TOTT 2015

 

Throughout 2015, the process of selecting the most exciting, emerging artists for The Tipping Point has been a lovely one for a few reasons…

Firstly, we get to listen to an abundance of new music every single week and in doing so consume an extravagant (some may say dangerous) amount of Class- A drugs……….OK Booze ….. Right Fine! Just tea!

Secondly, in order to keep discovering these fresh musical truffles, we rely on tips from a strong network of clever (metaphorical) pigs … or to be more precise a passionate group of bloggers, new music DJs, shady industry figures, promoters, artists, music writers and other music aficionados up and down the country. Their great suggestions often prompt us to check out what they’re doing in return which inevitably leads to frequent and illuminating voyages of online discovery.

The sheer amount of dedicated music fans and high quality emerging-music journalism in the ‘blogosphere’ is always a pleasure to behold (if not a little overwhelming at times). Many, if not most of the bloggers we check out do it out of sheer enthusiasm and love. They balance day jobs and families to pursue never ending appetites for new sounds which is pretty impressive and inspiring by anyone’s standards. Incidentally, it also provides vital early press for artists that are just starting out.

The Tipping Point is incredibly grateful to these tippers for continuing to send in their new discoveries and also to our generous writers, without whom The Tipping Point couldn’t happen!

Within a sea of new music we aim for The Tipping Point to be an interesting (and some may say…. mysterious) little island, that provides our readers with a point of musical reference and a place where you might find that next amazing artist you want to tell your mates about.

Last year the Top of the Tips featured the likes of Jack Garratt, Little Simz, Fickle Friends, Gengahr & Lapsley and this year we’ve certainly had a lot of new, up and coming talent grace our golden shores … who knows who that next breakthrough artist will be?

Our end of year rundown and playlist (below) will take you through our best guesses…

Enjoy our Top Tips for 2015 !

 

#10: FRANCES

Frances

So, as another year approaches it’s end we announce our Top of the Tips 2015 – a selection of emerging artists (voted for by our excellent Tippers) who have made a great impression this year and are destined for bigger and better things in 2016!

Starting off our countdown at #10 is the recent Brits Critics Choice-nominated Frances, who, with the addition of extensive radio play and a rapidly expanding following, is an artist we’re really excited about for 2016.

There is certainly a lot to love here for fans of Rae Morris as Frances, like Rae, is a wizard at creating beautifully hearty piano ballads. She also has an incredibly powerful and large voice, so don’t be surprised to possibly hear her reach the pop heights of Jess Glynne and Florence Welch in the future too.

Early in the summer we found Frances through her ballad ‘Grow‘. It’s the kind of track which stops time in a busy room and lets you ponder, well ….. existence …. not unlike some of Rae Morris’ best work. Following on from ‘Grow’ we had the popular first single in ‘Let It Go‘ which showcases the downtempo power and clear storytelling that Frances brings to her music.

To cap off a great first year, we’ve not long ago been treated to a brand new single called ‘Borrowed Time‘ which brings warm Winter vibes alongside gorgeous, silky vocal delivery. This, coupled with simple percussion and mellow synths composed by Howard from Disclosure makes for a sublime piece of pop music. The track is released on the 15th January, setting Frances’ 2016 off to a great start.

Already touring with James Bay and being included on every tips list ahead of next year, Frances is one artist we are certain of hitting stardom in 2016.

Words by Scott Hastie and Tip by Chris Smith at Trellis Records

Frances was originally featured on June 29th with words from Martin Sharman 

 

#9: DOM ZILLA

dom zilla

At #9 is ace producer Dom Zilla.

Seven years after he started to make beats at the age of twelve, Dom was working with South Shields alt singer Lulu James and had the likes of Raekwon rapping over his tracks. So he had a pretty strong musical pedigree even before 2015.

Then he dropped his first solo single, ‘Take Home’. It seemed at first to be a lush R’n’B track with smooth, sensuous vocals but suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, Zilla’s love of drum and bass reared its head in a frenetic one and a half minute breakdown. It was a daring move for a debut single and made you wonder where he’d take things next.

Luckily, little more than a month ago, Dom proved that he had more up his sleeve. On ‘Cold’ he conjures up icy soundscapes and ethereal synths but despite the barren, sparse instrumentation, he added a distinctive sense of warmth to the track with the soulful vocals. ‘Cold’ pretty much cemented his position as one of the country’s most exciting producers.

