Whilst the years end in the world of music writing is always a time for looking backward over the year that was, it’s also as good a time as ever to look forward and get all crystal ball on you by predicting what we think is going to be the music that soundtracks 2016.
Making a rod for our own back come 2099, we’ve decided to take last year’s 15 for 2015, and make it 16 for 2016; so here are sixteen acts we think are going to release some bloody brilliant music in the coming year. As there’s no accounting for the taste of the public at large, we’re not expecting masses of critical acclaim or commercial success to flood the way of each and every one of them, but we do think they’ll fill your ears with something wonderful. So without further ado let us commence introductions to For The Rabbits’ Class of 2016.
WOLF GIRL (Odd Box Records)
South London, garage pop four-piece Wolf Girl have quietly been causing waves on the DIY scene through a series of highly-energetic and utterly engrossing live shows. They formed back in September 2013, having met whilst playing in what they describe as a series of ‘awkward teenage bands’, and they went on to release a debut EP, Mama’s Boy via Soft Power Records.
2016 looks like being a big year for Wolf Girl, with the upcoming release of their debut album, We Tried, via the always reliable Odd Box Records. The record seamlessly takes their intoxicatingly lo-fi live sound and ties it to tape. Middlesexy is a fuzz-pop gem, Skinned Teen Zine Machine a Long Blondes-like garage racket, and title track We Tried a jangling joy, with guitarist Chris taking the mic and lending his Magnetic Field’s tinged vocals to proceedings. That said it’s still previous single Deep Sea Diver that’s got us truly hooked, Becky’s innuendo laden vocals and the gorgeous angular-guitar line combining with a seriously energetic racket from the rhythm section to form one of the most exciting singles we’ve heard in a long time. If this lot get the exposure they deserve expect to be hearing an awful lot about Wolf Girl in the coming year, the sky’s the limit.
We Tried is out via Odd Box Records in March. Click HERE for upcoming Wolf Girl live dates.
Martha Ffion (Turnstile)
Glasgow based Claire Mackay makes music under her middle names Martha Ffion, which incorporates her Irish (grandmother Martha) and Welsh (Ffion was Welsh mother’s pick) routes, taking in a good sweep of the British Isles for influence. Martha self-released her debut EP, Go, back in 2014, but having signed to Turnstile, home to the like of Gruff Rhys, Cate Le Bon and Trust Fund, 2016 is looking likely to be the year Martha Ffion becomes a whole lot closer to a household name.
The process has already begun with the release of well received single, So Long. The Everly Brothers inspired slice of 1950’s balladeering, was a beautiful track, reminiscent of the likes of Caitlin Rose or Camera Obscura. The track saw her receive plenty of critical acclaim as well as a session for Marc Riley and whilst the plans for Martha Ffion in 2016 aren’t yet set in stone, we can see her getting a lot more attention over the coming year.
Martha Ffion has live dates coming up in February, click HERE for details.
Danish singer, songwriter and producer Troels Abrahamsen is already well known in his native Denmark, as result of releases as a solo artist under his own name, as well as being a member of gold-selling electro-rock band VETO. Never one to stand still though Troels is taking his music in a completely new direction under his latest pseudonym, EXEC.
Whilst Troels’ previous output has been categorised by a rich electronic sound, here he’s gone for the complete opposite, stripping the songs back to the bare bones of just piano and vocals in an attempt to tap into raw human emotions. The result is EXEC’s debut album, The Limber Real. Recorded with producer Mikkel Bolding using entirely analogue techniques, it is a record that attempts to strive for the perfect sonic moment. The resulting album is a pleasure both for audiophiles and music fans alike; a record that slowly unfurls its undeniable charms, with shades of Yann Tiersen and Antony Hegarty. A record that could slip under the radar into cult classic, but also one that has the potential to strike a chord with a far larger audience, either way it makes for a beautiful listen.
The Limber Real is out February 12th via Tambourhinoceros.
Charlie Hilton (Captured Tracks)
Charlie Hilton may already have found a modicum of musical fame as the lead singer in Blouse, however this will be the year she steps out as an artist in her own right with her first solo album. The title of the record, Palana, is a reference to Charlie’s given Sanskrit name, a name she entirely rejected after high school in favour of the androgynous Charlie.
Palana is therefore, perhaps unsurprisingly, an album that explores identity, summed up, according to Charlie by the Herman Hesse quote, “Man is not by any means of fixed and enduring form…he is much more an experiment and a transition…”. Whilst it is an album that explores the diverse nature of human beings, it’s also an album that’s equally diverse musically; ranging from the hazy psychedelia of Pony to light-hearted acoustics of 100 Million, a collaboration with Mac De Marco. Just like the person who made it this is a record that’s diverse, complex and intriguing, and is set to be one of the years early highlights.
Palana is out January 22nd via Captured Tracks.
Cross Record (Ba Da Bing Records)
Anyone who read our recent interview with Emily Cross, won’t be at all surprised by Cross Records’ presence in our tips for the year ahead, but Wabi-Sabi is a record so good it’s hard to think to think of the year ahead without recommending it highly.
The bands second album, Wabi-Sabi is a confident musical stride-forward; an album of textures and shifting-sonic boundaries, lurching from brittle and minimal to thundering and epic. Emily’s hauntingly beautiful vocal pins the whole record together, a fractured murmur with shades of Jessica Pratt or Angel Olsen, it draws the listener close to the speaker, and allows you to become engulfed in the sometimes chaotic and discordant music that swirls around it. A record of perfect, beautiful contrasts, if there are many albums released as good as Wabi-Sabi it’s going to be a magical year of music.
Wabi-Sabi is out January 29th via Ba Da Bing Records.
Meilyr Jones (Moshi Moshi)
For his debut album, former Racehorses frontman Meilyr Jones is asking us to join him on a journey back into his past. The year (and album title) in question is 2013; it began with Meilyr reeling, his band disbanded, his relationship over. He became fascinated with the sculpture of Rome, Byron’s poem Don Juan, a biography about Hector Berlioz; it’s an old cliche but in Meilyr’s life all roads led to Rome. Once in Italy he changed his way of life, he engrossed himself in the culture of the city, and discovered the spirit he had found in Byron’s poems, as he puts it, “sweet but also really resilient.”
Inspired Meilyr returned to London to record, and record like he had never done before. The orchestral pieces in his head, became reality via a rag-tag 30-strong orchestra composed of friends, and, “friends-of-friends-of-friends.” Meilyr set out to make the record that combined his multitude of interests and the blend of “high culture and low-brow stuff” he experienced in Rome. The upcoming release of 2013 looks set to be the sound of a young-man working exactly not only what direction his music should go in, but who he as a person is, and it is a journey we can’t wait to take with Meilyr.
2013 is out February 26th via Moshi Moshi. Meilyr Jones has confirmed a handful of dates for 2016, click HERE for details.
De Montevert (No Method)
Ellinor Nilsson is a classically trained cellist from Evertsberg in Sweden. Whilst studying sound engineering and music production at college in Falun, Ellinor began making music of her own under the pseudonym De Montevert. The last anyone heard from De Montevert came in form of the very small scale 2012 release Friends & Enemies, a series of musical sketches which never saw the light of day outside of Scandinavia. Luckily 2016 will see De Montevert shared with the world at large with the release of her self-titled debut album.
Recorded in just four days at the studio of producer Kalle Johansson in Umeå, it was a deliberately rapid and spontaneous session with many first takes and live recordings. Ellinor learned to not only live with but to love every tiny mistake, and the energy they produced. A recent album trailer hints at a record in the mould of Meg Baird or Torres, whilst latest single, Let’s Not Run Away Together, moulds Real Estate-like guitar lines with a pair of rich, emotive and highly contrasting vocal deliveries. These captivating early signs suggest this is going to be a record to look out for in the coming year.
De Montevert´s self-titled debut album is released on February 26 via No Method. Click HERE to see all her upcoming tour dates.
Promise And The Monster (Bella Union)
Surely the most reliable record label on the planet, Bella Union seem to already be lining up some of the most exciting records of 2016, including Promise & The Monster’s first release for the label. The work of Stockholm based Billie Lindhall, Feed The Fire is an album that seeks to challenge the listener, seeking to find the beauty and pain in opening one’s emotions to destructive forces, like the titular fire it is as much a bringer of life as it is a threat and a danger.
Recorded with friend and producer Love Martinsen, the pair set out to create a darker and more mechanical version of the elegant pop-records of the 1960’s; as Billie puts it, “a Lee Hazlewood song on top of Nico’s late eighties records”. Feed The Fire is an ambitious record that pairs the hazy-atmospherics of Warpaint with the lush orchestral flourish of Scott Walker and the gloomy Southern-Gothic of Timber Timbre, a very good place to be we’re sure you’ll agree.
Feed The Fire is out January 22nd via Bella Union.