The year ahead looks to be an exciting one with the emergence of wealth of great new music waiting in the wings. Will Jessie Ware and Django Django be the toasts of 2013? Will 2013 be yet another banner year for forward-looking hip-hop and R&B? And let's not forget all the great new bands expected to break big in 2013.
Django Django and more...
With one foot in synthpop and another in gothic post-punk, it shouldn't have been a surprise to anyone that Charli XCX had seamlessly slipped a pitch-perfect cover of Echo and the Bunnymen's "The Killing Moon" into her live set by mid-2012. With only some singles, an EP, and a few mixtapes to her name, she's already in the vanguard of a hard-to-label group of young female artists for whom Siouxsie and the Banshees and the Spice Girls aren't mutually exclusive influences. This year, a V magazine cover story positioned her as the UK counterpart to Canada's Grimes and the U.S.'s Sky Ferreira, and she (as well as sometimes collaborators Ariel Rechtshaid and Devonté Hynes) was a crucial figure in a recent Pitchfork feature that contemplated the disintegrating line between indie and pop. With a stack of addictively catchy songs piling up in her live sets and on mixtapes, the big question lies in which of these will make the cut for her first album due for release in February 2013. David Bloom
Scottish trio Chvrches may on the surface appear your factory line synth-pop combo of "Knob twizzlin' blokey beardy boffins in baseball caps" and "Fragile, Bambi-eyed Cinderella on the M-I-C", but scratch the glossy surface and there's something else happenin' here. Proper pop alchemy that's bloomin' what! "The Mother We Share" and "Lies" are enormo electropop juggernauts in-waiting. Classic cut, born to fly, earworm excelsis and as addictive as a hot tub full of bath salts. Imperial pop good enough to have sat sensibly on M83's heavenly Saturdays = Youth, that's how good. Damn they even cut a respectable cover of Prince's regal "I Would Die 4 U". No pressure for the album then, eh? Matt James
Code Orange Kids
At last, the Converge legacy is becoming clear. Code Orange Kids aren't old enough to buy beer, but their credible take on that band's menacing metalcore foretells a likely forward course for a hardcore scene running out out reunions to get stoked for. With genre lines blurring further, the late-in-the-year arrival of Love Is Love // Return to Dust could prove one of the decade's most important heavy records. Multifaceted with a keen breakdown dexterity, the Pittsburgh band's impressive breadth extends from thrash-tastic pit fuel ("Flowermouth" and "Liars") to post-rock introspection ("Colors Into Nothing" and "Calm // Breathe"). Already landing opening tour slots for the likes of Gaza, 2013 will assuredly find these upstarts on the road, hopefully culminating with some deserved headlining gigs. To regurgitate a saccharine catchphrase, I believe these children are the future. Gary Suarez
Before the first note of Oshin was even recorded, DIIV had a stellar recipe for success. First, the members are from the perpetual band-generating capital of the U.S. known as Brooklyn. Secondly, the lineup consists of members of other stellar bands (Colby Hewitt -- formerly of Smith Westerns, Zachary Cole Smith has played with Beach Fossils). And finally, they are signed to the fast-growing Captured Tracks label. But DIIV's talents reach far beyond their "lucky break" pedigree. The band's shoegaze-style mix of watery guitars and poppy vocals take listeners back to the "college rock" era of the '80s, where listeners had to do a lot more legwork to track down such a sound. Take a listen to "How Long Have You Known?" and you can almost smell the must of the dark recesses of a college library. Sean McCarthy
British quartet Django Django's entry into the U.S. music scene began with blatant buzz from this year's SXSW and airplay on KCRW, KEXP and WFUV's "The Alternate Side". Confident songs such as "Hail Bop" and "Default" from the self-titled debut also provided an impressive introduction to the band. With an art rock aesthetic (the group met at an Edinburgh art school) that still embraces pop structures, their danceable tunes feature vocal harmonies chugging over an electronic backbone. They seem to add in hand claps and plenty of hand percussion just for fun. A full listen to the album finds an airy instrumental simply called "Introduction" for the first track and a wide variety of stylistic methods throughout, from the jaunty approach in "Life's a Beach" to the cultural references in "Zumm Zumm" and "Skies Over Cairo". Django Django is undaunted by conventions of any sort, refreshing and irresistible at the same time. Jane Jansen Seymour