End of year lists are an epidemic this time of year - the internet is practically buckling under the weight of them! That said they’re a pretty decent excuse to make a brew, look back over the mountain of stuff that happened over the past year and give...
Photography Will Folsom
1. Eyedress, My Hologram
Eyedress is the moniker of Filipino producer Idris Vicuña. He sings, he makes all his own beats, lately he's started rapping (which is incredibly sick live) and it feels like he's fast becoming Manila's answer to MIA. With witch house at the core of the Eyedress sound there's something very "the kid's aren't alright," about it all. Signed to XL, he's had support from Annie Mac and is about to drop his debut album proper in 2015. Some of his best work is collaborative like standout track When I'm Gone featuring vocals from London artist GEoRGIA.
2. Beatrice Eli, Girls
Coming on strong like pop music's answer to Nancy Downs from The Craft, Beatrice Eli has got it all and then some. Firstly she is Swedish and we all know they do pop music better than anyone on Earth. Her debut album is proof of her heavy weight skills, punching well above her weight with much of it far superior to the output of big time female pop stars like Katy Perry. The best thing about Eli is that she takes girl power to the next level, case in point being the lyrics to Girls, "I've got the girls on my mind all the time, I see pictures in my head of my head between their legs."
3. Kids of the Apocalypse (KOTA), Empire
People use the word epic way too often, but KOTA really are epic. Currently a sort of international collective made up of super producers, song writing super heroes and killer guest vocalists; it's a bit of a faceless project like Gorillaz but sounding more like Enya meets Kanye. It's really cool to see an act making socially conscious songs and videos; people have the power and all that. Empire and previous track Masters of the Sun are overwhelmingly ambitious and the production levels are off the chart. They've also worked their magic remixing London Grammar and Tinie Tempah.
4. Eaves, Timber
The first time I heard this song, I cried. When I went to see longhaired lovely Eaves aka Joseph Lyon's play it live, I cried. I just listened to it again whilst writing this and you guessed it - I cried. There's a kind of Springsteen style gritty honesty to Eaves lyrics and it's not at all overblown to compare his sound to stuff like Nick Drake and Jeff Buckley. He also comes with the Blue Flowers club night blessing, joining other Blue Flowers alumni like Laura Marling, James Bay and George Ezra; basically anyone who has played there has fast tracked to big things.
5. Deaths, Sold
Dark and brooding Deaths are the most promising act to come out of Berlin for time. They combine siren synths, wailing guitars, whiplash beats and sombre vocal melodies that fall somewhere between 80s goth and the future R&B production made fashionable by acts like SOHN. Their out put to date as been super considered, so it'll be interesting to see which direction they head in from here. Whatever it is, I guarantee it'll be quality.
6. Oscar, Sometimes
It's entirely impossible not to have you pants charmed off by Oscar. He's the 6'3 bedroom producer wonderkid that's bringing Brit pop song writing ethics back in fashion. Oscar's killer melodies and sweetheart jams like Be Good will melt your heart and get your feet shuffling. Other reasons to love Oscar are that he strips off and shoots music videos of himself in the bath, that he watches Desperate House Wives and sometimes gets his mum to sing backing vocals on his songs. What a guy.
7. Bad Breeding, Age of Nothing
Usually real noise core sounds make my ears bleed, but Bad Breeding do something pretty essential. Their bleak as hell, hurricane of guitars (thankfully way more melodic than most post punk) and what is basically teeth baring and spiteful yelling, is a uniquely British sound that can only be the result of growing up somewhere like Stevenage. Lyrics like living in a town where nothing really happens, except nothingness itself, firmly put them in the bracket of being the musical equivalent of Gmork from The Neverending Story. Bad Breeding are on this list because not only are they making an almighty racket, but they actually have something to say about the state of the UK right now and I for one am all ears.
8. Chloe Black, 27 Club
Once you get over the initial Lana Del Rey comparisons it's clear that Chloe Black is a phenomenon ready to blow in her own right. Sure there's some lyrical comparisons but Ultra Violence has taken Lana on a detour away from much these references. Anyway back to Black, who makes badass pop anthems with hooks to die for (check her debut 27 Club the ode to the cult of celebs that have croaked at that age) and has a soulful sound in her voice that cuts right to the heart. Based in London via Australia, Paris and LA, there's something of Sleigh Bells Alexis Krauss about her. If in doubt listen to her Kanye Runaway cover.
9. Turan, Departed
The best way to describe new kid on the block Turan is to say that his music fits into the Raury or The Weeknd sonic bracket. That said there's still something very British about it all, probably most evident in his rap game. He's a DMX and Joni Mitchell fan who named his debut EP Persistence of Memory after a Dali painting; which I guess is pretty Kanye thing to do. Turan is disgustingly talented, a multi instrumentalist, rapper, singer, producer who has made some of the most impressive beats of 2014 IMO.
10. Slowolf, My Money
Slowolf (real name Adrian Asingh) is an anomaly, a one of a kind Danish producer/drummer/singer that comes across like a Patronus animal from Harry Potter. He's been one to watch since dropping his Reakwon featuring Dancefloor, but this year he's really been picking up the pace with a couple of new EP's worth of collabs that feature the likes of Wil Cousin, Benny Banks, Dream Mclean and Takura. The Slowolf sound is left of centre hiphop that has something inherently Nordic about it, like a cold magic. It's also worth treating your ears to his remix EP with Kendrick Lemar and MØ reworks.
Text Russell Dean Stone
Photography Will Folsom