Pop quiz, hot shot: who will soundtrack your drawn-out summer nights, accompany the dying embers of a beachside barbecue crackling under the fading sun? Which producers will send shivers down your spine as you muster up your second wind at 3am? Whose guitarist’s sweaty leather jacket will be pressed up against your face as they crowd-surf the pokey club venue in which you’ve sank one too many a plastic glass of warm Carlsberg? Who will move your 2014? Let us whet your aural appetite, as we celebrate the launch of regular music features with a look ahead to the sounds that will shape your year.
Following a largely underwhelming year for new music, the Year of the Horse promises to test the mettle of Dr. Emmett Brown’s Flux Capacitor – launching us backwards and forwards two decades at a time as we flit between retro guitar music and future forward experimental electronica.
With guitar music currently languishing in similar shape to that which The Strokes found it in at the turn of the century, it’s surprising that any young Tom, Dick or Harry should choose the six-stringer as their instrument of choice through which to vent their teenage angst, yet still choosing it some young whippersnappers are. It’s a good three years since the likes of Yuck began flicking back their fringes and listening to early Dinosaur Jr on repeat, but the (forthcoming cringey scene label alert) grunge revival has continued to gather pace. And it’s finally finding its own voice. Bands like Joanna Gruesome and Menace Beach feed off the same sort of fuzz-pedal power-pop as Yuck, however, Ireland’s Girl Band, Manchester’s Naked (On Drugs) and leaders of the scuzz-punk, piss-stained ascension to stardom – South London’s Fat White Family – are channeling The Jesus Lizard, Nick Cave and K.C’s dark-side with gleeful abandon.
Feed your Flux Capacitor another empty can of beans and flip 40 years forward to 2034: clattering, unrestrained electronic experimentation is the new punk rock. 1977 may be more than a generation ago, but DIY expressionism has never been in finer fettle. Unarguably the album of 2013, Kanye West’s Yeezus was partly built on the beats of pioneering British producers; a veteran at the age of 27, Glasgow’s Hudson Mohawke is set to drop a new album this year, whilst Ellesmere Port’s Evian Christ – still making music in his bedroom when West was upsetting Taylor Swift – will continue his surprising rise to the upper echelons of bleeps and beats. Both are poster boys for the new face of digital music production, the no-holds-barred liberating of limitless ideas through technology. Malcolm McClaren would’ve been proud.
Upcoming producers like Arca, MssingNo, Napolian and Murlo are just some of the names harnessing the fruits of grime, dubstep, garage and free-thinking, edgy pop provocateurs FKA Twigs, Kelela and SZA amongst the fortunate recipients of their yield. The revolution is armed with MacBooks, hooky software and shitloads of ideas.
Quizzed by the folk at eBay ticket offshoot StubHub – whose brain-baiting Music Quiz can bag you £100 in gig tickets – to come up with our definitive sounds for 2014, we pieced together a perfect playlist that fuses the past and future that the coming year is pinned upon. Strap on your moonboots, stomp on your Superfuzz-Bigmuff – two thousand and fourteen is here, and it’s ready to entertain…