10. Frank Ocean
Odd Future’s most likeable member is back to croon us to the moon and let us drink among the bars. He’s had plenty of time for crafting new material since 2013, so hopefully it will be a year full of good tides from the Ocean.
Foxes is actually a singular person: the 24-year-old British songstress Louisa Rose Allen. She had a fantastic year in 2013 with the singles “Youth,” “Echo” and “White Coats,” which will all appear on her full length debut “Glorious.” Between bountiful Internet love and immense talent, Foxes should be on 2014’s radar.
When weirdness is the appeal, Metronomy is the band. They return in 2014 with another compilation of moody, morose dance jams with an intellectual twist. “I’m Aquarius,” the first single on the new “Love Letters” album, was first available through an app that streamed the song when users pointed a smartphone toward the constellation of the same name. They’re shooting for some stellar success with this one.
Released Feb. 18, “Voices” has been heavily advertised across social media — and rightfully so, if their most recent eponymous EP is any indication. Trippy, weird, sexy and catchy, Phantogram does a lot of things right, and they’ll be doing it again this year.
6. St. Vincent
“I wanted to make a party record you could play at funeral.” That’s how Annie Clark, also known as St. Vincent, describes her new self-titled album. If for no other reason, that description makes it an album worth getting excited for. The weird, extreme, melodic passion should continue on her new record, and it may well become a 2014 favorite for those who appreciate the bold side of experimental indie.
5. Manchester Orchestra
On April 1, the quintessential indie group from Atlanta will release their fourth full-length album, “Cope.” Frontman Andy Hull calls the record a “super-aggressive guitar rock record” that departs from the polished sound and will take some listeners by surprise.
4. Bruce Springsteen
Released Jan. 14, Springsteen’s new album, “High Hopes,” will be yet one more stone in the path that he has walked to a legacy of American rock ‘n’ roll tradition. At this point, it probably doesn’t matter what the man does, because he is a legend for so many people across nearly five decades. This year will only contribute more greatness to his name.
3. The Decemberists
This year brings The Decemeberists’ sixth studio record, which might bring jean jackets and calico dresses back into style. They’re known. They’re loved. They’re just good. It’s hard not to be excited about anything they do.
2. Johnny Cash
It’s been a decade since his passing, and yet, like many other musical greats, he lives on through both ubiquity, cultural influence and the posthumous release. This year, 12 previously unheard Cash songs will be released. Thank you, 2014. Show us the Cash.
1. Fleet Foxes
They may have lost a drummer to Father John Misty, but they’re still fuzzy and heart-warming. Bring on the man-choral, the angelic indie rock, the dirty hippies. Bring on the Fleet.