20 Bands With New Music In 2016 You Should Keep An Eye On

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:

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High Rise

Some imagery just sticks around you for literally as long as you can remember. I’ve grown up in what’s claimed to be one of the worst places to live in this country nowadays, a place I myself have dubbed as ‘an angry, concrete tramp,’ purely based on the deteriorating collage of grey everywhere and the hotbed of hatred that could threaten to boil over at any moment. While the town is in a chrysalis of modernisation as of late, I stick by what I say and I will take my words and vision to the grave with me. I’ve been fortunate enough to live in moderate comfort my entire life, whereas they’ve been so many more who have been confined to poverty in tower blocks, an image far too common on Luton’s landscape. But where tower blocks have been around me my entire life, a similar sentiment can be said of melodic hardcore five-piece High Rise. Not only can a high rise also be called a tower block, but having been around for five years, I also feel like they’ve been around a lot longer in my life. Although their gestation to this point in time has experienced some turbulence, their life experiences have translated into adrenalin-pumping and mechanically fine-tuned anthems for the voices of disenfranchised youth. Too heavy a tone for hardcore, but with a fighting spirit large enough to hang with the metal crowd, these boys are the perfect balance for whatever you need from modern guitar music. Their Tides Will Take You EP is only four songs deep, with one short acoustic focused interlude that showcases some of the best of the clean vocals, and two of them do stray past the five minute mark but stay constantly enthralling throughout. It is their current calling card Memories however that sits atop the crown of this well constructed wrecking machine. Rocketing out of the gates, the giant bite from dual guitars with some impressively infectious melodies, a damn powerful low end beneath it, completely unstoppable drums and an inspiring vocal performance, unite to tear the house to shreds in a blistering assault on your senses. It’s just the total package. Moods elevate sky high through the tempo shifts, the faster gear shift to begin the riot to the slower melodies to give a platform to the shining vocal delivery, all down to the solo guitar into complete havok and a breakdown that will leave nothing but a smile and a bruise on your face. Memories is aptly titled really, as much like what I’ve grown up with in my lifetime, their characteristics and immediate impact on arrival are impossible to dismay you from the feeling that High Rise, are a band that are here to stay, and their prominence is going to keep growing and growing. Long may it continue.

These gentlemen are very kindly offering a free downloadable copy of their Tides Will Take You EP for free on their Bandcamp page, or if you would like a physical copy and t-shirt of theirs, head to their website, where and or either will cost a small fee. These are some of the most hard-working and committed gentlemen I’ve ever met, so they completely deserve your hard earned money. They also have a large string of live dates until the end of this year, and are teasing something to be announced very shortly. New song? New EP? Debut album? Rub your hands with anticipation regardless.

https://www.facebook.com/highrisebandOfficial?fref=ts

The Hex

Witchcraft, or at least modern witchcraft tends to be more of a spiritual sensation, the roots of it lying in earth medicines and botany, as opposed to having supernatural powers. Well, at least the real life incarnation of it was. The amount of flying women on broomsticks at least proven outside of Harry Potter I believe lies at exactly zero. If anybody has or can, then I apologise and kudos to you. The practice of cursing or hexing somebody however does still exist and can be more predominant in folk communities and shamanistic societies. What that actually means depends entirely on your definition of faith and whether you choose to believe in such practices. Personally, a hex I’d certainly choose to believe in if staring face-to-face with it, would be that of self-proclaimed arctic hardcore delinquents The Hex. Emerging from Trondheim, Norway, The Hex are a sextet billowing with the ferocity of the post-hardcore crowd, so hard in cases you can hear the dead soul of At The Drive-In gushing from their vocalist. That’s no backhanded compliment, The Hex are a formidable cavalcade of riffs, vigour and tight melodies that you can bathe in as much as be beaten to death by it. The addition of an extra percussionist, who serves as a synth player also adds a richer flavour into the mix of the riotous, buccaneering guitar piledriver, especially with the extra toms during breakdowns and shakers fleshing out the sound. This Is How Razors Dance (Rage United) from fittingly-titled 2013 album Bringing Guns To A Knife Fight is actually far more progressive and turbulent than you anticipate, opening with an all bets off bare knuckle fist-fight, that builds towards a surprisingly emotionally intense climax, similar of that to a bullfight. The altitude of energy spent never really dips as there’s always something constantly keeping the blood pumping in the collective heartbeat. While The Hex are lacking in the spiritual realm that they birth their name from, there’s a whole lot more made up for to be feared yet impressed by. Compiling the yelling that could tear neck muscles, intricate yet punishing guitars, bone-shaking bass and percussion with a cavern-like depth of ability and wonder, The Hex are not so much a spell, but a force of nature that has very little hope of being stopped once momentum is in its favour.

