Sunday 24 November 2013

The Metaphorical Boat's Tips For 2014 - The Rest of the World

After looking at our tips for 2014 from our own stomping group, The Metaphorical Boat will now be looking a little bit further afield to look at our five tips from elsewhere in the world.

Given that there is basically an infinite amount of bands to choose from, rounding it down to five was always going to be a challenge, but five is the number of counting, and the number of counting shall be five, so commiserations to some of the artists who are sure to make great music in 2014, like The Dancers, Dumb, Hentai Babies & Prides, who just fall short of making our list. Our five consist of three English artists, one American band and a French trio, and are artists who either will be big in 2014, will be big in 2014 if the stars align, or are unlikely to be big, but will sure as heck make some enjoyable music regardless.

And we commence with:

6. Amber Run

Nottingham-born group Amber Run (previously just Amber) burst into our consciousness back in June with the release of "Noah", a track that mixed nu-folk with stadium rock and quasi-Biblical references. The followed it up this month with "Heaven", a song which saw them delve even deeper into stadium rock territory, albeit in a much more free form manner.

Now signed to the same label David Bowie, the band have been touring up and down the country to great enthusiasm, and have picked up quite a bit of support on late night Radio 1, so expect Amber Run to run into many people's good books in 2014.

7. Fryars

Call it dream pop, call it nu-gaze, call it psychedelic, call it what you like, as long as you call the musical output of Benjamin Garrett, aka Fryars, wonderful. When he's not busy composing soundtracks for Danny Dyer movies, he's creating sumptuous, cinematic soundscapes with a real heart of pop. He has gained support from artists like Kanye West and Depeche Mode, and has made the Radio 1 Playlist with his most recent single, "The Power".

With hundreds of thousands of people already following him on Soundcloud, world domination in 2014 seems like a foregone conclusion for Fryars. And if it leads to thousands of teenagers discovering Mercury Rev as a result of their shared musical DNA, then all the better. 

8. Step Rockets

For rock music to survive, it must evolve beyond its roots. That appears to be the mantra that Minneapolis band Step Rockets have adhered to. Like their contemporaries Imagine Dragons and AWOLNATION, they have a sound that is recognizably rock, yet this sound is then augmented with layers of keyboards and synthetic drums to create a sound that is more accessible to the masses. This formula payed off earlier this year when their fantastic single "Kisser" topped the Hype Machine with little-to-no PR and just a tiny amount of blog love (including from yours truly).

When this blog wrote about Step Rockets back in August, we said they had every chance of being everyone's new favourite band in 2014. Step forward a few months and we truly stand by that prediction. Look out for their next single "Sleep Position", which is due to drop early next year.

9. Superfood

In the past few years, this blog has seen many bands come and go who have promised to bring back the glory of the Britpop era, yet have failed to step up to the mark and break through to the mainstream. Viva Brother were treated as a running joke in the music press before splitting in 2011, whilst Tribes split earlier this year without making the breakthrough they deserved, despite releasing one great album, a decent album and a host of fantastic singles.

So with that in mind, can Birmingham band Superfood break through with a sound that hasn't had mass success since the late 90s? The early signs are good for the band - they've toured with Peace, have been seen as the leading lights of the B-Town scene (a name which this blog acknowledges through gritted teeth), and have recently inked a record deal with Infectious, the former home of Ash and current home of Alt-J. And of course, they've got some great songs under their belt. Upcoming singles "Melting" and "Bubbles", plus their debut self-titled single show a band with a knack for revisiting some of the better moments of Britpop, despite being barely out of nappies when the movement was in full swing in the mid 90s. 

10. We Were Evergreen

Concluding our tips for 2014 is We Were Evergreen, a French trio who are now based in London. They approach music with a childlike innocence, deftly combining folk melodies, unconventional rhythms and instruments, electronic beats and samples and wonderful harmonies to create something that is utterly unique, utterly accessible, and utterly brilliant. They've showed off their knack for creating earworms galore on tracks such as "Baby Blue" and "Leeway", a song which is made of nothing but hooks, hooks, and even more hooks.

They've notched up support slots with everyone from Ed Sheeran to Little Dragon, and with a fan-funded debut album due to be released next year, 2014 is going to be a lot more fun thanks to We Were Evergreen.

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