I know you are probably tired of the heap of 'Ones To Watch' lists which are knocking about at the moment (I am too to be honest!). I've already read a lot of these lists and one thing is clear: Ella Eyre, Sam Smith and Chloe Howl are 'destined for big things in 2014'. I have no problem with these artists at all, in fact I quite like them, but I feel there are other artists who don't have the large following that these acts do (Sam and Ella in particular, both of which have featured on UK number 1 singles in 2013).
There are other artists I absolutely love (BANKS, FKA Twigs, Say Lou Lou, MØ) who I am expecting big things from this year, but they have also been included in many ones to watch lists and I feel have already have blossoming fan bases.
I instead composed a list of bands and artists who I feel have fallen under the radar somewhat and I believe will (hopefully) release spectacular records in 2014 which will finally get them the recognition they truly deserve:
Rhode Island-born, Stockholm-based singer Mapei has been gaining momentum over the latter part of 2013 as her phenomenal breakout single 'Don't Wait' has been doing the rounds. However, I still feel that because it hasn't scaled the charts as it should have, she is still not as big as she should/could be. I can't wait to hear what soul-pop wonders she has up her sleeve and with her debut album scheduled for a 2014, I shouldn't have to wait too long!
Marika Hackman is another relative newcomer who has enjoyed increasing success over the course of 2013, with a critically claimed mini-album and EP already under her belt. However, she is making us wait a little longer for her full-length album, she will release another EP prior to her debut album in the spring (fingers crossed). Her standout track 'Bath Is Black' combines folk with a fresh 'medieval pop' sound to create an enchanting listen, combine this with a wonderfully weird music video featuring a gyrating chav couple and you've got yourself perfection:
I've already chatted a little about Missouri songstress Angel Olsen in a previous post, her debut album Halfway Home was one of the most captivating albums I have ever heard. Her distinct tone sets her apart from the massive crop of female folk singers who have been servicing over the past few years. I was a little worried when I first heard she was going in a more electric sound with her new album, it could end in disaster (see Jake Bugg's Shangri La), but judging from lead single 'Forgiven/Forgotten' and the snippets of new tracks such as 'Hi-Five', her new album Burn Your Fire For No Witness should be an absolute corker.
More on her new album here: http://iplugtoyou.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/albums-to-look-forward-to-next-year.html
Blessa's 'Between Times' was one of my favourite singles of the year, the B-side 'Bloom' is also pretty great too. Breezy 'indie pop' production matched with gorgeous female vocals is hardly a groundbreaking combination but because it's done so well, I don't really care. They've confirmed that their debut EP will be released in a new year, so hopefully an album will follow soon.
Scottish duo Honeyblood have received a heap of buzz (no pun intended) from their debut single 'Bud', a wistful sugar-coated fuzz-rock treat which gets better with every listen. The B-side is even better; Kissing On You is a punchy Best Coast-recalling tune which is essentially the musical equivalent of a hi-five. They have recently completed their debut album which will hopefully drop around springtime. Exciting times.
All Dog's 'Buddy' came from nowhere and completely knocked me for six, it's throwback 90's punk-pop sound took me back to the carefree summers I used to enjoy before I became the anti-social hermit that I am today. Again, it's hardly anything new but that's irrelevant because it's SO BLOODY GOOD! Expect big things in 2014 (including a full-length record).
I discovered Cousin Marnie's song 'You've Been Fooling Me Baby' accidentally on YouTube this summer, it was a simple slip of the mouse which lead to me finding an undiscovered gem. Her icy delivery, dark beats and the anthemic hook scream 'One to Watch'. Her EP is also well worth checking out.
Following their support slot for CHVRCHES, NY band Wet have been hotly tipped from their new year, their creatively titled debut EP 'Wet' contains 4 of the best synthpop songs of 2013 (and probably 2014 too). The third track in particular; 'Don't Wanna Be Your Girl' is sparse, slick and extremely powerful (it brought me to tears upon first listen, seriously). If they can achieve this level of excellence in one EP, image in the album. IMAGINE.
Limerick three-piece Sisters are probably my favourite thing to come out of Ireland, well, ever (this includes Laura Whitmore). I am only basing this rather brazen statement on one song but what a song it is. 'Hush Hush' is a blistering piece of lo-fi which provides some much needed sunlight in this miserable winter. The sun drenched melodies and breezy boy/girl vocals might well have stolen the 'best song of the year' crown from Warpaint, the luck of the Irish, ey?
Brighton-based lo-fi queen Rose Keeler-Schäffeler (A.K.A KEEL HER) finally announced her debut album (due February) this month. If any of her new tracks even come close to the sheer brilliance of breakout single 'Riot Grrrl' it will be amazing.
Details of this Cornwall duo are fairly scarce as we enter the new year but everything I do know I approve of greatly. Thus far they have put out 3 phenomenal fuzzy dream pop tunes ('Let's Bang', 'Now I want To', 'Meanwhile') and are releasing their debut EP in the new year at some point. Hopefully we will see (or preferably hear) a full length from them before 2015 but I won't get my hopes up.
Last but by no means least, Novella have been one of my favourite new bands ever since their self-titled EP dropped back in 2012. Now, in 2014 they will finally release their debut album, their recent single 'Follow' is one of my favourite tracks of the year. Stream 'Follow' in all its shoegaze glory below: