Music

The 25 Best New Musical Artists of 2016

The best new artists of 2016 mash up genre dividers and take popular music in new and exciting directions.

25. The Accidentals

Traverse City, MI's Accidentals have made a name for themselves purely off of the backs of their family, and we're not just talking about this innovative trio of youngsters' parents and siblings. Their fanbase is passionate and growing as the band makes their way around the States on a very regular basis to spread their compassion as people and a genre-bending blend of folk, rock, hip-hop, classical, and more to new venues and audiences across the country. Arguably one of the hardest-working bands in recent memory, the group -- comprised of Savannah Buist, Katie Larson, and Michael Dause -- have captured the hearts of thousands strong with their incredible stage presence and evocative means of telling a story in song.

With a whopping 218 recorded stops, Bandsintown named them as the band with the most tours in 2015, and it wouldn't be hard to believe if they made the list as its chart-topper yet again this go-around. In a way, they perfectly encapsulate the traditional idea of the American dream -- working hard and getting places as a direct result of your blood, sweat, and tears -- though their sound is undeniably accessible to people around the globe. They're in the studio at the time of this write-up and are hard at work on their third consecutive full-length, following up a seriously scintillating seven-track EP released earlier this year that gives a delicious taste of what the trio is capable of since 2013's Bittersweet. -- Jonathan Frahm

 

24. Adia Victoria

With this year's debut album Beyond the Bloodhounds, Adia Victoria doesn't exactly explode onto the scene -- at least, not right away. At first, she floats like a chilly morning mist, eerie and ethereal, and then she strikes, belting out bluesy odes to life in the Deep South, fighting the devil, and coming to grips with mortality. Victoria is an artist who knows how to take the bitter parts of life and use them well. She's talked candidly in many an interview about what she's faced as a woman of color growing up in the South (and living in the United States today), and Beyond the Bloodhounds always paints vivid, unapologetic pictures of her real life.

Real rock and roll thrives in Victoria's music, sometimes with in-your-face electric guitar riffs, sometimes with acoustic chords, and always with a stark, haunting melancholy, the kind that raises hairs and echoes in every corner. She's full of fire, ice, and delta blues, and there's sure to be much more of that where her first album came from. -- Adriane Pontecorvo

 

23. UV Boi

As an emerging light of the buoyant Australian electronic scene, UV Boi has had a memorable 2016 as he announced himself as a major talent on the global stage. Releasing his debut EP L.U.V and performing shows across Australia and the US, Brisbane native Emmanuel John fuses jarring electronics with swirling synths and urban soundscapes to create boundary-pushing future bass that sounds effortlessly current in the post-EDM world.

Picked out by Ryan Hemsworth as a teen from his SoundCloud recordings he is also proof of the changing face of music, as much like hip-hop mixtapes in the '90s and '00s, the potential for self-promotion from the confines of the bedroom grows ever clearer. With others like KLLO following hot on his heels and the continued success of stars like Flume, Australia is having something of a moment as we end the year and the endless creativity of UV Boi is a testament to this. -- William Sutton

 

22. The Cactus Blossoms

If there's any truth to the phrase "you can't rush perfection", it can be found in You're Dreaming, the debut album from the Cactus Blossoms. Brothers Page Burkum and Jack Torrey formed the band in 2010 and released a self-titled debut album (now out of print) in 2011, and a live album in 2013. Since then, they've been crafting their sound in venues like St. Paul's Turf Club, gaining fans like Nick Lowe, and soaking in the sounds of early country by way of the Everly Brothers. The result is an irresistible album that goes by in a warm breeze. That's not to say it's forgettable by any stretch. Tracks like "Stoplight Kisses" and "Clown Collector" promise to set up shop and linger in your memory after the first play. -- Sean McCarthy

 

21. Hinds

Hinds do a fair amount to polish their casual image. It only takes one look at the album cover to their debut Leave Me Alone -- the four Spanish girls in the band making goofy faces in oversized t-shirts, two of which are holding beers, in a sporadic picture that is both crooked and obstructed -- to figure that out. In interviews, they focus on the drunken pleasure of being young and in a band, and in concert, they bookmark songs with stumbling, jubilant laughter. Their music reflects this high-spirited lightness, taking the onslaught of their garage-pop influences (think Ty Segall, the Strokes, Velvet Underground) and flipping it on its back so that it rolls around in breezy euphoria, jangling more than it punches. Their sound centers around the airy vocal chemistry between the two frontwomen Carlotta Cosials and Ana Garcia Perrote, whose vocals twist and turn through flat, bold, slithering, and whiny textures. The songs themselves usually peak with a spontaneous, playful refrain or an ultra-pleasant and fearlessly delivered guitar riff or melody line. That's all it takes to describe Hinds' music, and it doesn't seem like much. However, when you consider the consistency of their music, it turns into something a lot bigger; these girls are phenomenal songwriters, a valuable tool that allows them to transcend the confines of their aesthetic. -- Max Totsky

