Ones To Watch: 7 Acts to listen out for in 2014

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The following are either acts that will be releasing music in 2014 or have done in 2013 and who’s snowball will be gaining some excellent momentum come December 2014. Well lets get stuck in with my ones to watch eh (in no particular order)…

No.1 – Spring Offensive

Photo by Duncan Rice:

The Spring Offensive boys, from Oxford, have been knocking around for quite a while now, and 2013’s ‘Speak‘ really did wonders in bringing the band to the ears of industry types and music fans alike. Recently released ‘Hengelo‘ (Which Google tells me is a city in the Netherlands??) takes a different route to the catchy, sing along of ”I will speak now, I will speak now, or forever hold my tongue’ that makesSpeak’ the anthem I think it is.

‘Hengelo’ has a more emotive, desperate edge to it, with dramatic synths layering the lower levels of the track, it’s a lovely listen. With their debut album out this year and available to pre-order, be sure to keep an eye on Spring Offensive, they’re a fine addition to all collections.


No.2 – Hozier


You may have heard this Irish soul singer occasionally grace the airwaves through Radio1 over the course of 2013. With ‘Take Me To Church‘ taken from the similarly named EP dropping late last year. The lead track has Hozier’s voice crying out in what, on the EP, sounds like an actual church, complete with an ominous choir and string section supporting the dramatics of the opener. The rest of the EP brings in a nice mix of soul, blues, and folk, all led by Hozier’s voice with harmonious backing vocals, reminiscent of early James Vincent McMorrow, filing the gaps.

People are screaming that (maybe) Hozier is the coming of 21st century blues, whatever that is. Whether that’s true or not remains to be seen, but either way 2014 is sure to be cracking year for this guy, with hopefully more EPs to come to soak us all in soulful, 21st century (??) blues.

No.3 – Dan Croll

Dan Croll:

What? This guy? Is right this guy. Not new new, no. But new, you know?  2014 is going to the year Dan Croll has you dancing, singing, weeping and whatever effect generally awesome music has on people. The few singles Dan released over 2013 is but a scratch on what he has to show the world, and if his trip to South Africa to work with Ladysmith Black Mambazo doesn’t convince you of the creative ability this bloke has, then his debut album is sure to.

Home‘ was the first track I ever heard Dan play at our uni three years ago, it’s now receiving radio airplay all over the world. If there is one artist who has driven every creative fibre of themselves into their music, to push it that extra step further, it would be the be speckled bloke over there. ‘In/Out‘, ‘Compliment Your Soul‘ and ‘Home’ have received great welcomes since hitting our airwaves and ears and with his debut album ‘Sweet Disarray’ set for release on 10th March 2014, it’s fair to say it will soundtrack your summer.

No4. – Flume

Photo by Edy Pozas Ü:

I happened upon Australian producer Flume by pure accident, with track ‘On Top‘ featuring T-Shirt perking my ears up and eventually making it into our weekly Writer’s Spotify Playlist. While it could be said 2013 was really his year, as the 22 year old went from bedroom DJ to global producer, he makes my 2014 list for two reasons. 1. I was late to the game, he’d done all this before I caught on, i’m sorry and 2. there is so much more to come from him. He’s perfectly open to ‘mainstream’ success as he himself puts it, which means if anything, he won’t fade it obscurity after a successful stint amongst the EDM army.

He’s already had a successful debut, landing at No.2 in the Oz charts behind One Direction, and with production value already added to his live shows, he’s a pre-packaged arena filler before the UK even really know his name. While being open to mainstream success Flume is determined to not let success change his music, and that I think will be the key to it. Not spurting out generico, ‘ass, bitches, party all night’ featuring Pitbull style electronic music, but recreating the sound he is already renowned for on his home turf. Another summer soundtracker, for sure.

No.5 –  Ady Suleiman

ady suleiman

Ady Suleiman:

A name you might recognise from earlier in 2013. Ady Suleiman enjoyed a lot of exposure through MistaJam and the folks at BBC Introducing in 2013, culminating in Ady and his guitarist Ed Black playing at Glastonbury (BBC Introducing Stage). Not bad for someone who is yet to release an EP or single. So how is he one to watch? He’s pure talent. Talent that shows in a series of unplugged sessions, videos, acoustic radio performances all hyped through Soundcloud and Youtube accounts. Tracks like ‘Serious‘ and ‘Why You Running Away‘ mix Ady’s soul and reggae routes, with nothing but an acoustic guitar and backing vocals, while ‘Long For Your Love‘ showcases his ability as a lyricist and diversity as a stand up pop act.

2014 will be the year you stand up and take notice of this Nottinghamshire lad, I have it on good authority (from the man himself) that an EP is coming this year, the track listing however I do not know. Ady’s been quiet for the last quarter of 2013, so we can assume song writing and jamming is taking place behind the scenes, the best environment for this talent to flourish, before he releases the sound to the masses. Look out for it.

No.6 – Allusondrugs

allusondrugs mycat


Now here’s a thumper for you folk who think this list is a tad on the soft side. Leed’s grunge rockers Allusondrugs made their first appearance at Fortitude Magazine in November, when they released the cracking video for ‘MyCat‘. A track that screams grunge rock, with a driving guitar rift throughout, coupled with smash your face in drums and a vocal that slams you back into the early 90’s wondering why the hell we ever left.

Their latest video for ‘Fruit‘ which sat alongside ‘MyCat’ on the double A side single,  sees the band pick up the pace through the intro only to slam on the brakes in the verses for some psych-like, atmospheric vocals, a track that has you nodding your head just as much as banging it. Selling out shows at the end of 2013, Allusondrugs will be landing on a few playlists this year.

No.7 – Saint Raymond

Saint Raymond:

A few months back Saint Raymond released his debut EP ‘Escapade‘ which hosted track ‘Letting Go‘ and I’ve had it on repeat ever since. A fresh mix of indie-pop with electronic twists, a possible pop-ier alternative to Two Door Cinema Club if I could go so far. ‘Escapades‘ did what an EP should do I guess, it encapsulated the range of sounds Saint Raymond captures in his music, from the opener ‘Fall At Your Feet‘ providing big drums and careful harmonies to the fuller indie-pop sound of ‘Everything She Wants‘.

With his debut come and gone, Saint Raymond (Callum Burrows) has moved on to EP number 2, ‘Young Blood‘ out on the 20th January. A darker sounding EP on the face of it, but lead track ‘Young Blood‘ counteracts this, fully embracing his indie-pop style, with upbeat guitar and a simple build to the ‘scream it back to me‘ style chorus. This says to me that ‘Young Blood‘ is going to be another catchy indie-pop EP, that has sync and radio play all over it.

*UPDATE* After noticing the accidental sausage fest I’d put together, I realised i’d completely forgot some female folk who you’d be stupid to ignore: Dead Sara, Rae Morris, Marika Hackman & Orla Gartland. They should all have there own positions up there, i’m very sorry.

Seven is a good number to end on. There are many bands and artists i’m keeping an eye on in 2014, those above as well as bands like WolfAlice, Fitz., Decade and Southern.

If you’d like to see what bands myself and the Fortitude Magazine Music team are backing, subscribe to our Writer’s Playlist.

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