Welcome to Tap Don't Talk, a discursive feature which pits 405 writers Rob Wilson and Mike Clark against each other to shoot the shit about current affairs in the world of music. This is more casual, personal and comprehensive than a typical in-depth feature, firing up ideas about a certain topic that might not all fit into a normal article but are still worth discussing. This is by no means a conversation limited to just us though, feel free to add your two cents in the comments section below or call us names on Twitter if you want - Rob is @robinamicrowave, Mike is @Pixleh and, of course, there's @The405. Enjoy!

Mike Clark: A new year is finally here; a blank slate, a fresh start with boundless opportunities and all that good stuff. Given what we do here, this obviously means that we have to speculate about what's going to happen in this glorious new year, and in the process we'll make ourselves ourselves look dumb on the internet by making wild claims that will eventually come back to haunt us. Now, even if I don't necessarily agree, the consensus seems to be that 2013 was a great year for music and that 2014 has a lot to live up to. So over the next couple of columns we'll be discussing the ways in which 2014 will try and do that. To help us, we've recruited the internet's very own Gareth O'Malley (Echoes and Dust/Shout for Music) because he's a lucky sod that's already heard some of the music we'll be talking about today. And he actually knows what he's talking about, unlike Rob and me. So that's helpful. Say hello, Gareth!

Gareth O'Malley: Hey guys!

Mike: So today we're going to focus solely on releases from established artists. We'll tackle new artists in a separate column that's coming soon. So Gareth, as our guest you can kick things off: what's the release you're most looking forward to in 2014?

Gareth: Well, the world of music obviously isn't calming down after a seriously hectic 2013, and one man who's making the most of that will be releasing THREE albums next year. I'm of course talking about Steve Ellison, otherwise known as Flying Lotus. He has LPs due this year: one as Flying Lotus, another as his hip-hop alter-ego Captain Murphy, as well as a jazz album with Thundercat and none other than Herbie Hancock!

Rob Wilson: I have to say, Flying Lotus has produced one of my favourite albums of all time in Cosmogramma, so anything he releases will get my attention. Thundercat's album Apocalypse from 2013 was also pretty solid, so anything the two of them produce together is bound to be a bag of fun regardless of the direction they go.

Mike: The album with Herbie Hancock and Thundercat is actually what I'm looking forward to most out of the three, surprisingly. That's mainly because Ellison and Thundercat have developed such a good rapport at this point and adding the magic of Herbie Hancock into that relationship can only yield amazing results, right? Still, I suppose it's a surprise that I'm more excited for that album because I effusively adore what Ellison puts out as Flying Lotus. I'm with Rob in that Cosmogramma is one of my favourite albums ever, and Until the Quiet comes was one of my favourite albums of 2012. As FlyLo Ellison makes music of such ethereal beauty that it sets your heart and your soul and your imagination ablaze and to be honest I just think that the guy is a genius. That being said, I guess I know what to expect from Flying Lotus, in that I'm going to love the new album and there's pretty much no two ways about that. Whereas the Thundercat/Hancock project at least has some risk to it - I have no idea what they're going to come up with or how I'll react to it, that element of the unknown just makes me want to listen to it more. His Captain Murphy material, on the other hand, is still very raw. But at least the Duality mixtape demonstrated that he can actually rap well and, of course, he's one of the best producers in the game so it sounded immaculate. That's a winning combination if there ever was one. The conceit of the mixtape and the lyrical content were kind of sketchy, but it's a solid foundation and I'm interested in hearing what Ellison does with Captain Murphy next.

Gareth: Of the three, I'm probably most interested in the Captain Murphy record. Duality came out of nowhere towards the tail-end of 2012, I was still getting to grips with Until the Quiet Comes at that point and it was this huge curveball. As you mentioned, that mixtape laid down the foundations for something that I think has serious potential. Ellison has long-since proved that he knows his stuff when it comes to producing his records, so whatever any of these albums actually sound like, there's no doubt that the production will be stellar.

