most anticipated albums of 2014

2013 has provided a wealth of new music and incredibly important albums for a multitude of genres, but as i reflect on the year’s best offerings i can’t help but to peak ahead and see what 2014 potentially has in store.  here’s my short list of bands i’m excited to hear a new album from.

adelyn rose – i guess it’s been less than two years since mezzanine, but it feels like i’ve been waiting on a new adelyn rose record forever.  the eau claire outfit has been holed up at justin vernon’s april base for the latter half of this year, perfecting a new batch of tracks.  i’ve heard a couple at various live shows, but i’m excited to finally hear another finished project from addie and company.

cloud nothings – remember when cloud nothings was on both editions of my “most anticipated” lists this year?  oops.  the good news is that the now-power trio posted a short video of them working on new songs in the studio, hinting that dylan baldi will probably dominate my headphones again in 2014.  bring it, dude.

foxes in fiction – warren hildebrand enlisted owen pallett to write the string parts for his new album, so i have to hope that the end result will be good.  the new york by way of toronto ambient act has had my attention for sometime, and i’m excited to hear a long-overdue full length album from him.  the thing could drop tomorrow or in six months; i like a project that keeps me on my toes.

gem club – the boston chamber pop trio’s sophomore album in roses is due out january 28th on hardly art records.  if you’ve heard the gorgeous lead single “polly,” you’ll know why i’m looking forward to this record.  if you haven’t, head over to their soundcloud and fix that problem.

 

memoryhouse – memoryhouse played some new songs on npr’s world cafe last month and prefaced them with the announcement that their sophomore album will be out sometime in the spring.  i’m always game to see what those two have to offer.

pillar point – i can’t tell you what got me hooked on pillar point, but i can tell you that scott reitherman’s moody synth-pop gave me an entirely new appreciation for the genre.  after a strong showing on his debut 7″ single “diamond mine” b/w “dreamin’,” reitherman stepped out of anonymity and announced the release of his self-titled debut full length album, out february 25th via polyvinyl.  if that wasn’t enough, he offered up another single, “eyeballs,” which might just be his best work yet.

 

tenement – get to know tenement.  i’ve been following them since they used to play dingy basements and coffee houses around central and eastern wisconsin when i was in high school, but now they’ve signed to don giovanni records and are prepping their first release for that label sometime next year.

tennis – the small sound ep may have served as a filler in between tennis’ second and third album, but it also hopefully forecasted the continuation of sharp songwriting and irresistible pop hooks i’ve come to expect from the band.

vancouver sleep clinic – my favorite new artist of 2013 hasn’t even released a full body of work yet.  in fact, seventeen year-old tim bettinson has only announced an ep for vancouver sleep clinic, due out early next year, but that’s enough for me.  both “collapse” and “vapour” highlighted his skill as a songwriter and his ability to evoke entire landscapes through three or four minutes of song.

 

wye oak – a recent feature over at spin revealed that wye oak is working on their fourth album, and that it will be totally different than their previous output.  guitars have been swapped for bass guitars, and the keyboard pads will be replaced with more melodic lines.  no word on a title or release date, but look for it sometime next year via merge records.

best of 2013: new artist

the title of “best new artist” sometimes confuses and is misleading to me.  i frequently see bands that have two or three albums already under their belt pop up on various round-up lists, and sometimes a band releasing their debut full-length constitutes as a “new artist,” even if they’ve been together for a few years and have released a string of singles and eps.  the big to-do events like the grammy awards are always the best; i’ll never forget how amused i was to see bon iver take home the award for “best new artist” at the 2012 ceremony, despite for emma, forever ago being released to critical and commercial acclaim four years prior.

for my “best new artist” category for 2013, i decided to look at bands that didn’t exist in 2012.  at all.  that meant painful axings for savages and chvrches, fantastic groups that put out really important debut albums this year.  that meant pity sex and daughter didn’t qualify either, as prior years of demos and eps established each band quite well in their respective circles.  while i’m just one guy who inevitably misses out on a lot of what goes on in the music world, there was one brand new band this year that really caught my attention and got me really excited for their subsequent output in 2014.

now, without further ado, let the accolades of 2013 in music begin.

– best new artist: vancouver sleep clinic –

it’s been hard to ignore tim bettinson’s rise from obscurity and his subsequent impact on the indie blogosphere over the past six months.  since the release of his debut single as vancouver sleep clinic, “vapour,” at the end of june, the seventeen year-old from australia has garnered a significant amount of buzz.  early comparisons were made to bon iver and james blake, similarities further condoned by bettinson’s self-admitted adoration of those two artists, but there’s a level of maturity and coherence in both his lyricism and compositions that is beyond rare for someone who graduated high school last month.

 

i waited in the edge of my seat for months before the next vancouver sleep clinic song dropped, but the artistry attached to “collapse” was worth it.  it’s the lead single off of the band’s upcoming debut ep, already one of my most-anticipated releases of 2014.  the winter landscape “collapse” evokes struck at the perfect moment half a hemisphere away, and this was reflected by vancouver sleep clinic reaching the top of the hype machine charts within days of the song dropping.

 

the success of both “vapour” and “collapse” foreshadows vancouver sleep clinic’s potential to be a heavy hitter in the ambient, atmospheric realm, as well as the band’s capacity to cross over into elements of folk and post-dub with relative ease.  london grammar just picked up bettinson and company as the support act for a string of tour dates in australia next january.  at the rate this band is snowballing, i wouldn’t be surprised to see vancouver sleep clinic dominating heavy-hitting sites like pitchfork and stereogum within the next few months.  they’re certainly worthy of the buzz.