In honor of the new year, we have put together a list of our 15 favorite artist discoveries from 2015. As you can imagine, it was incredibly easy to find a plethora of great music but equally as difficult to choose our top picks. Our list (published in random order) includes a little something for everyone; ethereal, dreamy pop, gritty, soulful rock, nostalgic singer-songwriter tracks and much more.
So sit back, pour yourself a glass of wine and ring in the new year with some of our most beloved up-and-coming acts. We promise that you’ll discover some of the best new music you’ve never heard!
Find some artists you like? Tweet us (@muzooka) and let us know your favorite!
Nashville darling duo, Smooth Hound Smith, has a rootsy sound that we just adore (and many others too – they were winners of Lightning 100’s Music City Mayhem this year!). With the influences of folk, blues and country blending as elegantly as their vocals, it’s easy to fall in love with this couple’s music.
Originally from South Africa but now splitting her time between Nashville and North Carolina, Laura Reed will captivate you not only with her striking, soulful voice but her dynamic live performance. She’s a must hear AND see!
Apollo LTD is the latest project of Jordan Phillips and Adam Stark, both longtime veterans of the Nashville music scene. The duo are looking to innovate and reinvent the pop rock genre and with what we’ve heard thus far, we think they are well on their way!
Sam Burchfield is an Atlanta based singer songwriter whose voice and its versatility caught our attention right away. His vocals can range from soft and sultry to uproarious and soulful, but you can’t help but enjoy it all.
Of course, we had to include The Gills. Not only are they the inaugural Music City Big Break Champions but they also deliver an in-your-face, straight-no-mixer, gritty-but-catchy brand of rock and roll that we can always get down on.
Kudlow is an electronic pop duo comprised of Michelle Parish and Matthew Settle. Michelle’s sultry, airy vocals combined with Matthew’s dark, seductive electronic textures immediately made our ears perk up and will do the same to you.
Nodaway is the answer to our dance music prayers. Nodaway melds dance-laden rhythms, catchy crooner vocals, and cryptic yet lively lyrics to create a stylish indie music that we want to shake it to all night long.
The Wolves Of Chernobyl have created a wholly unique brand of progressive bluegrassy folk rock and breathed some new rocking life into traditional Appalachian sounds. They’re unlike anything you’ve heard before.
Layering soulful, R&B-esque vocals with dark, dense electronic textures, NAWAS is another emerging artist who has enchanted us with their sound, which is at once experimental and mainstream. We would not be surprised if these guys were a breakout artist of 2016.
Melding traditional blues with progressive, jam-oriented rock, The Nick Moss Band have been nominated by the Blues Music Awards 16 times and recognized by the International Songwriting Competition, Relix and other industry establishments for, as Bill Dahl notes, their “mastery of the Chicago sound.” Not a huge fan of the blues? The Nick Moss Band will turn you around!
Reminiscent of the Motown greats but with a fresh modern take, Countre Black and the Fucked Up Cabaret weaves tales of drunken escapades and troubled lifetimes over infectious dance beats while seducing us with impassioned, sexy vocals. Yeah, we love this band.
A former high school teacher and Colombian native now residing in LA, Sandra Valencia is the heart of Versus Shade Collapse and only just recently started playing or writing music. Still, Versus Shade Collapse has come onto the scene strong and we dig their dark, grungy, post-punk, electro-pop sound.
Hailing from Franklin, TN, Daphne and The Mystery Machines is the lovechild of industry veterans, Daphne Culver and Jenn Palmer. With clear folk, Americana, pop influences, Daphne & The Mystery Machines are marked more so by their haunting harmonies, layered production and lyrical sincerity. We’re excited for this new project!
LA native, Brit Rodriguez is a skilled lyricist who is undoubtedly a hybrid of plucky folk, colorful pop and silky soul. She incorporates a bright ukelele to offset her sultry, smoky voice, creating gorgeous contrasting textures. We’re looking forward to hearing more from this talented artist.
The Dark Dials are a Vancouver based trio harking back to the days of Britpop but with an unmistakably progressive and psychedelic edge. They are relatively new to the scene, but we are stoked to see what else they release!