Breakfast is a strange meal, and I think I like it that way.
Music has a cool thing going on, as usual. It’s trapped between the desire to incorporate today’s advancing technologies and a longing for simpler days of the past. And lucky for us, this tension creates an entirely new sound for a new year. I hope that 2016 will be a year where artists continue to navigate the twee, lo-fi, do-it-yourself modes of music-making with the more electronic, computer sounds. My top five acts to watch in 2016 illuminate a section of this palpably charming identity crisis in music today.
The French producer and DJ, Breakbot, must have found a way to genetically modify sound in order to make it this infectiously catchy and energy-infusing. Signed to Ed Banger Records, he first garnered attention in 2010 with “Baby I’m Yours”, a smashing, colorful hit. His music guarantees a free teleportation service to the 70s and 80s, but with a modern twist. 2016 promises to be a big year for Breakbot as his new album, Still Waters, is set to release early this year. In 2015, Breakbot released the singles, “Get Lost” and “Back for More” from the record, and let me tell you – these songs were made for Dad Dancing (in the best way possible).
The New Jersey-based pop-punk genius of Madison Klarer, Lucas Dalakian, and Chris Beninato creates a little band with a lot of feelings called ROMP. In December 2015, they made their debut release with Sorry Not Sorry on Bad Timing Records. Their music is anthemic and oozing with angst and a wry sense of humor – they have created a collection of commanding punk ballads to last us through the year. Whether screaming about burritos or wanting to escape the world, ROMP is charged with emotion and with that, we believe in their message.
Margaret Glaspy’s delicately rusted voice needs to be heard more in 2016. She’s kept quiet over the past year, but according to her Facebook page, she’s excited about what the new year has to bring. The California-born songwriter and guitarist weaves honest, heart-wrenching, and poetic lyrics with her voice made of coarse sandpaper and raw organic honey. My gateway to Glaspy was her song, “No Matter Who”, and its stuck with me ever since because of its folky funk-ness. She’s collaborated with other creative people, such as the Brooklyn-based musician, Éyal Hai on the soulful song “You & I“. I also recommend “Somebody to Anybody”, Glaspy’s most recent demo. Glaspy’s music mellows me and also buries underneath my skin – there’s something beautifully eerie about it.
Breakfast, an ethereal and atmospheric four-piece band from Los Angeles, offers a tangy mix of the old and new. The visuals in their music videos allude to Frida Kahlo and old Hollywood glamour, but with an erratic, cyberculture spin. In December 2015, they released, “Amulet” – a hypnotic, dreamy record. They experiment with futuristic sounds like the Theremin and other bleep-bloops that you might find on Mars, your pet dolphin, or a leaky sink. Breakfast is a strange meal, and I think I like it that way.
Emily Yacina’s delicate new December 2015 release, Soft Stuff, is a pillowy and constantly drifting conglomeration of textured harmonies and surprising dynamics. Ambient, buzzing white noise and feedback ties together the album in a subliminal and special way. Her breathy voice blends with the metallic guitar as they morph and mold into each other. Unexpectedly, tinges of electronic sounds breeze in and out, adding a magical feel of fresh snow glittering in the moonlight. The New York City musician will be playing shows this year with other IMN favorites like Diet Cig. Emily Yacina’s music drifts through the universe, effortlessly.