Music festival season is almost upon us (SXSW in Austin, Coachella in Indio, and Governor's Ball in New York, to name a few), so it's the perfect time to scout out the latest talent. From an all-girl band in Brooklyn to an Irish indie rock fivesome, check out these 14 musicians who are set to have a breakthrough year in 2013.
WHAT: "Play The Game Boy"
WHY: Pop music might be ready to crown its next princess. Sierra Leon-born, London-raised singer/songwriter Aminata Kabba, who just signed to Sony Music's Epic Records in January, debuted her sassy single late last year. Put on your dancing shoes, because this get-ready-for-the-weekend jam's got an addictive chorus and fun, playful lyrics to match.
WHO: Angel Haze
WHAT: "New York"
WHY: The 20-year-old MC is already opening for Cat Power and brawling with Azealia Banks on Twitter, so clearly she's on the road to success. Her anthem "New York" (off her debut EP) was the tightest ode to NYC since the Beastie Boys' "Open Letter to New York City" (sorry, Azealia Banks), and her full-length is expected to hit this year.
WHO: Binki Shapiro
WHAT: "Here I Am"
WHY: The lovely Little Joy alum--and Beck's muse--just blessed us with a sweet new self-titled album, her debut LP with Moldy Peaches singer Adam Green. It's chock-full of sweet '60s pop and perfect for driving with the top down and the volume up.
WHO: Cillie Barnes (a.k.a. Vanessa Jeanne Long)
WHAT: "Indian Hill"
WHY: Her romantic Laurel Canyon voice (which until recently, fronted LA folk-pop band Family of the Year) drips honey over everything it touches, including her dreamy cover of Dawes' "Million Dollar." Fingers crossed there's a solo album on the sun-kissed horizon.
WHO: Faye (a.k.a. Faye Hamlin)
WHAT: "Water Against the Rocks"
WHY: This Swedish model evokes a very Florence vibe--flaming red hair and impeccable style--but her sound is anything but; it's full-on experimental synth pop that will give you that push out the door to go dancing on a Friday night.
WHY: Post-punk is alive and well and kicking and screaming thanks to this all-female UK foursome--Gemma Thompson, Jehny Beth, Ayse Hassan, and Faye Milton--who dropped their first EP, I Am Here, in 2012.
WHO: Jenny O.
WHAT: "Well OK Honey"
WHY: Her Kickstarter-funded, self-released EP Home layers brilliant lyrics over sunny Beach-Boys-meets-girl-group melodies, and her debut album Automechanic oozes guitar-strummed melancholy in all the right places.
WHY: Talent must run in the family: meet Theo and Sasha Spielberg, children of Steven Spielberg. The brother and sister act make up Wardell, and while the band's only got one song out right now--the lovely and surprisingly soulful indie pop tune "Opossum"--they're certainly gaining traction this year with a few shows lined up in Los Angeles.
WHO: Wynter Gordon
WHAT: "Still Getting Younger"
WHY: After working with electronic heavyweights like David Guetta and Deniz Koyu, Gordon's already a favorite in the world of dance music. But she's about to break through on her own in 2013: she just released her EP Sanguine, the second of her four-part Human Condition series that showcases her hypnotic voice soaring over bouncy, get-up-and-dance beats.
WHO: Meg Myers
WHAT: "After You"
WHY: Tennessee born and bred, Meg Myers tackles angry chick rock in the best Fiona Apple way possible. Her EP Daughter in the Choir is out now.
WHO: Bad Girlfriend
WHY: This Brooklyn-based all-girl band might call themselves Bad Girlfriend, but thankfully they excel in other areas, like music. Since forming in 2008, they've crafted a distinctive sound--garage rock mixed with a tinge of energy-infused pop. And did we mention they rock out on stage in Veda x Madewell jackets?
WHO: Little Green Cars
WHAT: "The John Wayne"
WHY: This Irish quintet, fronted by Stevie Appleby and Faye O'Rourke, shares the same label as folk rock favorites Mumford and Sons. You'll find them enchanting Coachella crowds this year with melodic indie rock songs like "The John Wayne," a single off their debut album Absolute Zero (which drops on March 28th). As their chorus says, "It's easy to fall in love with you."
WHO: Charli XCX
WHAT: "You're The One"
WHY: You may know 19-year-old Charlotte Aitchison from Icona Pop's track "I Love It," which was featured on a recent Girls episode. But what you didn't know? This talented English musician, better known as Charli XCX, also wrote that song and will bring her other catchy dance anthems on tour with Marina & the Diamonds and Ellie Goulding this year.
WHY: Get ready to press repeat on Karen Marie Ørsted's latest electro-pop track. The song, which is both dreamy and upbeat, features the Danish singer's sultry vocals layered over sparkly synths and an infectious clapping beat. No wonder she's being touted as the new Grimes.