Ten indie albums to get excited for in early 2014

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Image Credit: Annabel Staff/Redferns

Early winter’s still a notoriously slow time for new music, even in this era of the thoroughly disrupted record industry. But now that we’ve absorbed all the year-end best-of lists—and, of course, Beyoncé—we can look ahead to the quieter enjoyment of a more modest slate of albums in January and February.

Which isn’t to say we won’t be talking about some of these — a few of which I’ve heard in full, and others in bits in pieces — come December. (We’ll also have a 2014 Forecast issue on stands Jan. 10, which will cover major album releases and tours, as well as upcoming movies, TV shows, and more.)

Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, Wig Out at Jagbags
Matador
Jan. 14
If you’ve heard one lazy, lovely, wordy Jicks jam you’ve heard them all—and yet, six albums in, the band’s still a gust of fresh and fragrant air in an indie scene as alienated as ever from sensual guitar soloing. Bonus: for “Lariat,” they made the most subtly sexy lyric video ever:

James Vincent McMorrow, Post-Tropical
Vagrant
Jan. 14
What distinguishes this pretty-voiced boy singer from Sampha or the Weeknd or Rhye or Bon Iver? I’m not sure, but it’s a pleasure listening for clues. Listen to “Cavalier,” the album’s first track:

Warpaint, Warpaint
Rough Trade
Jan. 21
On their second album, recorded with Flood and Nigel Godrich, this L.A. band (pictured) makes a dream sequence of recent indie rock, mixing up jangly guitar, drone-y dance beats, and not-so-new age sounds according to an irresistible internal logic. Check out “Biggy”:

I Break Horses, Chiaroscuro
Bella Union/PIAS
Jan. 21
Snap, crackle and synth-pop: Swedish singer Maria Lindén releases her the second album. Here’s “Faith”:

Hospitality, Trouble
Merge
Jan. 21
Another second album, but this one’s the heartbreaker, darling and tough, and constantly on the verge of falling apart. “I Miss Your Bones” may be the best track:

Dum Dum Girls, Too True
Sub Pop
Jan. 28
A third album, and judging from “Lost Boys and Girls Club,” a bit more “adult,” too—or at least, glammed up and Elvira-sexy.

Angel Olsen, Burn Your Fire for No Witness
Jagjaguwar
Feb. 18
Olsen, one of EW’s 14 to Watch, crashes garage rock into her haunted coffeehouse on “Forgiven/Forgotten,” but even when she takes it back down a few notches, her high-lonesome voice keeps bringing on the tingles.

Schoolboy Q, #Oxymoron
Top Dawg/Interscope
Feb. 25
I don’t know anything concrete about this Black Hippy crewmember’s long-promised major label debut beyond its (latest) release date and stupid-awesome title, but in November he released “Man of the Year” for NBA Live 14, and that song rules:

St. Vincent, St. Vincent
Loma Vista
Feb. 25
“I wanted to make a party record you could play at a funeral,” Annie Clark said in a press release for this, her fourth album. (Not counting 2012’s Love This Giant, a collaboration with David Byrne.) I definitely wouldn’t recommend “Birth in Reverse” for a funeral, but I bet it will work quite nicely at a hip cocktail party:

Lo-Fang, Blue Film
4AD
Feb. 25
Matthew Hemerlein, another one of EW’s 14 to Watch (not to mention another pretty-voiced boy singer), impressed Lorde enough at his second show as Lo-Fang to win an opening slot on her March tour. Look for his debut at the merch table, and listen to “Look Away” in the meantime:


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