Think nothing can touch you when you’re 25? Not so for panic attack-sufferer Courtney Barnett, who hyperventilates while gardening at her home in Melbourne. At least her strained, stoner existence makes for some fine charming indie-rock yarns (that last episode crops up on the excellent ‘Avant Gardener’), accompanied by lazily brilliant guitar riffs and delivered in Barnett’s half-awake purr. After last year’s ‘A Sea of Split Peas’ double EP, we’re sure that 2014 will bring plenty more wit and wist. Jonny Ensall
In a nutshell: Like a young, female, Australian Kurt Vile – but funnier.Catch her at The Sebright Arms on Wed Feb 12 or Ace Hotel London Shoreditch on Thu Feb 13.Key track: ‘History Eraser’
Fat White Family
Lyrics about class war, grotesque videos featuring offal, song titles including ‘Bomb Disneyland’ – if you’ve been finding music too cuddly, then Fat White Family demand your attention. The six-piece have so far created more buzz for their ‘tude than their tunes. Unfurling a banner from their Brixton squat declaring ‘THE WITCH IS DEAD’ on the day Thatcher died will do that. A listen to their debut LP ‘Champagne Holocaust’ however reveals they’re both in thrall to the grinding chug of Captain Beefheart or The Fall, and also blessed with the ability to bring a bit of absurdity and silliness to music too. Oliver Keens
In a nutshell: Slight whiffy, rabble-rousing rock.Catch them at Electrowerkz on Tue Feb 25.Key track: ‘Who Shot Lee Oswald?’
Genuine word-of-mouth buzz is a precious commodity, but this Canadian singer’s name was whispered more last year than those rumours about Benedict Cumberbatch. A graduate in jazz and a music teacher in her hometown of Ontario, Lanza put her encyclopedic knowledge of R&B to stunning use on her breathtaking debut LP ‘Pull My Hair Back’. Like a woozier Jessie Ware or a less arch Grimes, her crystalline vocals and deal-with-it sense of sexuality should make J-Lan’s name go from whispered to roared over 2014. Oliver Keens
In a nutshell: The future of future R&B.Catch her at Field Day on Sat Jun 7.Key track: ‘Kathy Lee’
British hip hop went a bit weird in 2013. Dizzee Rascal released a song about his love of arses, while Tinie Tempah penned the charming couplet ‘looking at a MILF, thinking ’bout filth’. Don’t despair though – London rhymers Hawk House look set to bring a hefty dollop of class back to the genre. Their two guys (Sam and Eman) and one girl (Demae) dymanic may remind of The Fugees, but they’re closer in spirit to smokey new-schoolers like Joey Badass. Oliver Keens
In a nutshell: Beats, rhymes and London life distilled.Key track: ‘It’s Everyday’
Only south London could produce someone like 21-year-old soul singer Moko. She grew up in New Cross in the ’90s absorbing the house, garage, gospel, trip hop and soul of the city’s airwaves, and now she’s pumping out standout track after standout track, rolling those sounds into some of the most strikingly passionate electronic music of recent years. Expect to see a lot of copycat pigtails when she gets big. James Manning
In a nutshell: The new sound of south London.Key track: ‘Hand on Heart’
Plenty of bands have indie-rock skeletons in their closets, though that doesn’t mean they can’t start anew, and be genuinely great. Just as fuzzed-up east London act Toy were formerly Joe Lean’s Jing Jang Jongs, and Fat White Family were perky indie-pop wastrels The Metros, Teleman also have history as another group: three of them used to strum for middling Reading crew Pete And The Pirates, Now, however, they’ve shed the spiky guitars and have hit upon a more eccentric, driving and elastic take on indie whimsy, with songs that tend to stick firmly in your head. Fans include Suede guitarist Bernard Butler, who likes them so much he produced their upcoming debut album. James Manning
In a nutshell: Oddball pop that’s already swayed Suede.Catch them at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire (supporting Connan Mockasin) on Wed Jan 29.Key track: ‘Steam Train Girl’
Mutual Benefit is Jordan Lee, a songwriter who produces tender, generous and richly orchestrated tunes, and who is undoubtedly the new star of the US alt folk movement. Last year’s debut album, ‘Love’s Crushing Diamond’ had the same, ‘Whoa – where did that come from?’ sense of awestruck enjoyment attached to it as Bon Iver’s seminal ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’ LP. It also shared much of that record’s sense of wonder at the vastness of the whole wide world, and quivering anticipation at the sheer range of emotions that can be bestowed upon the humble singer-songwriter. Rousingly beautiful. Jonny Ensall
In a nutshell: Log cabin music for beard wearers and admirers.Catch him at St John Bethnal Green on Tue Mar 4.Key track: ‘Advanced Falconry’
You’ve just moved to the big city from Cambridgeshire and you’re trying to make it as a successful singer-songwriter – how do you catch people’s attention? Sivu, aka James Page, chose to film the video for his first single inside an MRI scanner. The track was ‘Better Man Than He’, which not only had one of the videos of 2013 (basically a journey through the singer’s mind), but was also full of fluttering pop piano, wistful snare rolls and Page’s wonderfully brittle falsetto. Together it was all enough to attract Alt-J’s producer Charlie Andrew, who’s currently working on the debut Sivu album, set for release this coming year. Danielle Goldstein
In a nutshell: Think Bombay Bicycle Club, but more forlorn.Key track: ‘Better Man Than He’
Just like a litter of puppies, Flyte can be an uncontrollably happy bunch. In fact, these east London boys could probably out-pep any pup with their wholesome and upbeat indie tunes. Take the foursome’s three-track ‘Live EP’, for example – it’s packed full of chirpy guitars, close harmonies and sprightly percussion, designed to get even the grumpiest yupster dancing. Make a resolution now to listen to more happy music, and get 2014 off to a buoyant start with this infectiously energetic outfit. Danielle Goldstein
In a nutshell: Echoing the best of Mystery Jets, in charmingly trendy fashion.Catch them at British Summer Time in Hyde Park on Sat Jul 12.Key track: ‘Over and Out’
Jamaican-born, Stratford-raised Moore is one east Londoner who focusses less on style and more on substance. In her case, that substance is a mesmerising mix of soul and folk, which speaks of Moore’s varied influences (from Lauryn Hill to Bon Iver) as well as her own unique talent. She can be upbeat, as on last year’s two excellent EPs, but (unluckily for her) miserablism is her forté. When Moore cranks up the melancholy she becomes a talent to rival King Blubber James Blake. We can’t wait to get to crying over a full album of her powerful, piano-led songs. Elizabeth Darke
In a nutshell: Un-Denai-ably brilliant ballads.Catch her at St Giles-in-the-Fields Church on Wed Mar 26.Key track: ‘Wolves’
New acts to watch out for in 2014
Say hello to the bands and artists set to seduce your ears this year
If you haven’t made your New Year’s resolutions for 2014 yet, here’s the first item on your list: listen to these new music acts.
The Time Out Music Team have picked ten new bands, singers, artists or producers who’ll be making waves in 2014 – whether that’s through bagging mainstream pop success, shaking up the musical underground, or pushing music forward in ways we haven’t even dreamt of yet. Listen to all of our top acts for 2014 right here, and find out when you can catch them live in London.
Who are you tipping for success this year? If you think there’s a hot, new artist who has slipped under our radar, let us know in the comments box below or tweet us at @TimeOutMusic.
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