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Two years ago, I ran a series of guest posts from people involved in Irish music featuring their top 5 Irish acts at that moment. This time around, I thought I’d shift the focus to international and ask a similar question – “Who are your top 5 new artists of 2011?”. Kicking off today and running into next week, musicians, bloggers, record shop owners, journalists, bookers and radio presenters will be answering that question.

Alan Reilly is the man behind the new music Tumblr Bitzl R which takes a look at new worldwide artists. There’s always things on there I’ve never heard of before. Reilly is also a co-editor alongside myself at State.ie. Here are his five essential new artists of 2011:

1. New Look


A nuptially bound synth pop pair from Hamilton, Canada, Adam Pavao and Sara Ruba go by the name of New Look. Contrary to their high street namesake, there’s nothing cheap and disposable about this couple. They don’t follow trends but work with sophisticated stylistics and their debut LP is a pitch perfect testament. Initially unassuming, this is a record that unfolds with time – but not because it is lofty or overly arty. The melodies are such that they breathe and grow, sounding fresh with each listen. And with each listen electronic subtleties surface. Ruba’s voice is glassy sharp, layered and laid over Pavao’s retro key arpeggios. ‘The Ballad’ is an earnest digital poem with popping rhythms, ‘Nap On The Bow’ is infectious with crisp drum pad beats and luring r&b cries and ‘Teen Need’ is vintage sounding in the key of Janet Jackson (who the pair pay tribute to on a separate track ‘Janet’, a sweet cover of ‘He Doesn’t Even Know That I’m Alive’). A timeless classic three years in the making, put simply, New Look (the band) have fashioned the album of the year.