The Ten Most Underrated Acts of III Points 2016

Dig deeper into the III Points lineup with us.
Dig deeper into the III Points lineup with us.
Photo by Karli Evans

Regrettably, it’s still 2016, and on top of all the awful news this awful year has given us, music festivals are dying — at least according to some cynics. They point to the repetitive lineups and increasingly corporate vibe at major affairs such as Bonnaroo and Ultra as evidence of their lost relevance. After all, if Coachella is spending its money propping up the ancient, bloated corpse of Axl Rose, and the New York Times (not exactly the hippest cat on the scene) has decided not to cover mainstream festivals at all, things can’t be going very well, right?

Wrong. For one, we still have III Points.

Packing all the punch of a sprawling weekend getaway into the streets of Wynwood, this year’s edition of the rising Miami event is poised to be the best yet. III Points 2016 will feature not only the confluence of art, tech, and local acts that give it its character, but also a lineup swarming with unconventional talents from all over the globe playing electronica, hip-hop, and even some rock. It’s a bill that runs deep, including eclectic, under-the-radar performers alongside headliners such as LCD Soundsystem and M83.

Here are ten acts from that bill we suspect might not be on your radar — but most definitely should.

The Ten Most Underrated Acts of III Points 2016
Photo Courtesy of Magnet Musik

10. Pantha du Prince

Though his homeland, Germany, may be known for its love of grim, insular techno, Pantha du Prince takes a more relaxed approach to dance music, blending the hard and soft of house with influences from the indie world such as Panda Bear (featured on 2010’s “Stick to My Side”) and My Bloody Valentine. His 2016 album, The Triad, provides listeners with spacious arrangements that adorn melodic bass lines with twinkling bells. He also does something decidedly un-German and delivers his art with a sense of humor, as seen in track titles like “You What? Euphoria!”

The Ten Most Underrated Acts of III Points 2016
Photo by Falkwynde Goyeneche

9. Dawn of Midi

Ever seen a jazz band make EDM? That’s the idea behind this trio of piano, drum, and upright bass, who use their acoustic instruments to make dance beats normally left to the computers. The group's minimalistic music might seem strange at first — closer to John Cage than John Coltrane — but the group’s innovative approach has won it famous fans. Earlier this year, these guys opened for Radiohead in New York.

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Photo Courtesy of the Artist

8. Little Simz

UK rap may be having a moment thanks to MCs like Skepta and Stormzy, but they’re not the only Londoners who can spit bars. Hailing from the north side of the British capital, Little Simz is the only female rapper on the III Points bill. But with her perfect storm of intricate lyricism, technical flow, and excellent beat selection, one can easily imagine her taking on any MC on either side of the Atlantic regardless of gender.

The Ten Most Underrated Acts of III Points 2016 (2)
Photo Courtesy of III Points

7. Museum of Love

One of the best parts of seeing LCD Soundsystem is watching drummer Pat Mahoney bash away on the kit all night, displaying the stamina and precision of a human drum machine. Mahoney leaves the drums alone on his project Museum of Love, which will also perform at III Points. Instead, he picks up a microphone and creates music that pushes the classic dance-punk sound of his DFA Records label mates Holy Ghost! and Hot Chip toward their smoother pop influences in the '80s New Wave.

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Photo Courtesy of III Points

6. Andy Stott

One of the most distinctive producers in club music, Manchester’s Andy Stott brought his grainy, moody take on dub techno to a new level on this year’s Too Many Voices. The LP features clattering, explosive bangers and sensual, atmospheric numbers in equal measure. Expect his set to sound halfway between factory floor and film noir.

 

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Photo Courtesy of III Points

5. Leon Vynehall

This British house DJ — who cut his teeth in the beachy Brighton, England scene — might be just the spice you need if III Points’ more reserved club acts have you searching for something a bit more tropical. So thoroughly layered and expansive are the beats on his new album, Rojus, that they might remind you of the vibe at that other Miami music festival by the bay. After all, there’s no ailment a drop as glorious as the one on “Blush” can’t solve.

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4. Sophie

For a hot minute, UK producer Sophie didn’t even go onstage at gigs (which is part of the reason why we couldn't even find a photo of him to use in this article). Because people didn’t know his face, he sent a surrogate to stand at the decks and fake-DJ. Clubbers were none the wiser, though. The real Sophie, affiliated with the cutting-edge electro-pop collective PC Music, usually DJs in person these days. Though you’d be smart to expect blinding strobes and crushing bass at his hyper-energetic, off-kilter set, beware above all of his chirpy, pitched-up lyrics – they will get stuck in your head.

The Ten Most Underrated Acts of III Points 2016 (4)
Photo Courtesy of Windish Agency

3. Jessy Lanza

Forget Justin Bieber: Jessy Lanza is Canada’s queen of pop. With a sound that takes the best of '80s-era Madonna vocals, Yellow Magic Orchestra’s beats, and just a dash of Detroit techno from over the border and injects it with a modern essence, her album Oh No is one of the year’s absolute best. Coproducer Jeremy Greenspan will also perform at the fest, as part of Junior Boys.

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Photo by Andrew Strasser

2. Oneohtrix Point Never

Composer Daniel Lopatin has released some of the most boundary-pushing experimental electronic music of the past decade, but that’s not why you should see him. On Garden of Delete, his latest album as Oneohtrix Point Never, he tapped into his 13-year-old self and created a sonic world of cyberpunk, nu-metal, and teen angst. This latest tour with collaborator Nate Boyce splatters the audience with a spectacular audiovisual companion to the album’s techno-tinged grunge sound, complete with punishing, eardrum-shattering bass, bizarre video effects, and heavily distorted vocals. It’s basically a metal concert inside a computer.

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Photo by Stian Roenning

1. Denzel Curry

Just a few months ago, this publication wondered if the Carol City rapper’s career was waning. Then he made the 2016 XXL "Freshman List." The vaunted hip-hop magazine’s yearly roster of the most talented new voices in the genre has given nods to Future, Wiz Khalifa, and Kendrick Lamar, to name a few. It’s a big deal. Curry’s III Points performance will be his first in Miami since making the list. It will be a triumphant homecoming, like Caesar returning from Gaul. And as a result, it will be 500 percent more lit than usual. So, in short: Do not miss.

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