12 Up-and-Coming Artists Set to Blow Up in 2016
Posted by Scott Kulicke 8 months ago in Music
Historically, IHC has a 100% success rate in predicting what will be big, cool, hashtaggy, and relevant. All we do is rub the crystal ball that is Franki Chan’s head and say “please magic ball, show me the future.” Sometimes he’ll lay out a detailed 12-point list of upcoming artists to watch, and sometimes he’ll just grumble “please stop rubbing my head.”
This was one of his more cooperative years.
It’s unclear whether someone playing Bonnaroo and TomorrowWorld can count as “up-and-coming,” but with a nice lil’ ratio of 50,000 followers:14 tracks on her Soundcloud, there’s a “holy shit what’s she gonna do next” buzz about Mija. Part of her success comes from particularly good taste; work songs that resonate with a broader audience (example: her Ass & Titties remix of Biggie Bounce with Ghastly, because who doesn’t want another excuse to yell “ass and titties” over and over and over). And chopping up Diplo songs with pitched-up chipmunk vocals is a pretty safe guarantee of a quick 17K likes. As the far-more eloquent folks over at LA Weekly put it: her sets “cross genres and play with tempos in unusual ways. She stands out in a scene that, in recent years, has been obsessed with bangers.”
She’s cited her boredom with the exclusively-house state of DJing these days as the impetus to drive her into more experimental sets, but everything about her seems rooted in a particularly individualistic DIY sensibility: booking and managing her own tour through Mexico, honing her chops spinning Latin and Disco at a Sheraton hotel in Phoenix, or starting her own clothing line on the side because the fickle fame of internet DJs comes and goes – and all of this in the face of hyper-male industry that is EDM, keeping her cool in a 99% dong-driven environment.
2. Seth Bogart
Seth Bogart’s weird, and he’s nailing it. Former Hunx and His Punx singer (perfect), Bogart most recently got spotlighted for his post-punk, LCD-Soundsystem-without-the-seriousness release “Eating Makeup” featuring Kathleen Hanna, with an accompanying androgyny-fest of a music video of some very heavily made-up people eating makeup while Bogart, in a magenta tuxedo splayed out on a Sesame Street-esque oyster bed/paper mache face thing, looks like a very porn-y early James Bond meets Folerio. But the song bangs, the guy put out a fake advertisement for “Legggs Mantyhose – the 100% completely nude pantyhose for men!”, and he’s been opening art shows around Los Angeles focused on the advertorial aesthetic of vintage beauty products from his background as an Oakland hair stylist. If you need vintage weird without pandering irony, peep some Bogart and the album he’s slated to drop on February 19th.
3. River Tiber
We’re not the only ones who are one track away from running down the streets yelling about Toronto synth crooner River Tiber. Noisey put out an article “Who the Hell Is River Tiber and Why Is He Suddenly Everywhere?” last year after Drake flipped a Tiber sample for the synth lead on “No Tellin'” (Canadian solidarity), a sample from River’s at-that-point-unreleased “No Talk,” which was an off-kilter haunter of a track that starts you at “this isn’t right” and ends with “play that again!” A few months ago he released his When The Time Is Right EP, and you can leave if that EP doesn’t make you wanna bang someone immediately. Tiber’s poised in that sweet spot for indie hugeness: downtempo EP blowing up the internet, plugs from mega-stars like Drake, and a voice like Justin Timberlake (sidenote: remember Alpha Dog? lol).
4. Future Brown
Good trap shit. Auto-tune, gothic beats, references to bandz in designer jeans. Future Brown is a production group that predominantly produces beats that sound like pure villainy, but there’s a plan-less spontaneity to them, the occasional twist that’ll turn your head away from whatever ratchet shit you’re doing. Beneath the now-ubiquitous sizzling 808 hi-hats (I blame Lex Luger for the last three years), and indiscriminately window-rattling bass, there’s a “turn up at all costs” mentality that has them turning out tracks like Tink’s “Treat Me Like Somebody” which challenges anyone to even try to label it as trap. So as the year goes on and the featured artist gets all the credit, make sure you read the fine print and look for that Future Brown stamp.
P.S. They gave us the line “pussy wetter than Nemo,” so there’s also that.
5. Miya Folick
“I think you are groovy baby, you think I am dumb and lazy.”
Lo-fi and sparse, Miya sounds like if Joni Mitchell had a garage rock project, and a Soundcloud with tags like “#grungefolk” and “#lonermusic.” I needed this woman when I was 17. But her Strange Darling EP deftly avoids the indistinct droning waves of saddy-sads that her genre often dives into, and instead rings with a “surprise your parents that not everything made today sounds like shit” beauty that could easily have scored the entire film Boyhood.