More extensive airplay on the radio, buzz from a variety of blogs and sites like Noisey and Hillydilly, numerous gigs in London and support slots for the likes of Hey Sholay, not to mention opening up The Tipping Point’s very own gig at this year’s Music Futures Conference

On the strength of these achievements, Dom Zilla might be tearing up 2016 more than a kaiju in downtown Tokyo.

Words by Eve Johnson and Tip by Generator

DOM ZILLA was originally featured on July 7th with words from Lewis Lister

 

#8: CLEAN CUT KID

clean cut kid

At #8 is the magnificent Clean Cut Kid

A manager in January. A record deal with Polydor in April. A headline set at Reading & Leeds Festival for BBC Introducing in August. Support slots for Circa Waves and Shura in October through to December.
No one could refute that 2015 was Clean Cut Kid’s year; their rise in these last 12 months has been nothing but breakneck.

You wouldn’t expect anything less, however, from a band who announced themselves with one of this year’s most arresting indie pop tracks. ‘Vitamin C’ was a track that was full of substance and bereft of pretence; it’s loaded sonic landscape thrummed loud enough to rattle your entire frame and force you to pay attention.

But the attraction of Clean Cut Kid is not their elementary radio pop inclinations. Clean Cut Kid work because of their juxtapositions. They can be buoyant but they can be melancholy, they can be polished but they can be raw, they can be breezy but they can be profound. With subsequent tracks ‘Jean’ and ‘Runaway’, this foursome from Liverpool proved that they were one of the few emerging acts this year who could deftly mix emotional weight with infectious hummability.

With a tour of the U.S. in the pipeline and a debut record penciled in for a release in the summer, it’s hard to imagine that 2016 won’t be Clean Cut Kid’s year too.

Words by  Chris Haywood and Tip by Henry Carden

CLEAN CUT KID was originally featured on June 8th with words from  Rich Anderson

 

TOTT 2015 #7: MAN MADE

man made

At #7 we have Man Made

If you were to examine the credentials behind Man Made before ever listening to one of their tracks you would probably be forgiven for expecting more than could be delivered. The fact that frontman Nile Marr is the son of ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr could easily be their curse, yet thankfully it is just an interesting piece of trivia about one of the most exciting, up and coming bands in the alternative rock scene.

The Mancunian trio were tipped in October for ‘Bring Some’, the title track to their recently released EP, and this catchy, almost-anthem is a prime example of the bands uncanny ability to sound both fresh and timeless.

From the unashamedly emotional ‘Everything and All of This’ to the simply brilliant ‘Don’t Thank God’ there is also an invigorating versatility to Man Made.

Nile, along with bassist Callum Rogers and drummer Scott Strange, demonstrate an accomplished talent that would make many more established acts very jealous. Capitalising on a growing swell of critical praise, Man Made have spent the year playing an impressive number of gigs including our own Music Futures Live event last month. With the release of a full album in 2016, it will be of little surprise if the remarkable year Man Made have had pales in comparison with what is to come. Expect big things!

Words by Aidan Armstrong and Tip by Generator

Man Made were originally featured on October 14th with words from  Joe Allan

 

TOTT 2015 #6: NATALIE MCCOOL

natalie mccool

At #6 we have Natalie McCool

Since her first feature on The Tipping Point back in February, Natalie McCool has reached euphoric heights in this relatively small space of time, much to the surprise of absolutely no one.

2015 has very much been a ‘no room to breathe’ type of year for the luscious electronic songstress, having spent the majority of the year touring the UK extensively (with the occasional European and Asian jaunt), playing alongside a number of artists that McCool herself cites as huge influences (most notable of which Ben Ottewell of Gomez) on the way.

After a heavily festival-themed summer, stopping at the likes of Kendal Calling and Liverpool Sound City (one of the most prestigious new music festivals in the UK, right on her doorstep), McCool has spent the latter part of the year being inundated with critical acclaim for her latest single ‘Cardiac Arrest’, the breezy, and intricately layered, soon-to-be smash hit, which despite it’s relatively short lifespan has already gained mass praise and mentions from the likes of BBC 6Music and Q Magazine, with no-doubt an abundance of more attention on it’s way.

McCool’s ability to craft such accessible, yet intricate and heartfelt electronic-pop (and to make it look as easy as she does) is something that she is rapidly becoming renowned for. With more releases in the pipeline for next year and shows scheduled with the likes of Daughter and Cattle & Cane, Natalie McCool is destined for inevitable stardom in 2016, so be sure to keep an eye and an ear out for her!

