New albums, reunions, tours comprise exciting year in music

Staff Writer

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Between reunions, promising up-and-comers and new releases from the greats, there is a lot of (hopefully) fantastic music to look forward to this year. Here are some of the artists you should keep tabs on throughout 2014. 

Chance the Rapper

When it comes to 2013, it seems like the name of Chicago native Chance the Rapper has been typed by nearly every music blog in year-end lists, whether it was praising his excellent mixtape “Acid Rap” or predicting his future in 2014. After a headlining tour, show dates with rap megastar Eminem and recording countless song features from Childish Gambino to Justin Bieber, Chance surely worked extensively to put his own name on the map. According to widespread news, Chance the Rapper is ready to show his fans what he is truly capable of. He is reported to be living with the remarkable post-dubstep artist James Blake to “record music every day.” After hearing that, plus booking even more festival dates, look for Chance to have an even more remarkable year.

Cloud Nothings

Cloud Nothings have had a quiet year after their amazing 2012 release “Attack on Memory.” It was a surprise that no new material was released in 2013, since it seemed like every year the Cleveland indie-rock band was coming out with new music. This turns out to be excellent, however, because now the band is ready to release their fourth studio album, “Here and Nowhere Else,” on April 1. With plenty of live teases of new songs as well as releasing their new single “I’m Not Part Of Me,” Cloud Nothings is looking forward to an excellent follow-up to “Attack on Memory” with even more aggression in their music.

Kanye West

It is no question that one of the biggest musical acts of our generation conquered 2013. With his release of the polarizing LP “Yeezus” and the run of his innovative tour, Kanye West proved to the world once again of his supreme hip-hop leadership. As the year ended, news had spread that West is already at work on a follow-up project to “Yeezus” with the help of super-producer Rick Rubin as well as Q-Tip. If all goes well, expect yet another headlining year for the Chicago rapper.

Kendrick Lamar (and T.D.E.)

Top Dawg Entertainment had a pretty quiet 2013, as far as new material goes. However, it has been stated from CEO Anthony Tiffith that they are planning to take over the new year with six new albums from their excellent list of rappers.  The leader of the pack, Kendrick Lamar, is expected to come out with his highly-anticipated follow-up to his great major label debut “good kid, m.A.A.d city” and continue to stand as one of the greatest performers in the rap scene. ScHoolboy Q will be the first artist to represent the T.D.E. takeover with his upcoming album “Oxymoron” on Feb. 25. Along with hopeful releases from Ab-Soul, Jay Rock, Isaiah Rashad and SZA, T.D.E. is surely expecting to get the rest of their names well-known in 2014.

Mac DeMarco

Indie artist Mac DeMarco came out with an excellent twist to songwriting and guitar-playing in his 2012 album “2,” coming out with standout tracks like “Freakin’ Out the Neighborhood” and “Ode to Viceroy.” Mac’s odd riff structures, monotonous vocals and weird lyricism helped him stand out from any other indie artist in recent memory, and when word got out that he is releasing his second studio album, “Salad Days,” one could already imagine the type of recognition and praise he will rightfully earn. The Canadian artist is surely an odd package, but after hearing new material at his recent show, “Salad Days” will provide the same type of music that fans have already fallen in love with. The album is set to be released on April 1.

Outkast

Most people have speculated the reunion of Atlanta’s greatest hip-hop duo for years after their announced hiatus in 2007. Through all the speculations, however, there was never a likeliness of an actual reunion to arrive anytime soon. All of a sudden, 2014 started off with continuing rumors and teases that Big Boi and Andre 3000 are going to be side-by-side once again. The biggest rumor was a possible appearance at 2014 Coachella, which was later confirmed by the rappers and the festival. As everyone raced to get tickets to the huge festival, it was later stated that Outkast is expecting to go through an extensive Reunion Tour, only consisting of 40+ festival dates. Many fans are still in awe that the pair will finally bring Outkast back to the stage.

St. Vincent

Annie Clark has stayed busy for the past couple of the years due to her collaboration with Talking Heads legend David Byrne in 2012. The indie singer-songwriter’s last solo effort, “Strange Mercy,” was released three years ago and received plenty of critical acclaim. In early 2014, it has been confirmed that St. Vincent is releasing a brand new, self-titled LP on Feb. 25, along with an extensive tour. Many fans have already gotten a taste of what is to come once Clark teased the new album with her lead single “Birth in Reverse” and we could not be more excited.