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
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