I hate to bump Seventh Key from the top of the blog so quickly, but with 2014 filed away in the books, I'm set to announce my surprise favorite music artist from 2014: Lia Ices.
"Surprise favorite" means not counting unsurprise favorite artists like Flying Colors or Toad the Wet Sprocket. It means an artist that reached heavy playlist rotation more-or-less out of the blue, as Frankie Rose did in 2013 with "Interstellar."
As for Lia Ices, she moved from the border of the folk domain into the the realm of quirky pop. Her album "Ices" features varied rhythms, tasteful guitar parts, barbed hooks and her understated vocals. There's even a song ("Electric Arc") that isn't ruined with the use of an auto-tune, which is just short of miraculous. Ices enhances the music instead of delivering the vocal with the effect.
So check out "Higher" from her 2014 album:
The rest of the album is just as good, if not better.