Next Page

Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

A Certain Ratio Return with a Message of Hope on 'ACR Loco'

Inspired by 2019's career-spanning box set, legendary Manchester post-punkers A Certain Ratio return with their first new album in 12 years, ACR Loco.

Books

Oscar Hijuelos' 'Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love' Dances On

Oscar Hijuelos' dizzyingly ambitious foot-tapping family epic, Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love, opened the door for Latinx writers to tell their stories in all their richness.

Music

PM Picks Playlist 2: Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES, SOUNDQ

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES' stunning dream folk, Polish producer SOUNDQ, the indie pop of Pylon Heights, a timely message from Exit Kid, and Natalie McCool's latest alt-pop banger.

Film

'Lost Girls and Love Hotels' and Finding Comfort in Sadness

William Olsson's Lost Girls and Love Hotels finds optimism in its message that life tears us apart and puts us back together again differently.

Music

Bright Eyes' 'Down in the Weeds' Is a Return to Form and a Statement of Hope

Bright Eyes may not technically be emo, but they are transcendently expressive, beatifically melancholic. Down in the Weeds is just the statement of grounding that we need as a respite from the churning chaos around us.

Film

Audrey Hepburn + Rome = Grace, Class, and Beauty

William Wyler's Roman Holiday crosses the postcard genre with a hardy trope: Old World royalty seeks escape from stuffy, ritual-bound, lives for a fling with the modern world, especially with Americans.

Music

Colombia's Simón Mejía Plugs Into the Natural World on 'Mirla'

Bomba Estéreo founder Simón Mejía electrifies nature for a different kind of jungle music on his debut solo album, Mirla.

Music

The Flaming Lips Reimagine Tom Petty's Life in Oklahoma on 'American Head'

The Flaming Lips' American Head is a trip, a journey to the past that one doesn't want to return to but never wants to forget.

Music

Tim Bowness of No-Man Discusses Thematic Ambition Amongst Social Division

With the release of his seventh solo album, Late Night Laments, Tim Bowness explores global tensions and considers how musicians can best foster mutual understanding in times of social unrest.

Music

Angel Olsen Creates a 'Whole New Mess'

No one would call Angel Olsen's Whole New Mess a pretty album. It's much too stark. But there's something riveting about the way Olsen coos to herself that's soft and comforting.

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

Masma Dream World Go Global and Trippy on "Sundown Forest" (premiere)

Dancer, healer, musician Devi Mambouka shares the trippy "Sundown Forest", which takes listeners deep into the subconscious and onto a healing path.

Music

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" Is an Ode for Unity in Troubling Times (premiere)

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" is a gentle, prayerful tune that depicts the heart of their upcoming album, Crucible.

Music

'What a Fantastic Death Abyss': David Bowie's 'Outside' at 25

David Bowie's Outside signaled the end of him as a slick pop star and his reintroduction as a ragged-edged arty agitator.

Music

Dream Folk's Wolf & Moon Awaken the Senses with "Eyes Closed" (premiere)

Berlin's Wolf & Moon are an indie folk duo with a dream pop streak. "Eyes Closed" highlights this aspect as the act create a deep sense of atmosphere and mood with the most minimal of tools.

Television

Ranking the Seasons of 'The Wire'

Years after its conclusion, The Wire continues to top best-of-TV lists. With each season's unique story arc, each viewer is likely to have favorites.

Film

Paul Reni's Silent Film 'The Man Who Laughs' Is Serious Cinema

There's so much tragedy present, so many skullduggeries afoot, and so many cruel and vindictive characters in attendance that a sad and heartbreaking ending seems to be an obvious given in Paul Reni's silent film, The Man Who Laughs.

Music

The Grahams Tell Their Daughter "Don't Give Your Heart Away" (premiere)

The Grahams' sweet-sounding "Don't Give Your Heart Away" is rooted in struggle, inspired by the couples' complicated journey leading up to their daughter's birth.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.