Rob: So I think we're all agreed on this one, Steve Ellison is great and he's probably going to own 2014. But are there any other artists we're looking forward to?


Gareth: Have we mentioned St. Vincent yet?

Mike: Not nearly enough. Seriously though, I'm totally in awe of what she's doing at the moment. I only really started paying attention to her when Strange Mercy came out, but I instantly fell in love with that album. I must have listened to it about twenty times in the first week and I now regard it as one of my favourite albums. Then I went back to her previous two albums, Marry me and Actor, and fell for them too. She can imbue the simplest structures with wild and fascinating instrumentation and disarmingly candid lyrics and the whole package makes me completely swoon. She's been treading a line between compositional precision and utter madness for ages now, and with every album she is descending further into madness. Her first album Marry Me is a kind of unassuming pop record with some interesting ideas and baroque elements, but there's still restraint there and perhaps even a feeling of trepidation on her part; her next album, Actor, indulges more in the baroque side of things and introduces the snarling guitar she's now infamous for as she becomes more unhinged; Strange Mercy abandoned the baroque instrumentation completely and put more focus on the guitar and the insane things she can do with it, but there was still a strong foundation of pop in amongst all the crazy stuff on that record. With her upcoming self-titled album, it seems as if she's finally descended into full on madness - and I'm totally okay with that. If you heard the 7" single she put out for Record Store Day a few years ago, Krokodil /Grot, you could sort of see it coming; I mean, the A-side was a balls-out punk track and the B-Side sounded like fucking Swans or something. But I doubt many could have anticipated the sound of the first single from her new album, Birth in Reverse, which is a sort of amalgam of new wave, noise rock and math rock. I'm not sure I've heard anything like it before. I was looking forward to a new album from her already, but after hearing that I'm even more excited about hearing what lunacy the rest of the album has to offer. (A few days after we wrote that St. Vincent released a new song from her new album called 'Digital Witness' and it's also amazing).

Rob: Yeah, I'm really looking forward to what she's going to do next. A seriously eclectic artist under the surface, I loved Strange Mercy to bits and Birth In Reverse has one of my favourite outros ever. Already. The way that guitar hook bounces off the drums towards the end is infectious as hell.

Gareth: I was a little slow on the uptake as regards Strange Mercy (and St. Vincent in general), but I had this colossal moment of epiphany with it around the turn of last year, and I'm intrigued by where she's going. Full disclosure - I've heard a sampler of the self-titled album, and I can't quite put my finger on what it is about it that I'm enjoying so much; but then again, I felt the same way about Strange Mercy for about a year, so that's par for the course. What I really want to do is see her live, and she's over here the weekend the new album comes out, so I should probably get on that.

Mike: Oh you must! I saw her live in 2012 when she was touring Strange Mercy at the Shepherds Bush Empire in London and it's one of the best gigs I've been to. And I'm so incredibly jealous that you've heard bits of the album already. I read an interview she did with The Quietus a few weeks ago, the interviewer had heard the album already and he was describing it in a way that made it sound utterly insane. Like, more insane than normal; apparently it made him actually gasp out loud. Good god I can't wait. Although unfortunately I'll have to. Still, there's actually quite a bit coming out before St. Vincent's album on February 24th. I mean, we have albums from Warpaint, Mogwai, Actress, East India Youth, Katy B, Bombay Bicycle Club, Bruce Springsteen, Broken Bells and a few more. Is there anything among that lot that particularly sticks out to you guys, or will you be crying in the shower until St. Vincent's new album like me?

Rob: Well, I may lose a lot of friends here, but I've never really bought into Bombay Bicycle Club. I don't dislike them or anything, I've just been interested in other things. That's the way music goes I guess. But one Friday a few weeks ago, I was listening to Huddersfield University's radio station because my friend has a show on there, and he played their new single 'Carry Me'. That made me sit up and listen to them for the first time - the electronic slant that the song took surprised me because I'd always had them down as a guitar-rock band. So I had a look around to see what their fans thought. From what I gathered, 'Carry Me' is a huge change in sound for them, so I'm looking forward to where they go from here.

