The Most-Essential Electronic Albums of 2014
Photo by Trashhand at Pitchfork Fest 2014
2014 is a pivotal time for electronic music, with more and more DJs and producers gaining mainstream-mass appeal. Skrillex and Avicii are turning into household names, with hard-hitting tracks like “Wild for the Night” (featuring Skrillex) and “Levels” (from Avicii) both taking over the airwaves last year.
Last year also brought us some immense-new talent from the electronic music world. British-newcomers, Guy and Howard Lawrence of Disclosure received extensive praise and mainstream exposure for their debut album, Settle. Then there was the resurrection of famed-‘90s-DJ duo, Daft Punk, with their hugely successful disco-electro album, Random Access Memories.
So will electronic music keep up this streak of excellence in 2014? Well, with breakthrough artists like Grimes and Little Dragon giving us new albums this year, we don’t think it will be an issue. Acclaimed DJs like Flying Lotus, Steve Aoki, and Skrillex are also slated to return with new albums. Get stoked for what should be another amazing whirlwind of electronic music coming your way in 2014. Here are the ten electronic albums you need to hear in 2014.
It was back in 2012 when Claire Boucher, who you probably know as Grimes, released her cult hit Visions. The genre-defying, singer/DJ reinvented electro-pop with the dreamy vocals and distinctive beats of her third album. And thankfully Boucher is making a return in 2014, starting off with the release of her new track, “Go.” Although reportedly written for Rihanna, Boucher sounds better than ever on this upbeat, electro jam. As for the new album we're still waiting for a confirmed date. Grimes signed with Roc Nation in early January, and took to Twitter to announce the potential release date. So while we wait for Grimes’ full resurgence, take a listen to her new track “Go” above.
Acclaimed London producer SBTRKT, born Aaron Jerome received significant praise for his self-titled debut in 2011. Known for his innovative use of drums and atmospheric sound, Jerome routinely appears wearing tribal masks to keep his identity anonymous. Since his debut, he put out a three-part instrumental series called Transitions, releasing the final installment, Transitions III in June.
Much to our excitement, the follow up to his first album, titled Wonder Where We Land will follow September 23 via Young Turks. Far from an instrumental project, WWWL includes vocal features from A$AP Ferg, Jessie Ware, Sampha, Koreless, Chairlift's Caroline Polachek, and Warpaint's Emily Kokal. Check out SBTRKT’s "New DORP. New York” featuring Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig above.
3. Hudson Mohawke/Lunice
Dynamic-DJ duo, Hudson Mohawke and Lunice of TNGHT, went on an unexpected hiatus last year–sending diehard fans into hysteria. But thankfully both producers are expected to release solo work this year. Canadian-DJ, Lunice, who toured with Rockie Fresh at the end of last year, is expected to release a full-length album sometime this year, following his last EP One Hunned. And his producer-pal Hudson Mohawke, has an upcoming solo-album to follow 2011 EP Satin Panthers, and he released the solo track “Structures” late last year. Lunice dropped a hot, new single, “Can’t Wait To” this July and it’s getting us way too pumped. Check out the trippy music video above.
4. Flying Lotus
Innovative-electro DJ Flying Lotus is going to drop a new album October 7, and it should sound nothing like what you’ve heard from him before. Following 2012’s Until The Quiet Comes, Flylo’s new album, titled You're Dead! will have more of a jazz feel according to his Twitter. Flylo was also reportedly preparing for the mixing stages of his forthcoming album in December of last year, so let’s hope this new-sounding album drops sometime soon. And while we try to calmly wait, at least we can check out the album teaser that dropped a couple weeks ago.
5. Little Dragon
Also steering away from their musical niche is Swedish quartet, Little Dragon. The group released Nabuma Rubberband (a follow-up to 2011’s Ritual Union) this May, and it exceeded all of our expectations. Little Dragon’s previous work had more of an upbeat-dance sound, but this new album features slow jams, challenging layers and pensive, down-tempo tracks. And with glittery, refined beats and lead singer, Yukimi Nagano sounds better than ever. Check out the music video for “Klapp Klapp,” the first single off their new album above. And download Nabuma Rubberband off of iTunes here.
If you aren’t familiar with Dutch-DJ Afrojack, you’ve probably heard his skills on popular tracks like Pitbull’s “Give Me Everything” or Beyoncé’s “Run the World (Girls).” Now the popular-dubstep DJ has finally released a full-length album, Forget the World. Already headlining huge EDM festivals and producing chart-topping tracks, this debut album solidifies Afrojack’s extensive DJ career. You can download the collaboration-heavy, Forget the World on iTunes here, and check out his latest collaboration “Turn Up The Speakers," with Martin Garrix above.
7. Steve Aoki
DJ superstar, Steve Aoki, is working on a daring two-part album project entitled Neon Future. The first half is set to release September 30, and Aoki collaborated with Fall Out Boy, Waka Flocka Flame, and Empire of the Sun (just to name a few.) The second, and reportedly “deeper,” half is due out next year. But you can download three of Aoki’s new tracks, which come with the pre-order of Neon Future I on iTunes here. Take a listen to one of Aoki’s latest bangers, “Delirious (Boneless),” and get ready for what could be an Aoki-musical takeover in the Neon Future.
After the massive success of his multiple EPs (both Bangarang and Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites won GRAMMY awards) Skrillex has finally dropped a full-length album. Entitled, Recess, this bass-thumping album features collabs with Chance the Rapper, The Ragga Twins, Diplo and more. You can buy the album on iTunes here, and check out the intense music video for “Ragga Bomb” above.
9. Clean Bandit
UK-group Clean Bandit released their full-length, debut New Eyes this May. With a number-one spot on U.K. Dance Album charts, plus a charting position on Billboard’s Dance/Electronic Albums Chart, this album is destined to be a hit. The quartet’s claim to fame came with the release of “Rather Be” featuring Jess Glynne. A unique blend of electronic, classical and pop sounds, you can watch the video of the breakout track above, and pick up New Eyes on iTunes here.
After the massive success of Avicii’s debut album True, (which featured chart-topping track “Wake Me Up,”) reports are flying that Avicii will release his follow-up in 2014. And as the DJ himself tweeted, he “can’t wait” to show off some new tracks. 2013’s True was a compilation of various styles of music, from folk to funk, and from the sounds of his collaborators, Avicii will push blending his signature house-music sound with unlikely genres like punk, reggae, rock and pop. So far he's enlisted Coldplay's Chris Martin, Wyclef Jean, Greenday's Billie Joe Armstrong, and even Bon Jovi himself. We’re not sure what this mixture of massive music names will amount to, but in the meantime check out the video for “You Make Me” above.
August 26, 2014 via Pepsi