Tag Archives: Listen Out For

2016 Preview: Artists to Listen out for Part Five

24 Dec

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After a short unscheduled pause, we conclude our look ahead to next year with our top three Artists to Listen Out for in 2016. We’ve already talked about 12 of our favourite bands right now (old and new) who we are excited to hear more from in the coming months, and these three are the ones who have us most hyped up.

Should you want to re-acquaint yourselves with the previous 12, the links to our previous posts are below. Otherwise, let’s crack on.

Part One (here)
Part Two (here)
Part Three (here)
Part Four (here)

#3 – Seyr


We first heard enigmatic London duo seyr just a few short weeks ago when we were asked to write about them for The Tipping Point. Instantly we felt foolish for not having heard of them before and simultaneously very excited for their blend of smooth, soulful r&b infused electronica was right up our proverbial street.

Talking about their divine “a love” we said;

”It’s late night emotional turmoil made into something gorgeous. Heavy with emotion it’s a bold marbling of style, anguish and the tumultuous seas of heartache into a state of aural dreaminess. As couples sway almost imperceptibly with the beat, they will find their grip on one another tightening and an unexplainable longing for their partner swelling up within.”

They’ve been about for a couple of years now, putting out a release here and doing a show there, and they seem to be getting better and better. Hopefully, 2016 will see us hearing much more of the pair.

Stalk Seyr: Website / Twitter

#2 – Transviolet


Transviolet were one of those new acts that appeared seemingly fully formed in 2015. With a solid team and label support behind them and an EP for release, the group came, saw and pretty much conquered in a very short space of time.

Their debut track, “Girls Your Age” went over huge with the blog world and likewise did the follow ups from their eponymous debut EP. Our favourite was probably the anthemic and rousing “New Bohemia” which stirred something within that makes you want to get up and stand for something.

Standing at the opposite end of the grand spectrum to the creeping beauty of “Girls Your Age”, it represented a rather stunning debut from this new young band and one that we hope to see built on in the coming year.

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#1 – Loyle Carner

Loyle Carner

While he has been pretty much synonymous with new artist tipping in the last few weeks, appearing on the BBC Sound Of and Blog Sound Of polls as well as countless other online publications 2016 preview lists, it may be a surprise to some to see Loyle Carner top our list of acts for next year.

This is because this is actually his debut appearance on Alphabet Bands. Although us not posting about someone is not an indication of a lack of love on our part, more our somewhat slack approach to writing over the last few months.

Some may be put off by the excessive amount of swearing in some of his tracks, but this is not profanity for the sake of it look-at-me-and-my-bling-in-the-club-with-some-bitches rap; this is honest, raw and powerful hip-hop / spoken word. It’s brutally open and refreshing, confessional and laidback like Gil Scott-Heron atop Jurassic5 style beats. It’s magnificent and refreshing and we look forward to hearing much much more in the coming years.

Stalk Loyle Carner: Website / Facebook / Twitter

2016 Preview: Artists to Listen out for Part Four

11 Dec

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We continue our look ahead to next year with three more acts we are particularly excited to hear more from in 2016. This part of the countdown actually includes a couple of acts we’ve got all excited about before, but then they went and hid for a year or so, so with new music just released or on the horizon, we’ve allowed ourselves a little indulgence and a lot of giddiness in writing about them again.

Don’t forget, you can also look back and see who else is getting us hot under the musical collar for next year in the previous parts of our 2016 Preview.

Part One (here)
Part Two (here)
Part Three (here)

#6 – Avec Sans

Avec Sans

After a storming and highly enjoyable 2013, Avec Sans found their way onto our 2014 preview. At the time we, and Popjustice, were jumping up and down on the bed in anticipation of their debut album. Sadly the album didn’t arrive but the pair have been in the studio recently so we are allowing our hopes to get up for 2016.

The reason we are so excited, as we pointed out back then (and it still holds true now) is because we absolutely adore their fantastically upbeat and danceable tunes. Electro sparkles and beats flash and pulse like a grand firework display against a night sky of synths and melody. Choruses are made to be sung along to while your feet tap and shuffle, heads nod, arms twist and bodies convulse in rhythmical movement; sprung into life by the infectious and compelling sounds.

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#5 – Embers


Another band we included on our 2014 preview list was Manchester based Embers. They too had a great 2013 after bursting on the scene in explosive fashion at the end of 2012 with the remarkable “Hollow Cage”. They released a couple more tunes, played some incredible live shows (including one we saw at The Great Escape that nearly melted our face off) and then, with the world waiting with baited breath for them to own 2014, they vanished.

