Our all-knowing Music Editor, Simon Singleton, from FRUKT London offers up his top music tips for 2016 from around the world.
FRUKT's Global Music Tips
Ranging from Sweden to South Africa he's got the his ear closer to the ground than most. From banging techno to sparkly folk music, there's a little bit for everyone here. Take this as a chance to brush up on your international sounds or simply what's fresh for 2016. Along with it, a specially created playlist to listen in.
1. Isaac Gracie (UK)
The finest new singer-songwriter we heard in 2015, Isaac Gracie has only unveiled a handful of tracks across Youtube and Soundcloud, but the lucky few that found them have them bookmarked and locked on repeat, for these are some of the most delicately beautiful arrangements you can imagine. Anybody looking for their next fix of Sufjan Stevens/Bon Iver-esque tender balladry should tune straight in.
2. Sam Gellaitry (UK)
This Scottish producer has a similar sound to Mura Masa, who was nominated in the BBC Sound Of 2016 shortlist, cutting up thudding kick drums with video game-style mystical strings and pianos, all brought together with a booming hip-hop vibe. Now signed to XL Recordings, which hopefully will splash out some of the Adele money to spread the word far and wide about this talented beat maker.
3. All Tvvins (Ireland)
They released their first single at the tail-end of 2014 and released a couple more tracks during 2015, but this year is when it should hopefully kick off for this Dublin band, who’ve a powerhouse indie-pop sound ready-built for big stages and lose-the-plot atmospheres. Expect a debut album in the coming months and likely some big support slots.
4. Tate Kobang (USA)
Hip-hop remains as dominant as ever in the US, and Baltimore MC Tate Kobang is one of the brightest new names to emerge in recent months. His ‘Bank Rolls’ cut was one of the standout rap cuts of last year, and he’s since signed to 300 Entertainment, a major new record label which turned Conrad Sewell and Fetty Wap into superstars in 2015.
5. Christine and the Queens (France)
Having released her debut album on the famous Because Music label (the home of Justice and Django Django among others) in the twilight of 2015, Christine is building up a strong word-of-mouth fanbase and will be touring the States heavily over the coming months. Her slick, melodic electronic pop will click with fans of La Roux and Lonelady.
6. Leon (Sweden)
It will come as no surprise to any fans of Scandinavian pop in recent years that this is soulful indie-balladry given a major electronic production swoosh. But in a crowded field, LEON feels like one who’ll really break through in 2016, and ‘Tired of Talking’ already feels like the kind of song that festival crowds will belt out come the summer.
7. Helena Hauff (Germany)
Hamburg producer Helena Hauff crafts and DJs tough as nails industrial, analogue bleepfests. She had a hugely productive 2015, breaking into Resident Advisor’s Top DJs of 2015 list, and releasing a killer album ‘Discreet Desires’ which received huge plaudits from FACT Magazine. The coming year should see her further cement her place at techno's top table.
8. Alessia Cara (Canada)
Her debut single ‘Here’ was released back in early 2015 and since then the Isaac Hayes-sampling dark ballad has become a global phenomenon. Her debut EP moves into more mainstream territory, which will likely bring her more radio plays, but we hope the debut album can maintain the candlelit, melancholy rage of her first release.
9. Charles Murdoch (Australia)
Several Aussie acts had breakthrough years in 2015, with Conrad Sewell, Courtney Barnett and Troye Sivian all becoming hot property. This year, keep an ear out for Charles Murdoch, whose lush electronic sounds move from beautiful soundtrack atmospherics to chunkier, club-friendly beats. His debut album came out before Christmas on the immense Future Classic label, and has become a serious word of mouth grower ever since.
10. Muzi South (Africa)
Hailing from Empangeni near the east coast of the country, Muzi is making some of the heaviest sounding beats you’ll hear in 2016. Fusing influences from the local Zulu music with footwork and trap elements, he’s crafting a melting pot sound with a unique stamp, but it’ll readily click with any bass-loving dance crowd.
11. Baleia (Brazil)
Lovely new band with a charming, breezy sound that you can imagine soundtracking a whimsical Rio-set Wes Anderson film. Songs not performed in English often struggle in the major UK and US markets but Baleia’s ambitious but inviting arrangements will hopefully find an audience outside of Brazil.
12. Keith Ape (South Korea)
There will be many more successful South Korean acts in 2016 than Keith Ape, given that the K-Pop factory continues to churn out pop star after pop star, ranging from the utterly generic to the completely baffling, and all releasing music at a chaotic pace. But away from this technicolour world, there’s plenty of other scenes bubbling in the underground. Keith Ape is a Korean rapper, now based in the States, whose shows look absolutely off the hook. There’s no shortage of competition in his new found homeland, but his frenetic flow gives him a fighting chance.