The new crop of talent that emerged in 2016 spanned genres including indie rock, hip hop, country, rock, and pop. As we are bombarded by ceaseless amounts of news and information each day on our social media feeds, it is easy to miss the amount of talent that is emerging everyday.
This is where this list comes in. We have compiled some of the best new bands and artists that broke out this past year. We hope that as you scroll through the list and discover something new that you may have missed in 2016.
Louis Kevin Celestin, aka Kaytranada, blessed us with his debut album 99.9% in May and we are forever grateful for it. Born in Haiti and raised in Montreal, this artist has had one helluva year. Listen to the eleventh track on 99.9%, “You’re the One,” below.
Comprised of Mike O’Neill of The Inbreds, Chris Murphy of Sloan, and Matt Murphy of The Super Friendz, Tuns originally came together in 2015, but released their debut album this past summer. The Canadian supergroup also popped by Indie88 this year to play a few songs for a Collective Arts Black Box Session. Watch below.
This band knows how to do folk rock. With their debut Masterpiece, Big Thief’s music features Adrianne Lenker’s impressive and beautiful storytelling abilities. Listen to their title track “Masterpiece” below.
Aurora Aksnes is only twenty-years-old and is already one of the most talented growing artists out there. In March of this year she released her debut album All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend. Her voice is unique and she has an uncanny ability to mesmerize her viewers during live performances. See for yourself below.
After starting out as voice memos on singer Jasmyn Burke’s phone, Weaves’ released their self-titled debut album in June of this year. This band has charisma and is loaded with so much talent and potential that we can’t wait to see what else they have in store for us. Watch them perform in the Collective Arts Black Box below.
Cardin initially became known for being a contestant on the French Canadian TV talent show La Voix in 2013. However, this year she released her solo debut EP Big Boy, and although it’s just a peak into this electro-R&B soloist’s potential, we sure as heck like what we hear. Watch her video for “Dirty Dirty” below.
Originally known as a band called Boys Who Say No, Future Peers was created with the help of Canadian indie rockers Kevin Drew and Charles Spearin and producer Shawn Everett. Their self-titled debut album dropped just a few days ago and has been receiving positive reviews left, right, and centre. Watch the band’s video for song “Craft” below.
BROS is the brainchild of The Sheepdogs’ Ewan and Shamus Currie, though their music is not what you’d expect from two members of the Sheepdogs. BROS is more of a power pop project between the two “bros.” Take a listen for yourself and checkout their video below for “Tell Me.”
Light Upon the Lake is the debut album that was released by rock band Whitney earlier this year in June. This American band embodies a nostalgic, lo-fi 70s-rock sound. If this band existed when Dazed and Confused was made, “No Matter Where We Go” would definitely be in the soundtrack. Watch the video below.
You might listen to Margo Price and think you’re hearing an old-school country song from the 1970s, but you’re in fact listening to a new and emerging country star that is quickly gaining popularity in the music scene. Price is recognized for her authentic country western voice and style. Watch the video for “Since You Put Me Down” from her debut album Midwest Farmer’s Daughter below.
These three sisters are just teeming with talent. Natalie Closner brought her younger twin sisters in as vocalists on a solo project, and thus Joseph was born. Although the trio released their first album back in 2014, they really broke out this year with their second album I’m Alone, No You’re Not. Watch their Black Box Session for “SOS (Overboard)” below.
Dan Boeckner has been around, having been involved in a number of bands including Wolf Parade, Handsome Furs, and Divine Fits. Operators is his latest project, and the band released their debut album Blue Wave earlier this year. Watch Operators’ Hidden Studio Session below.
Charlotte Day Wilson
Some may recognize Charlotte Day Wilson from appearing on BADBADNOTGOOD’s IV, though this talented artist has recently released her own EP CDW. If you haven’t listened to Charlotte Day Wilson, you really should. Her music is beautiful and her vocals alone make it hard not to like her. Listen to her song “Find You” below.
Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam
If you listen to only one song in this article, let it be “A 1000 Times” by Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam. This duo released the album I Had A Dream That You Were Mine in September, and yes, it is Rostam Batmanglij from Vampire Weekend. Listen to “A 1000 Times” below (make sure you have some tissues).
Pinegrove really know how to jam, and watching them play live is worth it if you’re just checking them out now. This band released their debut LP Cardinal in February and we’re stoked to see what they have in store for us next year. Maybe an Indie88 session? Watch them perform below.
Hopefully you saw Repartee rule our third birthday party back in September. The electro-pop outfit originally from St. John’s, Newfoundland, now call Toronto home. Their song “Dukes” sounds massive on the radio and was one of 2016’s anthems.
Hamilton’s Billy Moon pumped out a collection of blistering garage rock tunes on That Which You Can’t Throw Away. A mix of brutally honest west coast surf tracks, the EP comes across as an authentic progression of natural songwriting; rubbing dirt in the face of over-produced “summer anthems.”
Stay tuned to Indie88.com over the holidays for our entire Best of 2016 series.
Up next: Best Album Art from 2016 (Monday, December 19)