To help assess the year in music, we asked more than a dozens musicians, journalists and scene figures for their favorite albums, songs, shows and events of the 2016. Today, tell us which up-and-coming acts landed on their radars for the coming year.
Read their answers below and check out more from our year-in-review series here. Tomorrow: anticipated records of 2017.
Kelly Langin, Milk Run
The Grand Poobah played Milk Run I didn’t realize they’ve been a band for only a short time. It’s a drummer and guitarist who play behind a white curtain while two artists draw on these old classroom projectors, creating unique images that splay out on the shadows of these musicians as they’re playing. It’s truly a great visual performance paired with head-bobbing, indie-style rock instrumentals.
photo by James Dean
Patrick Nolan, HN editorial contributor
I’m inclined to say Bach Mai. That guy has some real talent. I saw him at Pizza Shoppe this summer and I was really impressed. His first full-length album We’re Gone…We Begin came out this year and it’s so solid. His songs are catchy, novel but familiar and I really think that he is going to gain some serious traction in the next year. He’s got a really nice style of saccharine folk that is really endearing and I think people are going to notice.
Dan Brennan, Slowdown
Carl Miller & the Thrillers. Great band, great vocalist, good vibes.
Amanda Deboer Bartlett, Omaha Under the Radar
Make sure you hear Stacey Barelos play any kind of keyboard — piano, synth, toy piano, whatever. She’s as hardcore as they come.
Mike Huber, HN editorial contributor
Cult Play. 1. Great name. It’s spooky. Say it fast. Viva la Vida. 2. Dark techno noise — pulsing four-on-the-floor kick drums, screeching everywhere — totally grinding music. “Movement for the living dead.”
Mary Lawson, Mesonjixx
Edem Soul Music
Miwi LaLupa, Omaha singer/songwriter
Edem Soul. THAT VOICE! Yeesh!
Zach Chrastil, Salt Creek
Be on the lookout for Timecat in 2017. Their music is the perfect fusion of face melting shreds, rock solid rhythms, and raw emotion. When their band is full of four talented, wonderfully genuine guys, the magic within their performances becomes quickly apparent. You might need facial reconstructive surgery after this one.
Jacob Zlomke, Fly Over Media
The Morbs are like the most underrated band in Nebraska. I hope people pick up what they’re putting down this year.
Sleep Sinatra, Lincoln emcee
Righteous Hand Records. A Hip-Hop collective out of Lincoln. Very hungry, driven people. Expect to see and hear a lot from them in the years to come.
Sara Bertuldo, See Through Dresses
Leafblower, definitely. I got to see them at O’Leaver’s for the first time very recently and they were so much fun. They have every thing you could possibly want at a sweet rock show: Killer riffs, head banging, matching outfits, and a smoke machine.
Joel Henriksen, One Percent Productions
David Nance. We’ve had him at Reverb Lounge a couple times but he’s remained fairly under the radar in the Nebraska scene. Noisey just put his album in their Top 100 of the year and I’d keep an eye out for him for sure in the new year.
Kate Dussault, Hi-Fi House
No Thanks. If I were a label I would sign them now. Raw energy, stellar front man in Brendan Leahy, angst, politics, punk!
Andrew Samson, HN editorial contributor
Tiny Monsters is an interesting project to me. I remember meeting Ben Baldwin at an open mic and he told me that it was his first time playing at that open mic. Now, it seems that he’s everywhere. I really adore his passion for the Nebraska music scene. A vocal dead ringer for Cat Stevens, he is joined in Tiny Monsters by Valerie Electricradbolt, whose beautiful voice goes well with his. This beautiful vocal blend is only made better by bassist Matthew Jones and drummer Derek Bird, who add tight instrumentation to the mix. Their mix of self-described indie folk psych funk is pleasing to my ears! Definitely a band I want to see and hear more of in 2017.
Christine Fink, High Up
Stephen Nichols. I said it last time and I’ll say it again! He’s actually got a new project going with Matt Benson (drummer for now-defunct Omaha band The Seen), and I’m really stoked to see how weird they can get.
Graham Ulicny, Thick Paint/The Faint
Bib is incredible and everyone in Omaha and the world should know their music and pure tonal power. They put out incredible, transcendent stuff in 2016 and i’m sure they will continue in 2017. Nate Ma is an incredible songwriter and front-person that is creating important new music! Also Little Ripple is making music that is so unique and incredible. It is such a joy to see Little Ripple perform and the recordings are incredible!
photo by Peter Barnes
Jason Steady, Wolf Dealer
Wolf Dealer played with Vegetable Deluxe at Brothers with Shannon and the Clams. I’m excited to see more of those Vegetables. I love the 12-string lead guitar thing, and they’ve clearly got an understanding of what makes for good psych/pop.
James Dean, HN photo contributor
There are many. One that enthralls me is Chemicals. Lovers of experimental jazz keep an eye out for these cats in 2017. Each performance is the simultaneously classic and new.
photo by Lauren Farris
Dan McCarthy, McCarthy Trenching
I’ve been really impressed with Annie Dilocker‘s emergence as a solo artist this year. Look out!
photo by James Dean
Eli Mardock, Vega
Josh Hoyer is poised to get some good national/international attention, and that’s great for Nebraska’s scene.
Jacob Darling, The Common LNK
I am incredibly hyped to see what Crease gets up to this upcoming year. Seeing them for their first show at the Nebraska Hardcore Showcase was truly one of the highlights of the day for me. Cam Stout makes an incredible front woman and she’s of course backed by a great group of musicians. I would definitely suggest keeping a close eye on them this upcoming year, I have a feeling they’re going to do some really cool shit.
Marq Manner, Omaha Entertainment & Arts Awards
Mark Patrick. He just dropped an impressive album and this past year showed that he is committed to Omaha as an artist, but also as a community leader for our music scene.
Lucas Wright, Black Heart Booking
Honestly, there are far too many to name. Nebraska is definitely blessed with a LOT of young and very talented people.