Gareth: Bombay Bicycle Club are definitely switching things up for the new album, So Long, See You Tomorrow. I've heard 6 other songs from it as I was lucky enough to catch them on their mini-tour of Ireland last month, and they're all sounding huge. It sounds like the LP's going to be full of shamelessly direct pop songs, which makes for a nice change of pace for them - if there's anything on there as good as 'Shuffle' from A Different Kind of Fix a couple of years ago, I'm sold. How about you, Mike? Any thoughts on Bombay Bicycle Club, or other upcoming stuff?

Mike: I'm with Rob here, Bombay Bicycle Club have never done much for me. You brought up 'Shuffle' from their last album and I actually really like that track, but other than that they sound a bit too safe and Radio 1 for me to fully give a shit about what they're doing. I've listened to the new song, but I'll be honest and say that I can't remember a thing about it. However, a band that I previously didn't care much for that has earned my curiosity is Warpaint. It's not that I didn't like their previous album, it's just that I haven't heard it for whatever reason and I've remained largely ignorant of their music. That is until 'Love is to Die', the first single from their self-titled new album. A friend made me listen to it and I sort of fell for it hard. It's hypnotic the interplay between bass and drums is magnificent and that chorus is to die for (pun recognised but not intended). It keeps pulling me back and the last single they released, 'Biggy', is more of the same. In a good way, of course.

Gareth: You and I are pretty much on the same wavelength here, Mike. I didn't give Warpaint too much of my time back when their debut was released. I liked it's it was fine, but nothing that made me want to run through the streets and shout about how great it was. 'Love is to Die' is an excellent song, but it's not even the best thing on the album - I've only been able to give the new album one listen so far, not a simple rehash of The Fool by any means. There are lots of keys, and an atmosphere that's quite different than what fans may have become used to. It doesn't sound like it'll be a crossover hit by any stretch of the imagination - Warpaint clearly aren't in it for that - but it'll definitely put them on the map.

Mike: Hopefully it will, I mean, it got me interested in them when I was once completely apathetic. Anyway, obviously we can't talk about all the January/February releases as there's just so much coming out. So let's move onto albums coming out later in the year that have either been confirmed or are very likely because the artist has been in the studio. So basically, what I'm saying is: let's gush about Radiohead a lot. I mean, they recorded in Jack White's Third Man Studio in 2012, they played a bunch of new songs on their King of Limbs tour in 2011/12 (I saw them play 'Idetikit' at the 02 Arena and it was special) and there were rumours that they went back to recording in 2013 once Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich had finished their adventures with Atoms for Peace. Surely there's a Radiohead album due in 2014?

Rob: I'd hope so. I have to confess that I don't think King of Limbs quite stands up to anything else Radiohead have done since Pablo Honey, but this is a band that can do whatever they want to at this point, so who's to guess where they're going? They deserve my attention regardless of how good, bad or indifferent the album might be.

Gareth: I still enjoy The King of Limbs. It's probably my least favourite Radiohead album that isn't Pablo Honey, but we got some great stuff out of those sessions (The Butcher/Supercollider they released on Record Store Day 2011, for instance), and what I've heard of the new material is sounding promising. They have a habit of radically changing songs before they're actually released, though - we all remember what happened with Videotape 6 years ago, right? In any case, I know I'll be excited once something's actually released; I wasn't expecting anything to happen two years ago, and then totally lost my shit when they announced a new record, so there's always that.

