One of my favourite things about a new year is getting a new wave of sounds and faces in the music industry. It freshens things up and it’s great to see and hear a bucketload of talent. Here are my faves of the new year thus far!
The artist I’m most excited about for ’14, is Courtney Barnett. The Aussie singer subtly exudes such confidence in her song-writing, that you just have to sit up and take notice. It sounds like she’s not overly bothered, or even trying, such is the care-free nature of his first trio of songs released, the best of which ‘Avant Gardner’ is below. Her songs meander down a path, that would otherwise be predictive or boring, were it not for interesting worldplay, ‘I’d rather die than owe the hospital till I get old/ I get adrenaline straight to the heart/I feel like Uma Thurman post-overdose and kickstart’. Barnett is one of the strongest wordsmiths I’ve heard in a while, with lyrics you care about, even if she often DOES talk about the mundane…one to look out for at your local massive summer festival, for sure.
The Fat White Family
Known for their raucous performances and ridiculous song titles, The Fat White Family may be a short-lived flash in the pan…but for now they’re bloody good! With a spot on the NME Radar Tour alongside Cerebal Ballzy and The Amazing Snakeheads at the backend of 2013, they impressed a huge amount of people. Their debut LP has actually been released, but expect them to garner so much more attention with the backing of the NME now. The aforementioned ridiculous song titles include: ‘Who Shot Lee Oswald?’, ‘Bomb Disneyland’ and the less-crazy, but suitably brilliant nonetheless, ‘Cream of the Young’. I’m very excited by this lot, they seem to have a cracking sense of humour, alongside some interesting, varied musical output. Whether they’ll be a mainstay is another thing, but as I say, enjoy it whilst it lasts!
The first time I listened to Hozier, I thought of James Blake immediately. And whilst there are similarities between the two, which is no bad thing, Hozier has different qualities. Blake is more understated, whereas Hozier is a ‘shoutier’ version, whose songs whilst pretty slow and steady, DO occasionally pick up. I’m not entirely convinced as of yet, it’d be interesting to hear more tunes from the Irishman, although his video for ‘Take Me to Church’, is pretty interesting and exciting for a brand new artist to put out. So, in a sense, kudos Hozier!
Jungle appear to be this year’s Rudimental, an act bridging the gap between pop and dance music. Their output so far has been fairly similar, but throw in some guest vocalists and watch it diversify. For now, though, we have to deal with ‘The Heat’ and ‘Platoon’, no bad thing, and it is impressive to see such catchy rhythm from a relatively unknown duo, parallels to another electronic couple, Disclosure, can also be made. They’re happy, no frills and, as I say, a bit samey for now, but Jungle could be the biggest electronic newcomer of 2014.
Dan Croll is an interesting one. His videos look like faux Wes Anderson-shorts, and he also looks like he could be a quirky character straight from one of Anderson’s offbeat pictures. But no, he’s another of the ‘folk revival’. Sure ‘Home’, below, isn’t the most original tune, but it’s catching in its own right and you just think Croll has something about him some of the other pretenders to the ‘folk’ crown don’t have. His voice has an English-American quality to it, the music sounds very ‘Middle England’, but chuck in some haunting backing vocals and it all fits together pretty nicely, building to a nice crescendo, not too dour, not too sickly sweet; just right.
An intriguing amalgamation of spoken word, electronic beats and rap, Bipolar Sunshine are exciting. It sounds so fresh and unique to hear, something that is becoming more and more difficult to register, but the below song ‘Love More Worry Less’, may take influences from the likes of Snow Patrol and may sound slightly familiar, but listen on, for your own sake! An album should be on the way, but with spots on ‘ones to watch for 2014’ a plenty, the future looks bright for Adio Merchant (of Kid British fame), as his second project should have more staying power than the first.
Got anymore suggestions for me? Give me them in the comments below!