Words by Joe Allan and Tip by Jill Guthrie from When The Gramophone Rings

Natalie Mccool was originally featured on February 26th with words from Chris Haywood

 

TOTT 2015 #5: GET INUIT

get-inuit

Storming in at #5 is Get Inuit

Coming straight out of Kent, and sounding like a strangely cohesive mix of Weezer, Wheatus and FIDLAR, Get Inuit offer a glistening ray of shimmer and warmth to hold your hand and guide you cheerily through these bitterly cold winter months.

You could trawl through the internet for hours, and would still be lucky to come across a band as distinctive, as boisterous, and as full of life as Get Inuit. The sharp, cutting vocals of Jamie Glass pierce the hazy winter air and help to wash away the dreary monotony of everyday life. They supply a much-needed burst of fresh, upbeat, surf-inspired pop to a music scene seemingly all too eager to lie down and surrender to the dreaded Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Premiered on DIY, ’Pro Procrastinator’ is their latest release, and deals with the mundane nature of the day-to-day grind. Delivered whole-heartedly and earnestly by the frontman, the lyrics ‘I’m wasting my life’ are instantly relatable, and speak for many of us. Who hasn’t felt like this? Come on, we’ve all been there.

Over 3 years, the guys have racked up a pretty impressive CV. They’ve played alongside the likes of Slaves, Broken Hands and VANT, and have made appearances at 2000 Trees, Forgotten Fields, The Great Escape and Y Not. On top of this, they’ve received support from Phil Taggart, Annie Mac, Huw Stephens, John Kennedy, and Greg James, racking up plays on Radio 1, XFM and BBC Introducing, and even featured on an episode of Made In Chelsea. Everybody loves these guys. And with good reason.

The fact that their latest EP, Luge Lessons, is completely DIY is only all the more endearing. Their guitarist James recorded and produced the whole thing, whilst their drummer, Rob, created the music videos and all of the artwork.

These are a band who don’t take themselves too seriously, and their brand of dirty, grungy, indie pop smacks of mischief. Charming, infectious and bursting with raw energy, Get Inuit are on their way.

Words by George Rowan and Tip by Charlotte Holroyd from Bitter Sweet Symphonies  

Get Inuit were originally featured on July 14th with words from Maggie McBride

 

TOTT 2015 #4: THE BIG MOON

The Big Moon

At #4 we recognize the meteoric rise of The Big Moon!

The Tipping Point’s eager ears were first turned on to London’s The Big Moon a mere two months ago. Their hypnotic blend of psychedelic-fuzzy-pop-rock, however, has made an almighty lasting impression. In little over a year, what began as an outlet for frontwoman Juliette Jackson’s song-writing urges, has rapidly morphed into one heck of a four-headed, guitar-wielding, hype-building beast.

Inspired by the frantic and fiery shows of Palma Violets and Fat White Family, Jackson began working on songs … writing for herself. It wasn’t until she was united with future band mates Soph, Celia and Fern and they began rehearsing in a tiny room in the capital that these songs really started to take shape.

Take for example recent single ‘The Road‘, where they delicately weave slick production, with tangled, throbbing guitars and creeping melodies to create a memorable slab of aching and ghoulish garage pop.

Then there’s the swaggering dark-pop of debut single ‘Sucker‘. Barging in with its grunge drenched guitars, ‘Sucker‘ is an ode to lovesickness that greets you like a punch in the gut from an ex-lover. “I never thought that you would become my greatest friend” Jackson declares before the track descends into its beautifully bittersweet Los Campesinos! meets Elastica crescendo.

Meanwhile, breakout track ‘Eureka Moment‘ rattles and bubbles with an effervescent and exuberant energy, flirting and fighting between thrashing chords, tight melodies and guttural howls – like The Long Blondes scrapping with Arctic Monkeys round the back of the Boardwalk one cold Sheffield winter night, with some PJ Harvey thrown in for good measure.

With a debut album due out next year and a reputation for a frantic live show built around a wave of hype and backed by support slots with the likes of The Vaccines and Palma Violets, 2016 is set to be a big year for The Big Moon.

Words by George Shaw and Tip by Charlotte Holroyd from Bitter Sweet Symphonies  

The Big Moon were originally featured on October 13th with words from Lewis Lloyd-Kinnings

 

TOTT 2015 #3: C DUNCAN

C-Duncan-sized

At #3 is this year’s safe bet – C Duncan!

