winter fairy 2016
(image: Alice Popkorn)

New years and new beginnings. In the dead of winter here in the northern hemisphere, we need that sense of a clean, snow-swept slate. But, I’m not necessarily talking about ambitious resolutions and grand statements of changing one’s ways. If that’s your position and you are committed, I applaud you. Sometimes though, it’s the small and un-Facebookable changes we make that make the most difference, and tend to be the ones that we stick with. The examples of these are many. But, let’s get down to the nitty gritty and talk about your soundtracks for 2016 as you change your life or build upon what’s best about it. What will you be listening to this winter 2016, good people?

To help you answer that question, or at least give you a wider field of play, here is a selection of new sounds from independent artists from across the musical and geographical spectrum for you to consider as you shake off the remaining rags of Yuletide, and don your New Year apparel. Read, listen, and tell me your favourites in the comments section. And perhaps what you change first this new year 2016 is your new favourite artist.

As Billy Shakespeare once said: lend me your ears!


“Safe and Sound” by Hawking


This self-proclaimed math-rock collective from White Rock, British Columbia (just down the road from me) is more radio friendly than they have any right to be, delivering the musical precision you’re expecting, and the hooks that you perhaps don’t. This tune is taken from their self-titled EP, Hawking. This is ambitiously arranged rock music without the trace self indulgence.

Learn more at

“Crazy About Me” by Dolores Haze 

delores haze

Dolores Haze hails from Stockholm, Sweden, marrying a sort of twisted take on girl-group sonic dynamics with the appealing gnarlyness of DIY punk rock, not unlike the early Go-Go’s, with a touch of the Breeders for good measure. The song is sourced from their self-referential record The Haze Is Forever.

Get your next hazy fix at their Facebook page.

“Once Upon A Time” by Tess In Venice

tess in venice

For some nineties-flavoured indie-pop delivered with a petulant curl of the lip, Tess In Venice is a go-to source. This song comes from the 4-track EP Flood Heart Fly, crafted by an artist who’s swapped her ballerina shoes for a piano, and now a six-string, making the move from Melbourne Australia to smoky London when still a teen.

Embrace your fandom at

“Potions” by The Naturalists

The Naturalists Home Honey I'm Hi

If you’re thinking that rock songs aren’t being written the way they used to be these days, please turn your attention to Buffalo, New York’s The Naturalists. This is ferocious hook-laden rock music as taken from the cheekily entitled EP Home Honey I’m Hi.

For more natural benefits, take a jaunt along to The Naturalists’ Facebook page.

“Our Love” by Run Over Dogs

Run Over Dogs

Run Over Dogs deal in appealingly lumbering and apocalyptic indie rock from Budapest. This song is taken from their very rock ‘n’ roll titled EP Cold Sweat of Lust. This one is their third since the band’s formation in 2012. They’ve since built upon their popularity in their native Hungary, and have expanded their touring schedule into the UK, France, and Germany.

For more news, check out the Run Over Dogs Facebook page.

“Please Don’t Say” by The Curious Incident

The Curious Incident Penny Lonesome

Rock and pop music is full of interesting cultural turnarounds through out its history. The Curious Incident from London, England is a vital purveyor. This song is 21st century melange of influences that seamlessly reference power pop, funk rock, and a debt to the herky-jerky calypso-esque, African high-life influences of Vampire Weekend, too. These guys bring it back home with sugar-sweet gusto with this song as featured on their four-song EP Penny Lonesome.

Learn more about the band at

“Lilac” by Alnilam

Alnilam Indigo Sky

Sometimes during the wintertime, the best thing to do is to lean into frosty appeal of the season. When doing so, here’s a song to serve as your soundtrack thanks to Los Angeles folk-pop concern Alnilam. Think of the Sundays meets Suzanne Vega, with this slice of string laden wintry folk-pop as taken from the debut album Indigo Sky.

Explore the band’s oeuvre at

“Walking For Days” by WILSN


Of course, in addition to embrance wintertime, you could do worse than to add some fire to your January. For instance, WILSN deals in modern R&B with an echoey retro feel, a vital addition of heat to the winter blues. WILSN is the artistic moniker of singer Shannon Busch, who among other things supported the screaming eagle of soul himself, Charles Bradley during his stint in her native Melbourne, Australia. This is her second single.

You can track her upward trajectory at

“Crossroads” by Sara Syms

Sara Syms Way Back Home

The blues is an ancient and malleable form that flows from a mysterious source. It can take many forms. This desolate, windswept folk version of Robert Johnson’s terrifying rural blues tale of a nightfall of the soul by Nashville-based singer-songwriter Sara Syms is a good example. This is a fair distance away from Claptonian shredding, revealing the rawness underneath instead, taken from Syms’debut album Way Back Home.

Find out more about Sara Syms at

“Burgundy” by Emily Clibourn

Emily Clibourn Burgundy single

For more musical greetings from L.A comes Emily Clibourn, who commands her own brand of gauzy, R&B-tinged dream pop with psych flourishes. This is an example of pop music that is thoroughly contemporary, while also hearkening back to musical traditions with roots in other eras. “Burgundy” is the second single off of her self-title debut record. Also to love: the remix!

Discover more at

“Lonely Prisoner” by A Yawn Worth Yelling

A Yawn Worth Yelling Lonely Prisoner

In wintertime, we often long for long balmy days at the beach, without the requirement of galoshes and mitten hand-warmers. If you are of this persuasion, effervescent guitar pop that carries the hope of summer in the middle of a snowed-in winter might be your remedy, embodied in this tune by San Jose quartet A Yawn Worth Yelling. This song comes from their EP Play Pretend.

To get the latest on this band, skip along to

“Hide and Seek” by Stealing Signs

Stealing Signs Hide And Seek

Let’s keep that pop music sunshine going, shall we? Here some buoyant indie-rock on a sugar rush from South Woodham Ferrers in Essex, England’s Stealing Signs. There’s plenty here for the discerning ear to follow, proving that just because the music is intricate, it doesn’t mean it can’t also be incredibly fun, and full of hooks. The song is the lastest single from a band who’s music has been heard on TV shows from Jersey Shore to  The Real Show.

Find out more about the band at the Stealing Signs Facebook page.

“Salto Nel Buio” by Le Folli Arie

Le Folli Arie

Rock music is not limited to one language. If it stays with you, it stays with you. As if to prove the point, here’s Le Folli Arie with some moodily anthemic prog-pop rock from Milan, Italy that is positively Floydian in its gravity, with a song title that translates “Leap In The Dark”. Together since 2012, the band’s style spectrum includes metal, folk, prog, jazz, and radio friendly pop music in both English and Italian. This tune is taken from their self-titled debut.

Check out to brush up on your Italian, and hear some more tunes.

“Free” by Cordelia & The Buffalo

Cordelia and the Buffalo

To conclude in that internationalist vein, let’s go with an outfit that is comprised of members that represent many points on the globe all in one. Cordelia & The Buffalo specialize in R&B singing with electronica and world-music notes, the latter of which may make sense. Band members are from Mexico, Norway, Japan, Venezuela, and Alaska in the US, with this song bursting with positivity. The song is taken from their self-titled 6 track EP.

Join the band on their adventures at


There you have it! Some new tunes for a new year. Which track is your favourite? Tell me all about it, along with new music you’ve discovered off of this list, in the comments section below!




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