We're looking ahead at the year's most anticipated records in this week's NME, speaking to everyone from Kasabian to St. Vincent for updates on their incoming albums. You'll have to pick up an issue for the full story on 2014's biggest releases but in the meantime, here's a handful of the artists we talked to and - in their own words - the reasons why you should be excited for their new material. We asked the likes of Liars, Joey Badass and Kelis for a secret about their new albums, what they learnt about themselves in studio and why people should be excited. Here's what we heard back...
Details: 'Food', due in April
"I learned a lot… I learned to trust my instincts. In terms of everything, but as far as music goes, don’t overthink it. Do what’s right, just do it. It's a good album. It doesn’t sound like anything else. You will hear me as you’ve never heard me before and… it’ll take you back to the essence of an era that doesn’t exist any longer."
"It’s a great pop album and very eclectic. It really is a signature Sugababes album. There's a song we wrote [on there] called ‘Back In The Day’ and the two people who worked on it used to be in Blazing Squad. The song is about when we first started out. We’d be in school uniform, and we’d come out of school at the first lesson and our management would pick us up and we’d be there in the studio until the next day. We’d literally go from the studio to the shops, buy a toothbrush and go straight back to school."
Angus Andrew, Liars
Details: 'Mess', due in March
"We got schooled on something called frequency masking making this album and learnt quickly that we're super scared of treble and way too fond of bass. People who've heard the new record are calling it our pop album - can you imagine what they could possibly mean by that? As for a secret, if you play the album backwards there's a secret message telling you to play the record properly."
Details: 'All Love's Legal', due in February
"I learnt recording this album that I still wanted to make music. Ha! After that last tour [for 2011’s 'W'], I wasn’t sure at all what I could do with music. I realized that if I was going to continue to make music it would have to have a purpose: intersectional feminism. Also, there was a heat wave in Berlin last summer, and it got very hot in the studio – which doesn’t have air conditioning because you don’t normally get heat waves in Berlin. So for two days I pretty much recorded the album in nothing but my underwear."
Details: Due in February
"Every time we make a record, I learn a little bit more about how I listen to records and why I enjoy what I like. And that’s always fun because it makes you really figure out what you like about music. Fun fact: the drum tech from the studio was in the band Murphy’s Law."
“I learnt to be patient and listen. Take something in, even if you don’t understand it or like it to start with, and digest it. You end up seeing things from different perspectives and learn not to judge things at face value. Sometimes music hits you instantly, which is one of my favourite feelings, but sometimes it takes time... The album has samples of my family members. My niece and nephew feature on some of my new tracks. And I do things like using a table as the drums, sampling it and adding effects."
Jordan Gatesmith, Howler
"I learned how to actually record things. I've never understood the studio before but I spent so much freaking time there this year that now I think I might actually be able to record myself – and other people – in the future, so that was exciting. I have no fucking idea [how to big the record up]. This album is probably just as worthless as any other album that could come out. It just depends on how bad your tastes are, I suppose. Our drummer recorded all the drum tracks just in his tighty whities. I don't know what his deal is. He's usually a boxer briefs kind of guy but, for some reason, when he plays drums, it's all about tighty whities. He takes off his pants, he takes off everything except for his tighty whities, and then puts his socks and boots back on and sits behind the drum set and tunes the drums. When you listen to the album you're gonna have to imagine us in the studio and our drummer almost completely naked."
"[My new album] is just badass. It’s that futuristic rap, it’s that next gen. It’s dat piff, dat crack. It’s all of the above. I’m not gonna beg, just go check it out. [I learned] how to take my time. Letting it all come to you. Prepare to meet a badass you’ve never met before. It’s a surprise."
From A-J and J-Z, here's 100 albums to look forward to in 2014