When we first wrote these 10 Ones to Watch posts a few weeks ago and pre-scheduled them so that we could take a bit of time off away from the blog whilst they auto uploaded daily, this final choice was going to feature Jack Garratt. However a couple of days before the post was due to go live we decided to delete Mr Garratt, who we commended for his superb all round ability, mesmerising one man shows, quality beard and general nice bloke appeal; we also compared him to the electronic version of Ed Sheeran.
Instead, as our final tip, we’re making one recommendation of a duo that has never been mentioned on Breaking More Waves before (the other 9 tips all have). The name of this two piece is Xylaroo. Alongside Declan McKenna and Billie Marten, two of our other Ones to Watch, the members of Xylaroo are also too young to get served in a UK pub. Is their age relevant? Is it a bit ageist mentioning the fact that these acts are young? Well, we think it's relevant to mention the fact, because frankly if you subscribe to the idea that musicians have to learn their craft, then when someone is relatively young and very good that says something important about their natural talent.
Oh, and the reasons for ditching sure-fire success Garratt for a bunch of unknowns on a small indie label?
1. Because to our eyes Jack doesn’t actually seem that ‘new’ or ‘emerging’ anymore. We’ve seen him a number of times live (first way back in June 2014 at Bushstock Festival which we reviewed here) and he had already developed a big online musical presence several months before that event. Maybe his label have held him back a little in order to stand a chance of being on the 2016 tip lists, but for us he was a 2014 going into 2015 tip.
2. He’s already been named as the BBC Introducing Artist of the Year, won the Brits Critics Choice award and there’s lots of talk about him being a highly likely contender for the BBC Sound Of 2016 list as well. Don’t expect to see him on the lesser known but just as interesting Blog Sound of 2016 list though, voted for by nearly 60 UK based bloggers, which we help run. The full longlist will be revealed on Dec 3rd, a few days after the BBC Sound of list - Jack almost made it on the Blog Sound of 2015 list but missed it by 1 vote, but this year didn’t get one single nod from voting bloggers, suggesting that just like Breaking More Waves, other bloggers no longer consider him emerging, which is what we believe these polls should be about.
3. Jack’s already playing Brixton Academy in April, so tipping him as One to Watch seems pointless – a lot of people are already going to watch him.
So instead we’re choosing Xylaroo, a recent addition to one of the finest long standing indie labels in the UK – Sunday Best.
Who are Xylaroo?
They’re Coco and Holly Chant and first met fifteen years ago in a hospital in Hong Kong where they were introduced to each other by their parents. Yes, they’re sisters and follow in the footsteps of another Sunday Best sibling act, Kitty Daisy & Lewis, who started their musical careers as young whippersnappers on the label.
And whilst we’d very much consider Xylaroo (a name that seems to have no meaning except for some warped cross between a xylophone and kangaroo – not something we could really explain) emerging, they seem to have been doing this for quite some time – they have an old redundant Myspace page (remember those?) and a Bandcamp with some rough and ready recordings dated back to 2009. However, unlike Garratt you’re probably not going to see their name everywhere in music industry music tip lists. But they're worth your attention; with their folky harmonies that remind us a little of early First Aid Kit we’re suggesting that they’re Ones to Watch for 2016, not because they’re going to have huge commercial hits or sell bucket loads of records (that’s probably unlikely) but simply because they can pen a decent tune that you might just enjoy. And that’s the most important thing.
Xylaroo - Sunshine (Home Session)