I wrote this blog post last year about 7 Japanese acts to watch in 2015 and was all super happy when the likes of BABYMETAL went onto become global superstars so I thought it would be appropriate to do a similar piece this year, except this time I'm even going to include some Western music! So why don't you join me for a cup of coffee and a run-down of six acts I think are set for bigger things this year.
I have to confess I had never heard of Femme until I accidentally tweeted her looking for information about a pair of human agents that represent a couple of mannequins from the future called RiRi and LuLa. And when it was suggested I check out Light Me Up - the singers latest track - I thought serendipity was a wonderful thing because Femme writes a great pop song. Let's hope 2016 sees good things for the artist and continued support from the BBC's Annie Mac and Lauren Laverne should help lift this charming singer into the mainstream. Her album 'Debutante' is out April 15.
The biggest band you've never heard of in all probability. X-Japan has sold a staggering 30 MILLION records world-wide and still seem to be completely unheard of inside the UK. All that might change on the back of a full length feature about the band 'We Are X' released to great acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. There is even talk of a new album!
Nothing But Thieves
Although the band made a massive impact in 2015 with the release of their self-titled debut, latest single 'If I Get High' is a really beautiful song. Singer Conor Mason's vocals might be described as a happy combination of Travis' Fran Healey and even Jeff Buckley and might be one of the most unique voices in pop right now. Goodness knows how I need more falsetto in my life and I hope 2016 sees the group push further towards something really special.
BAND-MAID's videos Thrill and Real Existence have already reached over 3 million YouTube views and though the band formed in 2013 this year sees the girls visit our shores for the first time at the MCM London Comic Con in May. Latest tune Alone was released a couple weeks ago and is a cracking slice of catchy pop metal with some deceptively technical guitar work. Rock on girls!
Altered Sky are currently touring homes of UK fans because, well... because! And I don't know many groups so devoted to their music would dare something so unusual. Even BBC's 'Whispering' Bob Harris takes note: "and their fans can always tell when they really really mean it and that's certainly the case with new young band Altered Sky from Glasgow... I love their music, it's fabulous. Altered Sky...remember the name". We will Bob, we will. Altered Sky's first album Without Wonderland is out now.
Remember I was rambling on about a pair of human agents that represent a couple of mannequins from the future called RiRi and LuLa? I'm talking about FEMM, a deceptively slick production from Japan featuring two very real humans Honey-B and W-Trouble (sigh) who claim to 'stand up for the rights of mannequins worldwide' (double sigh). But who cares what their shtick is; the music is super commercial, catchy and very cleverly written pop. The duo's UK release on February 24 includes the first album FEMM-Isation and a new EP! If they get a break on UK radio I have no doubt they will be huuuuuge.
And there you have it. My run down of six super interesting acts to watch in 2016! But who have you got your eye on? Are you all super confused between Femme and FEMM? Finished your coffee? Well, there we go.