Mike: Of course, and I think we'll all lose our shit when they announce a new album despite how people felt about King of Limbs. They always demand attention no matter what they're doing, they're one of the biggest bands in the world. Although, that can come back to bite them. Personally, I still really enjoy The King of Limbs; without wanting to get all 'Pitchfork's-Review-of-Kid-A', about it, there were moments of sublime beauty on it that few bands are capable of coming up with, like when the synthetic strings come in on 'Bloom', or pretty much all of 'Codex'. Although, one thing that kind of annoyed me about the reaction it is how everybody was clambering to have the first say. I think that coloured the overall consensus of the album slightly because it's by no means an immediate record. It takes time to figure out and people weren't affording it that time because it's Radiohead and we all have to talk about Radiohaed because they're fucking huge.


Mike: Exactly, the same goes for Tomorrow's Harvest by Boards of Canada, Until the Quiet Comes by Flying Lotus, The Terror by The Flaming Lips and countless others too. Information gets fired around so much and there's mountains of new music to get through that it's hard to sit down and devote your time to one single record and work it out, so it just gets dismissed or unappreciated by most people. I'm not being judgmental by the way, I'm as guilty of this as anybody. But it can definitely contribute to how we perceive an album. And I'd hope that we're more patient if Radiohead do put out an album this year - and they're so unpredictable that it is undoubtedly an 'if'.

Gareth: Okay, what about a band that definitely will have an album out? Interpol's new record is all but done, so who's looking forward to that?

Mike: Um, I am a little bit, I suppose? They're a band I'm sentimentally attached to because falling in love with the video for the song 'Evil' when I was about 10/11 is something that sort of set me on the musical path I'm now on. So they're a band I'll always be looking out for, but their last album wasn't that good and I haven't listened to them in ages, so I'm not hugely fussed about a new Interpol album. I'll probably listen to it, I might even like it, but I'm not exactly excited right now.

Rob: I have to admit, I'm feeling that way too. I like their earlier stuff a fair bit, mainly because 'Untitled' was used in one of the most stupid storylines Friends ever had, but I'm just not a huge fan at the moment. I'm in the middle of exploring so much music right now that Interpol have just passed me by somewhat. You know who I am looking forward to, though? Death from Above 1979 doing something for the first time in 10 years. Mike introduced me to their only album - You're a Woman, I'm a Machine - quite recently, the beginning of 2012 I think, but it was instantaneous and seriously gripping. How they managed to get that sound out of a bass and nothing else is a production feat that I can't compare to anything else. But if they release anything from now, it'll be 10 years of their lives going into it, so it's going to be hugely different than their debut. It has to be.

Mike: That's something of a concern for me. Not that different it bad, but it might be bad for them, if you get me. You're a Woman, I'm a Machine, existing on its own, is such a singular, vociferous statement that hearing them doing something else might be jarring and less impactful. Or, even worse, they might try and recreate former glories by trying to make You're a Woman, I'm a Machine again. So it might be that they're damned if they do, damned if they don't.

Rob: I think that was one of the main things people picked up on when they were criticising Boards of Canada's album Tomorrow's Harvest from last year. 8 years in silence and not much change in sound.

Mike: That's true, but if they changed their sound significantly they'd be criticised for it too. Still, I think that there's more places for Boards of Canada to go with their sound compared to Death From Above 1979. You're a Woman, I'm a Machine is such focused, balls out rock music that I'm not sure how they can evolve it. I am looking forward to hearing the new album because I really like the band, I'm just a bit cautious because of how much I love their first album.

Gareth: Well, that's the problem - I'm assuming that fans are expecting more of the same, and I read this interview in which Sebastien said that 'once it's put through the filter of this two-piece band with that crazy bass sound, it's difficult not to resemble Death From Above.' So I'm wondering what they feel they can get away with.

Rob: I think they're clever enough not to radically change their sound to the point where they're unrecognisable, but you do have to sit and wonder about what the last 10 years has done to them as people. It's not easy to make a band that small sound as full and large as they do on record - perhaps they'll delve into a more stripped back and thinner sound next time around?

