Dec 22, 2014
The Top 15 Indie & Beats Tracks of 2014
It’s unique, it’s experimental, it’s the sound that doesn’t conform to standards. It’s indie and beats, and it served up some of the biggest hits of 2014. This year saw the glorified return of old favorites, the emergence of stunning new talent, and everything in between. Through the abundance of phenomenal music on the market, these 15 tracks stand out from the rest and hold the greatest potential to mold the future sound of electronic music.
George Maple – Talk Talk
George Maple - Talk Talk (Original Mix) [Future Classic]

Future Classic prodigy George Maple enlisted production help from Snakehips and fellow Aussie Flume for Talk Talk, and the combined effort is the ideal opener for this year’s chart. With a thumping bassline, pulsating synths, and smoldering vocals from Maple, this track has all the ingredients necessary for greatness. Pick up the track here.

Bonobo – Flashlight
Bonobo - Flashlight (Original Mix) [Ninja Tune]

British beatmaking veteran Bonobo makes our list with his soothingly gorgeous hit Flashlight, an intricate track that perfectly encompasses the indie genre with its infectious, synth-heavy melody and psychedelic guitar chords. Bonobo returned to his longtime label Ninja Tune for this release, where his diverse talents reached new experimental heights. Grab the tune and the other two tracks of Bonobo’s Flashlight EP right here.

Snakehips feat. Sinead Harnett – Days With You
Snakehips feat. Sinead Harnett - Days With You (Original Mix) [Hoffman West]

The dynamic duo known as Snakehips never disappoints when it comes to releasing fresh, enchanting beats, and they more than delivered in Days With You. Featuring plenty of funky percussion and smooth vocals from Sinead Harnett, the track symbolizes the genre-blending sound that’s come to define British producers Oliver Lee and James Carter. Purchase the track here and check out the remix EP, featuring tracks from Sweater Beats, Pomo, and Fwdslxsh.

Ryan Hemsworth feat. Tinashe – One For Me
Ryan Hemsworth feat. Tinashe - One For Me (Original Mix) [Last Gang]

What do you get when you mix the epic beatmaking prowess of Ryan Hemsworth with the seductive vocals of R&B princess Tinashe? Flawlessly produced baby-making music, that’s what. Ryan is undoubtedly one of the most talented and diverse young producers in the game, and with a slew of incredible new work, a tour, and the release of his debut album Alone For The First Time, he had quite the 2014. He gave us plenty to choose from for this year’s list, but there’s just something about the smooth, rolling bass of this track that has us hooked. Grab it here.

Cyril Hahn feat. Rochelle Jordan – Slow
Cyril Hahn feat. Rochelle Jordan - Slow (Original Mix) [Virgin]

When it comes to making electronica sexy, Canadian producer Cyril Hahn is the best in the game, so he appropriately had far and away one of the most seductive releases of 2014 with Slow. The track takes downtempo beats to a whole new level with its gorgeous, ethereal melody and soothing vocals from Rochelle Jordan. Slow was featured on Hahn’s stellar four-track Voices EP, which can be purchased here.

Caribou – Can’t Do Without You
Caribou - Can't Do Without You (Original Mix) [City Slang]

Dance music reinvented is the theme of Can’t Do Without You, the debut single from Caribou‘s highly acclaimed sixth studio album Our Love. A man of many musical faces, Canadian producer Dan “Caribou" Snaith has a knack for experimental sounds, which he utilizes in this emotive, complex track. Pick up the album on Beatport here.

Broods – Coattails
Broods - Coattails (Original Mix) [Polydor]

Sibling duo Broods took the indie-pop world by storm this year, releasing their first EP and debut album within a twelve month span. Wildly popular single Coattails beautifully represents the gritty, passionate sound that’s brought these two New Zealand natives to the forefront of this year’s emerging young talent. With phenomenal production from Caleb Nott and fiery vocals from Georgia Nott, Coattails is a mature, mesmerizing effort that’s an easy addition to our list. Find the track on Broods’ self-titled EP here, and purchase their full-length album Evergreen on iTunes.

