Best of 2014: Pop preview

Andy Gill picks this year's must-hear pop music

Andy Gill
Friday 03 January 2014 18:30
Girl power: Lily Allen
Girl power: Lily Allen

Broken Bells: After The Disco

The second album from the alt-pop duo of Shins songwriter James Mercer and Midas-touch producer Danger Mouse (Gorillaz, Gnarls Barkley, Black Keys), last seen working at Electric Lady Studios on a new U2 album, itself slated for an April release. Released 3 February, Columbia

Tinariwen: Emaar

With their homeland in chaos, the Mali desert-blues titans relocated to Joshua Tree in the Mojave Desert to record Emaar, with various American guests such as fiddler Fats Kaplin and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ guitarist Josh Klinghoffer. Expect particularly poignant, impassioned reflections on displacement, tradition and togetherness. Released 10 February, PIAS

Lily Allen

Having announced her retirement from music in 2009, Lily Allen burst back onto the scene in November with a typically outspoken, sweary, synthpop single, Hard Out Here, which railed against the industry’s sexism. Her new album – her first in five years, and produced by Greg Kurstin who was behind the controls for It’s Not Me, It’s You – is due anytime now. Release TBC, Warner Bros


The missing-presumed-dead Mexican-American singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriguez, whose rediscovery was so arrestingly related in the documentary In Search Of Sugar Man makes a single rare UK appearance on the south coast. 9 March, Bournemouth BIC


The north-west’s favourite sons return with a new album and tour. Guy Garvey has described it – working title All At Once – as reflecting the band’s thoughts on turning 40, with one song being about “an old man in a young person’s bar”. Album released 10 March; touring from 5 April to 16 April

Elvis Presley: On Stage

As disingenuous titles go, this one takes some beating. But there’s a strange allure to the prospect of seeing video footage of the King (culled from the 1968 comeback special and 1970’s That’s The Way It Is) accompanied by a live band and backing singers. Of course, it could be a grisly disaster, but that might be just as entertaining. Touring from 30 April to 25 May

Arctic Monkeys/Tame Impala

Newly revitalised as Anglo-American art-rockers, Arctic Monkeys become the latest act to play Finsbury Park, heading a bill that offers a rare opportunity to take in acclaimed Aussie psych-rockers Tame Impala. 23 & 24 May, Finsbury Park, London

Arcade Fire

Their new album may be misstep, but Canada’s finest always come good in live performance, especially when their natural exuberance isn’t constrained by a small venue – and they don’t come much bigger than Earls Court. Hopefully, they’ll play a few more old favourites than at the recent Roundhouse show. 6 & 7 June, Earls Court, London

2014 Comedy preview

2014 Film preview

2014 Theatre preview

2014 Visual Art preview

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