The Blog Sound of 2016 Long List

Blog Sound of 2016 long listAh, December. A month's worth of end of year lists. Here, we present the Blog Sound of 2016 long list: the collaboration of 58 UK-based blogs, each voting for their three favourite emerging acts, resulting in the representation of a staggering 142 acts in total.

If nothing else, the Blog Sound of 2016 proves that – once again – the bloggers of the UK have had a hard time agreeing with one another. Apparently the yet-to-be-announced winner received 8.5% of the vote. DrunkenWerewolf’s three votes, revealed later this month, did not make the cut. This has happened a few times previously. I did consider not participating in the Blog Sound of 2016, not because throwing my toys out of the pram seemed reasonable, but because the long list increasingly doesn’t represent DrunkenWerewolf’s tastes. I’m reluctant to promote acts we wouldn’t ordinarily cover, just because others would. Fortunately Blog Sound of 2016 encourages honest opinion and critique of the results from all of the blogs involved. This is, after all, more of a social experiment than a bona fide judging panel.

Perhaps the major issue is that the word ‘emerging’ is not defined for participating blogs, beyond a few basic criteria, including the lack of a fully released album, and having no presence in the charts (unlike the corresponding and often criticised BBC Sound of list).

To me, ‘emerging’ means artists who’ve only just broken out of their local scene to secure a national presence. They’re likely to lack representation, certainly won’t be signed to a popular independent or major label, and will be unknown to those of us who don’t engulf ourselves in music every waking hour of the day. Other bloggers don’t seem to agree, voting for artists who already have a large following and decent presence online, sometimes even a substantial budget and major behind their campaign. Some of the artists on the Blog Sound of 2016 long list featured on the 2015 long list. Many featured elsewhere that same year. To me, the Blog Sound of 2016 long list seems a little bit… Outdated. But maybe I’ve had my head stuck too long in the new music sand. It’s easy to lose perspective when you listen to upcoming artists every day.

That said, there are artists I'm happy to endorse on this long list. In another life I may have even voted for them. Listen to the Blog Sound of 2016 long list below.

AQUILO

Fans bemoaning the lack of Northern artists on the BBC Sound of 2016 list should be happy to see Lancashire based duo Aquilo feature here. Personally, I've always found their slick, commercial pop ballads hard to swallow, and consequently I've ignored them despite heavy PR support. To compound my dislike, there are already plenty of established artists doing a better job within the same niche, and bloggers seem to universally hate some of them. What makes Aquilo so different? I've no idea.

AURORA

I overlooked Aurora on my own ballot, not because I don’t rate her ethereal Scandi-pop, but because I thought her contribution to John Lewis’ 2015 Christmas advert catapulted her away from the ‘emerging’ byline. By now I’m pretty sure everyone in the country has seen the 'Man on the Moon' advert, and so heard Aurora's quaint (though actually a little misconceiving) cover of Oasis. How anyone can claim Aurora is still emerging following that, while keeping a straight face, I do not know. Anyway, here's to hoping she's bagged 8.5% of the vote.

BILLIE MARTEN

As young as she is popular since her inclusion on the BBC Sound of 2016 list, it’s a pleasure to find Communion favourite and upcoming singer songwriter Billie Marten on this long list. Understated and beautiful, she brings acoustic music back to its roots without compromising her unique talent.  If she fails to win top spot from the Blogs or the Beeb, she can still expect a SOAK-sized career of the future, I’m sure.

GEORGE COSBY

Before this list was emailed to me a few days ago, I had never heard of George Cosby. Despite airplay on BBC Radio One under the guidance of Huw Stephens, I still can't honestly recall having seen his name mentioned elsewhere. It seems Cosby is truly an emerging artist - thanks in no small part to his Benjamin Clementine style baritone, which, in his case, is matched by a guitar rather than piano. Stylishly on-point and alarmingly undiscovered, this is a very fine instance of the Blog Sound of 2016 doing its job right.

HÆLOS

My initial reaction was the barf at the notion of yet another band testing my keyboard incompetence by threatening to rise to popularity. However on further exploration, HÆLOS take the best of trip hop and roll with it, successfully obtaining a sound Colour the Atlas have striven to develop for years. As a music fan from Bristol, to me this seems neither innovative nor massively exciting, but it's unlikely to ever send me screaming from the room. Just don't ask me how to say 'HÆLOS' out loud.

LISS

Sorry, this is straight up balls. It's The Neighbourhood of the list. I demand to know what has happened, and who considers this incredibly annoying vocal to be anything other than terrible.

LOYLE CARNER

Like Marten, Lyle Carner features on the BBC Sound of 2016 long list as well as the Blog Sound of 2016 long list - but under an entirely different genre. Like Liss, I'm not able to accurately describe this music - but for an entirely different reason. I have no understanding of rap music, but I will say that from what I've heard so far, Loyle Carner is no a misogynist. Which is nice.

MABEL

Heavily influenced by 90s r'n'b and the likes of Mia et al - whether she realises it or not - Mabel is a London based artist and the daughter of Neneh Cherry, who claims to make soulful pop. Either the people representing her are too young to remember the original Men in Black theme tune word-for-word, or... No, that's probably it. This isn't innovative or massively exciting, but if it comes on when I'm drunk, I'll probably sing along to it.

