Well, 2015 has reached its close, December slowly fading off into the distance as we leave behind a year of fantastic music and a year of fantastic bands, in the public knowledge and waiting to be discovered. What awaits us into the next calendar leap year? Hopefully more of the same and whatever craze next to infect the minds of the impressionable as it cracks the charts. I’m pretty sure 2015 was the year of big room house, or bass house, or whatever. I didn’t care enough to pay attention. But what I did care about, and what I very much care about, is hearing the rumblings or public declarations in some aspects of 20 under-the-radar, underrated, unsigned and underground bands making music in the new year that I’m excited about, and hopefully I can make you excited about too. After all, this is what I want to do for life. If I can’t make you excited about emerging or unearthed music, then I may as well quit here and now.
I’ll give it my best shot. So, in no particular order, 20 bands with new material in 2016, you might want to pay attention to:
For those of you in the know, Warrior Sound, the drum ‘n’ bass rock juggernaut’s third studio effort has had its release delayed for nearly the best part of a year. The reasons have been undisclosed, but it has seen a vocalist switch, a label change and reworks of songs that were being performed live for some time. But in the 6 (!) year gap between this and Spirit In The System, singles and remixes have seeped out and they truly have gotten more explosive and frenetic in that period. Every release has been nothing short of incredible. The last show I went to, a large majority of new songs were played and am I looking forward to cranking them up on a decent soundsystem. From the sounds of it, the album has well been worth that lengthy wait. Welcome back, lads.
Speaking of gentlemen who’ve had a turbulent road to a release, the debut album (technically second album if you’ve been a Subsource fan) from electro-punk duo Black Futures is expected to be due some time in the new year. Production is winding up really, really soon and if the studio teasers and the strength of debut single Love, covered by myself in more detail earlier this year, are anything to go by, Black Futures are going to be an absolutely monumental force to be reckoned with. Despite losing half the band and rebranding, the fire and excitement of their electronic atom-smasher seems more alive than it ever has. 2016 looks to be a pivotal year for these guys, and rightly so.
Doomed From Day One
Despite being a vocalist down to the current public knowledge, tech-death metal five piece Doomed From Day One have been hard at work behind the scenes for several months demoing riffs and new material for their debut long-player. You can only expect their work ethic to deliver nothing but astonishing results, as they are possibly some of the most phenomenally talented up-and-coming musicians I’ve ever witnessed. Being able to switch styles and speeds of destruction like these guys do is what makes them such an exhilarating live prospect, and even more so when that album does materialise in 2016. Only means more songs to tear up every single venue they set foot in. And they set foot in a lot of venues.
For this relatively underground electronic project from New Jersey, 2016 is only the beginning. After the release of their first single Gemini in October, and its outrageously catchy hook and breathtaking atmosphere casting a spell upon me, the potential for the name Mechanical Vampires to skyrocket seems to already lay in waiting. It just needs enough exposure to light the touchpaper. Seriously, if you haven’t already heard Gemini, I can talk you through why you should listen to them. Though unsure whether more singles, an EP or an an entire album lay in store for us, we can be certain that any new music from this undoubtedly exciting unit will be fantastic and well worth your investment.
What happens when you take a quarter of Pure Reason Revolution, relocate to Berlin and recruit IAMX’s keyboard player as a powerful frontwoman? You get Bullet Height, an industrial-tinged, electro-rock duo bent on conquering mediocrity in a stagnant music scene. Picking up the scraps of where PRR finished, the thunderous drums and sublime guitar playing reunite with heavy distortion and some cataclysmic sounding electronics at times in debut single Bastion, a superb introduction to a tremendously talented duo and an electrifying taster of what’s to come. Whether it sways more towards PRR’s progressive nature or the harder-edged hooks of IAMX, is anyone’s guess, but there is no doubt that these guys are not just on my ones-to-watch list, but many, many others for the unfathomable potential possible here.
Another band the future looks bright for, after building up a reputation as a formidable live outfit is Leeds electro-punk quartet Autopsy Boys, with regular circulation and critical praise, including my own, for new single Song For Debbera, taken from their forthcoming second album Revenge Of The Acid Casualty Auto Humans. Packed with more 80’s, B-movie and horror references than humanly conceivable, their unique brand of organised chaos looks set to shed blood on the path to wider recognition and only add to the devoted cult following they’re already accumulated. Cinematic and anarchic in equal measure, what comes in 2016 can only be a tremendous expansion on an otherwise excellent formula.
