In February comes a new album from Beck, “Morning Phase,” and U2 returns in April with a Danger Mouse-produced recording titled either “Songs of Ascent” or “10 Reasons to Exist.”
Also returning: The Foo Fighters, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, even the elusive Don Henley.
Blur’s Damon Albarn surfaces with his first solo set, and a reinvigorated Lily Allen is back, already charting overseas with single “Hard Out Here.” But we digress. The new artist list for 2014 — presented in no particular order — looks just as promising.
1. The Strypes
They dress in matching suits, channel vintage Yardbirds blues and are signed to Elton John’s Rocket Music Management. And these Irish kids are still in their teens. An introductory U.S. EP, “Blue Collar Jane,” precedes their full debut disc, “Snapshot.” They play the Brick and Mortar Music Hall in The City on Jan. 24.
2. Iggy Azalea
Born Amethyst Amelia Kelly in Melbourne, Australia, this U.S.-schooled model created a street-smart, rhyme-spitting persona as Iggy Azalea. Her upcoming debut disc: “The New Classic.”
3. Sam Smith
The soulful overseas crooner started out as a guest vocalist on hit singles from Disclosure (“Latch”) and Naughty Boys (“La La La”). He flies solo in May with “In the Lonely Hour.”
4. The Casket Girls
Harmonizing sisters Phaedra and Elsa Greene were reportedly discovered in their native Savannah, Ga., strumming spooky autoharp under a tree. Their new sophomore recording “True Love Kills the Fairy Tale” feels dogwood-funereal.
5. Betty Who
The New York-based Aussie was raised on classical. But she finally embraced her inner dance-pop diva with “The Movement EP” and an upcoming full-lengther.
6. Courtney Barnett
The resourceful Melbourne artist didn’t wait around to be discovered; she simply launched her own imprint, Milk! Records, and started releasing her own — and her friends’ — records.
The new Jesus and Mary Chain? Could be. British brothers Eoin and Rory Loveless kick up a “Darklands”-grim racket on their eponymous debut.
8. Chloe Howl
Raspy-throated Howl learned to sing by copying Alicia Keys. Her music — as on introductory EP “Rumour” — is all about being a bored teenager, because, at 18, she actually is one, she has said.
9. George Ezra
The new Bristol, England, barnstormer gets the folk-soul balance right. Already snapped up by Columbia, he bows in with the EP “Did You Hear the Rain?”
10. Royal Blood
Vocalist-bassist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher of Brighton, England, offer a more metal take on the usual blues-duo formula with early singles like “Out of the Black.”