A few of you know I was raised in a folkie household. I remember being taken as a child to see a Pete Seeger concert and somehow we were invited up on stage. I distinctly remember that I was small enough that I could stand upright and the top of my head didn't touch the bottom of Seeger's banjo. That was a bit intimidating.
That said, William Fitzsimmons is far and away the scariest-looking folk singer I've ever seen. His music, though, is the same sort of gentle comfortable folkie melodies I used to fall asleep listening to. Even when the songs are laid over a modern dance beat, he still seems to be whispering in your ear. He's got a lovely voice and the arrangements on these tunes are low-key and minimal. Very pleasant listening.
Back in January I pointed to Girl Talk's new mega-mix album so technically this isn't a new sound. Instead, it's a new concept - an attempt to produce an album length video to go with "All Day". It's a Kickstarter project, meaning they're trying to crowdsource funding. Some of the dancing is quite good and I like the concept, though I'm not taken with the cinematography. Maybe if they get enough funding they'll hire a better cameraman. If you aren't taken with the album after these 8 minutes I don't know what to say; it's some brilliant remixing.
Clare Maguire is another of those singers whose voice is WAY the hell better than her music. The first track I heard from her (yes, I know I'm late to this party) was overproduced, autotuned, and generally not that interesting. Except, there's something her voice. She's got a ton of power in there, which makes her interesting. You can hear it better in the first video, which is a live recording, than you can in most of the official heavily edited tracks. It's sort of soul and sort of southern, and whoever is trying to force her into an Enya-esque mold should cut it the hell out. Fire half the string players, give her some brass backing, and turn the volume WAY up.
The second one ("Ain't Nobody") is better in part because those strings are muted way down and she gets more sultry and earthy with her vocals. The annoying part is that I can't figure out whose song this is - it's a cover but my google-fu is failing to turn up the original author. I expect a voice like this to give me real chills and she's very close.
Aroraborealis linked to the first song - El as part of a note on dubstep (oontz!) and there's definite downtempo feel, along with the heavy hard bass and electronica fills that I expect in dubstep, but Elli Goulding's voice gives this a much more vocal trance feel than traditional dubstep. And that's OK - I like her voice a lot; in particular I like this dubstep mix better than the original (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NKUpo_xKyQ&feature=related) which is a bit too synthpop.
I was surprised to see that I hadn't linked to her "Starry Eyed" before (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PULdPep_xfs&feature=related) since I was listening to it a lot this time last year. The second link is to a fairly popular remix of the tune. I don't think Goulding is in the same class as Maguire, but she's still got potential.
Bat For Lashes covers a Depeche Mode classic. I like this cover in part because she's vocally keeping true to the eerie emotionality of the original while her use of novel instruments like the harpsichord give it a unique twist.
Pomplamousse is a cover artist like few others. The indie duo have a unique brand - small space, single-camera Web vids of them performing the songs they're covering - and a peculiar style. He seems unable to sit still, ever, and as far as I can tell she doesn't actually blink. At least, not on camera. Her voice reminds me of the clean, tight female harmony groups such as The Andrews Sisters (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Andrews_Sisters) that were popular in the middle of the last century. It's kind of amusing to hear modern pop hits like Gaga's "Telephone" and Beyonce's "Single Ladies" rendered in that style.