It's fair to say that few would have predicted a double whammy of Britain exiting the EU and a Trump victory in the US Presidential Election last year, so perhaps the business of prediction is something of a fruitless exercise. But I do have a soft spot for lists, so here's an assessment of my shortlist of tips for 2016:
The humoungous queue for this South African quartet's show at The Great Escape in 2016 brought mixed emotions - sadness that I'd be missing out, but an odd sense of pride. Alas, the vociferous live outfit have recently announced an upcoming breakup, and I can only urge that anyone in their homeland hurries along to their final gigs. Shoulda been huge, what a shame.
London outfit AOSOON put out a couple of singles in 2016, but most notably, saw main vocalist Marisa Hylton depart. Ella Squirrel has stepped up to the plate, and with the band starting a label of their own, it looks like 2017 will be a fresh start.
I chose this Reading lot for the Blog Sound Of 2016, and they have graduated to the big leagues, appearing on the BBC Sound Of 2017. A fearsome live band, their triumphant homecoming effort at Are You Listening? Festival took me back to the glory days of my youth. A pattern maintained over the numerous times I've seen these rockers. An album is surely imminent.
Chad Male's Cape Cub project continues its solid rise, putting out well received tracks and picking up fans. An approach that will hopefully soon see these songs being played to the huge crowds that I envisaged when I selected these Northerners as one of my Blog Sound of 2016 picks.
Jackson Phillips' stock has grown to the extent that he's now hanging out with American music royalty, having supported Green Day in 2016 and Blink-182's Mark Hoppus being the focus in the 'Stuck' video. An album will be arriving shortly, with accompanying UK dates in May.
The Half Earth
At the end of 2015, it seemed that Conor Stephenson was on the verge of something really special, having just unleashed the most urgent and insistent track of his career to date in 'Pieces Of Us'. 2016 ended up being a relatively quiet year for The Half Earth, with a support slot on Josef Salvat UK tour being the high point.
Kara and Bobby are still Kids In Despair but they may not be in despair for much longer, as they gear up to an album release in 2017, including a couple of forthcoming UK dates supporting Black Honey. They released some new material in 2016 but there's a sense that it was the calm before the storm. And not one like Storm Doris, a much nicer one full of boy-girl alt-pop.
Lost Under Heaven's debut album received mostly positive reviews upon its release last May, and we can only hope that Ellery James Roberts doesn't follow in the footsteps of his experience with WU LYF, which crashed and burned after a similarly positive response. With Ebony Hoorn on hand to help guide matters however, perhaps it is just as likely that we get more tracks of the quality of 'Lament' and 'I&I'.
One of my suggestions that did make the Blog Sound of 2016 shortlist, but it turns out we were all a year early. Or actually several years early, considering they also appeared on the list in 2014, and then immediately split up. But it's pleasing to see them back and an eagerly anticipated 2017 album release follows a steady stream of songs across the last year or so.
Ellen Murphy's 'Young Blood' EP was one of the best short-form releases of 2016, and her radio session version of 'Remains' made it on to the BBC Radio 2 'Saturday Sessions' compilation, but arguably her most important contribution was in an entirely different medium. Indeed, it was reflective not of her music, but of her personal life, in a touching short film on the impact that a single punch can have.
Read Saam's initial thoughts on these ones to watch in 2016 here.