Change has been afoot for this Welsh electronic-rock four piece. They’ve done without the masks that served them well through the release of their first album Digital And Hostile, and instead just decided to be themselves or Manumit 2.0 in their own words, which I have respect for. But they’ve also enlisted the help of Bullet For My Valentine’s Michael ‘Padge’ Paget to produce their second studio effort, a decision that will serve to push the already brilliant fusion of infectious melodies, slamming beats and boundless kinetic potential, to another level entirely. While the emphasis of being just another Pendulum clone seems inevitable, these lads have the vision and talent to be far greater than that label, and it starts next year.
For 2015, this Gypsy/Balkan/Greek ska -punk collective from Derby has been particularly quiet, not from a touring perspective, but from a musical one. Their last single or taster of music was in 2014, with the flute-led mania of S.P.A.M. said to be taken from their forthcoming studio album in progress. With somewhere near at least a year’s work on the album, theoretically it should be due for a release sometime in the new year… right? In any case, you should be excited, new music or no, as they are single-handedly one of the UK’s most eccentric, entertaining and ultimately fun live bands around right now. Their combination of cultures makes for a fine blend of rhythms and rapture, all encompassed in a riotous format.
Dye The Flux
2015 could have never happened for this Guildford-based alt-rock tour de force. Faced with the adversity of their bassist sustaining a career-threatening injury, being distributed across the country and the departure of a founding member of the band, you could be forgiven for thinking that circumstances could end any band. But you don’t know Dye The Flux. After nearly a year of rehabilitation, writing endlessly behind the scenes and a new drummer recruitment later, these gentlemen are looking to reclaim the year that never was. Their tireless work ethic and their talent for melding hardcore sensibilities with a catchy chorus and melodies that can entrance and empower in equal stead, makes for a formidable live performance and one well-worth catching in the new year. Twinned with an almost guaranteed new release some time in the new year, 2016 is gonna see them spit blood back in the face of life’s hardships.
How few seem to have picked up on this indescribably great band is a travesty, but a gift for those who are keen to them. Minnesota’s Maeth play something of a hybrid of doom, sludge, psychedelic, post-metal and progressive rock, so potent a blend they have many different a name to classify it as. Thus their music is very much a unique, fascinating, not to mention crunching beast, married with some universally transcendental ambient soundscapes. Quite simply, there isn’t another band, dead or alive I’ve heard that sounds even close to these guys. Rapidly working on completing their second album, expected to drop some time in the new year, the metal scene should take heed and listen. Maeth are a one of a kind, truly sensational listening experience and be damned if they don’t make seismic-sized ripples in 2016.
Working For A Nuclear Free City
So… I’d made a statement earlier in 2015 that I thought Working For A Nuclear Free City were no more, given the infrequent rumours of a new album, Gary McClure’s excellent lo-fi garage soul project American Wrestlers gathering steam and general uncertainty, given the lack of communication and a record label. But several weeks ago, an answer was given, and fourth album (not including Odds and Sods) What Do People Do All Day? is due for an imminent release. OK, technically you can get the entire album in full now if you pre-order it, but I’m going by official parameters here. They say it’s out next year, it’s out next year to me. That said, if you’re a fan of eclectic, genre-trashing music with fantastic melodies, hooks and atmosphere, you’d do yourself a disservice if you didn’t invest in these gentlemen. Hands down, one of the most underrated bands to currently exist.
Suffer Like G Did
Speaking of bands returning to the studio. This London jazz/math-rock outfit, after a suspiciously quiet year and no new material in around 2 years, returned in November, possibly after the coroner came knocking. While this is all merely speculation and no confirmation on a new release yet has been assured, the talk of demos and the overall reunion can only mean good news is incoming. Especially as their brand of sunshine-soaked instrumental grooves has been dearly missed from my soundtracks to the summer. Not to mention the ability to tell House Of The Dead-based anecdotes and mention these guys in conversation. Suffer Like G Did serve up a drinking atmosphere like no other and are gonna be essential to the soundtrack of summer 2016.
2015 has been a terrific year for these five lads from Yorkshire. Not just from having a sound that can only be described as the second coming of Nirvana, but they’ve had several high-profile support slots and pretty much played every festival in existence going in the UK this year. They are essentially moments away from being one of the next breakthrough bands this country has produced. A string of EPs and a reputation as one of the hardest working bands going right now has given them a rabid following. They just need an album. If they can produce an album full to the brim of the immovable melodies, vocal harmonies, riffs and stories that resonate with the youth of today they already excel at producing, then 2016 is very much theirs for the taking.
