Ones to Watch in 2016

Ones to Watch in 2016Oh, what a year, and what a task this Ones to Watch in 2016 poses. More so than ever before, an army of eager hopefuls clamour at the doors of success in 2016. Ironically, in tandem with the upsurge in new musical talent, my tastes seem less aligned with the majority. For example, I absolutely do not like the headache-inducing noise that is the oh-so-popular Mura Masa. Why this disassociation with other blogs has come to pass is ultimately up to you to decide.

If you’re new to this, in advanced warning, I have a slightly annoying knack for tipping musicians who are due to create a noise not within one year, as is the point of the article, but two. To prove my point: in 2011 I tipped Bastille, who released their breakthrough debut album Bad Blood in 2013. My 2014 list included Petite Meller, who is just now gaining traction on MTV and flaunting herself on the pages of Vogue. Prior to that, Laura Marling featured in 2005 (she released her debut in 2007) and Caitlin Rose fervour took hold in 2008 (two years before she truly captured the UK’s attention with Own Side Now). The list goes on.

To make matters worse, the time (or rather prediction) lapse can cause my tips to become redundant. This has very sadly proved to be the case with serial DrunkenWerewolf top tip Sophie Jamieson, who devastatingly stepped away from the mic a few months ago.

Rest assured I’m not highlighting this fact to show off, rather instil some faith in what might otherwise seem an unruly selection of unknown artists. If you come to doubt my Ones to Watch in 2016 nominations, listed below; stick with me, and maybe bookmark this post for a few months’ time. Just make sure to pay proper attention. As long as no one cops out on me, I’ll be proved right eventually.

DrunkenWerewolf's Ones to Watch in 2016

10// Saltwater Sun

Saltwater Sun took an admirable stab at the limelight in the summer of 2015, with the release of their lead song, “Habit on my Mind”. The single captured the attention of critics up and down the country, thanks to the gloriously nonchalant, yet Brit Pop friendly vocals of front woman Jennifer Stearne. The South London act’s more recent contribution, “Wild”, proves there’s more to the band than ditzy, BBQ-ready tunes. Think Nina Persson reborn on a Melbourne beach.

9// Actor

That rare breed: a commercially attractive pop band with a genuinely interesting musical heritage. Leeds-based three-piece Actor formed in an abandoned bomb factory and carry a decidedly punk, DIY ethos underneath their otherwise pop perfect belt. Drawing influence from 80s chart topping sensations such as Blondie, as well as the emerging alt pop scene; recent support from Fresh on the Net and BBC Introducing qualifies the trio for ample coverage to come, and justifiably so.

8// Jarbird

An, “Oh I know this voice!” moment experienced a few short months ago with the release of their debut single, “Such is the House”; one-time Pengilly’s member and front man Ric Hollingberry returns with his new project, Jarbird. Also comprising band mates Lara, Jim and Rami - Jarbird successfully aim to create music that defies genre, though for the sake of description we’ll assign them to the folktronica bracket. There’s also, no less excitedly, a Michael Jackson quality to “Such is the House”. The track can be streamed above.

7// Cross Record

Already signed to prosperous indie rock label Ba Da Bing Records, Texan band Cross Record rather aptly live in a place called Dripping Springs. Sounding as sadly rejected as their hometown’s name suggests, husband and wife duo Emily Cross and Dan Duszynski create haunting, atmospheric lullabies to wet your pants to. Like Daughter with an aggressive bite (yay), this is sure to satisfy brooding weirdo-folk and subtly-progressive rock fans alike. Their debut Wabi-Sabi is due out in January 2016, so they'll perhaps defy my two year rule.

6// Harrison Brome

Another musician from across the pond with a snarl and synth to his name; Canadian artist Harrison Brome clocked us over the head when the released his debut single “Fill Your Brains” back in June 2015. At just 19 years old, the Vancouver native has a soulful voice well beyond his years, causing some (not us) to draw comparison to rhythm and blues, as well as James Blake. Brome was recently listed on Spotify’s Ones to Watch playlist, making him a rare, yet deservedly popular addition to this list.

5// M A R I N E

This is where things start to get really serious. M A R I N E, love ‘em, have firmly held their position on DrunkenWerewolf’s imaginary corkboard for the past 12 months, and we’ve made sure to tell you all about their endeavours in 2015. From Sofar Sounds sessions to premieres and exclusive news, our support of this soul pop four-piece from London is not enough - their beautifully strung harmonies, combined with lyrics rooted in mythology, make them Ones to Watch in 2016 and then some. Single “Sirens” carves a path towards national recognition, gutsy vocals and all.

4// Mieke

If ever there was an artist crying out for a major label deal to blast her into the stratosphere… Toronto’s Elissa Mielke, aka Mieke creates heart-breaking, yet empowering ballads to shock the world into submission. The pianist’s 2015 self-titled debut EP followed a period of reflection for the young singer songwriter, who took time out to travel the world, and learn and develop her craft. The result is a readymade package and regardless of commercial support, we’re all for it.

3// Miya Folick

The third and last US artist to feature on our Ones to Watch in 2016 list; Buddhist Miya Folick rubs shoulders with Mieke in more ways than one. Equally spiritual, this solo singer songwriter also goes in for opaque lyrics, set to tales of getting too drunk to have a coherent argument with her boyfriend. Words from the heart and soul, Folick’s 2015 debut EP Strange Darling and a successful CMJ performance makes her eligible for inclusion on end of year lists everywhere.

2// Flight Brigade

Having sat on this recommendation for some time, I first witnessed Flight Brigade on stage by chance several years ago. Although they impressed me at the time, the wait was perhaps a good idea. The Hampshire-based 7-piece have honed their sound into something quite astounding; an electro pop outfit who are immediately accessible, yet also comprehensive in their development away from the folk rock bracket. The Stealing Fire EP and a short headline tour set tongues wagging at the end of 2015, and a debut album has been promised shortly.

1// Lionface

For the first time ever, a Bristol band tops the bill to complete DrunkenWerewolf's Ones to Watch in 2016 list. The current (and probably final) incarnation of front woman Kat Marsh's one-time solo project, Lionface has morphed into a musical monster over the past few years. First came drum and bass, and now, in the latter half of 2015, guitar has been added to the mix: creating a swell of sound that's so loud it's punched a new junction into the M4.

Performances at festivals across the south of England this year no double gained the four-piece new fans, but it's new EP Battle that really demands the champion title. With single "Vampire" leading the way, Lionface successfully smash the hard edge of rock with electro and pop to create an empowering, unforgettable sound.


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