During 2014 and 2015, we closely followed three bands per year who we’d tipped for big things. Two years ago, Kettering psych-quartet Temples proved better than The Family Rain and Saint Raymond, whereas this year Wolf Alice have definitely trumped both Alvvays and Marmozets. We’ve spent the last couple of weeks intensely searching and identifying our top tips for success in 2016, ultimately deciding to select five acts instead of three. You can find out who we selected after the jump.
NOTHING BUT THIEVES
Over the course of the last twelve months, Nothing But Thieves have slowly but surely made a name for themselves. Hailing from Essex, the Conor Mason-fronted quintet released a stellar debut album in October which is set to be one of the year’s highlights. It didn’t top the charts much like Wolf Alice (our One to Watch for 2015) did, but it did incorporate an abundance of elements which injected a fresh sense of energy into modern day rock. Hit single Wake Up Call followed an anthemic route, whereas early track Ban All the Music goes full-on Jack White in its manic riffage. Combine that with the likes of the glam-infused Hostage and Painkiller’s pit-ready riffs and you have a band sure to take over the world one day. Other than Nothing But Thieves, there isn’t any other band around right now who are more likely to explode next year.
Filling in the heavier slot on our list this year is the brand new Can’t Swim, who debuted on Your Clothes’ infectious punky grooves last week. Having recently been signed to Pure Noise Records, the New Jersey quartet will release their debut EP Death Deserves a Name next February. Frontman Chris Loporto’s intense vocals are the focal point on Your Clothes, with his vocals underpinned by abrasive rhythms and gritty guitars courtesy of drummer Danny, guitarist Chez and bassist Greg. Although the quartet haven’t got a lot to say for themselves just yet (as it stands, the band have a mere 500 fans on Facebook), their signing to Pure Noise Records says enough about the promise which is accompanying their subtle rise. Can’t Swim will be one of your favourite heavy bands next year, and there’s no way of stopping them.
Jeremy Loops is not your usual musician. The South African multi-instrumentalist cut his teeth in the city of Cape Town, combining his musical endeavours with his organization Greenpop. The organization battles deforestation in South Africa, and sees Loops (who supported Twenty One Pilots earlier this autumn) travel to the deepest corners of South Africa in pursuit of his goals. Smash hit Down South (featuring Motheo Moleko) is already a fan favourite, also forming an integral part of his interaction-heavy live show. During them, he’s accompanied by a backing band for some parts, whereas other parts see him go solo and utilize samples. Loops is by no means conventional, but he’s definitely exceptional.
Now, BØRNS have already been around a little while, yet 2015 really was the year in which people started taking notice. Fronted and helmed by the treehouse-loving Garret Borns, his music sways between soothing pop and electro-tinged indie. Debut album Dopamine came out back in October, and its eclectic combination of the aforementioned styles lived up to all the hype which debut EP Candy (and its accompanying tours) built. The fascinating thing about BØRNS’ music is its ability to reach such a varied selection of audiences, with the potential reach ranging from indie festivals (see this year’s set at Down the Rabbit Hole) to pop compilation CDs. BØRNS have already been conquering the airwaves in some territories, however don’t be surprised if this extends well across the globe in 2016.
Closing out our list this year is the London-based duo Formation, who have slowly but surely been setting the UK on fire with their infectious blend of electro funk and soul. “Only got six bullets left, gotta keep one for herself” sings frontman Will Ritson on Under the Tracks, with his brother Matt forming the other half of the sibling team. Standout track Hangin is a perfect mixture of disco bass, rhythmic percussion and anthemic vocals, whereas debut track Young Ones makes heavy-use of cowbells and visceral club beats. Whereas the former would fit in extremely well alongside a selection of the finest retro funk circa 1982, the latter sounds like the kind of banger which fellow sibling duo Disclosure would’ve come up with. Formation are probably the least likely to break through instantly, however don’t be surprised if they suddenly start popping up out of nowhere.
Compared to last year, our 2016 list was extremely hard to put together. This obviously means that there are quite some bands who didn’t make the final cut. Amongst our remaining choices, you’ll find some of the hottest acts in Holland, as well as some of the most exciting bands from around the world. Representing Dutch music we’ve got The Mysterons and PAUW, both of whom spent this year proving exactly why they deserve a chance outside of Holland. Elsewhere, WSTR and Boston Manor are both flying the pop-punk flag, whereas indie favourites Kassassin Street are yet again frontrunners for success next year. The Southsea based band featured in our longlist last year, and the hype is still bubbling up. There are obviously plenty more bands to look out for in the coming months, however we think that the aforementioned ten are definitely going to do 2016 justice.
Listen to a full playlist with all ten bands here.