: The New York duo of Mike Furey (vocals) and Tom Napack (synth) met in the city's electro-dance scene. They fanned a buzz with their song "The Rejection," which hit No. 2 on the iTunes dance chart.
Prognosis: A club hit, if an unlikely pop crossover.
(c) 2007, New York Daily News.
Visit the Daily News online at http://www.nydailynews.com/
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.