Tag Archives: 2014 Preview

2014 Preview – Listen Out For – The Full List, and a little extra…

7 Dec

2014 Previews The Full List

So, after a week and a half and 15 individual posts, our countdown of artists we think you should Listen Out For in 2014 is complete. Before we crack on (next week) with our end of year lists, for those amongst you who are lazy/busy/just like things all in one place (delete as applicable), we have collated the full selection of artists below with a handy soundcloud playlist of all 15 for your enjoyment. Should you wish to read more about each, just click on their name to see the full article.

AND, as if that wasn’t enough, we even have a little bonus below the playlist of the acts who almost made the 15 but who we felt were too good to leave off entirely. Some honourable mentions if you will.

#15 – Mega Emotion

”Full of big brash sounds, riffage and booming beats it also features soothing vocals and retro-sensibilities. It’s raw and powerful but calm and quiet too, like a circus muscle man cuddling a poodle or something.”

#14 – Mononoke

”What we do know is that she is blessed with quite a voice and, judging by her debut track “Alice”, song writing talent. With her tragically beautiful lament to a little girl trapped in a grown up world, a life of lost love, apathy and melancholy, she has set the bar very high.”

#13 – Port Isla

“As well as being super talented, they are the kind of lovely people that you just want to do well. They make such enthusiastic and warm music that you can’t help but like them.”

#12 – NONONO

”“Pumpin Blood” is the track that has broken out everywhere, with its ‘gets under your skin’ whistle. You may not know it, but you would probably recognise it. Big and brash, vibrant and frenetic, it’s the seven dwarves whistling while they work having dropped some acid and taken speed.”

#11 – Fractures

”…the gorgeous dreamy electro sounds of “Twisted”, complete with soft, soulful falsetto vocals that would stop a rhino’s heart, and the evocative crescendos of atmospheric folksiness on “Embers” were soon joined by the fabulous “Cadence” and “Tizer”.”

#10 – Embers

”They played two sets at The Great Escape, one in a grand high-ceilinged venue that allowed their music to spread and soar, the other in the cramped space of the Mesmerist pub where their sound exploded out at the audience, pummelling them with intensity and energy as veins bulged and sinews strained. It was one of the most intense, in your face performances we saw all year and we loved it.”

#9 –

”She is an artist that creates genuine excitement and a buzz of anticipation whenever she is about to perform. She even had the audacity to upstage the headlining AlunaGeorge on her recent UK tour and won many more fans in so doing.”

#8 – Pale

”It’s synth pop but ice cold, too cold even for Van Damme as it slides along stealthily like a glacier, taking you in its cool hand off to a world of desolate beauty. A world where the stark surroundings, the bleakness and desolation carry a majestic splendour, it’s not a world of disrepair but one that has been lovingly tended and cultured.”

#7 – Pawws

”Our love for the music of Pawws was immediate and full on, an infatuation. Her music is instantly accessible and enjoyable with influences from the likes of Robyn, Annie and Madonna and vocals that are beautifully sweet and heartfelt. She can do big vibrant rainbows of sound, all danceable and bright and she can do genteel and calm as well.”

#6 – Gems

”The vocals are sweet and breathless, a whispered caress on a smooth gossamer breeze of synths and electronic beats. Weightless and elegant, like moments of purity handed down from above, unsullied and unspoiled for us to enjoy and bathe in their beauty.”

#5 – Iyes

”They make pop music, but it’s not homogenised pre-packaged pop, it’s edgy and different but with enough accessibility to transcend the blogosphere and break the mainstream consciousness. Like Chvrches but without as many 80’s reference points and fewer lasers.”

#4 – Lyla Foy

”The songs are reflective and the arrangements offer an intimacy to the listener, a closeness brought from the instrumentation, the emotion and purity of the music and lyrics. It’s delicate, like the frayed edges of a heart whose thread could be pulled at any moment, and it’s utterly gorgeous.”

#3 – Avec Sans

”What they do so well, and what we absolutely adore, is make fantastically upbeat and danceable tunes. Electro sparkles and beats flash and pulse like a grand firework display against a night sky of synths and melody. Choruses are made to be sung along to while your feet tap and shuffle, heads nod, arms twist and bodies convulse in rhythmical movement; sprung into life by the infectious and compelling sounds.”

#2 – Empress Of

”Her music is addictive and tingle making, high art meets pop accessibility in the most gorgeous manner. Seductive tones, swirling melodies that draw you in and buffet you gently along as the beats take synths by the hand and swoon and sway along like cavorting partners, clinging to each other in the low light of a slow dance.”

#1 – Sivu

”He is a beguiling artist, telling tales born in the shadows of anguish, or inspired by theology in a rousing and heartswelling manner. Acoustic sounds marble with electronic embellishments, strings ebb and flow with the tide and all the while, introspections and observations pour out like nectar for our soul. It is entirely possible, ironically, to lose yourself in his lightly rasping voice and warm melodies. Even when singing “Coldhands” is like a walk across a warm yellow corn field on a calm day, fingers running over the tops of the long stems as they are rustled by a gentle breeze.”


