Sure, Rihanna, U2 and other world-crushing acts will probably drop records in 2014, surprising and delighting the mainstream radio-listening public with brand-new tunes. But there are also bound to be scads of other records out there bring joy to a smaller, but no less excitable crowd: what one would call “indie” records.
Since “indie” isn’t really a term that means anything nowadays, for our purposes we’ll define these acts as amazing artists that would confuse people if they won a Grammy (perhaps inspiring satirical Tumblrs along the way). Not quite Rihanna, not quite your cousin’s jug band — but somewhere in between.
We scoured the release calendar for the records we’re most looking forward to in 2014.
It’s been a few since we heard a new full-length from Danger Mouse/James Mercer’s (of the Shins fame) Broken Bells project, but all that will be rectified come February 4. The duo is primed to release their sophomore record, After The Disco, accompanied by a very “Solaris”-esque short film — if “Solaris” featured more space discos. The film stars “House of Cards”‘ Kate Mara and “Star Trek”‘s Anton Yelchin.
Against Me! frontwoman Laura Jane Grace spent the summer touring solo in support of the band’s upcoming sixth studio album, Transgender Dysphoria Blues, which deals with Grace’s transformation from Tom Gabel to Laura Jane — a process she detailed in a revealing interview with MTV News last year. The record will be the first since the singer came out as trans.
Although a couple of singles are currently in rotation, including the wrenching ballad “True Trans Soul Rebel,” fans will be able to take an even deeper look into Grace’s psyche come January 21.
Woozy L.A. band Warpaint is primed to follow up their 2010 debut The Fool on January 21 with a self-titled sophomore effort. According to a recent interview with NME, the record will be markedly different from their sleepy, benthos-deep first record.
Lead singer Emily Kokal said: “It’s more than classic guitars. We’re into rap and R&B things that have drum machines and ambience, music that’s more than standard rock.” The first single, “Love Is To Die,” dropped in October — a jarring, yet smooth jam that’s like the choppy waves to their dreamy hit “Undertow.”
You can listen to the jam “Biggy” now.
Young the Giant
Young The Giant heralded the release of their sophomore record, Mind Over Matter (January 21), with a bang. Their first single, “It’s About Time,” is a classic rock jam — a markedly different direction for a band that was previously all about pretty crooning and soft tones.
“‘It’s About Time’ is probably the most aggressive track on the record, but in terms of the lyrics and thematically, I think it makes a lot of sense for the record,” frontman Sameer Gadhia told MTV News. “Sonically, we wanted to take a really contemporary spin on maybe an older rock song. … We just wanted to change things up a little bit and do something a little bit different.”
Dum Dum Girls
Hold onto your broomsticks babes, because if single “Lost Boys and Girls Club” off of Dum Dum Girls’ upcoming third record, Too True, is any indication, Too True (January 28) is primed to become the soundtrack of your dark winter days — and sundry pagan rituals.
A record that lead singer Dee Dee Penny said was inspired by that letter that Nick Cave wrote to MTV in 1996, as well as a towering pile of books by the likes of Rainer Maria Rilke, Anaïs Nin, Arthur Rimbaud, Charles Baudelaire and Sylvia Plath.
Do you miss Nirvana — and dig bands that are upfront about 20-something erectile dysfunction? Then you should seriously mark down January 21 on your calendar, as that’s when garage rock outfit together Pangea is primed to drop their new record, Badillac.
Slow, haunting single “Offer” has been in rotation for a while yet, but rest assured that the record is replete with a ton of toothy jams to score your post-New Year’s breakdown.
“I knew the groove needed to be paramount,” St. Vincent/Annie Clark told NME of her recently announced self-titled record. “I wanted to make a party record you could play at a funeral.”
After listening to the first single, “Birth In Reverse” (um, death?), we get what she means. It’s a deceptively poppy jam and portends good things for the musician’s fourth studio record, due out February 25.
“Things Will Be Different” reads the most recent post on punk band The Men’s website, teasing the March 4 release of their next record, Tomorrow’s Hits. We’re not exactly sure what that means yet, but apparently there’s a horn section, so we’re basically down. Check out their first single — the madcap, Chuck Berry-cum-Bob-Dylan “Pearly Gates” — here.
2011′s Mark Ronson-produced Arabia Mountain left us slathering like a “Mad Dog” for more from Atlanta flower punks Black Lips, and, now, it seems like we’re going to get it. The guys plan to release their seventh studio record , Underneath the Rainbow, on March 18, an effort that includes collaborators like Dap Kings music director Tommy Brenneck (Cee Lo, Charles Bradley) and producer/Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney.
You can currently check out “Boys In The Wood,” which takes the band in a decidedly country-fied direction reminiscent of tracks off of Good Bad Not Evil.
All hail the return of the guitar! 2014 is primed to be the year that rock ‘n’ roll hands back its death certificate — and we have Artist To Watch Live performers Skaters, in part, to thank for it. The New York band — which first hooked the music world with their Schemers EP, is ready to release their NYC-themed LP, Manhattan, on February 25. Pick it up if you wanna dance — even if you don’t know how.