This vibrant gang of musicians is approaching 2015 from all different angles. Some are still quite new to the music game, while others take the new year on after rising from a breakup.
GFTOY and Saunder Jurrianns, and more...
Internet only label / music collective PC Music really made a splash in 2014, and for all the wonderful players exhibited, from AG Cook to delightfully named Kane West, it’s GFOTY that stands out above the rest. Her frenetic mix of flanged synths, cheesy midi samples and infectiously catchy vocal lines made for some of the most surprising and exciting pop music of the year. Her ten minute Secret Mix mixtape sums up everything that could be great a full length from her; from the relentless, almost drone influences repetitive nature of central hook “if your friend’s your lover, let your friend be your love” to the honest to go melancholy of preceding passages focusing on lost, GFOTY’s sound is dying to be heard in full length by a wider audience. At times perplexing and just as often playfully annoying, yet always smile inducing, GFOTY is the pop music we need for 2015. Andrew McDonald
RIP Hospitality, the cute-and-catchy indie pop band, 2007-2013. Welcome to Earth, Hospitality, the hard-edged out-and-out rock band, 2014-present. The Brooklyn trio’s self-titled debut was a sleeper hit in 2012, a charming collection of tuneful, immediate pleasures. This year’s Trouble trades coquettish glances for a confident stare, as Amber Papini leads her band through a suite of tight, post-punk-colored jams, at their strongest when her guitar takes center stage. Spring-loaded cuts “Nightingale,” “I Miss Your Bones", and “Rockets and Jets” launch themselves straight toward the rafters, leaving the synth-inflected “Last Words” to carry listeners back home. The band falters when it slides back toward pure pop balladry on “Sullivan” and “Sunship", but Hospitality seems to know how to play to its strengths. Here’s to Papini doubling down on riffage and rock ’n’ roll for album three. Corey Beasley
Realistically, foreign-language indie bands don’t have much of a market in the States, but if anyone can make a connection in the West, its someone like French indie pop group Juniore. Fronted by the subdued, sultry vocals of Anna Jean, Juniore take influence from surf music, alternative rock and classic ‘60s pop singers of their own country like Françoise Hardy and Jane Birkin, combined into a smooth, dark rock sound that should excite fans of Veronica Falls, Frankie Rose and the Raveonettes. The band is still young, having only released a couple singles in the last two years, but they’ve already proven capable of constructing perfect little pop gems that deserve, at the very least, far greater recognition, both in France and the rest of the world. Colin Fitzgerald
Lily & Madeline
It’s not that Lily & Madeleine Jurkiewicz are young; the two sisters are just 17 and 19 years old respectively, but the fact they create such beautifully mysterious music makes them so promising. Their material works on more than one level, and just when you think you have it sussed while floating on their harmonious vocals, it hits you—they are telling you one story but there is another layer or more underneath it all that says more. It’s not a trick, but the very nature of honest song craft that suggests the connections between everything through the blending of their voices together. The duo has a graceful touch. It doesn’t matter if they are singing about sex (“Lips & Hips”), sweets (“Peppermint Candy”), a bunny (“Rabbit”) or a lupine creature (“The Wolf is Free”), the underlying theme is one of delight in the discovery of music’s magical ability to create a bridge between the self and the world through the creative act. Steve Horowitz