While that was disappointing for all us fans, the good news is that they are back, once again bursting into life as the year ends with a fantastic new tune (“The Bitten Tongue) and this time there is the promise of much more. Tunes have been written and, we hope, are ready to go. Expectation levels are high once again but we’re sure these guys can more than meet them. It might be a couple of years later than we thought, but this could be the year of Embers.

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#4 – The Japanese House


With a Zane Lowe premiered debut track a place on the Dirty Hit roster and The 1975 on production duties, The Japanese House appeared in 2015 feeling fully formed and sounding beautiful. Her two highly acclaimed EPs, Pools to Bathe In and Clean took us on magical journeys of gorgeous emotional highs and lows, all set to wondrously intricate electronic compositions.

Amber Bain dazzled us with her multi layered melodies and beguiling androgynous vocal. Icy production freezes crisp digital beats and hearts before melting away in the warmth of the synth lines and those near distorted harmonies. It is utterly gorgeous stuff and no wonder that she has appeared on many a list this year, including the Blog Sound of 2016.

Expect to see her on more before the year is out and with rumours of an album to come next year, expect to find her on many a Best Of… list in 12 months time as well.

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2016 Preview: Artists to Listen out for Part Three

9 Dec

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We continue our look at some of our favourite new acts with the suitably named Part Three of our countdown of Artists to Listen Out For In 2016. These are the acts who we are particularly looking forward to hearing more from next year and who we always get excited to hear more from.

As a reminder, you can see who we have already featured in Part One (here) and Part Two (here) of the countdown.

#9 – Lyza Jane

Lyza Jane

We first properly encountered Lyza Jane when she released “If It Hurts” earlier this year.Taken from her gorgeous Milk Teeth EP, it is hushed and beautiful with electronic melodies gently trickling over subtly insistent beats. The whole EP is one of understated majesty, crafted exquisitely and deftly to ebb and nudge at you in the wee hours. Her music is a wonderful blend of stark electronica, trip-hop beats and warm soulful melodies, we love it.

After playing the brand new and very successful Dials Festival this year, amongst others, we expect to see Lyza make many more appearances on the more intimate and magical stages in 2016.

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#8 – Madeira


Given that she has one of the voices we most love to hear in the world, the chances we’d be big fans of Kim Pflaum’s new solo project Madeira were always going to be high. So it is no surprise that with just a couple of collaborations and one solo track in the bag so far, we are already hooked.

“Let Me Down”, which is accompanied by a wonderful video directed by Kim herself, is a stunningly smooth and welcoming tune. It’s full of soft swaying branches of keys and rhythms as the breeze of her vocals gently brush through. Gorgeously calm and endearing, you want to close your eyes and gently sweep from side to side as it effortlessly wraps itself around you.

With a debut EP planned for the coming months, which we cannot wait for, 2016 is already looking like it could be a great one for Maderia.

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#7 – nvdes


It may have been something to do with the fairly ropey weather we were having at the time, but when nvdes burst onto the scene back in June, it was like everyone wanted to bask in the warmth of his tunes.

Debut track “Before The Weekend Comes” was like a shot of sunshine administered aurally, and we couldn’t get enough. Dripping with laidback 90’s summer groove vibes, it was fantastically warm and uplifting. Fast forward a bit and follow up “Unforgettable” kicked things up a gear, injecting a little more energy into this heavenly world of sunshine and happiness he was creating.

Hopefully there are many more tunes to come in the new year but frankly, we’d be delighted if he just kept on soundtracking our summer.

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2016 Preview: Artists to Listen out for Part Two

8 Dec

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After kicking off our own contribution to the end of year listing season yesterday, it is time to keep that ball rolling with part two of our countdown of artists to listen out for in 2016. Here then are three more acts we are excited to hear more from next year.

#12 – Hollywood Principle

Hollywood Principle

San Diego’s Hollywood Principle are masters of the deceptive pop banger. They are wonderful at blending the smokey and languid with the high energy and vibrant, soft glistening tunes that suddenly explode with rocket fueled ferocity.

