Best of 3: Top Tips for 2016


We may be late to the party but now we’ve finished rinsing last year’s playlists and the hangovers have faded, it’s time to make our musical predictions for the year ahead. 2016 is the year of the monkey and whilst that means a return from a certain Arctic Monkey as well as Gorillaz, there’s some less familiar faces you ought to get to know. Here’s who we’re putting our money to creep into your ‘most played’ this year.

Josh Shreeve (Editor)

1. Blaenavon

It’s one of the hardest names to get your tongue around but by the time you get your lobes around their woozy riffs and trembling drums, the small Welsh town which they take their name from needn’t matter. The trio have released a string of EPs since 2013 but having recently left college are now ready to release their debut album on Transgressive Records and pump their stadium-sized sound through the most modest of venues. Latest EP Miss World is a near perfect product of quivering vocals which would prick up Orlando Weeks ears and give the guitar riffs of Transgressive brothers, Foals, a run for their money.

2. Loyle Carner

3. Formation

Alex Walker

1. Sunflower Bean 

The psych rock trio, hailing from New York, have just announced their debut album ‘Human Ceremony’. After releasing a stella EP Show Me Your Seven Secrets and debut single I Hear Voices, their sound is a cocktail of haunting vocals and heavily distorted bass. Having just finished a string of UK dates supporting the Vaccines and a one off show at the Moth Club in London, they pull off an electrifying live show and will be ones to watch on the festival circuit this summer.

2. The Magic Gang

3. The Big Moon

Rhiannon Topham

1. Crows

I first came across four-piece Crows when they supported Wolf Alice, pre-My Love is Cool. Instrumentally, they have potential that echoes what the Arctic Monkeys produced in the early stages of their career; there’s the same infectious aggression and arrogance. The lead singer also sounds and dances like Ian Curtis, which gets a yes from me.

2. Jack Garratt

3. Nai Harvest

Ethan Weatherby

1. Loyle Carner

The South Londoner is a gem in the 2016 crop of the self-fulfilling prophecy that is the BBC’s ‘Sound Of’, though he’s already gained some prominence having rubbed shoulders with Joey BadA$$, Kate Tempest and MF Doom. Carner’s draw lies in the simplicity of his scope: rattling off emotive tales of family, pain and state of mind in smooth and warm tones rarely found in hip-hop. Recent cut Ain’t Nothing Changed is a bitter lament about the uncertainty of the future, over a beat indebted to the percussive, jazz-tinged boomings of A Tribe Called Quest. Check out his 2014 EP A Little Late.

2. Kojey Radical

3. Sunflower Bean

Lewis Evans

1. Blossoms

The Stockport quintet are beginning to garner a glowing reputation for themselves, with their highly infectious brand of psych-pop not going unnoticed by those in the higher echelons. On the back of selling out numerous shows, their success has been rewarded with them being granted a supporting slot for The Libertines in 2016, showing that their retro inspired guitar pop is making a mark. Definitely one to keep an eye on in the coming year.

2. Mura Masa

3. Black Honey

Liz Stephens

1. The Japanese House

The Japanese House has headlined my winter soundtrack so far. With a single release just in November and a whole bunch of UK dates in the new year supporting 1975 and solo shows, prepare to hear a lot more of the insane vocals and musically layered goodness. 

2. Jack Garratt 

3. Mt. Wolf 

Daniel Stockdale

1. Mura Masa

During a Spotify binge a few months back, I stumbled across 19-year old Mura Masa and since then the producer and multi-instrumentalist has become a firm favourite within my playlists (and many others). Love For That, his most recent release, sees him combine with another future star, Shura, to provide a perfectly odd dance track through the mix of synths and strings. The start of 2016 looks bright for Mura Masa having already featured on the BBC Sound of 2016 poll as well as a first UK headline tour. With a date at the Great Escape in May already announced don’t be surprised if he becomes a staple of the festival circuit this summer

2. Spring King

3. Blossoms

Will Fisher

1. Spring King 

The first band to be played on Apple’s Beats 1, Spring King have made a big impact so far, and are undoubtedly going to gain huge popularity in 2016. The Manchester four-piece have a raucous yet controlled sound. With infectious riffs, and catchy choruses the band offer a little bit of fun and originality to any listener.

2. Nao

3. Panama Wedding

Listen to our definitive list of who you should be listening to in 2016 in this nifty little playlist below:

About The Author

Josh Shreeve

Director of VLM and radio man at Forge Radio. Studies journalism at the University of Sheffield.

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