Mike: It's a possibility, although I have no idea how that'll sound or whether they'll be any good at it. Most of the joy of You're a Woman, I'm a Machine - for me anyway - was located in how loud they sounded on record. Taking that away from them might reveal some hitherto unknown weaknesses in their songwriting. Then again, a band like TV on the Radio were loud, albeit in a different way to Death from Above 1979, and they've successfully stripped back their sound. I mean, compare their second album, Return to Cookie Mountain, which was incredibly noisy, to their last album, Nine Types of Light. It's a whole world of difference.

Gareth: TV on the Radio have been heading in that sort of direction for a few years now. 'Dear Science' was sort of a (sorry) halfway home between that older sound and the newer material. They seem to be going somewhere else entirely, though - they released a couple of singles over the summer, 'Mercy' and 'Million Miles', and now they're definitely working on a new record (confirmed on their Facebook page a couple of months ago), all bets are off, especially since they've now gone independent and are on Dave Sitek's new label. I've no idea what to expect. They went from 4AD to Interscope to Federal Prism in 5 years, so who knows what their next move will be?

Mike: Yeah, the singles you brought up are especially interesting. The first, 'Mercy', was something that you'd expect from their first couple of albums: noisy, energetic and makes you want to jump around like a mad bastard like 'Wolf Like Me' from Return to Cookie Mountain. Whereas 'Million Miles' more tender and soulful, something of a weepy number and a logical progression from Nine Types of Light. That they released two divergent singles only affirms your assertion that, basically, it's impossible tot tell where they'll go next. There's actually no guarantee that these singles will appear on the album either, and that's quite exciting.

Rob: I have to be honest, I only listened to 'Mercy' out of the two you've mentioned and my only experiences with TV On the Radio currently consist of 'Will Do' being on FIFA 10 and a night of listening to Return to Cookie Mountain. What I have heard I've enjoyed, but there's just so much stuff out there that they sort of got pushed to the bottom of a very huge list called "Stuff I Need to Listen to".

Mike: That's fair enough, and don't worry, I'll make sure you do get round to TV on the Radio very soon. But in the meantime, there's plenty of stuff for us to talk about. I mean, we've been here ages at this point and we're yet to mention new releases from the likes of: The Roots, The Horrors, Metronomy, Beck, Run the Jewels, Liars, Azealia Banks, Damon Albarn, Young Fathers, Titus Andronicus, Holy Fuck, The War on Drugs, Schoolboy Q, U2, Elbow and Foo Fighters - who all have confirmed albums out this year. And then then there's the likelihood of artists such as Kanye West, Modest Mouse, Wild Beasts, Battles, Dels, Joanna Newsom, Frank Ocean, Grimes, SBTRKT, Kendrick Lamar, Death Grips, Jai Paul, Ty Segall, Adele, Metallica, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and loads more putting out new albums this year. Obviously we can't run through them all in detail because it would be 2015 by the time we finish, but what out of that gargantuan list you're particularly interested in?

Gareth: You're damn right Mike, that list is gargantuan. Titus Andronicus are working on a huge-sounding rock opera that'll serve as their fourth album, and I'm incredibly excited for that - but that's not due until late 2014, or so it seems. Out of the rest, I'm most excited about new albums from The War On Drugs, Liars, Schoolboy Q, Young Fathers, and of course, Death Grips, who will probably put something out next year too, because we know what they're like - you two especially.

Mike: Why Gareth, what a convenient callback to our previous column about Death Grips!

Rob: I have to agree about The Horrors and especially Liars. Sisterworld was pivotal to my taste in music evolving- damn that breakdown in 'Scissor' will never get old - even if I don't love it as much as I used to. I missed their album WIXIW last year, but the singles they released from it ('Brats' was the first I heard, I think?) were fantastic. Anyway, I'm also looking forward to what The Roots do and where Metronomy decide to go next. As well as that, I've heard rumblings that there's a R.A.P. Music II coming out from Killer Mike with El-P producing, and I'm sure that the likes of Battles will be producing some fine material for us. Their second album, Gloss Drop, was fantastic, but it did have some parts where I felt it meandered and they lost a little of the organisation former frontman Tyondai Braxton probably directed. Now they've had some more time together as a three-piece I'm really interested to see where they go next.

