Originally published on AltReading on 4th February 2016
Welcome to Alt Reading’s Sound of 2016 list which features some of the home-grown music talent that are destined to make an impact on the local music scene and beyond over the next eleven months.
2015 saw some fantastic local acts such as Sundara Karma and The Amazons achieve mainstream success, but right behind them is a huge amount of Reading talent who both want and deserve success.
This wasn’t an easy list to compile with plenty of music talent to choose from: we decided not only to look at sound but to include factors such as strategy and creativity demonstrated through genuine activity at the beginning of the year.
So check out our 10 bands and musicians we expect to shape Reading’s sound in 2016…
Four-piece rockers, Palm Honey, are already on the cusp of breakout success thanks to the resurgence in psychedelia and plenty of talent to carry them onto greater fame.
Palm Honey are already getting plenty of attention with mentions in NME, The Issue, DIY and plenty more magazines in recent mon ths. Their single ‘Bewitched’ set the Internet buzzing and garnered them plenty of well-earned airplay.
The foursome show no signs of slowing down in 2016 with several successful shows under their belt and plenty more to come. Expect to see their name alongside The Amazons and Sundara Karma when people speak about Reading’s emerging music scene.
Eastgreen is an ambitious and genuinely humble 18 year old hip-hop artist who has been building his audience with quirky and original lyrical content over the last five years.
Since self-producing his first album at the age of 13, the timing is right for Eastgreen to now take the next step in his music strategy. In the past year he been taking major and crucial steps to the spotlight with gigs across the country performing at prestigious venues such as Thekla in Bristol, and the O2 Academy in Islington.
This year has begun creatively for Eastgreen with writing, producing and filming a brand new track ‘The Cycle’ within seven hours on New Year’s Day. The musical stall has been set out for him to release his forthcoming fifth album, new videos, projects and performances to an ever-growing fanbase.
Haize’s name has been coming up a lot lately in discussions about Reading’s emerging music scene and for good reason — the band formerly known as Laguna are snapping at the toes of Sundara Karma and The Amazons and we expect big things from them in 2016.
Haize have been backing up their effortlessly cool sound with fantastic live shows in 2015. Their premiere track, Solar, received plenty of attention and airplay and the band’s closeness with the Thirsty Network and Two Step has helped them find a good platform for their sound.
Definitely expect these guys to continue to find success in 2016 with several high profile gigs on the radar including an upcoming gig supporting The Black Tambourines for Two Step.
Born from the ashes of their previous incarnation as Violet Class, the lads from Thurst continue to embark on their new journey through the musical landspace, but this time looking to excel to greater heights. Last year saw them perform at various music events up and down the country including a jam-packed hot tent session at the Caversham Festival, the Tramlines Festival in Leeds alongside The Charlatans, and supporting Shaun Ryder and the rest of Happy Mondays at the Shiine On Weekender in Somerset.
They start 2016 in fine style with their new single ‘Cinema’ which was recorded by Paul Tipler who has worked with The Charlatans, receiving airplay on BBC Introducing and during half time at the first Reading FC home game of the new year, and a Club Velocity gig for Sid Siddle already under their belts.
What’s in store for Thurst this year? More music, roadtrips and festivals? And with passion and personality well and truly in place, maybe just maybe, the time is right for some exposure to a national audience.
Twin Sun is the new collaboration between two of Reading’s top talents, Pete Wheeler (Cubed) and Jamie Wilcox (Pure Reason Revolution) who are set to make waves in 2016.
The duo initially got together in Summer 2015 to edit tracks they enjoyed but Twin Sun has grown into a full creative force producing fresh new material. Twin Sun is not just a side project for a pair but a new collaboration which is set to produce amazing sounds in 2016.
Wheeler and Wilcox have already played some DJ sets at the start of the year to much success but will host their debut show at The Purple Turtle later this month. Expect more music and more shows from them in the coming 12 months.