MURA MASA

Another band to feature on the BBC Sound of 2016 long list (another one). At this point you might question whether the crossover in music echoes in the Blog Sound of 2016 long list's panel. Rest assured it does not: none of us got to vote for Auntie. Apparently it's just that Mura Masa have a magic tonic they've yet to slip into my water supply, because this sounds like someone pratting around in Audacity to me.

MT WOLF

This London trio found themselves gaining traction a few years back, but sold it all up the river when they split shortly after their inclusion on the Blog Sound of 2014 long list (thanks for that guys). They feature here again with the same atmospheric, almost angelic contribution to alt and progressive rock. It's not my thing, but I can imagine fans of Antony and the Johnsons will love it.

NAO

Also on the BBC Sound of 2016. This is getting a bit representative, isn't it? Sorry, not my fault. Creating r'n'b fused pop music with a trendy urban finish, this is liable to be the only time Noa will ever feature on DrunkenWerewolf.

PLEASURE BEACH

A rare and admirable contribution from Northern Ireland, Pleasure Beach well represent their scene in a scolding reminder the rest of the UK can be a bit sh*t at championing our friends west of Wales. Drowsy indie pop without the upbeat nonsense and drawing comparison to The Jesus and Mary Chain; Belfast's Pleasure Beach are hard to categorise within a few sentences, but definitely worthy your time. I'll be keeping an eye on this lot.

THE BIG MOON

We bet Von Pip had something to do with this. Grrrl-y indie pop that rubs shoulders with record label Fortuna POP! and the Brit Pop scene, The Big Moon create relatively standard but still catchy cannon fodder for the war on gender inequality in the music industry. Not that the Blog Sound of 2016 has a hard time remaining unbiased when it comes to that.

THE JAPANESE HOUSE

Having championed The Japanese House countless times on the site already, we can hardly complain the trio - led by songwriter and mainstay Amber Bain - have been included on the Blog Sound of 2016 long list. We can however, draw your attention back to the definition of 'emerging'. The Japanese House may not boast the same national success as Aurora, but with 13k fans on Facebook, they are decidedly better known than Cosby and Mabel, who have only 1k each on the social networking site. Just putting it out there: it seems a little unfair to pitch these artists under the same roof.

YAK

Taking their cues from The Fat White Family and having heavily toured the UK toilet circuit for the past few years, as a support act for notable indie rock bands and headlines themselves, there's no denying Yak deserve a place on this list. That's a nice thing to say, isn't it?

The Blog Sound of 2016 long list compiles the votes of the below listed blogs, and is organised by Breaking More Waves. The short list and winner will be announced on 5th January 2016.

A Pocket Full Of Seeds, A World Of Music And Madness, Across The Kitchen Table, Alphabet Bands, Beat Surrender, Bratfaced LDN, Breaking More Waves, Brighton Music Blog, Buzz Unlimited, Cruel Rhythm, Chord Blossom, Daisy Digital, Dive, Details Of My Life, Dots And Dashes, DrunkenWerewolf, Digital Shuffle, Echoes And Dust, Electronic Rumors, Encore Northern Island, Even The Stars, Faded Glamour, Get Into This, Get Some, God Is In The TV, I Love Pie, Just Music I Like, Kemptation, Killing Moon, Little Indie Blogs, Love Music: Love Life, Metaphorical Boat, Monkey Boxing, Music Liberation, Music Like Dirt, Music Umpire, Neon Filler, Not Many Experts, Popped Music, Pursuit Of Sound, Rave Child, Record Rewind Play, Scientists Of Sound, Some Of It Is True, Spectral Nights, Sweeping The Nation, Synth Glasgow, The Blue Walrus, The Devil Has The Best Tuna, The Electricity Club, The Evening's Empire, The Mad Mackerel, The VPME, This Must Be Pop, Thoughts On Music, Too Many Blogs, What If I Had A Music Blog, When The Gramophone Rings

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4 Responses to “The Blog Sound of 2016 Long List”

  1. Robert Manning 03/12/2015 at 8:55 am #

    I have not listened to the tracks (and probably wont) BUT your write up is brilliant! 🙂

    • Tiffany Daniels 03/12/2015 at 10:24 am #

      Thank you! If you do end up listening to any of them, I’d definitely give Billie Marten, George Cosby and Pleasure Beach a go as bare minimum. Unfortunately I doubt the second two will win due to lack of exposure in 2015, but at least Billie’s in with a chance.

  2. Craig (Fishinasub.com) 05/01/2016 at 9:18 pm #

    Always howling away to the Japanese House after I went to see them in Glasgow. Was not expecting the kind of noise they could generate live. Had a listen to a few tracks. Sort of judge the book by the cover sadly. Loving the sound of Liss, great pick :).

    • Tiffany Daniels 06/01/2016 at 8:05 am #

      We definitely didn’t pick Liss I’m afraid! Not keen on them at all. Our votes went to Lionface, Flight Brigade and Miya Folick (none of whom made the cut, though we’re partial to a little Japanese House ourselves).

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