Honourable Mentions…

Curxes

Curxes

If you’re wondering what that massive kaboom sound was just then, it was your senses under attack and your brain screaming out for more. Portsmouth/Brighton pair Curxes make blitz-pop and there’s no escape from its aural magnificence and energy. Last year they were one of the most blogged about artists in the UK (despite having no PR or representation) and while 2013 has been comparatively quiet, the new songs they played for us at Norwich Sound and Vision in October are sounding amazing and could take them to a whole new level in 2014.


Strangers

Strangers London Lights

We’ve been championing the case for this London trio for some time now and with their debut EP on the way, and a follow up scheduled for the new year it could well be that the breakthrough they’ve threatened for so long could be about to happen. Their dark hued electro pop is common cold level catchy but immensely enjoyable and danceable. And while you can get your groove on whilst sneezing your face inside out, we wouldn’t recommend it. Get down to some Strangers instead, it’s much more fun.


Jack Robert Hardman

jack_robert_hardman

Our main man Jack. As our ‘H’ artist we have been following the fortunes of Mr Hardman for a while now and we feel that bigger and better things are just around the corner. His debut album made our end of year list in 2012 and while this year has been more about remixing and a charming little video (below), 2014 should be all about JRH. There’s a new EP on the way, with guest vocalists and artists a-go-go and judging by the unfinished demos we heard a couple of months back, it’s going to be a beauty.


Abi Wade

Abi Wade

One woman, one cello, two foot pedals and an array of sound, melody, rhythms and innovation. Yes, she is a pair of cymbals between her knees away from full-on-market-square-one-man-band-status, but while that shark remains unjumped she is an incredible live performer and musician. She’s got the songs to back it up as well, beautiful and soothing but also full of drama and emotion when they need to be. She’s been writing recently so hopefully that means an album could be on the way in 2014.


Leon Else

Leon Else

Be it fantastical and mystical or very much down to earth and even carnal, Leon Else can and will deliver a tune and half with the deep but light rumbling vocal at its heart. He sees the world slightly differently from most of us but that just makes his music all the more interesting and captivating. With radio play from the likes of Radio 1 and Amazing Radio already under his belt, 2014 could well see his proclamation that the future is


Laura Welsh

Laura Welsh

Laura’s sophisticated, R&B infused pop has passed through our inbox on the odd occasion over the last few months and while we always very much enjoyed it, other commitments meant we never quite got round to writing about it (despite intending to). On seeing her supporting London Grammar recently, we were instantly filled with regret that said posts never made it out of our heads and onto the page. She was fantastic. Big danceable sounds were offset with a deceptively big and powerful vocal and softer, gentler moments were treated with care and affection. 2014 should be a big one for Laura and we won’t be making the mistake of not writing about her again, trust us.


2014 Preview: Listen Out For #1 – Sivu

6 Dec

Sivu Over And Over

So here we are, our number one artist to Listen Out for in 2014. He made the UK Blog Sound Longlist earlier this week (where he was referred to as being ‘idosyncratic’) and while we have no idea if he will make the top 3 of that poll, we are sure that 2014 holds even greater things for him than 2013 already has.

The year began with a unique introduction to Sivu and the different way he sees the world with the completely hypnotic and incredible video for “Better Man Than He”. His debut track, which has pulled on our heartstrings like no other this year – especially when performed live in a tent in the woods at Latitude) came with the visual accompaniment of Sivu singing inside an MRI Scanner. If you haven’t seen it, you should (now and here) as it is properly amazing and the tongue is mesmeric. Trust us.

But that was just the start, since then he has toured seemingly incessantly on a grand supportslotapalooza, heading around the country with a variety of acts (London Grammar, Stornoway, The Staves for example) taking his tunes out to the people. The year is culminating in a co-headline tour with the also amazing Marika Hackman and a joint release with her as well.

His music is a heady mix of instantly accessible, light sounding folk popness, and dark themes born out of heartache and despair. “Better Man Than He” was written for a friend who was suffering from depression and “I Lose Myself” was inspired (if that’s the right word in these circumstances) by the drugs culture he was exposed to on first moving to London and “the idea of getting bogged down by life, and wanting to go and destroy yourself”. It’s hardly the stuff of sunshine and rainbows but the chorus of “I Lose Myself” in particular, the arrangement and production is actually quite uplifting and optimistic.

He is a beguiling artist, telling tales born in the shadows of anguish, or inspired by theology in a rousing and heartswelling manner. Acoustic sounds marble with electronic embellishments, strings ebb and flow with the tide and all the while, introspections and observations pour out like nectar for our soul. It is entirely possible, ironically, to lose yourself in his lightly rasping voice and warm melodies. Even when singing “Coldhands” is like a walk across a warm yellow corn field on a calm day, fingers running over the tops of the long stems as they are rustled by a gentle breeze.