,SBTRKT feat. Sampha – Temporary View
SBTRKT feat. Sampha - Temporary View (Original Mix) [Young Turks]

After numerous collaborations, including 2012’s phenomenal Hold On, SBTRKT and Sampha released Temporary View earlier this year in the lead-up to SBTRKT’s second full length album Wonder Where We Land. Funky chord progressions, sophisticated instrumentals, and of course the sensational, R&B-infused vocals of Sampha all combined to make this one of the year’s best. Grab the track and the rest of the album here.

,Porter Robinson feat. Amy Millan – Divinity
Porter Robinson feat. Amy Millan - Divinity (Original Mix) [Astralwerks]

Arguably the best electronic album of 2014, Porter Robinson‘s Worlds opens with the track Divinity, and to sum it up with the obvious, it’s simply divine. Clocking in at over six minutes, the track is an appropriate beginning for the epic journey that is Worlds, as its rises, drops, ethereal beats, and energetic blasts of bass make it feel like an album in itself. Pick up the album on Beatport here–this one’s not to be missed.

,MNEK – Wrote A Song About You (Kaytranada Edition)
MNEK - Wrote A Song About You (Kaytranada Edition) [Virgin]

Kaytranada graced us with his hypnotizing beats many times this year, but his spin on MNEK‘s gorgeous Wrote A Song About You is stand-out perfection. Kaytranada’s rolling basslines and warped synths make a perfect backdrop for MNEK, whose voice has him on the fast track to Sam Smith-level fame. Find the track on iTunes here and be on the lookout for Kaytranada and MNEK in 2015–these two are both going places.

ODESZA feat. Madelyn Grant – Sun Models
ODESZA feat. Madelyn Grant - Sun Models (Original Mix) [Counter]

ODESZA just landed a co-headlining gig with Chromeo at the famed Red Rocks Amphitheater, and there couldn’t be a more fitting way to end the kind of year these two had. Featured on the Seattle-based duo’s sophomore album In Return, Sun Models is a blissful, energetic melody of choppy vocals and glistening synths that embodies the euphoric energy these young artists possess. Grab the track and album on Beatport here.

Aphex Twin – minipops 67 (120.2)(source field mix)
Aphex Twin - minipops 67 [120.2][source field mix]

Thirteen years is a long time to wait for new Aphex Twin music, but our wish was finally granted this year. As the track name may suggest, minipops 67 [120.2][source field mix] is experimental, bizarre, and everything else an Aphex Twin original should be (for the record, the track name actually comes from Korg Mini Pops, a vintage drum machine). Featured on Aphex Twin’s comeback album Syro, the track represents British producer and electronic music pioneer Richard James’ return to the scene in the best possible way. Find the track and album on Beatport here.

FKA twigs – Two Weeks
FKA twigs - Two Weeks (Original Mix) [Young Turks]

One of the most interesting things to happen in 2014 was FKA twigs. Taking hold of futuristic R&B with a fury, the British starlet seduced us with her dark, hypnotic beats, and a vocal range that seems too amazing to be human. As the debut single from her album LP1, Two Weeks is an enchanting, mystical track that showcases FKA twigs’ unique sound and oozes with sex appeal at every corner (check out the gorgeous music video for further proof). Purchase the track and full album here.

Banks – Goddess
Banks - Goddess (Original Mix) [Harvest]

She’s dark, she’s deep, and she captivated the indie dance world this year with her emotive, soulful ballads. Jillian Banks first turned heads in 2013 with the release of her single Warm Water, but she solidified her magnetic presence this year with her first album, Goddess. The title track is a beautiful representation of BANKS herself–it’s brooding yet intimate, ferocious yet eloquent. With eerie production and airy, chilled-out synths, Goddess easily stands out as one of 2014’s best. Grab the track and album on iTunes here.

Porter Robinson – Sad Machine
Porter Robinson - Sad Machine (Original Mix) [Astralwerks]

With countless sensational releases this year, it all comes down to Porter Robinson‘s Sad Machine–the pillar of indie electronica in 2014. Serving as Porter’s vocal debut (via voice synthesizer Vocaloid), the track is a soul-soothing melody of bright, dreamy synths, energetic drums, and harmonious chords that blend together in a wonderfully unique fashion. The track, and the entire Worlds album, is unlike anything that’s come before in this genre. Pick up the track and album on Beatport here, and experience the phenomenon for yourself.