Best New Bands Announces 2014 Newbie Awards Winners

The War On Drugs

New York –, a top destination for reviews, interviews and news about the world’s best emerging recording artists, has announced the winners of its 2014 Newbie Awards honoring the year’s best new Band, Male artist, Female artist, Album and Breakthrough Artist.

Best New Album: The War On Drugs, Lost In The Dream

Best New Bands called 2014’s Best New Album, The War On DrugsLost In The Dream (on Secretly Canadian), “a full-fledged triumph” upon its release last March.  It’s the third album from the Philadelphia folk-rock band and “miles more complex than its siblings.”  A preview of the album last December called it “a sonic landscape.”  (Photo of The War On Drugs shown above.)

Breakthrough Artist: Alt-J

2014 was a watershed year for Best New Bands’ Breakthrough Artist, Alt-J.  The indie rock trio from Leeds, England formed in 2007 yet didn’t release their first album until 2012.  Their 2014 LP, This Is All Yours (on Canvasback/Atlantic Records) followed up on the promise of that earlier effort and elevated them to arena headliner status, including London’s O2 Arena and New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Best New Male Artist: Vance Joy

Australian singer-songwriter James Keogh, who performs as Vance Joy, enjoyed a big hit this year with “Riptide” featuring his trademark ukulele.  Best New Bands called his debut album, Dream Your Life Away (on Atlantic Records), “a must have.”  Further exposure is ensured: Joy has been tapped to open Taylor Swift’s 2015 tour.

Best New Female Artist: (tie) Courtney Barnett, fka Twigs

Another Australian, indie folk-rocker Courtney Barnett, came into her own this year, touring incessantly to promote last year’s  The Double EP: A Sea Of Split Peas (on Mom + Pop Records in the U.S.). Best New Bands described Barnett’s “impossible amount of magnetism” and her “starry eyed sense of wonderment at the ‘all eyes on her’ scenario she has landed in.”

Coincidentally, the Female co-winner shares the same last name.  Born Tahliah Bartnett, the English R&B performer and musician known as FKA Twigs made a big impact in recent months with her debut full length album, suitably named LP1 (on Young Turks Records and XL Recordings).  Best New Bands’ review called it a “brilliant…piece of art.”

Best New Band: San Fermin

Brooklyn-based indie rock band, San Fermin, are fronted by Ellis Ludwig-Leone, a Yale grad with an artistic vision that, Best New Bands’ reviewer wrote, is “grounded in attitudinal baroque pop.”  Their self-titled album (on Downtown Records) was released late last year.

In making the announcement,’s Los Angeles-based Founder and Publisher, Tom Crosthwaite said: “2014 was another outstanding year for new music and I’m proud that our site plays a role in exposing hundreds of worthy new artists each year.”

Greg Brodsky,’s New York-based Chief Marketing Officer, and creator of the site’s Newbie Awards said: “The diversity of our critics’ ‘Best Of’ list demonstrates that music continues to be a great way for advertisers to reach our target audience of 18-34 year-olds.”

Best New Bands established the Newbie Awards in 2012 to honor the year’s top new artists in a variety of categories.  The 2014 nominees, based on artists’ recording and touring activity from November 1, 2013 – October 31, 2014, were announced on November 26:

Best New Band: The Lone Bellow, Royal Blood, San Fermin, Temples, The Wild Feathers

Best New Male Artist: Benjamin Booker, Hozier, Vance Joy, Sam Smith

Best New Female Artist: Banks, Courtney Barnett, fka Twigs, MØ, Sharon van Etten

Best New Album: Gary Clark Jr. Gary Clark Jr. Live, fka Twigs LP1, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart Days Of Abandon, Sam Smith In The Lonely Hour, The War On Drugs Lost In The Dream

Breakthrough Artist: Alt-J, Bastille, Chance The Rapper, Hozier, Kongos, Sam Smith is currently active in many key music markets (including Los Angeles, New York/Brooklyn, London, Chicago, Austin, Seattle, San Francisco and Nashville) with plans for continued expansion, both in the U.S. and abroad, in the near future.  Since 2011, the site has published more than 4,000 original album and concert reviews and interviews and has writers on the ground covering most of the major U.S. music festivals.