Music bloggers know what's going on waaaay before the rest of the music bizniz. Such is their knowledge, they've been unpaid A&R scouts for a long while, and some have even been given imprint record labels. Bloggers are the create-diggers of the digital age, helping to surface those rare, truly special acts from the deluge of SoundCloud links, YouTube clips and Bandcamp hashtags. As "new music tipping season" is about to kick-in with the BBC's annual Sound Of... poll, DiS consulted Tom Johnson from the terrific GoldFlakePaint music blog - who has his finger so firmly on the pulse it's a surprise no-one is claiming that he's 'killing music' - to find out who he's been loving this year, that the rest of us are likely to see making their mark and be loving the debut albums of in 2014.
A sister-duo from deepest Cornwall who make creepy and hypnotic songs that tread an unsteady path between folk melodies and pulsing electronica. They write and record their music in a caravan, so the story goes, and the few tracks they've released this year have been puzzlingly ambiguous but, more importantly, beautifully unique. Recent live shows with the likes of Sohn and Empress Of should aide their journey out of the West Country and in to your cold, wintry hearts. A debut EP is in the works.
Everything about Woman's Hour feels like it's been constructed with the most careful consideration. And it probably has. Following a couple of well-received tracks back in 2011, the four-piece took some time away, took a long hard look at themselves, and then returned with new ideas and a new outlook. It's worked wonderfully. Thunder and Darkest Place, both released this year, are gorgeously crafted, slightly experimental pop songs that rise and fall and shine in all the right places.
Ricky Eat Acid
I've been lucky enough to have heard REA's new album and it's true to say that I've not listened to much else for the past few weeks. From the powerful spoken-word samples, to the Tim Hecker-esque instrumentals, it's beautifully constructed and delivered. It has a couple of vibrant electronica tracks that offer a real change-of-pace but at it's heart lies some of the finest ambient music I've heard in a long while. It deserves to be huge and with the right kind of coverage it could well be.
Probably THE singles band of the year, if that still meant anything. Every track they've released so far has been golden. Sultry, soulful and ridiculously smooth RnB jams is what they do and they've barely put a foot wrong since they first emerged. They also do that whole "mysterious and secretive" thing pretty well considering, you know, the internet age and all that. Their debut EP dropped in October and is one of the freshest releases imaginable. 2014 is all theirs if they want it, so let's hope, for all of our sakes, that they do.
Los Angeles Police Dept
The solo project of Ryan Pollie; LAPD makes untidy and fuzzy pop songs that are packed full of melody and heart. A full-length could well be wonderful.
Brilliantly scrappy and unhinged garage pop that always feels like it's about to fall apart. They've joined the good ship Alcopop! which is probably the best thing they could've done at this point.
Already reasonably well established, but the producer/multi-instrumentalist has signed to 4ad for his debut LP, which promises to be beautiful and wonderfully sad. Sad and wonderful. Yeah.
Scotland's answer to No Age? Aberdeen's answer to PAWS? A bit of both, maybe, but this duo make brilliantly raucous guitar pop that socks you right in the jaw. Which is always a good thing.
OR 2014's 'most like to do a Chvrches'. A Brighton duo who make exuberant and colourful electro-pop songs that could quite easily take over THE ENTIRE WORLD. Or something.
Weird and spooky electronic/folk crossover who are probably my favourite new band of the year. Already released more than a handful of wonderful songs; can't wait for much, much more.
Bleeding Heart Pigeons
A Limerick trio who are pleasingly difficult to pigeon-hole (lol). Their new EP is out in December and the two new tracks from it are varied, engaging and always engrossing; especially the seven-plus minutes of Catharsis.
Previously known as 'Wall', London's Lyla Foy has just been snapped-up by Sub Pop for a debut record that promises to be full of warm and achingly pretty, pop songs with a beautiful, country-ish glow.
New to the ever-flourishing Father/Daughter Records roster, this California quartet's debut track is a grouchy and gloomy beast full of big ol' riffs. Exciting to seeing what else they have up their sleeve.
Another band who have been kicking about for a while, but it suddenly feels like everything is falling in to place for them. Woozy, soulful and always brilliantly interesting, with the right-backing 2014 is theirs.
1) Visit goldflakepaint.co.uk for a steady stream of recommendations.
2) DiSsers tips for 2014, including some picks from DiS' editor (quite a few tips for 2013 are yet to come to fruition too!)
3) From a few weeks ago: Woman's Hour named DiS single of the week