Hidden between singles and on the reverse sides of records hide some of the musical gems that go unnoticed by many. So, allow us to present to you 15 tracks that you might not have caught (for whatever reason) in 2014!
Johnny Foreigner – ‘Riff Glitchard’ (You Can Do Better)
Generally a departure from the full-tilt emo-punk that makes up most of Johnny Foreigner’s You Can Do Better, ‘Riff Glitchard’ is a four minute, beautifully twisted jumble of glitchy synth loops, poly-rhythmic drums, ambient guitar and sweet regretful Kelly Southern vocals. Then the full-tilt emo-punk erupts forth for the final minute and all hell breaks loose. Breathtaking.
RAC – ‘Ello Ello (Feat. Body Language)’ (Strangers)
RAC started out as the Remix Artist Collective, a group of producers led by André Allen Anjos who had grown tired of the incredibly dull and uninspired ‘club remixes’ of popular tracks, which were typically little more than the track’s original vocals with a dance beat and a few synths thrown in. Now, RAC is Anjos’ solo project which has seen him collaborate with a number of artists from across genres and release an album, entitled Strangers. ‘Ello Ello’ is, without a doubt, one of the catchiest pop tunes released in 2014, and if you like it, the rest of the album is more of the same.
Charly Bliss – ‘Love Me’ (Soft Serve EP)
The ice cream cone being manhandled on the Soft Serve‘s cover is a perfect metaphor for what you’re going to get: smashed up pop confection. ‘Love Me’, in any just world, would have been a hit, sickly sweet vocals drooled on top of over-amped guitars completed by a chorus of sheer adolescent joy to rival your One Directions and Taylor Swifts.
James Bay – ‘Hold Back The River’ (Hold Back The River EP)
James Bay’s ‘Hold Back The River’ is a slow building track with the potential to be a 2015 festival anthem. What starts off with just electric guitar and softly spoken vocals ends in an epic full-band chorus, complete with a gospel choir. If you like Ben Howard and you’re looking for something along those lines, then look no further. James Bay is your guy.
Speedy Ortiz – ‘American Horror’ (Real Hair EP)
Speedy Ortiz’s ‘American Horror’ is quite literally a Frankenstein-monster assembly of influences: math rock inspired riffs, Dinosaur Jr-esque walls of feedback, off-kilter time changes, mixed with vocals that wouldn’t sound out of place coming out of Hayley Williams. For those who want a less awkward, heavier Pavement, or a more awkward, heavier Paramore.
Chance The Rapper feat. Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment – ‘Sunday Candy’ (Surf)
Chance The Rapper promised fans that his upcoming project with Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment would be out in 2014, but alas, this was not the case. However, we were treated to a few tracks, including the wonderful ‘Sunday Candy’. An incredibly soulful vibe throughout, reminiscent of old-school Kanye, with Chance’s signature sound layered in.
Sleater-Kinney – ‘Bury Our Friends’ (Bury Our Friends)
Opening with a mind-bending carousel riff that reconfirms Carrie Brownstein as the most inventive and exciting guitarist in alternative rock, ‘Bury Our Friends’ is the first new Sleater-Kinney song in nearly a decade. With the chorus chant of “Kill our idols/Bury our friends” this is not a band to revel in the past, and as such, it’s great to have them back on raging form.
Beach Slang – ‘Filthy Luck’ (Who Would Ever Want Something So Broken? EP)
With the reformed Replacements thankfully not recording any new material in the foreseeable future, Philadelphia’s Beach Slang are here to fill that gap. ‘Filthy Luck’, the lead track off their first of two EPs released this year, is a Westerburgian power-pop anthem for the forever loser. With a soundtrack like this, fucking up doesn’t seem that bad.
Dan Croll – ‘Compliment Your Soul’ (Sweet Disarray)
Okay, this song came out in 2013, but Dan Croll’s debut album Sweet Disarray only came out in 2014 and is wonderful indie pop music from start to finish. For fans of Bombay Bicycle Club and Bastille, you can expect to see Dan Croll’s name appearing on festival bills this summer.
The World is a Beautiful Place & I am No Longer Afraid to Die – ‘$100 Tip’ (Between Bodies EP)
Although the band’s latest EP Between Bodies polarised fans with the inclusion of spoken word artist Chris Zizzamia, ‘$100 Tip’ is a light-hearted two-chord gem tucked in-between Zizzamia’s heavy poetry. This atmospheric number combines elements of folk and post-rock with frontman David Bello’s scratchy vocals, before falling into a mess of drums being catapulted between speakers.
Weatherbox – ‘The Devil and Whom?’ (Flies In All Directions)
With their latest underrated effort Flies In All Directions, Weatherbox proved once again that they are one of the most unique bands, both lyrically and musically. On the grand ‘The Devil And Whom?’, frontman Brian Warren showcases the vast dynamics of the band alongside his haunting delivery. The track is topped off by an appearance from Manchester Orchestra’s Andy Hull, displaying a potential link between MO’s ‘The Mansion’ and this song.
Noyo Mathis – ‘Faults’ (Endure)
Combining technical guitar tapping in the same vein as bands such as Muse with post-hardcore elements, Noyo Mathis are one of the most original bands to emerge out of the UK’s DIY scene. Taken from the band’s Endure EP, ‘Faults’ perfectly demonstrates the vocal chemistry between the two Savill brothers as they move from delicate verses into chugging anthemic choruses.
Antarctigo Vespucci – ‘Come To Brazil’ (I’m So Tethered)
Meant only as a side-project between Chris Farren (Fake Problems) and Jeff Rosenstock (Bomb The Music Industry!), Antarctigo Vespucci released two EPs in 2014 and both of them were pure power-pop delight. ‘Come To Brazil’ is the brief finale to the bands second EP (I’m So Tethered) and combines glitchy 8-Bit electronics, reminiscent of the soundtrack for your Game Boy Colour, with afro-pop melodies.
Hey Rosetta! – ‘Soft Offering (For The Oft Suffering)’ (Second Sight)
Canadian seven-piece Hey Rosetta! released their fourth album Second Sight in 2014, and we were hooked as soon as we heard the opening track ‘Soft Offering (For the Oft Suffering)’. Light indie-rock at its finest, fantastically written.
yellowbirddd – ‘Thinking Out Loud’ (CENTINELA)
With CENTINELA, we saw a lot of yellowbirddd’s adopted home of Los Angeles seep into the cracks of his songwriting, making it a perfect sun-soaked record for long drives and sunsets. ‘Thinking Out Loud’ (not to be confused with the Ed Sheeran song of the same name) is a sparse song combining delicately apathetic lyrics with haunting instrumentation. Containing one of the best rhetorics of all time with “Remember when I gave a shit?”, there’s no holding back on this record.