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The 15 Albums You Need To Hear in 2014

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The album is surviving nicely as an art form, despite several premature declarations of its obsolescence. And 2013 was a vintage year, with hugely talked-about longplayers from Daft Punk, Arctic Monkeys and David Bowie.

We've selected 15 records that you should be very excited about next year. The list is by no means exhaustive - and who knows what might emerge after the unscheduled releases from Bowie and Beyoncé took everyone by surprise this year - but these should all be on your 'want' list for next year.

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The Horrors - TBC

2011's Skying saw the Southend-based band unexpectedly move out of their art-noise-too-cool-to-write-actual-songs roots and into the realms of hang-on-these-guys-can-actually-play. Their new record was originally scheduled for this year, but mixing delays have pushed it back to 2014. If they have some ambition, they could be 2014's Foals.

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Katy B - Little Red

Katy B's debut album On A Mission quickly saw her lose her title of 'Queen of Dubstep', mainly as there was no dubstep on it other than the title track. It was, however, a seriously classy pop record, and we have high hopes for the next full-length, Little Red. An intervening EP, released in 2012 saw her collaborate with Jessie Ware, Diplo, Wiley and Iggy Azalea and was hugely entertaining. She's already put two tracks out from Little Red - 5am and Crying For No Reason, and both are superb. Hopefully the album will be more of the same.

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Bruce Springsteen - High Hopes

The first big release of the year, this record arrives on January 14th, with the title track already out there. Springsteen has already described it as 'a bit of an anomoly, but not much', as it comprises covers, outtakes and rerecordings of old tracks. The promotion for it promises to be an emotional affair, featuring two members of the E Street Band - Clarence Clemons and Danny Federici - who have both died since recording their contributions. Rage Against The Machine's Tom Morello is present on 8 tracks, alongside the rest of the legendary band in various configurations. With Springsteen's stock at an all-time high, fans will be eagerly awaiting this one.

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Banks - TBC

One of the big tips for next year, Banks - first name Jillian - is an LA-born, London based singer, specialising in dark, minimal R&B akin to The Weeknd, or Frank Ocean. Her voice may be a little too restrained to hit the mainstream, but the hype is huge, and she could deliver a great album. Watch this space.

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Foster The People - TBC

Torches was one of the big sleeper hits of 2011, propelled in the main by the irresistible groove of Pumped Up Kicks, and the LA-based 3-piece will return with a new one in 2014. The constant talk from the band and their label has been 'organic' and 'human', which is, worryingly, often a byword for 'boring' and 'real instruments'. However, with main man Mark Foster's background in jingle-writing background, we're confident that the pop hooks won't be forgotten. If it's better than the superb first record, we could be in with a chance of a classic album.

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Metronomy – Love Letters

The electronic outfit are back with a new album which promises to turn heads. Their new single I’m Aquarius is signature Metronomy, complete with minimal synths and heavy-layered vocals. Following three critically-acclaimed records, and an ever-growing fanbase - including a host of celebrities - if they get it right, this could well be their chance to break through into the mainstream.

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Tool - TBC

It's been seven long years since the magnificent 10,000 Days, but a new record from the metal gods may finally be on the way. Tool are known for their long and torturous recording process and, in addition, guitarist Adam Jones also creates their live visuals, so putting a timescale on things is difficult. In interviews, drummer Danny Carey has predicted a new record in early 2014, while frontman Maynard James Keenan is less sure. If it emerges, we expect nothing less than an almighty metal record, said record rocketing to number 1 on release, and a host of Justin Bieber fans tweeting 'who is Tool?'.

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Lily Allen – TBC

Love her or hate her, you can’t deny that Lily Allen set the blogosphere ablaze with her music industry-baiting single Hard Out Here. It achieved its dual aims: to get people talking, and to reassure us that she hadn't lost her edge after the John Lewis Keane cover. Her upcoming album is more than likely to stir a few things up - we'd bet there might be a reference or two to Azealia Banks too (now, where exactly is that record?) - and should be unmissable listening.

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Luke Sital-Singh - TBC

We've already featured him on The ShortListen, and New Maldon's Luke Sital-Singh could be the man to make acoustic music interesting again. He's got the choruses of Mumford & Sons, but a dash of Jeff Buckley and Damien Rice in there to give it some depth. Look out for this one.

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Kanye West & Jay-Z - Watch The Throne II

The hip hop titans are due to be releasing a follow up to their game-changing debut in 2014. Very few can predict what's going to happen on in the crazy world of Kanye, but he doesn't slack around when it comes to creating new music, so this one should happen. In addition, word has it that Kanye is recording a secret Anchorman album with actor Paul Rudd - and who on earth knows how that one will turn out? Either way, it should be an entertaining 2014 for Mr West.

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Lana Del Rey - Ultraviolence

Her recent 30-minute short film to accompany her EP, Tropico, proved that Ms Del Rey is not looking to rein things in any time soon. The follow-up to 2012's Born To Die is due next year and with Gaga's comeback faltering, and critics divided on Beyoncé's antics, Del Rey could catapult herself into the top level of world stars. As ever though, it will depend on the songs, but with Justin Parker and Rick Rubin involved, the project is in good hands. We certainly wouldn't expect any understatement.

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Frank Ocean - TBC

The world is patiently waiting for the follow-up to 2012's enormous Channel Orange, but it's going to have to wait a little longer as, despite playing new songs live, Ocean has stated that there will be no new recordings until summer 2014. Rumours are rife as to who he'll collaborate with: Pharrell, Tyler The Creator, Tame Impala, King Krule and Danger Mouse have all been mentioned - and he's also said the record will be influenced by The Beach Boys and The Beatles. So, in summary, we don't have much idea what to expect, but we're excited nonetheless.

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Steve Wonder - Ten Billion Hearts/When the World Began

The soul legend responsible is back with his first new material in nine years, with the hugely anticipated brace of albums, entitled Ten Billion Hearts and When The World Began respectively. The legendary David Foster is producing the latter, which will apparently include several of his biggest hits reworked with an orchestra. The former record will seemingly be influenced both by “hip-hop’s political methods” and his "children, family, change, growth, heartbreaks". So some nice weighty topics to dig in to: hopefully both records will be Wonder-ful (sorry).

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The Stone Roses - TBC

2012's reunion and subsequent world tour was such an unexpected shock that, amidst the mayhem and triumphant enormo-shows, the news that they had signed a deal with Universal and Columbia to release new music was almost forgotten. However, with the shows now complete, and nothing emerging last year, 2014 could be the moment where they end the 20-year wait for new material. However, knowing John Squire, a renowned perfectionist, and the fragility of the reunion - as evidenced in the trials and tribulations seen in Shane Meadows' documentary Made of Stone, we wouldn't be surprised if the wheels fall off before anything is completed. The pressure will be immense, but one thing is for sure: if it does materialise, it will be worth listening to.

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Saint Raymond - TBC

Another graduate of The ShortListen, we are big fans of Callum Burrows. Just 18 years old, his releases thus far (two EPs) have both demonstrated a songwriting ability that belies his age. He's not afraid of going for a big sound either and with the right support, his debut record could propel him to become the next big indie star.

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(Images: Rex/AllStar)

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