Every December and January the blogosphere bursts with the best songs, albums, artists, tracks, etc. and it’s really, sort of, exciting. If you’re on your music-loving game, it’s amusing to compare these round-ups to your own favorites. If you’re a lazy music-lover, this month is an excellent time to catch up on all of the buzzy goodness. But no matter which category you fall into, the new year is a great time for listening. Here, in no particular order, we’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite new acts from this past year. Yes, these amazingly talented artists caught our attention in 2014—but they are likely to cause a stir in 2015.
BANKS, Ryn Weaver, Sharon Van Etten, First Aid Kit, FKA Twigs — 2014 was a stellar year for women in music. Next in line: synth-pop newcomer Kelsey Byrne, better known as VÉRITÉ. The Brooklyn-based songstress crafts sounds that are equal parts ethereal and effervescent. If you haven’t heard Hype-M chart-topper “Weekend” yet, press play now — it’s guaranteed to leave you starry-eyed.
We originally wrote about Los Angeles-based trio LANY (pronounced with a “long a,” like rainy) back in September. We described their sound as falling blissfully between Future R&B and Future Pop — which means lots of smoky synths, cool backbeats, and dreamy vibes. The band is also fond of titling tracks via acronyms, such as “ILYSB” (I love you so bad) and “BRB.” All in all, LANY’s music makes you feel 17 again, and that’s something we can get behind.
Jack Garratt is a master at melding genres. The London singer-songwriter whips up stunning alt-pop numbers with strategic splashes of R&B, soul, and electronica — and he seems like a nice guy to boot. After his impressive debut song “I Couldn’t Want You Anyway” received loads of love on SoundCloud, he shared this gracious response with listeners: “This is all a bit mental. I really wasn’t expecting this reaction, but thank you so much for the kind words.” Garratt’s most recent track, “The Love Your Given,” channels spooky James Blake vibes. The haunting vocal sample sets the pace for the cut, which ebbs and flows between quiet, burning moments and sweeping breakdowns. He’s definitely one to watch.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. They say “age is just a number,” but it’s hard to ignore the fact that Liverpool’s Holly Lapsley Fletcher — who goes by Låpsley — is only 17 years old. Standout track “Station” is at once haunting and heavenly, featuring a steady, hypnotic beat throughout. If Låpsley’s producing sonic landscapes like this now, we can only imagine the magic she’ll create in the years to come.
You know how certain songs take you back to the exact moment where you first heard them? Well, BRONCHO’s track “Class Historian” is one of ‘em. (The moment being referred to here was a long stretch of highway cloaked in autumn.) From the cut’s very first “da da do do do do do do,” the Oklahoma outfit is out to steal some hearts. Though BRONCHO have been around for a little while, they’re recently making waves thanks to the extra catchy, sun-soaked garage rock found on their sophomore LP, Just Enough Hip To Be Woman. You can catch the guys on tour with Billy Idol now — which sounds like a pretty awesome way to kick off the New Year.
British electro-pop trio Vaults emerged from the Internet ether last year with “Cry No More,” but 2015 is theirs for the taking. After a stunning string of ballad-driven tracks, along with their EP Vultures, the buzz about them remains steady — and we’re ready for more. Lend an ear to the recently released “Poison,” which initially brings Björk to mind before unraveling into a beautiful, belting ballad.
Meet Leon Bridges, a singer-songwriter with such undeniable soul you might mistake him for a young, smiling Sam Cooke. His standout track “Coming Home” captures something both timeless and rare with its sound. Give a listen and be sure to keep a lookout for more.
Blog admiration? Check. A national tour with buzz bands? Check. Elusive? Check. Philadelphia’s Bel Heir possess all the key ingredients for a truly successful 2015. Like other acts on our list, these alt-pop mysteriosos remain a staple on various blogs, but their real magic is waiting in the wings. Shuffling between the east and west coasts to write and record a debut LP (dropping sometime in 2015), they’re busy keeping under the radar… but we’ll be watching for when they pop their heads back up.
New York-based singer Valerie Teicher, aka Tei Shi, creates euphoric electro-pop with sporadic shimmers of R&B. (But let’s not slap the “alternative R&B” label on it ‘cause FKA Twigs wouldn’t be pleased.) Tei Shi’s music contradicts itself in the best way possible: it’s easy listening, like honey to the ears, but also textured and constantly intriguing. A few months ago, Alt Citizen dubbed the chanteuse a top “CMJ Crush,” after her captivating performance at Baby’s All Right and we’ve had our eyes—and ears—on her ever since.
From Arcade Fire to Broken Social Scene to Death From Above 1979, Canada has a knack for delivering brilliant bands to the world. The country’s most recent gift comes in the form of Toronto-based five-piece Alvvays. Frontwoman Molly Rankin’s vocals are sugary perfection on the outfit’s successful single “Archie, Marry Me” — a song so wistful you’ll suddenly find yourself daydreaming about tiny chapels and bands of gold. “So honey take me by the hand and we can sign some papers, forget the invitations, floral arrangements and bread makers … hey, hey, marry me, Archie.” It’s the sweetest plea. Rankin continues singing, atop reverb-heavy guitars and classic drums: about ditching fears of alimony and student loan debt and heading to the altar. It’s a case for modern love presented in a traditional indie format and it’s darling. Thanks again, Canada.
Article by Melissa. Find her online @emdeee