Musicandotherthingz Best Newcomer of 2016

For out Newcomers it’s been an exciting year. Some created viral moments, others received established backing and some of them finally got an album out. The exciting new rapping talents of Noname, the imaginative production of Bullion and the virtual one man band that is Jack Garratt all received strong support from out voters but they’re appearing in the following long list with the others. The top three are below and it got very close.

3. Maggie Rogers (17.78% of the vote) 

Millions of people have now seen the moment where an unsure and modest NYU music student plays her track to Pharrell Williams who was teaching a masterclass to the students there. After giving a lot of constructive criticism and technical feedback to the students, up comes Maggie. She explains her story and her struggles in that time and they play her track. The rest is history. Seeing the amazement strike Pharrell and seeing that turn into bewilderment at what he’s hearing whilst she sits, eyes to the floor, blissfully unaware is brilliant to watch and a testament to her talent. She’s heavily influenced by folk music and folk melodies, but she’s enthused these with a dance beat and nudging, delicate production. There is a direct link between the sound she’s creating and the narrative in her lyrics, that together paint a very vivid picture. A breath of fresh air.

2. Sundara Karma (23.33%) 

The Reading Indie rock quartet only just missed out on top spot in what was a rather tense vote. They are not too dissimilar from our winners in many Indie ways, but they ply their sound with a hint of glam rock finesse and attitude. They’ve just released their debut album Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect and it will surely be picked up by teenagers across the country. These will be filling the venues and festivals the band play to and hopefully they’ll be able to go on a creative streak to match their festival and sing-a-long qualities. 

1. Blossoms (24.00%)

We’ve seen this before haven’t we? A bunch of ambitious lads from a Northern town who want to go on an conquer the world. If they follow the right path, then anything is possible for Blossoms. They differ from Sundara Karma in how they try varying degrees of popular rock music and take Pop elements to it as well. With the guiding hand of James Skelly as their producer, they’ve managed to put out brilliant singles and tracks destined for commercial success. They’ve got the hooks and the pop lyrics and with that it’s up to them where they take it from there. 

Owen Riddle

Bullion – Loop The Loop

Bullion, (real name Nathan Jenkins), has released his debut album ‘Loop The Loop’. This is the first album released by Bullion himself, from his own record label DEEK Recordings. He has, however, previously released singles and EPs with other labels such as Young Turks and R&S Records. In Loop the Loop, Jenkins works with other artists such as Sarah Anderson (strings), Sampha Sisay (vocals), Shabaka Hutchings (saxophone) and more. His record label and new album are proof that he is a collaborative artist, and he does this very well.

Opening the album is ‘Dip Your Foot’, a slow and sweet song with plenty of string instruments and very few lyrics. With its electric but chilled out vibe, this track is easy listening and a promising start to the album. ‘Health’ is more of an eccentric pop song, with electronic sounds and sharp vocals in Jenkins’ distinct English accent. This song is a little short, but works well with the rest of the album. ‘My Lar’ slowly builds with a melodious guitar and keyboard. There are very little vocals in this track, which helps you to marvel at the music. The song ends with slightly jazzy undertones from the bass guitar. ‘Unless’ has an upbeat electrical sound to it, with beautiful soft vocal harmonies. ‘Self Capering’ is the next track, which has an oriental vibe to it. The high pitched wail of the guitar and the sounds of bongos invoke images of exotic far away places, transporting you with music. ‘Never is the Change’ starts off with a strong, fast beat. It leans more towards a dance track than any of the others on the album.

‘Speed’ opens with a smooth sounding saxophone, giving it a jazzy feel. This song, however, is slow starting, with a very long, repetitive intro. Once the vocals begin around half way through the five minute track, the rest of the song is of the same high standard as the rest of the album. ‘Get To The Heart of It’ is another electronic track with slow, monotone vocals. It is simple and calming. ‘Palm 2’ is the next track, which is a pop/electric song with heaps of keyboard playing and simplistic vocals. ‘Peep Hole’ open with quiet guitar playing, which then gradually builds with layers of drums, electronic sounds, and high pitched vocals. The song is cleverly written, and one of my favourites on this album. ‘Loop the Loop’ comes next, which has an electronic pop style with a hint of funk. The echoey vocals give it an extra something special. ‘It’s No Spirit’ has a mystifying sound. The long, drawn out vocals paired with electronic melodies make this a very individual track. ‘FoYoC’ is the final track. It starts off with a summery guitar sequence which is pleasant and upbeat. This continues throughout the song, and slowly fades out, rounding off the album perfectly.

Loop The Loop by Bullion is truly a work of art. The relaxed, chilled out feel to the whole album appeals to a wide audience, and could be enjoyed at any age. Bullion provides a new listening experience which says “this is not about me, this is about music”, and he has clearly put everything he has into making this album. The overall vibe is that of a cool underground club, and listening to Bullion’s music makes you feel like part of that. This is an exceptional start for Bullion, and I hope to see more from him in the future.

Bullion – Loop The Loop = 9/10


Dionne Thompson