I feel like the title of this post may be misleading. When I say “New music in 2016”, what I mean is newly discovered. Some of these artists have been around for years, but they’re new to me. Read ahead and listen up to learn more about my favorite discoveries of the year.
13. Weyes Blood
I kept hearing this chick on the local radio station out here in Greeley, Colorado before I finally shazamed her work near the end of Do You Need My Love. Practically a Karen Carpenter reincarnation, this chick replicates the likes 60’s and 70’s pop icons without sounding like a total ripoff.
12. Blood Orange
Unless I’m living in the wrong part of the country, this guy did not take off as I anticipated. Back in January, when I first listened to Blood Orange I told my husband he was bound to blow up this summer, especially with his Urban Outfitter’s endorsement, but he didn’t and that’s a shame. Maybe more festivals will book him next year, but in the meantime, I’m still obsessed.
11. Nice as Fuck
The weird thing about this band is their lack of social media presence. As of tonight while I’m writing this post and researching my shit I finally found this band on Facebook, but they only have 6,000 likes. Pitchfork described the post-punk project as the most low-stakes album Jenny Lewis has ever been a part of, and I tend to agree. Nice as Fuck deserves more recognition, but maybe they enjoy remaining incognito.
10. Adia Victoria
This girl speaks to me when it comes to The South–nothing more, nothing less. She aint from Nashville originally, but her sound resembles Valerie June. I wish the two would tour together. This video coincidentally encompasses three of my favorite songs by her, so it totally works out. Those Stuck in the South lyrics give me chills every time.
9. Blind Faith
Ever since I got hooked to the NBC show This is Us, I’ve listened to Blind Faith nonstop. Yes, they’re from the 70’s, but like I said earlier, some of these bands are new to me. I’m ashamed to admit I never knew Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood created one of the very first super groups to ever exist (with Ginger Baker and Ric Grech of Cream and Traffic, respectively), and this band only produced 6 songs. But my favorite by far is Can’t Find My Way Home. Something about this song hits a note in my heart.
8. Devandra Banhart
This dude marks my most recent music find of the year–just started listening to Devandra last week, and I was hooked almost immediately. Sure, he resembles a burly hipster douche-bag, but I could care less. Apparently he spent most of his childhood in Venezuela; no wonder he’s so dreamy and can get away with such soft, feminine vocals: he represents a solid mix of masculine and feminine traits. After watching his Foolin video from 2010, I wonder if Father John Misty “borrowed” the idea for Nancy From Now On. Either way, Devandra’s musical career ranges back to 2007, and I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of him sooner. Better late than never!
7. Margo Price
It’s no surprise Margo’s doing so well; between her stint with Anthony Bordain on Parts Unknown and signing with Third Man Records, she was bound to rise to the top pretty quickly. I absolutely hate pop country music with its lack of substance and garbage lyrics, but Margo could very well take new country in a whole new direction, and even if that’s partially Jack White’s doing, it’s something I can support. Plus, it is very nostalgic to see Gold Rush and Betty’s featured in her video. Give it up for the new face of country music!
6. The Internet
When my friend Erika came to visit in October, she turned me onto the Internet which led me down the rabbithole. I finally checked out Tyler, the Creator which led me to Odd Future and everyone involved in that mix. I eventually circled back around to Danny Brown and Madlib whom I was already familiar with and had NO idea rolled with this collective. Needless to say, I was mind-blown by the end of one late Saturday night after surfing the web for several hours. My need to find new sources of hip hop was most certainly fulfilled this year, beginning with the Internet.
5. Father John Misty
Good Lord, I went through a huge FJM phase earlier this year for like 4 solid months. I couldn’t get enough of his sarcastic lyrics and quirky videos. I hadn’t fallen in love with a voice like his since I swooned over James Mercer from The Shins. His enticing charm has since waned, but I still applaud FJM for ironically having pictures taken of himself on his phone….before ultimately deleting his instagram account.
As mentioned earlier…see if the vibe of this video doesn’t resemble Devondra Banhart’s “Foolin'” from 2010.
This one’s my favorite featuring Audrey Plaza
Such a perfect representation of the ego
Thundercat reminds me so much of Flying Lotus, one of my favorite djs ever. And since they kick it all the time, it’s no wonder they sound so similar, although FlyLo can’t kill it on the bass the way Thundercat does. I aint hatin one bit–just keep the tracks coming, pleeease. Totes digging that funky bass. I feel like I’m doing Thundercat a disservice by not sharing a video of him playing the bass live, but you can YouTube him if you’re curious. Basically, he’s amazing.
PS: Mad props to this white guy for pulling off Is It Love? so well. He gets a personal repost on my blog for doing such a fine job covering the track. Those lyrics are everything.
Just when you thought nothing progressive originated in Oklahoma besides the Flaming Lips, Broncho randomly surfaces with this somewhat grungy, somewhat post-punk somewhat trendy sound. Depending on which album you listen to, their sound definitely varies, but here’s a hint: Start with their 2014 release and slowly segway towards Double Vanity, released in 2016. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
2. Hiatus Kaiyote
I don’t even know where to start with this band. Out of everyone on this countdown, Hiatus Kaiyote has the most eclectic sound by far. They’re original, authentic and above all else, incredibly creative. From the vocals to the unusual melodies and rhythms, I would recommend this band to anyone that isn’t afraid to listen to “weird” things. This band is not for everyone. If you like mainstream shitty pop music, don’t even waste your time. If you want something unique and different blending jazz with hip hop, glitch hop and even trip hop, give these guys a try. I’ve said for years that Australia is at the forefront of progressive indie music, and Hiatue Kaiyote for sure proves my point.
1. Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Coming in at number one is Unknown Mortal Orchestra for several reasons: A, this was the best show I saw all year, B he’s incredibly humble and talented and speaks from an existential perspective and C according to Spotify, I listened to UMO and FJM the most this year. It’s a shame I didn’t listen to UMO sooner, because I heard about him a long time ago but couldn’t stand the name. “Unknown Mortal Orchestra” sounded too lengthy to me, but fuck it, he’s a genius and his sound quality is nothing short of perfect. You know a performer cares about the sound quality when he brings his own PA. His albums seem so modest compared to his live shows–Ruban Nielson can shred like no other, but you’d never know it just by listening to his albums. You have to go to his shows to hear him for yourself. Yes, I have a crush, but why shouldn’t I? This guy encompasses everything I want in a decent band: heartfelt lyrics, original riffs, clean sound quality and clearly a passion for playing music. Check him out for yourself–I posed several videos below.
Honorable Mentions: The following bands and musicians didn’t make the cut, because I’ve listened to them before and never paid much attention till this year. But regardless, I encourage readers to check out the following acts!
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizzard
Bass Drum of Death
Thee Oh Sees
And in case anyone’s dying to know, here’s who I listened to most this year, according to Spotify: