Thursday, 2 January 2014

FEATURE: 14 for 14: The Records We’re Most Excited About in 2014

Warpaint - Warpaint (20 January, Rough Trade)

It was 2010 when we first heard the free-flowing structures and dark ambience of Warpaint’s debut album, The Fool. Very few records at the time felt as organic, as unbounded – you merely the fly on the wall of their improvisational sounds. The LA quartet quickly became everyone’s favourite new band and that loyalty has puffed its chest for the last three years.

In October, the band released a video album teaser featuring clips of new single 'Love Is To Die', directed by visionary photographer/filmmaker Chris Cunningham following two-years documenting the band’s every creative move. It was everything we wanted to hear and more; those familiar phaser-licked guitars and playful bass lines, superseded by abrupt key changes and deranged rhythms.

The self-titled follow up strikes a healthy balance between the expected and the unexpected, this time weighed with more electronics. It will no doubt get repeated spins during 2014.

Grimes - TBC (Expected 2014)

Let’s get this out of the way: Visions was nigh on the best album of 2012. Boundary-pushing, intoxicating and good fun. Claire Boucher of Grimes invited you into her new age world of glitchy bleeps, ambient washes and sugared vocals, constantly treading the line between leftfield territory and upfront pop.

Though her self-produced third album was well-received, she was criticised about the quality of the production and bit back any offers of guidance (“I’m tired of men who aren’t professional or even accomplished musicians continually offering to ‘help me out [...]‘ as if the fact that I’m a woman makes me incapable of using technology”).

In April, she announced that her new, more “experimental” album was underway – “two fifths” done in fact – but has since gone quiet. Please don’t keep it away from us for too long.

I Break Horses - Chiaroscuro (20 January, Bella Union)

Sweden’s I Break Horses have the pleasure of reaching many tastemakers’ ears whilst retaining a devoted, almost cult-like following. 2011′s Hearts - though shrouded in cloudy electrogaze - shone bright amongst the year’s memorably mediocre releases. It became a life-affirming soundtrack for long train journeys and late night strolls.

So, what to do next? Aside from write one of the best songs of the year, the band’s latest work points towards more immediate electropop sound on singles like 'Denial'. Chiaroscuro may well garner them the attention they deserve.

*Originally published for The Line of Best Fit (2/1/13)

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