Grunge has seen somewhat of a revival recently, but it appears to be taking on some… peculiar, if eyebrow-raising rebirths. One of such is California’s Stalin whom not so much being a peculiar interpretation of grunge, as their own monster lurking in the shadow of the genre. There’s something seductive about their lyricism, but in the same way of being lured in by the devil himself. Their music and image has all the hallmarks of a classic rock band in the making, and they’ve consistently released singles since their inception, each one far superior than the last. And there’s reason to believe that there is an album soon on the way. If they stay on the warpath they’re walking, that slogan of ‘music for the masses’ will fulfil its complete potential.
All Hail The Yeti
These Los Angeles lads if they haven’t been places already, then they soon will be. Their snarling brand of molten hardcore-infused metal beatdowns took them to Europe for the first time in 2015 and deservedly so. Their self-titled album features some of the best modern metal songs currently floating under-the-radar and they have a fearsome live reputation wherever they step foot. While work on a second album has been underway for a while, the winds suggest that 2016 is a plausible date for it to materialise, and metal won’t know what’s hit it. Honestly, there’s an intensity and passion that these guys bring that’s just hard to put into words. Just listen, and hail the yeti. These guys are gonna be special.
Labels and genres need not even apply with these gentlemen from Los Angeles. When you weave together so many different influences, sounds and textures like these guys do, it becomes far more obvious why even they don’t bother classifying themselves. Their sound truly is an original and their own. You can tumble through dreamy ambience and be pummelled by stone fists and sludge waves ten seconds later. Progressive music at its most unpredictable and creative. They released a new song in 2015, following a well-appraised EP two years previous, and are well on the way to producing their first full-length release. For now, they are sitting as a real diamond waiting to be excavated, and some are savvy to its location. But upon the arrival of Ghost Idols’ album, more and more will want in on a shining example of brilliance.
Geistfight are a lot like going to the carnival and signalling for formula one cars to storm in and wipe the floats out. After being nurtured by a tight-knit community of like-minded ska enthusiasts and bands alike, the Guildford-based five piece are releasing a full length EP at the beginning of the year, following on from the strength of first single The Fine Line. Sharpening the familiar ska-punk formula, launching it into an audience at speed then setting it on fire, these guys are not only a tremendous amount of fun, recorded and live, but they are just as talented songwriters as they are professional party crashers. If you like your skanking with a dose of real attitude, then you’d be hard pushed to find more furious saxophone work than that of Geistfight in 2016.
James Brown Gang
It doesn’t matter how good your musical history is, because no amount of musical history will prepare you for the full might of the James Brown Gang. Sitting somewhere between gloomy thrash metal and a space sludge clusterbomb, the originality of these components spread between just three musicians is certainly cause for celebration. These gentlemen are twisting and contorting the very fabric of what seems possible with tried and tested templates, breathing new life into a quickly stagnating scene. Prolific in their recordings when active, steadily drip-feeding new songs as and when they feel like it, the mention of a potential album or new EP has been hinted at for some time, but with no ETA in sight. Maybe 2016 will be the right time for it to appear? In any case, any new material would be graciously welcomed, as these guys are simply incredible and deserve a far greater following and exposure.
Fun fact for you: I am actually Server #0232. I think, it’s been a while since I committed myself to this excellent Barnsley and Derby-based progressive rock band. You join their mailing list, you get given an number, which in a weird way makes you feel more connected to the cult-like demeanour of Servers. 2015 remained a quiet year for the band, bar a few gigs here and there, but the time has no doubt been well spent engineering a dynamite follow-up to their exceptional debut Leave With Us. Promised to be delivered some time in 2016, this hooded quartet have kept people talking upon gracing listeners with an emotional and physical avalanche that blows you away, for all the perfectly right reasons. 2016 looks a great opportunity for them to serve another beautiful masterstroke of destruction.
Right now, if you asked me which band would be mostly likely to take over the planet in 2016, then my money would be on 3TEETH. Having already caused quite the stir by being hand-selected by Tool to accompany them on their January tour, second album plans were put on hold, but certainly not for the duration of the year. By dragging industrial kicking and screaming back to its roots, it has revitalised the heartbeat of a genre thought to be fading away and has made it relevant once more. It could be as bold a claim to say that 3TEETH are the best industrial band in the last ten years, but on the basis of their outstanding debut album, high demand and fiercely loyal fanbase, growing by the day, that claim could very quickly hold weight behind it. New music from these guys is coming in 2016, they have the momentum behind them now to make their rise meteoric.
This is all of course my personal opinion here, but if you feel there are bands out there releasing new music in 2016 that I should know about, feel free to get in touch with me. In any case, I hope you’ve found a band here you’ll take an interest in and hope that you’ll continue to support independent music in 2016. I know I certainly will.
Doomed From Day One
James Brown Gang
And finally, if you think I’ve done a wonderful job or have anything to add, correct or constructively criticise, then head here: