2014: One's To Watch

It's end of year list season and I'm jumping right on the bandwagon. These are the acts who I think/hope will do good things in 2014. In no particular order:

[For 2013's tips go here]


The envy of many bands, London duo Thumpers are now signed to two of the best labels on the planet in Transgressive and Sub Pop and their soaring skyscrapers of alt pop tunes are likely to land them on a bunch of tip lists and radio playlists next year. Unkinder is a bulldozing monster of a record.


She's been steadily whipping up the worlds media into something of a frenzy with a drip feed of impeccable dark R&B tracks throughout the year, pairing her silky control with on-point production flair from the likes of TEED and SOHN, if anyone encapsulates the sound and feel of exciting music right now it's LA's Banks.


One of the standout scandinavian alt electro pop acts to emerge in 2013 (and god knows there's been some serious quantity and quality coming out of that place), Tove Lo is backed by glittery tastemakers to the world Neon Gold and the size of her chorus' have been wowing everyone from here to Lorde.


What Banks is to LA, Rosie Lowe may well be to London; a sultry, mysterious, brooding figure, effortlessly pouring out one of the best songs of the year and positioning herself for a full blown charm offensive in the new year. Along with Thumpers, she's one of the most exciting prospects to come out of the UK in a long time.


This year SZA (pronounced S(u)ZA) became the first ever R&B signee for Top Dawg Entertainment, played some award shows with now-labelmate Kendrick Lamar and channeled her experimental Bjork inspired soulful vision to create some colourfully progressive textures like this:


From a delightful little place called Hitchin, Rhodes has been one of the standout newcomers in 2013 with his encapsulating songwriting craft, perfectly controlled and honestly emotive voice and live charm. Now signed to Hometown Records, expect major play-listings and nice big glamorous stuff for him.


Brooklyn trio Wet make the most perfect music. A sublime balance between pop melodies that stay with you for days, effortless don't-look-at-me cool, irresistible no-but-do-look-at-me confidence, relaxed R&B x blissful sounds and refreshingly minimalistic-yet-full production. They'd better do well after that write up anyway.

Already pretty famous to be fair but for those who aren't familiar,  comes from Copenhagen and has already mastered the "electronic soul, street vibes indie pop" genre thus:


It seems like 2013 was the year for duo's and particularly guitar and drums rock duo's. Royal Blood are the best of the lot, so much power and purpose, such big songs, Brighton's got a fiery riot on their hands here.


London based Kwabs finished the year with one of the best songs of 2013 in Last Stand; if golden, intelligent R&B-soul with silky caramel, warm vocals from heaven and bomb ass monster hooks is your thing then heads up. If not, go away and reevaluate yourself as a human being.


Not sure I should really put him here given that this track is the only one anyone's heard but it's so good that I'm going to still my neck out and say that Ráj, LA's newest moody alt indie'&B singer songwriter is going to do more, equally awesome things next year.


Los Angeles is taking over a bit here isn't it (and we're not done yet...). It feels like Tinashe has been around forever and after a couple of mix tapes and slamming singles she's ready to launch a major assault. With major label backing she's got all the attributes to be bigger than a my love for cheesesteaks.


From seemingly nowhere (well, from surprise surprise, Los Angeles) Jaymes Young seemed to create an unstoppable online momentum through sheer quality of songs this year. Dark Star was hyped by Zane Lowe, he hit the road with London Grammar and next year his perfect songwriting deserves to be all over the alternative masses.


Ben Khan comes from London, is a mysterious psych indie guitar smith with copious amounts of creativity, melodies, talent and originality and his music sounds like a trippy glimpse of whisky blurred heaven.


Another solo artist, Cambridge born SIVU caught the eye with the incredible Better Man Than Me video which surface over the summer and was made using an actual MRI scanner. Likened to Gotye, Wild Beasts and Alt J, he's awesome.


And finally, George Ezra has some top notch tunes which roll with smokey folk - galloping country vibes, kind of a more interesting Jake Bugg if you will. For me his best quality is his incredible, deep husky voice which sounds more like a 65 year old Mississippi blues singer than a fresh faced 19 year old from Bristol.