6. Chris Lee
PC Music, you crazy for this one. PC Music teamed up Chinese super-mega-star Li Yuchun, who achieved hugeness eleven years ago when she won a TV talent show called Super Girl. After four albums, three films, a wall full of #1 records, and the cover spot of 2005’s TIME Magazine’s “Asia’s Heroes”, she’s turning her wrath on the States. Her single release “Only You” is chopped-sample-y, Top-40 EDM plucky, and mathematically engineered to destroy the radio. When you start hearing remixes of this blowing the kandi off rave bunnies, earn your creds by knowing your history: Chris Lee is about to be huge, but Li Yuchun has been disgustingly big for a decade.
ANOHNI, formerly known as Antony, just receiver an Oscar nomination for her song “Manta Ray” from the film Racing Extinction, and her response was basically a flat, don’t-even-look-up-from-your-morning-paper “Oh, really? Cool.”
Seriously. She’s the second-ever openly trans person nominated for an Academy Award, and Pitchfork called her and was like “did you see this coming?” and she was just like “no.”
It’s so cool it’s infuriating. But ANOHNI is breaking off from her previous trajectory with Antony and The Johnsons, which spawned the Mercury Music Prize winning 2005 album I Am A Bird Now, and releasing an album under ANOHNI titled Hopelessness which will be a drastic departure into electronic experimentalism, which she openly claims “some of my fans won’t like.”
8. Jack Garratt
Sounds like Chet Faker but way more fun, a little less nasal, and a lot dancier. He’s poised to release his album Phase, and the single “Breathe Life” sounds like a summertime dance ode to women everywhere, be they mothers or lovers. There’s whiny synth wobbles, pop piano progressions, Darius-esque production, and a bulletproof voice. It’s impossible to know whether or not the whole album will be this radio friendly given that this is a debut album and we only have a handful of tracks to work from, but isn’t the mystery part of the fun?
By their own admission, they write about sex addiction and hypnotherapy, both of which are wonderfully apt descriptors of what you’re about to hear. I’m not sure what they mean by “fuck you like a knife” but I am very interested. The Los Angeles duo sounds like Cherub but without the “let’s do coke while wearing Supreme snapbacks” sensibility, a more sophisticated sound that proudly pays their ’80s homage – like if Donna Lewis happened right now. The duo previously worked together in the band Boy Traveler with Skrillex before he was Skrillex, and now come back to drop an album Jurassic Technologie on February 23rd. Getchyur ears on the single “Like A Knife” which is notably less vintage and far slinkier than their previous releases:
Seattle garage rock, it’s late-teen nights drinking beer thinking that high school sucks, parents suck, the kids going off to college suck, but that girl in the shredded denim jacket is somethin’ else entirely. It’s just genuinely brilliant simple punk. Remember the first time you heard “You! Me! Dancing!“? It’s that. Swoon Records will be putting out their EP on February 19th, it’ll be their first release since an extensive run on the road, sharpened from a rubbing-of-shoulders with some of their inspirations (cha girl LOLAWOLF), and a dose of “maybe we can actually do this” reality/hope/fear.
11. Gilligan Moss
Moss broke onto most of our radars when he remixed Glass Animals “Gooey” as part of a huge run of remixes the Glanimals that gave us some other gems, but he recently released his Ceremonial EP to surprisingly little fanfare. It’s hard to pin down exactly what you’re hearing: Bearded Magazine described it as “some kind of dance-pop,” citing similar artists as “probably no-one.” It sounds a bit like if The Jungle Book went really, really hard. Every single track is a “why isn’t this massively popular?” and as is often the case, this kind of exceptionally-different dynamite takes a while to settle in. Just listen, and you can call us to get your money back if you’re unsatisfied.
12. Shawn Wasabi
Sometimes you hear something and you know it’s going to be big, but sometimes you see it and know. Shawn Wasabi is the answer to everyone that is tired of standing there watching a DJ play a computer. Shawn went viral when he put up a video of him playing some sort of pure evil MIDI machine that looked like Dance Dance Revolution but on his fingers, and it was cool watching this guy play this otherwise indecipherable musical light box – but then once you stop watching you notice that he’s throwing a billion and a half samples at you underneath some slappin’ drums with the same hyper, borderline-comical saturation of pure neon anime. Or just watch it. That might be better: