Why bother publishing a ones to watch/tips for 2016 list mid-way through March? Well, because a) the early year hype has died down, and b) because we can and want to support artists that deserve some added attention. And c) because we're mavericks. That said, three of our following ten bands to watch for 2016 did appear in our nominations for January's Blog Sound Of 2016, although only one of my chosen acts made it to the long list.
Having delivered some incredible live shows and a suitably spritely mini-album last year, we expect to see the South African band continue their good work in 2016. I strongly recommend catching them live, and their sweaty afternoon show at The Great Escape in Brighton was perhaps my favourite performance of 2015.
I saw a fairly tentative live show from AOSOON at Dot To Dot in Bristol in 2015, but I suspect that they will be in a more confident mood this year. Indeed, a signal of intent appears to have already been made, as the duo have expanded into a trio.
We've been bigging up Reading outfit for sometime now, and they've been deservedly rewarded with a deal with Fiction Records - home to The Maccabees and Spector. One of our Blog Sound Of 2016 choices, they may not have made the longlist, but fans of rock anthems should take note.
I was suitably impressed by Chad Male's project at The Great Escape in 2015 - their tracks sounding huge, surprisingly leading toward stadium pop at times. Another of my selections that didn't quite make the Blog Sound Of 2016 longlist but I wouldn't be surprised to hear plenty more good things from Cape Cub in the near future.
Jackson Phillips had passed me by until late 2015 but came onto my radar in a big way - such that I had a significant amount of trouble deciding which of his tracks would make it onto my top forty tracks of the year. (It ended up being 'Total Zombie', but 'Drag' was certainly up there too.) His dreamy, lo-fi tracks sound nostalgic yet still fresh, with upbeat melodies lending a smile-inducing nature to proceedings.
The Half Earth
Conor Stephenson has been quietly (but impressively) going about his business as The Half Earth for a couple of years now - see also Hilang Child and Josef Salvat for similar stories. Hopefully 2016 will be the year that The Half Earth breaks through to wider audiences.
US duo Kids In Despair are one of the most ludicrous musical acts I've ever had the pleasure of seeing live, and while world domination is unlikely, they are certainly well worth seeking out. Indeed, their talents have been recognised by peers, with Bobby from the band co-writing the new Allie X track, 'Old Habits Die Hard'.
More obvious choices for a female solo artist in terms of tips for 2016 would have been the likes of Frances and Alessia Cara, however we've been supporting Ellen Murphy for a while now (including her previous outfit Kids Love Lies) so it feels more sincere to follow this up. Her latest soulful EP 'Young Blood' has just been released, and it's another fantastic set of intimate tracks.
One of a number of enigmatic and exciting acts (including London experimental quintet Pumarosa) to be reckoned as a force in 2016. Lost Under Heaven sees former WU LYF man Ellery James Roberts combine powers with Ebony Hoorn, and the results have led them to be snapped up by Mute Records, with their debut album dropping in May.
As one of their earliest champions, I was overjoyed to see Mt Wolf return from the ashes in 2014 - albeit minus Kate Sproule, who is making her own waves as Bo Rocha. Their dream-folk has understandably evolved but I'm as excited as ever about their output, and it seems others feel similarly as they were my one choice to make it onto the Blog Sound Of 2016 longlist.
For more exciting new bands, check out our regular Surfacing features.