damn, there is some serious music on the horizon for 2014. the new year is shaping up to be a good one, and with so many artists coming out of the woodwork, it’s always a bit of a task to keep up. so, for those of you that are looking to expand your musical libraries, aka not listen to the same james blake track on loop for a month (cough cough) i’ve put together a list of artist i’ll be listening to this year. there’s a wee something for everyone in here, and i would love for you to share which artists will be on your rotation in 2014.
i know you didn’t think i could write an artists to watch list without including a folk songstress. and oh have i got THE folk artist for you. cold specks calls both london and toronto home, and although she’s not new to the scene, i have high hopes for her for 2014. i mean, would you listen to that voice? she’s like the love child of macy gray and amy winehouse mixed with the civil wars backing production. she has an incredible tour lined up for the coming year, and i really hope we get to see more of her. her latest effort, blank maps, is also a favourite.
hwls is a brand new project, the musical brain child of perth-bred producer ta-ku and fellow australian electronica artist kit pop. although hwls only released their first track a couple days ago, independently via soundcloud, the number has already received 65 000 plays (thanks in large part, i’m sure, to ta-ku’s insane following). “001” is a distillation of astutely ta-ku sound (good news), and i’m very much looking forward to seeing what these dudes come up with.
so, maybe i’m a little biased with this one since, granted, fka twigs was my pick for this week’s music monday. a british singer of jamaican and spanish descent, fka twigs’ sound is eerie ambience mixed with fairy-like lightness. she has that pixie creature look and an overtly weird style, all of which translate into her haunting music. production with arca on her latest effort, EP2, put her on the map in 2013, and i suspect we’ll be seeing a lot more of her in the coming year.
i don’t know if MØ can technically count as an artist to watch, since she’s already blown up like crazy in 2013, but things can only continue on that path for this danish singer. braids and all. one part indie pop, one part deep electronica, with a hazy, husky voice, MØ is my kind of lady through and through. she veers a little far on the pop angle for me, but those beats definitely give her an edge. with her no mythologies to follow album slated for release on feb 24th, big things are undoubtedly in the mix for this chick.
lorddddd. kwabs. this man popped up in my “recommended for you” videos on youtube, alongside my strange addiction recaps, intervention full episodes, and broadway showtunes recordings (not making this shit up people). oh i am so glad. i pressed play, you know, just to see, and i got myself stuck in one of those youtube vortexes for over an hour listening to his deep, soul penetrating voice. production from sohn don’t hurt either. press play. just do it. if that’s not sexy, i honestly do not know what is. i have nothing else to say really. keep your eyes on this one.
MY GIRL. i discovered sza when she featured in SSENSE’s fast forward editorial. i’m all over her life. partly because of dat HAIR but partly because her voice is phenomenal. the jersey songstress is already pretty well known, and has been tapped by top dawg entertainment (also home to that dude everyone has a boner for, kendrick lamar) so you can be sure she’s well on her way. her sound is alt R&B with a pop tinge, and i’m totally okay with it. the video for her “ice moon” premiered on noisey in november to substantial acclaim, and she toured with little dragon last year too. expect big things from her this year.
LA babe banks has been a girl crush of mine for some time now, and although she’s definitely been building steam the past year, i think 2014 is going to be the year of banks. she’s already signed up with good years and harvest records, in the states and the uk respectively, so it’s safe to say she’s already up there. her london EP was fucking killer – i think just about everyone had “warm water” (a collaborative effort with TEED) on rotation at some point. stunning production has definitely given her a leg up, but it’s that woody, faraway voice of hers that has me falling in love.
ooooh sam smith. i’m so enamoured by this kid’s sound. and not just because he featured on that disclosure track, like the rest of you. “latch” was easily smith’s most well-known number in 2012, and last year’s “lala land” was a hit…but i am in love with this edit of his featuring another one to watch, until the ribbon breaks. smith is a british singer who dabbles in pop, electronica, R&B, soul, and a little alt-anything. his forthcoming album, money on my mind, is already generating a ton of buzz and promises to be a stunner.
favela is an artist i came across through majestic casual (which, if you don’t know, get to fkn know). he’s a young one – at only 21, this leeds-based producer came seemingly out of nowhere with a stellar debut EP that he actually put up for free DL last year. with that little nod from MC, he’s gotten a fair amount of hype. i really like this “easy yoke” number. a little lo-fi, summery, and super catchy. his upcoming EP of the same name is expected soon!
i don’t know a whole lot about iketa except to say that the man behind the moniker is someone called peter sarosdi. he works with his computer. he makes ambient dreamscapes that build up with off-kilter beats and organic, often watery sounds. his entire ethos seems, at times, to be made out of water. flowing, splashing, dropping, thirst quenching. even though he’s been around since 2008, he caught my attention not long ago when he got remixed by dominik eulberg, and he puts out tracks quite frequently, so you’ll be wanting to keep tabs on him for 2014.
tom and laura emma misch
laura emma misch is another majestic casual find. she’s a sax player and singer with a bit of funk and a lot of soul. i honestly don’t know a lot about her, but i do know that she collaborates with her brother tom, whose vocals and lyrics are honest and warm. lovely. everything about this duo is lovely. the pair can get down a little too (as evidenced by another great number, eems to slide). here’s hoping we see more from them in the coming year, they’re so sweet.
so, who’s on your “ones to watch” list?