#1 – Oh Wonder
This is the first year we’ve ever annointed an ‘act of the year’ and we thought it was high time we did so. Like many of our choices this past few days, the answer seemed pretty obvious to us as soon as we started to think about it. Oh Wonder have just had an absolutely incredible 12 months and really, to us, they feel like the only choice.
Certainly, as we mentioned when announcing their debut record as being our favourite album of 2015, they are the band we have listened to more than any other and their live show was just fantastic. That is all the more incredible when you consider that they hadn’t played a live show as a band before the autumn. Now though they are selling out shows around the world and further enhancing their reputation as lovely people and a wonderful band.
This time last year the Oh Wonder juggernaut was just starting to pick up speed. Their early tracks were racking up the plays and regularly looking down on everyone else from the Hype Machine summit. They played a session for Radio One and then the album came out and their stratospheric trajectory spiked even higher.
Oh Wonder reached 26 in the UK charts and their music was heard by 6million listeners on Spotify in 2015 and, according to Hype Machine, they were the third most blogged about band in the UK. Not bad for a pair who started out just writing some tunes together to see what happened.
Unquestionably, 2015 belonged to Oh Wonder.
#2 – Black Honey
Another band to have an absolutely storming 12 months was blog favourite, Black Honey. Like Oh Wonder they have done nothing but enhance their reputation and gain a legion of fans in 2015.
We love everything they have done and seemingly, so do a hell of a lot of other people. Their music was played by 750,000 listeners on Spotify and they were the most blogged about band in the UK. They are an incredibly exciting young band with a raw, passionate energy in their music that sets them apart from other bands of a similar ilk.
They are exciting and people are excited by them. We finally got to see them play live at the Norwich Sound and Vision festival and in the lead up to the gig, Black Honey was the name on everyone’s lips. They were the band most people were talking about, the one they most wanted to see and the one that everyone knew. Those of us who were lucky enough to squeeze into the Mash Tun for their show were not disappointed as they let fly with an incendiary set that damn near took the roof off.
2015 was an amazing year for them and, if there is an album on the way, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Black Honey dominate 2016.
#3 – The Japanese House
This time last year no-one had heard of The Japanese House. Yet by the time the calendar page ticked over to 2016, Amber Bain was one of the most talked about new artists around. In just a few short months she debuted with a Zane Lowe premiere, a place on the Dirty Hit roster and The 1975 on production duties, and left with two highly acclaimed EPs, Pools to Bathe In and Clean, under her belt.
Her music is magical and multi layered with melodies and her beguiling androgynous vocal enchanting and entrancing. She was second on the Blog Sound of 2016 poll as well as on the Tipping Point’s Tips of the Year and if weren’t for the likelihood of an album being released next year, we’d expect her to be on the BBC Sound of 2017 poll.