Gigslutz Ones To Watch in 2016

As we near the end of 2015, we can honestly say that we think it’s been a pretty fantastic year for new music and upcoming bands and artists. 

In celebration of this, we felt it only right to choose just some of those new musical talents who have caught our eye (or ears) this year, and who we can only presume are headed for big things in 2016. So, New Music Editor Mari, along with a couple of her trusty new music accomplices – Kate Crudgington and Elli Brazzill – has put together the Gigslutz Ones To Watch in 2016…

The Orielles (by Mari):

The Orielles first caught my attention with their jangly brand of surf-pop earlier this year with their single, ‘Space Doubt’. Now, having received praise from the likes of Steve Lamacq and NME, and spending the year headlining gigs across the country, these three teens from Halifax are most certainly looking like Ones To Watch for the near future.

Consisting of sisters Esme and Sidonie, with friend Henry on guitar, The Orielles are skilled at creating sunny melodies, fused with reverb-strewn harmonies and their own trademark sparkling, youthful energy.

Having featured The Orielles numerous times on Gigslutz, and played them on The Gigslutz Girls’ New Music Show, my love for this young band was cemented when I saw them live at The Victoria in the Summer. Although they seem endearingly modest, the band performed their unique, effervescent upbeat melodies with all the youthful zest I could have hoped for.

With plenty of acclaim, airplay and live dates under their belt, I can’t wait to hear what these teens have in store for us in 2016.

Declan McKenna (By Elli):

People’s life directions are all very different at 16, although most aren’t getting spot plays on Radio 1 and playing Glastonbury Festival. That’s what sets apart Declan McKenna from the rest of us, making him one of our “ones to watch” for 2016.

A year since the fun-filled and energetic debut single ‘Brazil’ was released and McKenna has toured Europe, won Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent Competition and landed himself an exclusive NME Awards gig at London’s Barfly. All this after being featured in Gigslutz’s ‘Discovery of the Week’. Coincidence…?

McKenna’s new single ‘Paracetamol’ – released last month – saw a step up from the young songwriter. The track begins as a slight nod to Vampire Weekend with subdued organs and melodic vocals. Then, all of a sudden, the chorus kicks in with an almost 8-bit backing track, McKenna proving to the world he’s his own artist: “What kind of man, kind of man are you?” – I reckon a pretty successful one, as 2016 is bound to prove.

The Big Moon (by Kate):

Expect to be eclipsed by The Big Moon in 2016! These four garage rockers from London have played tonnes of gigs all over the country, travelled Stateside, and supported beloved alt rockers The Vaccines – all this before releasing a debut album.

It’s not just their effortlessly cool sound that keeps fans coming back. The band have a string of rad music videos that accompany their singles, and a laid-back, approachable attitude which spreads from stage to smoking-area post show.

This cracking combination of attributes makes The Big Moon one of the most likeable bands on the circuit right now. They’re due to support The Maccabees in 2016, so try and squeeze into one of their gigs before the demand to see them escalates further!

Kiran Leonard (By Mari):

Although he’s been creating music for a few years now, Kiran Leonard (not to be confused with singer-songwriter Kieran Leonard, who – coincidentally – was a ‘One To Watch’ for 2015!) this year has changed direction somewhat and succeeded in creating his own utterly majestic and unique sound.

Following 2013’s Bowler Hat Soup, it was almost hard to believe that this year’s EP Abandoning Noble Goals was by the same guy. At just 20 years of age, Kiran Leonard has already proved himself to be a wonderfully innovative artist.

After a run of festival dates this summer (including wowing me at Green Man), and plenty of airplay particularly from 6Music’s Marc Riley, Leonard’s most recent single ‘Pink Fruit’ is 16 minutes of angst-driven musical bliss. Oozing a dream-like, emotion-strewn cacophony of sound, it’s reminiscent of underrated ’90s grunge outfit Slint, and flows with an eerie, distorted charm. It’s a stupendous work of art that you really must let your ears devour.

With his new album, Grapefruit, due out in March, I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more of this unique artist in 2016.

Rat Boy (By Kate): 

Essex’s youths (and a girl in her twenties who lacked employment direction) rejoiced earlier this year when Jordan Cardy – aka Ratboy – released his socially realistic and enthusiastically self-deprecating single ‘Sign On’.

Writing and recording most of his stuff from his bedroom in Chelmsford, Ratboy’s sound managed to reach the ears of kids all over the country who are sick to death of living in crappy towns, working boring weekend jobs, and not making the grades at college.

Ratboy’s authentic, shambolic, give a f**k attitude has taken him from town to town, mates in tow, causing mayhem in live shows and – by the looks of his twitter account – having the time of his fucking life. With the support of NME and DIY behind him, 2016 looks set to be Ratboy’s year.

Tuff Love (By Mari and Kate!): 

Having been around for a couple of years, Tuff Love are finally set to release their debut full length album, Resort, in January – an amalgamation of their three previous EPs, all put together in one release.

The Glaswegian duo take the husks of humiliation, anger, and dependency, and turn them into fully-fledged, shimmering rock songs. And, writing and recording their material in bassist/vocalist Suse Bear’s flat, their sound remains consistent, smooth and authentic.  

Oozing a cool, no-frills vibe, alongside sunny melodies and grungey hooks, Tuff Love have created their own brand of scuzzy indie-pop that’s both tuff and lovely. And now, having toured with the likes of Ride, Real Estate and Joanna Gruesome, their first full length album promises to showcase just what Julie Eisenstein and Suse Bear are capable of.

They’re due to play The Great Escape Festival in Brighton in May – which is where The Big Moon & Ratboy both played earlier in the year – so a trip down to the seaside to hear Tuff Love should definitely be inked on to your calendar!

Over the last year, this Glaswegian duo have become firm favourites of Gigslutz, and we’ve no doubt that throughout 2016 the Tuff Love love will be spreading far and wide.  

Skinny Girl Diet (By Mari)

North London trio Skinny Girl Diet have been gaining attention over the last couple of years with their uninhibited Riot Grrrl-inspired, grunge-fuelled sound. Having become firm favourites of ours at the Gigslutz Girls’ New Music Show, they have also been receiving plenty of acclaim from big names in the industry.

Not only have they been played by John Kennedy on Radio X, and received praise from Everett True, but one of their biggest fans is none other than The Slits’ Viv Albertine. Of the young trio, Albertine says that they’re “raw, direct and unpretentious – these girls are timeless.

And I most certainly agree. Still in their late teens, sisters Ursula and Delilah Holliday, along with cousin Amelia Cutler, this year have been perfecting their rousing, raucous sound, and their empowered attitude is just what the world needs right now.

With Holliday’s vocals reminiscent of a young Dalle or Love – with their own distinct London twang – Skinny Girl Diet are one of the most exciting bands I’ve come across this year.

Skinny Girl Diet are set to play Bestival 2016, and I have no doubt we’ll be hearing a lot more from them throughout the year. You can’t afford to miss them.

You can listen to all our picks for 2016 together in our little Ones To Watch playlist.

Mari Lane

Mari Lane

Editor, London. Likes: Kathleen Hanna, 6Music, live music in the sunshine. Dislikes: Sexism, pineapples, the misuse of apostrophes.