It’s been a remarkable rise in the last few months but given his talent and the quality and depth of the music he is currently making, it’s not a surprising one. With an album slated for 2014, it should just be the start.


Stalk Sivu: Website / Facebook / Twitter

2014 Preview: Listen Out For #2 – Empress Of

6 Dec

Empress Of

Cast your mind back for a moment, to November last year when 2012 was entering its final days and a newborn year was almost upon us. At that moment a new music project was blinking its eyes, adjusting to its new surroundings and seeing music like colour. At the time we anointed Empress Of to our hallowed Alphabet Bands hall as our ‘E’ artist, not much was known about Celestial Shores’ Lorely Rodriguez’s new project. Coverage in the UK was (we believe) non-existent and all we had to go on were a series of micro tunes, or Colourminutes as she called them and a forthcoming single.

It was at this point, the single release we mean, not our posting, that ears pricked up properly and interest was piqued across the blog world and beyond. The music she was making (and continues to make) is spectacular. Dreamy electronic whispers one minute and sultry, breathy and sexy as hell the next (“Hat Trick” is such a gorgeous tune). Since then she has just got better and better with each new release and music fans and critics have fallen for her more and more.

Her music is addictive and tingle making, high art meets pop accessibility in the most gorgeous manner. Seductive tones, swirling melodies that draw you in and buffet you gently along as the beats take synths by the hand and swoon and sway along like cavorting partners, clinging to each other in the low light of a slow dance.

She makes gloriously misty electro-pop, like millions of constellations across the canvas of the night sky, glistening and mesmeric, beautiful and ridiculously easy to get lost in. She’s not afraid of a little darkness either, as the watermelon gorging, Clockwork Orange-esque image bombardment of the video for “Champagne” illustrated. Anyone who can layer pictures of The Dark Crystal and The Never Ending Story under whirring, bouncing choruses of springy guitars and soft, burgeoning subtly-synth laden verses is only ever going to get love from us.

With a series of live shows across the globe under her belt in the last 12 months and an ever increasing profile, the mystery that initially surrounded Empress Of may have dissipated, but the quality and excitement is only getting bigger.


Stalk Empress Of: Website / Facebook / Twitter

2014 Preview: Listen Out For #3 – Avec Sans

5 Dec

Avec Sans

Avec Sans may have only recently found a way into our pop loving heart, but they have immediately taken up a prominent place there with stellar releases “Hold On” and “Shiver” (one of the tracks of the year in our humble opinion).

Following a support slot for Little Boots at London’s Heaven recently, the duo with roots in Manchester and Trinidad, are getting set for a big year. And we’re not the only ones to think so, with esteemed pop-adjudicator Popjustice saying of a potential full-length release from Avec Sans, ”this has all the makings of one of 2014’s best electronic pop albums”. And who are we to argue with that?

What they do so well, and what we absolutely adore, is make fantastically upbeat and danceable tunes. Electro sparkles and beats flash and pulse like a grand firework display against a night sky of synths and melody. Choruses are made to be sung along to while your feet tap and shuffle, heads nod, arms twist and bodies convulse in rhythmical movement; sprung into life by the infectious and compelling sounds.

“Shiver” in particular is a brilliant light of pop magnificence, perfect for a time of year when the Christmas lights sparkle and dazzle above. Like Peter Pan on a sugar rush, Alice’s vocals twist and turn through the air, spinning and whizzing amongst the decorations as they hang over the streets and revellers below. We said before that it was fucking fantastic and it just gets better with each listen, as do Avec Sans and we expect Mr. Popjustice’s premonition to be bang on the money.


Stalk Avec Sans: Facebook / Twitter

2014 Preview: Listen Out For #4 – Lyla Foy

5 Dec

Lyla Foy

As 2012 closed, we, like many many others, were enchanted by the minimalist caress of the downtempo melodies and stark electronic beats that were coming from London based Wall. Alas and indeed alack though, for Wall is no more but rejoice and huzzah, for the lady beneath the name is very much with us and, newly signed to the legendary Sub Pop, the music of Lyla Foy is as sublime as ever.

The reason behind the name change was simple, as she explained, “At first I wanted something abstract to put some distance between me and the identity of the music, but as things grew I wanted to put my name to the songs not the other way round,” and with music of this quality, we’d want to put our name to it too. Her vocals are crystalline, smooth and stunning within the sparse forest of muted basslines and electro harmonies. Like a gleaming ball of light, levitating gently deep within the thin line of trees.

The songs are reflective and the arrangements offer an intimacy to the listener, a closeness brought from the instrumentation, the emotion and purity of the music and lyrics. It’s delicate, like the frayed edges of a heart whose thread could be pulled at any moment, and it’s utterly gorgeous. We could listen to it again and again and again, and we do, we expect a lot more people to be doing the same in 2014 as well.


Stalk Lyla Foy: Website / Facebook / Twitter