20 acts you should really get to know in 2016
Here’s a proposition for you. What if there was a band that echoed Moby at his most uplifting, with delicate boy/girl vocal stylings that evoke The xx, underpinned by Massive Attack-inspired beats, all spliced together to create something unique yet still retro-sounding? If your musical tastes were just summed up in that one sentence, then it’s time to get acquainted with Haelos.
The London trio is responsible for one of the most impressive (and criminally underrated) albums of the year so far, Full Circle. The brooding, atmospheric collection of songs was released back in March on Matador Records, home to indie trailblazers including Yo La Tengo, Interpol and Belle and Sebastian. Band member Lotti Benardout sums up the feel of Full Circle perfectly: “It’s the music you put on after the club. You can still feel that energy and euphoria, but it might bring you back to reflect on certain moments or memories.” Rumours of an Australian tour later this year are already circulating.
For fans of: Moby, The xx, Massive Attack
#14 Kate Miller
Berlin is buzzing with Australian DJs doing good things, among them Tornado Wallace, Andy Hart and Claire Morgan. Also on that list is Melbourne export Kate Miller, who is steadily making her mark on the world’s house and techno capital. With regular bookings around Berlin, Miller has also ticked off the DJ dream of playing at Panorama Bar – a resounding testament to her talents as a selector.
Right now, Miller is focused on being a DJ and co-hosting a show on Berlin’s Cashmere Radio. Her SoundCloud is stacked with recorded sets across different moods and tempos. Her recent Groove podcast, for example, is dedicated to electro, with several lesser-known gems making the tracklist. As Miller told Groove, she’ll take the step into production when it feels right. In the meantime, she’s having no trouble standing out from the crowd.
For fans of: Jus-Ed, Kerri Chandler, Fred P (plus some techno and electro too)
Vancouver native Nathan Shaw, aka Ekali, is no one-trick producer. While some fans associate the name with party-hyping bass music, others know him as the creator of slow-burning remixes perfect for headphones. Ekali was a participant in the 2014 Tokyo Red Bull Music Academy, and he’s been on a hot streak ever since. One of his main claims to rising fame came last year, when his track Unfaith was sampled by Drake and PartyNextDoor for their collaboration Wednesday Night Interlude.
The Drake nod came as something of a curveball for the beatmaker, who subsequently landed a credit on the rapper’s album If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. Ekali’s SoundCloud includes a collection of his original productions that play with different tempos, from Unfaith to his recent collab with Falcons and Vanessa Elisha, I Won’t Lie. On the remix tip, he has a thing for toying with tracks by Australian producers, including Flume, What So Not and Ta-ku. Ekali recently spent the “best day of his life” blowing up a packed festival tent at HARD Summer, and he’s only getting started.
For fans of: RL Grime, Hudson Mohawke, What So Not
Melbourne synth-pop duo Kllo has a lot of good things bubbling right now. Cousins Simon Lam and Chloe Kaul make a fine team, pairing crisp electronics with warm, enveloping vocals. Kllo released its breakout EP Cusp back in 2014, and this month the duo has returned with the assured follow-up Well Worn.
In America, Well Worn is out through Ghostly International, the tastemaking label founded by Matthew Dear. With labelmates like Shigeto, Tycho and Gold Panda, Kllo is in very good company. The duo is currently on an Australian EP tour, before they jet off to Europe and the U.K. with RÜFÜS. In between live shows, Simon and Chloe also do the occasional DJ set. You should expect to hear a lot more from these electronic all-rounders.
For fans of: Little Dragon, CHVRCHES, AlunaGeorge
If you want to witness how New Jersey native UNiiQU3 gets down, look no further than her Boiler Room NYC set from earlier this year. “Y’all already know I’m about to come crazy,” she quips on the mic before launching into a scorching hour of Jersey Club, hip-hop and bass-heavy house.
UNiiQU3 went from dancing in clubs to rocking them herself, starting off as a DJ and rapper/vocalist before moving into production. In the first half of 2016, she’s turned out club-ready remixes of Anna Lunoe’s Satisfaction and Skepta’s That’s Not Me, while hooking up with Brenmar for Hula Hoop and LA upstart Saint on the celebratory jam I’m Lit. She also joined the ranks of NLV Records, the burgeoning label from Aussie tastemaker Nina Las Vegas. UNiiQU3 has been keeping busy on the tour circuit, too, most recently traveling to Mexico with Red Bull Music Academy. It’s no wonder she’s earned the title of Jersey Club Kween.
For fans of: Brenmar, Hoodboi, Trippy Turtle