Let’s face it, it’s no real surprise C Duncan has made it onto our Top Of The Tips list for 2015. The Scottish composer has had a whirlwind of a year performing at festivals including Latitude and Green Man and topped it off with a Mercury Prize nomination in October which has really opened his music up to the masses.

The multi-instrumentalist from Glasgow released his debut album Architect via Fat Cat Records back in July and has earned plenty of plaudits since, having produced the entire record in his home studio and created the artwork himself which is certainly no mean feat.

Lead single ‘Garden’ was featured on The Tipping Point last summer and was greeted with plenty of praise, with it’s mesmerising dream pop qualities making it one of the standout tracks of the year. It’s jangly guitars and sixties influences and a perfect combination and resulted in it being playlisted on BBC 6 Music, another achievement which was wholly deserved.

Perhaps most impressive of all however is the fact he managed to achieve this all by himself! This will give many others out there plenty of hope… if you’ve got the talent and fancy turning your home into a studio, why not do it the Christopher Duncan way!?

Words by  Matty Aston and Tip by Chris Bye

C Duncan was originally featured on July 28th with words from Mike Alywin

 

TOTT 2015 #2: THE JAPANESE HOUSE

the japanese house

At #2 is The Japanese House

Given the whirr of excitement that crackled and fizzed across the internet and beyond when The Japanese House debuted as Zane Lowe’s last ever ‘Hottest Record’ for Radio One, it’s perhaps a surprise that she didn’t make her way on to The Tipping Point until her second EP was about to be released. We expect the reason Amber Bain’s project took a while to make it to our pages was that not a lot was known about her at the beginning and that our tippers were so taken aback by the remarkable tingling of their senses, they couldn’t think straight.

Thankfully this oversight has been corrected as our esteemed network has not only voted The Japanese House into our Top ten tips from 2015, she’s in the Top Two!

Intricate layers of electronic production, melody and rhythm have been interwoven into a tapestry of exquisite beauty. Harmonies are layered to give a disarmingly wonderful androgynous and distorted quality to the vocal amongst digital glitches and swoops. Across her two EPs, Bain plays with our heart as well as the aural thermostat.

She can be ethereal and aloof as stark beats crunch in the snow of this tundral soundscape of emotional ruin she has crafted. A cryogenic lab of dry ice melody and ice crystal covered vocals. Yet the music is also warm and welcoming, swirls of colour abound and burst into a dream of cascading light and happiness.

With that Zane Lowe endorsed debut and two highly acclaimed EPs, ‘Pools to Bathe In‘ and ‘Clean‘, under her belt, as well as a place on the Dirty Hit roster and The 1975 on production duties; the stars feel aligned for Bain to take things to the next level in 2016. Her live show has gone over well and with plenty of material being refined there is talk of a debut album next year. If it reaches the standards she has set so far, stellar things surely await.

Words by Adam Hill at alphabetbands and Tip by Joe Schiavon from Global

C Duncan was originally featured on September 30th with words from Joe Allan

TOTT 2015 #1: VANT

Vant

In at #1 and our Top Tip from 2015 is ….. VANT

Politically charged and led by righteous frontman Mattie Vant, they have taken 2015 by storm. After making the conscious decision that his lyrical content would take on larger themes than the typical love/partying route Mattie knew that raucous punk-inflected rock would be the best, and loudest, platform from which to express his principled views.

o that end, tunes such as the electrifying punk-rush of ‘Parasite’ or the unbelievably hooktastic ‘Parking Lot’ make big statements both musically and conceptually. Following in the vein of similar modern UK rock acts like Dinosaur Pile-Up, Slaves or Royal Blood in uncompromising style, and US counterparts FIDLAR (who they have recently supported) in terms of the ability to inspire the kids investing in their tunes, VANT exude the sense that they are bigger than just their music.

Insisting that their hometown is ‘PLANET EARTH’ coupled with the track ‘Birth Certificate’, which includes their most bluntly put message on social injustice, shows the extent to which VANT won’t let the “taboo” nature of the subject of politics dissuade them from expressing themselves.

Building a reputation based on their head-banging and blood-shaking riff-rock alongside their energetic and dance-inducing live shows, VANT are a wrecking ball of a band swinging through the scene with something to say for themselves. The bonus is that the messages they are demanding we listen to are far removed from the typical arrogant boasts that the legions of Oasis-wannabes tend to spout. 2016 should contain big steps for this group.

Words by Lewis Lloyd-Kinnings and Tip by Henry Carden

VANT were originally featured on March 10th with words from Richard Anderson

 

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