Chvrches Janelle Monae Tightrope
Although Billboard's Women in Music event took place in December, the magazine has only just released footage from the event. Shrug, right? Except for the fact that buried in the middle of the gala was a performance by Chvrches, in which frontwoman Lauren Mayberry gave a rousing speech about challenging the status quo before launching into a goosebump-worthy cover of Janelle Monae's "Tightrope." Even if the R&B songstress wasn't in the audience dancing along to the track (which, for the record, she is), we'd still be playing it on repeat; in the trio's synth-happy hands the track transforms into an airy affirmation.
British DJ and producer Duke Dumont already made a splash in 2013 with "Need You (100%)," and now he's back with an equally exciting new single from his upcoming album. Although he's proven his chops remixing Santigold and Bonobo tracks, Dumont's singles are establishing him as an act to watch out for in 2014. Employing producer Jax Jones, Dumont blends steel drums, bass, and a Whitney Houston sample on "I Got U" for the most infectious song I've heard in a long time. QUINN KELLEY
Under the pseudonym Lo-Fang, L.A.-based producer, D.C.-raised Matthew Hemerlein has fused classical orchestral resonance with post-modern synth pop. "Look Away," one of three tracks pre-released from his upcoming debut LP Blue Fin, has a chillingly beautiful realism that penetrates your very being. Upon first listen, upbeat bass lines and cheeky lines like "I never figured out how to unfold your paper cranes/ origami agony/ I rip the edges it gave me pleasure" veil the lyrics' true nature, but as the pace slows and the cello comes out, it's clear that "Look Away" is about the tragedy of contemporary love. YASMEEN GHARNIT
The ball may have just dropped, but we're convinced that the MisterWives' debut, Reflections, will be one of the best EPs of 2014. In "Kings and Queens," the New York-based sextet seems to embody a folkier, yet more club-minded Florence + The Machine. It's a dichotomy that should, in theory, result in an awkward try-hard sound, yet MisterWives constructs the quintessential girl-power anthem you can't help but sway and stamp your feet to. YG
The latest single off Bombay Bicycle Club's upcoming full-length, So Long, See You Tomorrow (out February 4 on Vagrant), begins with an airy, Steve Reich-like loop. In the video, a fantastic synchronized swimming troupe creates psychedelic visuals that perfectly match the glistening light-on-water vocals and instrumentation. MG