Best of 2016 Playlist

January 10, 2016

Quick Picks: Bands to Watch in 2016

Get ready, because there's a storm of kick ass rookie bands coming your way in 2016. Though the year has just begun we've already got bands that are making waves, or have been making waves. So grab some headphones, clear your afternoon, and start searching Youtube or Bandcamp. 

*We've limited our list to rookies, bands that have released 2 studio album or less (EPs excluded). Artists are NOT listed in any particular order. To see our mid-2015 list click this (link)

5. Boston Manor 

Another rising pop punk band from the UK. The band has a few bugs to work out, but once they do we're sure they'll be a hit with fans of Neck Deep, Knuckle Puck and State Champs. They're take on pop punk sticks to the basics. Think 1997 era blink-182 mixed with 00s New Found Glory (hopefully that makes sense). Currently signed to Pure Noise Records (which is home to aforementioned State Champs, The Story So Far, Seaway, and Handguns), Boston Manor are in good hands for their debut album. But until then, you'll have to jam out to their most recent EP, "Saudade". Other recommended tracks are "Driftwood","Peach State", and "Salt Water". 

4. Picturesque   

We reviewed this band's debut EP "Monstrous Things" back in December of 2016. You can click this (link) to read it. But if you're not up to that, just read this quick summary. Picturesque are Equal Vision Records' response to Sleeping with Sirens, albeit about five years late to the party. The band's frontman, Kyle Hollis, has a voice even higher than Kellin Quinn's, which is impressive since one probably couldn't imagine a higher range coming from a guy's voice. Hollis' voice aside, the band is a must watch for 2016. The usual mix of post hardcore and alt. rock isn't taken from the modern iterations of the genres, but rather the 00s. They band take classic post hardcore (Silverstein, Hawthorne Heights and Breaking Benjamin era), and mix in catchy radio friendly choruses and riffs. A recipe for hit after hit. They will be touring this month with SECRETS, Palisades, and Too Close to Touch (previously featured on 2015's Must Watch list). So go grab a ticket and treat yourself to a night filled with awesome music. 

3. Wage War 

Fearless Records has a knack for taking niche bands, like Tonight Alive and ICE NINE KILLS, and building them into headlining acts. Wage War seem to be their next big project. We reviewed their stellar debut, "Blueprints" this past November. Click this (link) to read our full review. The band's music explores a more technical side to metalcore, but doesn't deviate from the basics too much. They deliver a head-banging good time, an album for the books produced by the Jeremy McKinnon-Andrew Wade dream team. The production on the album is only surpassed by the band's performance. Vocals, clean and unclean, are layered perfectly over each other. The album is split, as half is modern metalcore bliss, while the other half is a nonstop stampede of energy and raw emotions. We recommend this band for fans of August Burns Red, The Word Alive, and older Memphis May Fire. Favorite tracks include "Youngbloods", "The River", "Basic Hate" and "Deadlocked". 

2. Jule Vera  

Another recent Pure Noise Records sign, the band's recent success is due in part to their appearance on 2015's Warped Tour. Like Warped Tour 2014's breakout star echosmith, Jule Vera were a fairly unheard of band prior to the summer tour. In fact their playing the iconic "punk rock" tour would have been unthinkable until recent years. The band take a little of the aforementioned echosmith, a little Imagine Dragons, and a lot of pop, and turn out their unique sound. For a rookie band, they use a surprising amount of orchestration and backing strings. JV have plenty of spunk, and style, with Ansley Newman's voice leading the band. Their debut EP, "Friendly Enemies", is a safe 3/5, but what makes this band really noteworthy is the obvious, untapped potential. We could be looking at the next chart topper. With songs like "Die Trying" and "Scarlett Letter" under their belts, it's easy to understand why one may come to that conclusion. 

1. Avagrace 

An alt. rock band from the UK who aim to release their debut sometime this year. The band has already gotten exposure thanks to a tour with Lower Than Atlantis, and radio plays on Kerrang. Frontman Chris Horton has a great voice that has only gotten better with time. Comparing his performances in "Reading Pictures" from 2012 and "Beauty of Sleep", which was released this past June, the latter of the two is clearly superior. The band's overall sound can be described as a male-version of Paramore. The catchy choruses and heavy undertone make for a great listen. Aside from those songs mentioned above, we'd recommend you listen to "Consumer, Consumed" (the first single from their debut), "Two Years" and "Upon Reflection". We could easily see this band fitting in with Rise Records' newcomer Alive Like Me (featured on our 2015 Must Watch list), or fellow 2016 rookies Picturesque.