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1: Mark Pontin Group This Blues-Rock jam-band from South Wales (United Kingdom) is rightly famous on their live-local scene for their Jimmy Page-like front man/guitarist Mark. But the band came to our notice through the 2015 album “ Textures” with its progressive trends and Zeppelin moments – it’s full of runes, stairways and hermits – if you still love 70s heavy rock, then you should definitely try this band for size in 2016 2: Red Butler We have been showing off our love for this band all summer. Now 2016 sees the young Brighton-based outfit head for Italy to represent the United Kingdom in the European Blues Challenge. Lively voice, supreme guitars, oily bass and breathtaking drummery. This is what the blues of 2016 will sound like! Fast movin — never lookin’ back… Pure dynamic energy and explosive release!
3: Sheppard This fresh indie pop band from Brisbane, Australia have been supporting Meghan Trainor on her tour. Their ‘ Geronimo‘ from ‘ Bombs Away‘ is filled with toe-tapping beats and heart-string plucks of tense emotion. It’s about time that they exploded out and became international superstars! 2016 is the year!
4: Kandace Springs If you have a hankering for Norah Jones style lusciousness accompanied by soothing piano forte, try Nashville (now New York based) Kandace. Reminding us, perhaps, of Alicia Keys, for her soulfulness and style… She is bound to gain global recognition in the coming 12 months.
5: Kaleo Iceland has produced yet another wonder. This time in the form of a four-piece blues ‘n’ country-rock phenomenon. Check out their blues-lament “ Pour Sugar On Me” to be won-over. Touring all over the United States for the foreseeable future. In a stadium or field near you!
6: Wild Belle Natalie Bergman and Elliot Bergman make up Wild Belle. Nat’s vocal is low and grainy – the beats delivered from Elliot have 1980s bounce and coiled-spring energy. Where are the 21st century equivalent to Eurythmics? Hooray! We have found them!
7: SIMO Blues & Jazz psychedelic trio from Nashville. When we saw ’em live we described the group as “heavy, strong and rattle-some …”
8: Pony Boy is neither a gunslinger nor even a boy. Rather, its the moniker for singer-songwriter Marchelle Bradanini. You may have heard her songs: “ Happy Ever After” popped up on the TV show Gotham and the slow dancing “ Trouble” earned airplay on Nashville. Her inspirations come from all over the world via Nina Simone, Neil Young and Betty Davis …
9: DeVotchKa This unusual band play authentic rock ‘n’ roll with orchestral trends. Although rock prevails (cunningly disguised, when played on an assortment of curious instruments) you can also expect melody, harmony and even counterpoint. Plus many variations…
10: The London Souls Classic rock ‘n’ roll with infinite energy from Tash and Chris. And, no, they do not come from London. Neither do they play Soul! Think Cream or Zeppelin however … Perhaps with the hooky kookiness of the Hollies.
11: VANT We caught site of UK indie-rockers VANT (formed by songwriter Mattie Vant in 2014) in the wet ‘n’ lousy Brit summer of ’15 (they have been on the long-road with Royal Blood and many others.) They have already gained a reputation for writing about ‘big issues; Check out ‘ Parking Lot‘ released at the back-end of the summer. It is lite-rock and cool. And it gained plenty of radio-play. Reminiscent of the Sacramento (California) emo band ‘ Far‘
12: Sugar & The Hi Lows Amy Stroup and Trent Dabbs are Nashville’s best old group / new group. They provide Country & Western flavors served up with plenty of velvety panache.
13: Ume are Texan’s Lauren LL on guitar & vocals, Eric Larson on bass and Aaron Perez on drums. They bring with them a heavy package of distortion-ready raw garage rock… As Lauren takes center stage and excites the crowd with her swirling-banshee brand of limitless emotion and feverish intensity
14: Whiskey Myers Grand-Southern blended agro-mash rock delivered with hi-intensity flavor and amazing stomp. If you still have a desire to hear Skynyrd crossed with the Allman Brothers (we all do, surely), you will not get much better than this.
15: Sylvan Esso Portland-based duo: singer Amelia Meath & electronic producer Nick Sanborn create, together, elegant and delicate auditory landscapes criss-crossed with exquisite vocal harmonies. Often nostalgic, sometimes funny, always immediate and engaging.
16: Wyvern Lingo Bray’s wonderful and stylish Alternative/RnB/Pop trio have been described: “As if Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young grew up listening to Destiny’s Child…” Their latest release ‘ Subside‘ is available right now.