Mike: First, you really need to listen to WIXIW, Rob. Second, I really like most of the artists mentioned in the list, so it's quite difficult to pull out only a couple. The Roots immediately stick out because they're legends at this point, they're reliably fantastic and, more importantly, I love what they're doing right now. I mean, their last solo effort, Undun, is one of my favourite albums and I really liked 'Wise up Ghost' with Elvis Costello. Everything they've done recently has been great so their new album And Then You Shoot Your Cousin should follow suit. I'm also looking forward to seeing what Modest Mouse do after not having put out an album in seven years; the same goes to Beck (although it's six years for him - unless you count the whole Song Reader project). And The Horrors and Wild Beasts are two of my favourite British bands at the moment, both are constantly evolving and changing their sounds in interesting ways that demand attention (in the time since writing this Wild Beasts have released a new single, 'Wanderlust' [LINK], which is bloody marvellous, as well as a new album called Present Tense which is out on the same day as St. Vincent's new album, so I'm going to probably explode with excitement that day). Ty Segall is one of the most industrious people working right now and everything he touches turns to gold in my eyes, so I'm expecting at least one album from him in 2014 and it should be great. Something new from Caribou would be nice too although I don't know how likely that would be.

Gareth: I'm glad you mentioned The Horrors there, Mike. Not only am I excited for their new album, but they pushed its release date from September 2013 to early 2014 because it wasn't quite yet done. There's no sense in putting out something half-finished, of course - and that brings me to someone who's been holding back her album for so long that I'm wondering what she's doing with it. I'm talking about Azealia Banks, whose Broke With Expensive Taste has a tracklist, but no release date - it was meant to come out next month, but that's not going to happen unless she pulls an Angel Haze and leaks it herself. I'm worried it won't live up to the hype now - what say you?

Mike: I couldn't care less. '212' is good, that's about all you'll get from me. I'll pass this one over to you, Rob.

Rob: Well, with Azealia Banks, I'm hoping that three things happen: 1) She grows the fuck up and stops being so obnoxious and offensive over social networking sites; 2) She recaptures the atmosphere that she generated on '212' and her Fantasea mixtape; and 3) Her tour turns out to be great, because I'm going to see her with my girlfriend in April. Or March. I think it's March. I bought my girlfriend the tickets for a Christmas present and I'm praying for a fantastic night out that hopefully climaxes with an entire crowd jumping enthusiastically to '212'. Anyway, we've talked a lot about returning artists releasing new material, but how do we all feel about artists we want to see live in concert? I've got Elbow and Neutral Milk Hotel lined up amongst others but how do you both feel about the live scene in 2014?

Mike: Uh, well, a cruel combination of location and being poor has meant that I haven't had much of a chance to go to many gigs in the past year. I mean, in 2013 I saw My Bloody Valentine twice, The Flaming Lips and Primal Scream. I live in Kent, so I'm not too far from London but it's far enough away for the train tickets to be around £20, so adding that onto the price of a gig ticket is a pain in the arse because I rarely have money. Still, I have tickets to see Neutral Milk Hotel in May already booked because I can't afford to miss that, and I hope to see St. Vincent at the Shepherds Bush Empire in February. I also want to go to Field Day in June because Pixies and Metronomy are headlining, as well as the likes of Danny Brown, Jon Hopkins and Warpaint playing. And even if it's unlikely that we'll actually go, there are plans pencilled in for me and a few friends to see Arcade Fire supported by Pixies in Marlay Park in Ireland in June. Money might get in the way of that one, though. In terms of gigs I'd like to happen: The Roots and TV on the Radio rarely tour the UK, so if they do release albums this year I can only hope for tours to go with them. And even if I didn't like Random Access Memories, seeing Daft Punk live would be a massive bowl of fun.

