Wednesday, 23 July 2014

What Happened To Our Ones To Watch 2014 (So Far) Part 1

It might only be July but we’re already starting to think about end of year lists. We’re stupidly obsessed with the things. We reckon we’ve heard at least four or five albums that stand a very good chance of getting in our top 10 (could Sophie Ellis Bextor be a surprise dark horse contender ?) and already have a sizeable bunch of possibilities for our own Ones to Watch for 2015 (2 or 3 of them may have appeared on the blog in the last month) plus some pretty strong guesses for the ubiquitous BBC Sound of list and the lesser known but in our opinion excellent UK Blog Sound of 2015 list (well we would say that, we run the thing).

As we’re over halfway through the year we thought it was about time that we cast our eyes back to the 10 acts we predicted would be worth watching last November and to give a half-term report on how they’ve been doing.

So without further ado, here we go with the first five. The next five will follow in a second post.

1. Wolf Alice

It’s been a solid year for Wolf Alice so far. The indie alt rockers followed up the excellent 2013 Blush EP by signing to Dirty Hit Records (home of The 1975, Marika Hackman and Ben Khan), released the equally good Creature Songs EP this May, played their biggest headlining tour and then hit the festivals including a slot in the John Peel Tent at Glastonbury. A good few months creatively and commercially it would seem.

2. Chlöe Howl

After bubbling under for all of 2013, 2014 has seen Chlöe continue to bubble, just the bubbles are slightly bigger. The re-released Rumour sneaked into the bottom end of the UK chart at number 84 (and bizarrely became a number 4 hit in Poland) and new single Disappointed is due to be released next week with an album to follow. Chlöe has also been bringing her punchy pop to the festivals this summer. The album was originally scheduled for June 9th but appears to have been put back till September. The question for Chlöe is will her bubble grow that little bit more (she’s on a major label and we imagine as a pop act they’ll expect a relatively quick return on their investment) or will it burst?

3. Sophie Jamieson

“Of the artists we’re selecting as our Ones to Watch 2014 Sophie Jamieson is probably one of the least likely to be lighting up the top 40 in the next year,” we wrote last November. That still holds true. However whilst Sophie’s music may not hold huge commercial potential, that doesn’t mean she hasn’t delivered anything but majestically beautiful creatively by way of single Stain / Other through Luv Luv Luv records this year. It was a case of two songs forming one single with the line ‘when I leave’ common to both. Sophie also featured on the BBC Introducing stage at the Great Escape Festival in Brighton.

4. Jungle

The mysterious T and J finally revealed their identities and then as happens with these so called mystery acts we all went ‘ok now we know who they are’ and just got on and listened to the music. The debut album was released last week and was generally well received and went into the top 10 in the UK. It’s electro-soul done impeccably well, as are their rather groovy live shows (see the footage of Busy Earnin' from their crowd wowing set at Glastonbury below). The only question that really remains is will the record last in people’s memories – there’s not a huge variety to it. It’s virtually one idea / song played out 12 times, but it’s a very good one nonetheless.

5. Flyte

Classic songwriting indie boys Flyte have been taking their time in 2014. Earlier in the year they were out on the road winning some new fans supporting Bombay Bicycle Club, and they released a single We Are The Rain through indie label Transgressive. Since then they’ve played a few festivals, played on the same bill as Neil Young and have been recording more material. From the songs we’ve heard Flyte play live we’d suggest that their best is yet to come. Very much still ones to watch for 2014.

Jungle - Live At Glastonbury (John Peel Stage)

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