Just about now it starts to feel like we've already leaped into the new year: with long lead-in times for albums, the notices for the releases of January and beyond pile up. For my disorganised mind it's too soon, but it can offer evidence of flourishing, up-and-coming artists. Take UK solo acts Sohn and East India Youth (pictured), male electro artists with impressive voices who have gained attention for early work and have debut LPs on the way. East India Youth's Total Strife Forever is out on 13 January, while Sohn's as-yet-unnamed effort is due in early 2014 on 4AD. The East India Youth effort is preceded by a single out on iTunes, "Looking for Someone", a dramatic electro-pop song which comes with a video shot in the glass lift of London's Heron Tower; see it at youtu.be/1wL_JE_ksh8. Sohn recently knocked out the gorgeous, melancholy "Lesson": it's available digitally and comes with a moody video, premiered this week and also shot in London. See it youtu.be/e17iXDf0NGE.
Ring in the new year with alt-pop's super-duo
Broken Bells, the work of super producer Danger Mouse and The Shins' James Mercer, deliver their second album together, After the Disco, in January. The record's opening single, "Holding on for Life" has been shared at brokenbells.com (there's also a short film pegged to the album playing there). The song is a pleasant, poppy, mid-tempo number, though Mercer's falsetto vocals oddly recall Crowded House, which I'm not convinced is a good thing.
Fresh visions from the Soundsystem leader
Since dissolving LCD Soundsystem, James Murphy has kept himself busy. In the last few months alone, we've seen the arrival of the Arcade Fire album he produced, a glorious remix of David Bowie's "Love Is Lost", a soundtrack for a blockbuster Harold Pinter play on Broadway (with Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig) and his attempts to move into the rarefied world of coffee-blending. Now, he's turning his hand to film-making. The New Yorker has directed a short film, "Little Duck", for a series sponsored by Canon (others taking part in making shorts include Jamie Foxx). See it at longliveimagination.com.
Rap royalty's blessing for a teenage chart-topper
Young New Zealander Lorde has been one of the break-out stars of the year, thanks in part to her huge hit single "Royals". Not surprisingly, given the song's success, others are jumping in to reimagine the track. This week saw Wu-Tang rapper Raekwon's attempt: it doesn't do a huge amount differently with the music, but throws in some rapped verses. It's streaming at ind.pn/1aCZBLs. Previously, The Weeknd remixed the song at ind.pn/1hKMfOH.