Sure, it was great in 2008 but - despite what the 'papers might tell you - 2009 looks set to be equally as fine. Rather than let us rave at you about all the hot acts who might soon be pleasing your ears, though, DiS decided to get on the old electronic mail and ask our favourite labels what they've got in store for the year. From the horse's mouth, and all that.
The enthusiastic responses we got back suggest that maybe the record industry isn't all doom and gloom after all...
Moshi Moshi's 2009 is going to look a bit like this: one 16-piece band from San Francisco, birthed as a reggae band but now more like a hyper creative full-on pop orchestra with a desire to play the most entertaining shows known to man. This is Still Flyin' who are going to pick up where Architecture In Helsinki's In Case We Die left off. Norway's Casiokids are going to slowly craft and piece together enough of their songs to have an album by the end of the year and play a load more including an upcoming tour with Of Montreal. Slow Club are working on their first album which should be out by the summer and should be beautiful. We will have some more singles releases including ones from Cocknbullkid, Statik, Plugs and Transmography, plus we are also managing and developing a new artist called Friend. Stephen Bass
Video: Still Flyin' 'Good Thing Its A Ghost Town Around Here'
I will be honest, sending Sky Larkin to Seattle to work with John Goodmanson on an album was a bit of a shot in the dark but it felt right and they deserved a chance to make a record more than anyone we knew, so even though we didn’t know if we’d want to be the ones to put it out we packed them off to Grungeville. The results (out February 9th!) exceeded everyone involved’s expectations. I’ve been doing this a while now and I can honestly say I have never had a band come out of the studio with a record that was so far beyond what might have been hoped for beforehand, even including SFA’s Fuzzy Logic. From the minute an mp3 of 'Beeline' arrived with big guitars and so many hooks and soaring vocals we were absolutely in love and it is a testament to the album that having had it for nearly six months now we still listen to it every day for pleasure. It's a classic debut, a stunning record. First Aid Kit are sisters Johanna and Klara from Stockholm. I guess the first thing to get out of the way is yes, they are young (both just finishing school), but they are already writing words and melodies that seem completely timeless to me. I initially went to see them in Sweden just before Christmas last year after hearing a couple of demo tracks. The gig was meant to be at a cafe but for some reason was moved to an Alchoholics Anonymous hostel. Possibly the oddest place I’ve ever seen a show! But they came out with just an acoustic guitar, started singing together and my mouth fell open. I don’t know if it's a sibling thing or what but when they harmonise it reminds me of nothing less than the Everly Brothers and I get chills every single time. In the next year a lot has happened to them, much of it stemming from their amazing Fleet Foxes cover which became one of those internet phenomenon things and led ultimately to the two bands sharing a stage the other week. The Swedish EP that The Knife released has been beefed up a bit with the cover and three incredible videos live in the forest near their home which show off those voices magnificently - we’re putting it out at the end of Feb with a full length album later in the year. They’re back for a couple of shows during February half term and I would urge everyone to come and see them and fall in love like I did. Mark Bowen
Video: First Aid Kit 'You're Not Coming Home Tonight' (Live)
Last year was such a exciting one for us, with album releases including Radiohead, Vampire Weekend, Adele, The Raconteurs, Beck, Cool Kids and Friendly Fires. We're looking to continue that run this year with debuts from Magistrates and Golden Silvers. Magistrates, from the same Essex 'ends I grew up in, have created a truly soulful pop record, full of falsetto hooks and disco romance - you can't help but move to it. Golden Silvers’ psych-pop, meanwhile, is also a revelation. With only synth, bass and drums, their sound is remarkably full and tuneful, like The Seeds freaking out the Beatles. Also, our friends at Merok will be releasing the first album from New Jersey punks Titus Andronicus. The Airing Of Grievances is a literate and brutal indie punk record that will leave you questioning that Black Flag / Pogues / Camus inspired band you formed when you were 18 - Titus have done it better. Salvia will be releasing the breathtaking debut by Blue Roses, a Bronte inspired record of bewitching folk and swirling atmosphere. It’s a stunning mix of fragile, heartfelt songs full of fairytale lyrics delivered with tender, snowflake-like delicacy that transports the listener to a world far beyond the realms of every day life. Young Turks will be launching South London's The XX, with a debut single out in a couple of months with an album to follow. Recorded at the XL studio in a few weeks of midnight sessions, their debut is full of hushed and beautiful vocal duets, stark and sweet melancholy pop and inventive use of samplers - 'drummer' Jamie plays his live, like a finger played drumkit. Richard Onslow
Video: Titus Andronicus 'Titus Andronicus'