Spring playlist 2014: the best of rock and pop
Culture Whisper presents our Spring soundtrack, featuring everything from dance to folk
Last year, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Arctic Monkeys, My Bloody Valentine, Rudimental, Haim, The Stripes, Alt J and Daft Punk supplied the soundtrack to life chez nous for this 40something Cultural Whisperer. For one reason or another – but mainly due to a 15-year-old daughter and a muso boyfriend – they seemed like the albums you couldn’t get through 2013 without. And thanks to the magic of generational crossover and perennial kidulthood, we were just as likely to be bopping around the kitchen to One Direction as we were to be blasting cult experimental indie rockers My Bloody Valentine through the headphones.
But what about 2014? Here’s a heads-up on the music we’ll be enjoying – with notes, so you won’t be shown up in front of your teens.
A dream ticket featuring Rudimental and John Newman took dance music out of the clubs and into the charts in 2013 with an injection of soul, raw emotion and irresistably anthemic hooks. In 2014, post similar collaborations with Disclosure and Naughty Boy, it’s Sam Smith’s turn to shine – he’s the BBC’s pick for the Sound of 2014. His hotly-anticipated album is sure to be huge.
WEST COAST PSYCHEDELIA
The Observer’s Kitty Empire calls them ‘the anti-Haim’ but that might just be a good thing for those immune to the charms of last year’s mighty sister act. The second album from this all-girl Californian pos-punk outfit promises to be a dreamy, psychedelic soundtrack to your spring.The Times has already called it ‘One of the first great records of 2014’
Chancellor Bennett is not your average rapper: he grew up in a smart part of Chicago and interned for Barack Obama during his first presidential campaign. Fortunately any resulting lack of street cred doesn’t appear to have held him back. He’s on ‘a mission to disrupt the hierarchy of hip-hop’ and his likeable, positive and occasionally even poppy tracks (look out for Chain Smoker & Cocoa Butter Kisses) are set to win over non-aficianados and urban music fans alike.
The legend of lost Scottish folk singer Shelagh McDonald has haunted fans of her wistful, ethereal music-making since her abrupt disappearance in 1971. Following a drugs-related mental breakdown, McDonald retired into obscurity – until late last year that is, when she made her first public appearance in 40 years. Sign up to her newsletter for more on her forthcoming album, Parnassus Revisited.
No-one will ever quite be able to replace The Loud (that’s Girls Aloud to the uninitiated) in our hearts, but Little Mix come close. Move is our current kitchen jam and the fact they’ve just released a cover of Cameo’s Word Up, one of the great floor fillers of the Eighties, makes us love them even more. Popstrel power in its latest iteration.
Beyonce’s surprise eponymous ‘visual album’ released just before Christmas cements her position as R&B’s reigning goddess – a fabulously talented, highly politicised and very loved-up queen bitch (do not attempt to listen to the racier tracks, an erotic musical homage to Jay-Z, en famille. Ok, do). Queen Bey is a powerful feminist role model for girls in desperate need of one – oh, and the music is streets ahead of conventional R&B offerings.
Heavy as hell with a bassline you will feel in your punani, this two-piece guitar band hail from Brighton make music for unreconstructed rock chicks. Plus, they have the seal of approval from indie rock royality in the shape of The Arctic Monkeys’ Matt Helders.
Eclectic rock ‘n’ roll from a Texas four-piece founded in 2006 and influenced by everything from psychedelia to dubstep. Their sixth studio album, Corsicana Lemonade, got massive airplay at the end of last year and a sold-out British tour have emboldened the band to return in May. Good ol’ boys with soul.