Have you ever heard a band who you know are destined for greatness? Meet Area 52 — an incredibly talented local band whose sound, skill and audience has been wowing audiences over the past few years.
In the past year, the five-piece rock group has won over crowds at The Purple Turtle and Rising Sun, headlined the Sun Inn for Oxjam Reading and even received airplay on BBC Radio 1.
All this for a band whose members are still teenagers, there are bands who have been around for decades wishing for the success of Area 52 and we predict further success for them in 2016.
Marcus Data-Scales/Vocal Networking
Since co-founding his ‘Vocal Networking’ brand five years ago, Marcus Data-Scales has been sub-consciously making a big contribution to the Reading urban music scene through his regular networking events which brings together up and coming DJs, MCs, singers, dancing talent and more to develop their networking and performance skills.
Alongside this Marcus is also a passionate hip-hop artist himself with his musical influences coming from the heavy bassline sounds of grime, garage and dubstep. On New Year’s Day we saw Marcus release a video to an infectious anthem bringing together some of Reading’s street music artists, and as a result has set a high platform to reach in 2016.
Marcus comments that “music is my nature, words is my game, information is my wave, life’s what I play. Love is my instinct, fear is my strength”.
We are looking forward seeing more activity from Marcus Data-Scales and his Vocal Networking companions such as Smiley Smuggler, singer/songwriter Du’vall Wallace-Clarke and the humble hip-hop vocalist James Tanch which we hope includes performances on a bigger scale such as the only obvious one, the Reading festival.
Goldn’s sound is quite unlike anything else on this list with slow, dreamy beats which effortlessly combine R’n’B with the best of electronic music.
The release of ‘I Had Nothing’ and a unique twist on Coldplay’s ‘Clocks’ saw Goldn grab the attention of bloggers and writers who have praising the local artist for sitting ‘on the cusp of so many themes’. Locally, performances are the Are You Listening? Festival and for the Thirsty Network have earned Goldn the praise of other bands and musicians in Reading.
We predict further attention for Goldn in 2016 with a sound that sets them apart from other local bands and the very recent release of their new EP, 002.
Pressure has been a stalwart on the underground dance music scene in Reading for over a decade, and has relentlessly been spreading the gospel according to all sounds with a bassline origin such as drum ’n’ bass and UK garage.
As well as co-producing his own material with his companion JC under their Beat Collective recording label, his unique ability to play across multi bassline genres has earned him the opportunity to DJ at a variety of events including the popular ‘Revolution’ and ‘Garage Nation’ nights as well as supporting the likes of Rudimental, and featuring on the hometown leg at Rivermead of the recent UK tour hosted the dance music DJ, Breach who scored a UK Top Ten hit in 2013 with ‘Jack’.
So what is in store for the ‘Prince of Bass’ in 2016? Already confirmed is a return to the Penn Fest in Buckinghamshire where he closed the event on the main dance stage last year in front of 5000 people in spectacular style with D&B guru, Grooverider. In addition to confirmed dates with Sub Factory, Sun City and Hospitality, and the birth of an additional record label.
Big Zero are a three-piece band who stand out for merging unforgettable pop tunes with retro branding and New Wave style — imagine Weezer meets Talking Heads. This amalgamation of styles and their endless energy means they are bound to make an impact on Reading’s music scene.
In the past year, Big Zero have become favourites of Club Velocity at The Rising Sun Arts Centre — their love of cassettes, VHS tapes, mannequins and simple but effective hooks has helped them stand out from other local acts.
Big Zero are set to continue growing in support and adoration over 2016 with a recently recorded video filmed out in the desert. Big Zero are a band who are doing their own thing and picking up fans as they do it.
We couldn’t include every act in Reading in the list but there are plenty more amazing artists to check out. Our honourable mentions include: Escapades, RAAYS, Fish Hook, La Trappistine, Mellor, Tail Feather, Captivves, and Echoic.