Gareth: If you do go to see Arcade Fire in Dublin, Mike, there's a chance I may see you there. Since it's at a huge open-air venue, it's (probably) not sold out by now. I haven't got my tickets yet, but I may be in Canada around that time, so we'll see. As for my 2014 live calendar, I have 65daysofstatic as my first gig of the year, and then Anamanaguchi and Tera Melos on different nights a couple of weeks later. I have tickets for The Wonder Years in May, and will be getting some for St. Vincent's February tour soon as well. Hopefully Radiohead will tour around some new material - I also would love to see Brand New come back, but since the last time they were here was in 2007, I may be asking a little too much. Granted, a new album from them would be nice, too...

Mike: Ah, Gareth, it's good you mentioned Brand New there, as their comeback is something of a surprise. They've still been a thing, of course, but appearances since their last album have been scarce. We've been rambling far too long now, but before we wrap up, I just want to ask you two: what bands, if any, are hoping make a surprise return?

Gareth: Maybe Maybe The Avalanches are finally going to put out a second album? *nervous cough*

Mike: Yeah, The Avalanches, Aphex Twin and, of course, Dr. Dre's Detox are kind of standard at this point. Jay Electronica is getting that way too. But is there anything else? I'm hoping Late of the Pier finally put something new out. Their only album, Fantasy Black Channel, is one of my favourites of the 00s and it's been six years since that came out. It's been four years since we last heard anything from them, with their single 'Best in the Class'. It would be unfortunate for a band with such promise and with so many ideas to lay dormant for so long. Also, I'm perpetually keeping my fingers crossed for a new Pulp album produced by James Murphy, even though I'm sure it won't happen.

Rob: Although this probably wouldn't be a "comeback" as such, I want Gorillaz to do something again that isn't an experiment on a bloody iPad, but that probably won't happen because of of Damon Albarn's solo album and all that. The Jesus & Mary Chain are also a dream comeback of mine. And The Last Shadow Puppets deserve a mention too, because James Bond needs a soundtrack for whatever film they do next, even if Miles Kane and Alex Turner both get on my nerves now. A new Outkast album would be nice too, what with their reunion show(s) planned for some time in 2014. Also, is wanting a Stevie Wonder album too much to ask for?

Mike: Yes, it is. Although, it would be nice for him to have a reinvention/actually good comeback in the same way that David Bowie, Bobby Womack, Gil-Scott Heron and Paul McCartney have in recent years. Also: I think a new Blur album is more likely than a Gorillaz album at this point as they've toured quite a bit and have spent a lot of time together recently. And even though Damon Albarn has a solo album out this year, the guy's work ethic is insane and I wouldn't put it past him to have two or three big projects due in 2014.

Gareth: I'm hoping also for a new Gorillaz record, even if it might be unlikely. Aside from that, there really isn't much I can offer when it comes to my anticipated comebacks, as seemingly Everyone Ever released music in 2013. I'm hoping for something - scratch that, ANYTHING - new from Aphex Twin; and I'm also optimistic about Yndi Halda getting their shit together and releasing an album, but nothing's coming to mind right now. With that said, I'll probably have so many ideas by the time this is actually online. Funny how that works, right?

Mike: It is indeed. And expanding on that thought: I think the most terrifying thing about everything we've discussed today is that we've barely scratched the surface here. There's just so much music around that it's hard to keep track and it's incredibly exciting. The thing is, we've only just covered established artists, but in the next column we'll be delving into new artists, and there's just as much to be excited about there. Then there's the stuff that nobody even knows about yet, the mystery newbies that pop out of nowhere and blow us all away. I think, if there's one we can take from all this, it's that we've got a potentially great year ahead of us, guys.