Bands’ schedules are constant. After the writing, recording, releasing, and supporting of album releases, the cycle doesn’t offer much opportunity for rest for the weary. Once an artist debuts a record, they hit the road, and from that point on, fans get a couple of local shows and an album to play on repeat until we’re blessed by that next taste of what’s to come: the new single!

The single can bring with it the promise of more of that music we love, or it can be our first taste of something new. Here are some of the songs that got us most excited for the next thing in 2014.

#10: Hanni El Khatib – “Moonlight”

The one-two punch of When The Guns Come Out and Head In The Dirt has proven thus far that Hanni El Khatib can do no musical wrong. More than that, though, he can do no less than astounding. News of a new album had me waiting with bated breath for a release date, and it wasn’t long before we got our first single from the new album: “Moonlight.”

The track is very much in the vein of When The Guns Come Out, particularly “You Rascal You.” The slap-strum, almost-Southern riffs feel like Dan Auerbach’s Nashville influence being pulled right through the speakers. That paired with the song’s haunting, sinister undertones has me fucking ecstatic to hear the rest of the album. – Angelica Corona

Listen: “Moonlight

Hanni El Khatib Moonlight

#9: FKA Twigs – “Two Weeks”

If the two EPs released by FKA Twigs in 2013 were attention-grabbing, the lead single from her debut album was the song that ensured we did not want to look away. Along with its eye-catching video, “Two Weeks” was a sensual treat that was also unabashedly sexual in a way that felt grown-up rather than pointless. Its pulsing and undulating production simply enhanced the song’s richness, and the end result was a pop song of rare depth. The album was a bit of a beauty as well. – Jay Chirinos

Listen: “Two Weeks

FKA_Two_Weeks_Cover

#8: Jamie T – “Don’t You Find”

After five years of relative silence, South London songwriter Jamie T announced his return to the world of music this summer with a new single and the promise of a long-awaited third full-length album. The downbeat, melancholy track “Don’t You Find” stood in stark contrast to “Sticks ‘n’ Stones,” the rowdy lead single off Jamie T’s sophomore effort, but it would soon prove to be an apt introduction to the new album, Carry On The Grudge, which would be released two months later and showcase a more mature, introspective artist. – Kristin Houser

Listen: “Don’t You Find

jamie t don't you find

#7: Cloud Nothings – “Psychic Trauma”

Cloud Nothings. This band will inspire you to ramble aimlessly about how they sort of remind you of Third Eye Blind and The Strokes, but then again, that’s not exactly why that one time you were on a road trip to Yosemite you couldn’t stop listening to their track “Psychic Trauma” on repeat. It’s just packed with so many tempo changes, it’s like five songs in one. And then that one line, “Is it alright to end up this way? Life gets boring. It fades away,” just sticks with you because it’s not like you’re sad or anything, but you just relate to it. Okay? – Christine Perez

Listen: “Psychic Trauma

Cloud-Nothings-Psychic-Trauma

#6: Sharon Van Etten – “Your Love is Killing Me”

Sharon Van Etten’s heart-wrenching single “Your Loving Is Killing Me” off of her latest album, Are We There, is just one of the many soulful, emotionally charged songs that comprises this album. It is definitely the track that packs the most lyrical and emotional punch, as Van Etten hits every note with spine-tingling bravado and seems to hold it there until she can no longer breathe. This all makes for an incredibly moving, beautiful ballad that exudes so much passion and pain it will quickly become your go-to heartbreak song. – Jillian Goldfluss

Listen: Your Love is Killing Me

Sharon Van Etten

#5: Bleachers – “I Wanna Get Better”

You know how some songs can make you want to roll down the windows and take a drive even if it’s raining out and you have nowhere to be? “I Wanna Get Better” is that song for me. Undoubtedly my most-played track of the year, the first single from Jack Antonoff’s new project, Bleachers, revealed a perfect blend of Steel Train’s rowdy, fist-pumping indie rock and fun.’s glistening pop, setting expectations high for his new project’s debut album. Dozens of listens later, I still want to take that ride. – Kristin Houser

Listen: “I Wanna Get Better

bleachers i wanna get better

#4: alt-J – “Hunger Of The Pine”

“Hunger Of The Pine” off of alt-J’s sophomore album, This Is All Yours, might very well be one of the most perfect singles I’ve heard in recent memory. The way those innocuous opening pulses give way to a crescendo of seductive strings and percussion punctuated with a sax and a well-woven Miley Cyrus sample is nothing short of pure earsex. The buildup and eventual release is both gratifying and stunningly orchestral. Despite having listened to this track a minimum of a hundred times since it dropped in June, I’m still left silently breathless after each listen. – Lesley Park

Listen: “Hunger Of The Pine

alt j hunger of the pine

#3: St. Vincent – “Digital Witness”

The first single from our #1 album of the year, St. Vincent’s “Digital Witness” is a socially critical head bobber. Some of the sound from her collaboration with David Byrne in 2012 was bound to make its way into Annie Clark’s solo music, and “Digital Witness” might be the best example of that. It is an amazing, horn-driven tune with a straight-forward beat. It’s subtle and purposeful monotony suggests the standardization of our daily lives and society’s dangerous obsession with television and entertainment in general. To sum it up? “Digital Witness” is an incredible song on an incredible album. – Gerry Doot

Listen: “Digital Witness

St vincent Digital-Witness

#2: Sia – “Chandelier”

Who didn’t immediately fall in love with Sia’s addictive anthem about the “girl” behind the “party girl”? With an infectious hook and poppy, soaring vocals, this 1000 Forms of Fear single reigned supreme over Top 40 radio this year. From the opening line, “Party girls don’t get hurt,” to the desperate confession, “I’m just holding on for tonight,” this electro-pop anthem helped many rationalize a night of cutting lose while providing a unique look at the self-destruction and downward spiral of the living the party lifestyle. – Mary Bonney

Listen: “Chandelier

Sia-Chandelier

#1: Future Islands – “Seasons (Waiting On You)”

Future Islands’ appeal has been evident since the group’s beginning in 2006, but it took the lead single off their fourth album — cheekily called Singles — for the mainstream world to finally recognize it. It’s no surprise really that “Seasons (Waiting For You)” is the track to thrust the group into the limelight. Sam Herring’s fantastically charismatic and lethal vocal work helps drive the song’s undeniably catchy melody, and the track breezily commands its listener with brimming confidence, something that their previous efforts seemed to lack. It also opens an album whose subsequent tracks are its equal, marking the band’s finest moment yet and ushering in the success and exposure that they deserve. – David Fisch

Listen: “Seasons (Waiting On You)

future islands seasons waiting on you