The Hex’s two albums, Bringing Guns To A Knife Fight and 2009’s Tyrannosaurus Hex can be bought from The Hex’s webstore, or from most respectable music retailers. Trust me, they’re there. Word also is they’re working on a new studio album right now, so any money towards that can only help right?

https://www.facebook.com/thehexrus?ref=profile

Ghost Idols

Hundreds, probably thousands, probably hundreds of thousands of people on this planet claim that they have seen a ghost in their lifetime. But despite footage and images suggesting there may indeed be paranormal activity in this world, the subject still very much stays open for debate. People make fortunes out of it, however sincere or exploitative they may be. The jury is out for me personally. Some claims look more authentic than others, but until I kinda see or experience it for myself, my guess is as good as yours. Hello fate, I didn’t see you there! But whether you want to dispute the authenticity of LA’s Ghost Idols however, you’d be entirely foolhardy to do so. They are an anomaly, but purely because their sound doesn’t fulfil a ticklist for given genre conventions. There are nuances of many sounds absorbed into their matter, perhaps so many that the original sources are all but unrecognisable. Here’s what I can tell you. At its truest centre, Ghost Idols are at best a super heavy indie band, at times pouring enough fuzz and distortion onto a guitar to drown out a building demolition, while keeping the poppy vocal melodies and harmonies present, injected with force straight into your brain. Every second of a Ghost Idols song never misses a beat, there is always something switching or shifting around to demand your attention. Take Heathens from their self-titled EP from 2013. There’s a tirade of thunderous drums, meshing together with roughened chords and optimistic vocal tones that would sit well in Bloc Party’s back pocket, later going into a hardcore style breakdown harbouring a infectious kick pedal pattern, full buckshot-impact sludge guitar accompanying it. There’s even a lovely, understated little solo atop both bass and drums going hell for leather And if they aren’t switching up the texture of the sound, then they constantly switch the time signatures too. Literally every note has meaning and purpose on an unprecedented level. Ghost Idols, unlike ghosts themselves, are something you should fully believe in, as their adventurous sound is so versatile and dynamic, they should be heightened from underground dwellings to mainstream music acceptance.

Their self-titled EP is currently available on a pay-what-you-want basis for a digital copy, or a reasonable sum for a physical copy, as well as their most recent single Monsoons which can be bought on vinyl, all on their Bandcamp page. These guys are also recording an album right now, so any money given to them will be appreciated. They have a killer sound, they deserve it.

https://www.facebook.com/GhostIdols?fref=ts

You Win Again Gravity

I’m an aficionado for a good quote or reference to popular culture, especially when said reference or quote reaches a level of obscurity that only somebody like me, stubbornly restricting myself to limited yet expansive sources, will understand. Conversations will start, and within five minutes, I likely have to explain what I have just said and where it comes from, because I can confuse anyone that quickly. But, to my absolute delight upon witnessing this Windsor post-hardcore mob’s name, I could revel in that I understood where it came from and that others also knew. Lifted from Futurama’s failed philanderer Zapp Brannigan, You Win Again Gravity are a hybrid, fused from a multitude of heavy and progressive forces into a unified juggernaut of monumental stopping power. These five gentlemen are such a well-oiled machine that the complexity of their music at times seems like second nature, and that alone is impressive enough to give them your attention. Skyline, from their late 2014 EP Let Go Lightly, ushers in a quiet series of triplets, before building into a Dillinger Escape Plan style barrage of off-kilter instrumentation into the main body of a strongly textured melodic hardcore anthem. The interchange between screams and singing compliments the progression that the music undertakes wonderfully, and is the crowning jewel in a treasure trove of unbelievably talented musicians. In line with the show their name comes from, this is thinking man’s hardcore, built to punch holes in mountains, but layered with an immense emotional depth and an impressive technical ability that even the most savage of mosh pits will take heed of. May gravity never slow them down.