Speaking of rockets, this year the trio supplied a track for the soundtrack of the bonkers sounding Rocket League computer game (online tournament of rocket powered cars playing football or something we think – sounds crazy but attracts hundreds of thousands of players at any one time). Suitably they used “Firework”, a high octane frenzy of electro pop, it’s frantic, frenetic and chaotic, all in a good way. Kaleidoscopic colours flash before your eyes like lasers of digital noodling and razor sharp beats.

They know just how to build a tune and how best to get your feet tapping and head nodding. Coupled with intoxicating and seductively wispy vocals, Hollywood Principle make a heady concoction of dancefloor friendly pop.

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#11 – Bea1991


After the grand blog love-in that accompanied Bea1991’s debut track, “Breadwinner”, in spring last year, things have felt quiet around the Netherlands based artist. Though this is probably more to do with her slightly unconventional approach to releasing her music. Specifically, she puts it up on her website with no announcement and often it is free to download. There is no press, no excited tweeting or shouting. Just music.

This may have caused an apparent drying up of blog support for her (because they don’t know she is still releasing anything) but the quality has not dropped off. Her most recent EP, Songs of 2k11, is seven tracks of engaging and enigmatic pop. Her soft, rich vocal melts like a marshmallow over the crackling flame of melody and rhythm.

Hopefully 2016 will see another EP at the least and more of the recognition she should be getting and very much deserves.

Stalk Bea: Website / Facebook / Twitter

#10 – Lilla Vargen

Lilla Vargen

We’ve not heard much at all from Belfast based singer Lilla Vargen since her stunningly beautiful debut back in January. So exquisite was the simple piano ballad, so delicate and heartfelt, that it stayed with us for the whole year. While there was only one more track to follow, we’re hopeful that is because she’s been snapped up by a label and squirrelled away somewhere secret to get ready to release more evocative melodies on the world.

It would be a crying shame if that wasn’t the case as a voice this beautiful needs to be singing out to us all.

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2016 Preview: Artists to Listen out for Part One

7 Dec

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List-o-mania season is well underway so what better time is there to take a step back and think about putting things in an entirely subjective numerical order? We’re kicking off our contribution to the listing extravaganza with our Artists to Listen out for… series. These are the 15 acts we’ve been loving and are excited to hear more from in 2016, starting with a remarkable young pop star in the making and a pair of bands making some delightfully swoonsome melodies.

#15 – Girli


Bright, brash and bombastic, London based Girli doesn’t hold back when it comes to her brand of aggressive pop. Overflowing with attitude and in your faceness, her most recent tracks “ASBOys” and “So You Think You Can Fuck With Me Do Ya” were like a blitzkrieg of japanese influenced, video game loving geektronica, pop, rap and pink (the colour). Think bo-en producing Daphne & Celeste with Nicki Minaj doing the chorus and you’re getting there but that still doesn’t do it justice.

It’s not all confrontation and swagger though, not at all. It’s part social commentary (as well as a big fuck you to people who got on her bad side) and part multi-faceted and intricate electronic compositions. Earlier track “Handbrake” showed off a more laidback tone with a grand sweep to the electronics, more the morning after the night before of “ASBOys” perhaps. Either way, everything she’s done is catchy as fuck and we’d expect a big bouncy sing along from fans when she plays The Great Escape next year.

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#14 – Arctic Lake

Arctic Lake

Operating at the opposite end of the spectrum to Girli are London based trio, Arctic Lake. Whereas Girli is in your face bright colours, Arctic Lake are wistful swirls of electronics washing gently over you and ebbing guitars cushioning your inevitable swoon from all the loveliness.

Emma Foster’s vocals are a soft whisper in the ear as you wander these muted soundscapes of their creation. The music is cool and soothing, a late night of candles and solitude, relaxation and recharging.

Formed in Lancashire but based in London (where they have been finishing off their University studies) the trio have already been playlisted on Radio One and gushed over by countless blogs. So far we’ve been treated to just the three tracks but with education finished (for now) we’re hoping to hear a lot more from them in the coming year.

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#13 – Stalgia


We still know next to nothing about mysterious duo Stalgia but, like Arctic Lake, they make music that is so dreamy and delicate that we cannot help but get lost inside its mistyness. “Rust” and “Tepid” are gentle and becalming with a shroud of melodic darkness draped over their shoulders. The beats and electronics like hazy shafts of light breaking through from above.

The breezy fragility of their sounds gives them a beautiful vulnerability; a gorgeous melancholia that like watching a storm in the distance.

There was talk of an EP from the pair last year that didn’t materialise so fingers crossed that has been held back for a full on assault of 2016.

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