Closing out the bitter slog that was 2016 are a band who are bringing the sunshine grooves of the Caribbean to the urban metropolis. The Hempolics are a little-known ska band from London, who have steadily been crafting their sound for over a decade now. They have received attention from radio, not to mention the fellow musicians, such as La Roux, Eliza Doolittle and Paolo Nutini.
Superstar divas Rihanna and Beyoncé were playing a very public game of who could be the most provocative temptress, and still get their songs played on the radio, for the a good few years. That’s the way it seemed at least, what with all the flesh on display in their music videos and other controversial moments, all of which prompted tea-sipping elitists and defends-of-taste to decrying them both.
By now, most us are familiar with the Barbadian queen and her rumpy-pumpy reggae and steamy pop. She’s gone from an innocent island girl (‘SOS’) to a whip-loving dominatrix (‘S&M’). Anti is her eighth album, and sees the pop star crossover to the trap and alternative R&B sounds of the moment.
The ska-influenced Chicago rock of Wild Belle was truly something to adore when their debut, Isles, arrived in 2013. The combination of smooth vocals and psychedelic slow jams from the brother and sister group was delicious. On Dreamland, the duo has gone even more experimental, producing a fierce follow-up that channels the musical grandeur of Firefly composer Greg Edmonson and singer Paloma Faith in one place.