The three EPs, Let Go Lightly, early 2014’s Brightly Coloured Landscapes and 2012’s Reflect The Change are all available from the band’s Bandcamp page for a respectable fee.

https://www.facebook.com/YouWinAgainGravity?fref=ts

Track of The Week: Autopsy Boys – Song For Deberra

Following my original article on Leeds electropunk outfit Autopsy Boys and my over excitement to share my words with them, they got in contact and they were impressed with my musings and tipped me off about the first preview of their forthcoming new album Return Of The Acid Casualty Auto Humans. So as you might expect, I was poised waiting, and a little over 24 hours later, here I am writing about that new song. Titled Song for Debbera, in tribute to B-movie legend and now music video curator, Debbie Rochon, is the beginning of a five-part narrative depicting a day of urban anarchy, in the style of the 80’s horror flicks they so cherish. The scene and the stage are set strongly, both the Queen of Scream introducing her illustrious career and the tale about to unfold, and the band start at pace with a subtly catchy guitar hook, whilst synth throbs like the Blob below. It’s really from this point onwards, you can really marvel at the lyricism at work, billowing with 80’s references that flow off the tongue like water bursting from a dam. There’s also not so much of a chorus of sorts,  but one particular moment that a well-informed crowd could harmonise with beautifully. Moments that recall a certain Mr. Gary Numan in his prime, then again, Tubeway Army were a punk band, just not in the strictest sense of the definition. As you expect, amplitude starts to ramp up and vocals cease to focus on instruments building tension, coinciding nicely with the on-screen imagery of a party dispersing from some sort of humanoid attack, as well as insane scientist back story in the process. Furious chords play out as synths turn haywire and drums keep that panic and hysteria constantly moving, culminating in the first person camera being thrown into the boot of a car. As an introduction to the work of Autopsy Boys, this could be no more perfect. As a fan, I can no doubt imagine that they already hunger for the next instalment, as well as more new music in tandem. On the basis of this first track alone, this Leeds four piece look set to continue and build upon the already stellar synthpunk slasher sound, and with visuals in tow, only confirm their status as one of the country’s most exciting under-the-radar bands around.

Song For Debbera is out now via all good music retailers, taken from their forthcoming new album expected sometime this year.

https://www.facebook.com/autopsyboys?fref=ts

Gaytheist

I mentioned a little while back that hardcore tends to be a very serious business, and a band’s prowess tends to be measured against the instigation of violence and how savagely you can play your instrument. All that raw, frenetic carnage is highly enjoyable at the best of times, but every now and again, the overbearing lust for bloodshed becomes too much. There’s very little laughter in between the roundhouse kicks and flailing fists. So I’ll reiterate again that when bands that tick most of the boxes for hardcore principles, but keep their tongues firmly in cheek, it makes the genre a little less like the display of machismo it’s pretty much portrayed as. After all, if you’re from Portland, Oregon and you name your band Gaytheist, you can’t expect to not raise eyebrows. Although they don’t so much as keep tongue in cheek, as swallow it trying. Let’s be honest here, when you pen rip-roaring stompers with such memorable titles like Elderly Assassin, I’m Procrastinate And I Vote and Poocano, it’s hard not to assume what you’re getting yourself in for. But what exactly are you getting yourself in for? A fiery punk buzzsaw built for speed, parts venomous, parts deranged, but everything defiant in the face of decency. Hold Me… But Not So Tight, their long player from 2013, speaks volumes for this sentiment, having an image of a pair of embracing lizards and one is suggestively licking the other. Anyway, to Manhattan, opening with a grinding bassline, that lurks underneath the build-up of pounding drums at pace, blazing guitar bathed in distortion and a mildly humorous yet mildly concerning social commentary on New York’s most densely populated district. Although, blink and you’ll miss it. You may argue that it just gets going, but they pack quality into those two minutes, that several visitations are required to soak in thoroughly. See, laughter is one of the keys to life, and if Gaytheist aren’t entertaining, then they are at least giving the stone-faced hardcore genre a permanent marker moustache whilst it’s unconscious.

Hold Me…, 2012 album Stealth Beats, a live album and some singles can be purchased from their Bandcamp page, from very reasonable prices. They also have some split EPs with a few other bands that are worth checking out, and I believe are somewhere in Bandcamp too.

https://www.facebook.com/GaytheistPDX