Who: Angel Haze
Why: The Michigan native rapper made a splash with a series of well-received EPs and a very public Twitter feud with hip-hop firebrand Azealia Banks. Now, the music cognoscenti are waiting for her debut full-length, Dirty Gold, and SXSW shows including a spot at the always-raucous Perez Hilton party.
The Song To Know: "Werkin Girls"
Why: Sisters Jennifer and Jessie Calvin are indie veterans thanks to their time in the now-defunct Mika Miko, but even so, there’s a fresh, addictive sound to their garage-pop group Bleached, which will release its debut album, Ride Your Heart, in April.
The Song To Know: "Next Stop"
Who: Charlotte Church
Why: The Welsh crooner has been famous since she was just a tot—initially for singing classical and later for pop tunes and a tabloid-friendly personal life—but now she's courting the indie crowd for her forthcoming One & Two, a moody, electro-tinged album released on, of course, Church’s own record label.
The Song To Know: "Glitterbombed"
Why: Los Angeles-based siblings Alana, Danielle and Este Haim are already a hit in the U.K., where they've topped critics’ polls and toured with Mumford & Sons and Florence + The Machine, thanks to their R&B-tinged folk rock. Expect the band to catch on big stateside when their debut album drops this summer.
The Song To Know: "Don’t Save Me"
Who: Mykki Blanco
Why: Blanco, the female rapper persona of Michael David Quattlebaum Jr., is an actress, a poet, a model and, above all, a performer. The gender-bending rapper has a much-downloaded mix tape under her belt and an army of fans—including collaborators like Francesco Carrozzini and Flosstradamus—are awaiting the forthcoming Betty Rubble: The Initiation EP.
The Song To Know: "Feeling Special"
Who: Gus + Scout
Why: They might have famous last names—Gus' being Wenner, like Jan, and Scout's being Willis, like Bruce and Demi Moore—but this duo also has serious talent. The pair started collaborating on their sweet alt-country tunes while studying at Brown and won fans with a self-titled EP and series of live shows last summer; nowadays a full-length is in the works.
The Song To Know: "Don’t Bother You Much"
Who: Palma Violets
Why: This U.K.-based foursome forthcoming debut album, 180, is one of the year’s most anticipated thanks to huge buzz on the other side of the Atlantic, mostly thanks to the undeniably catchy single "Best of Friends," which British music bible NME named its 2012 track of the year.
The Song To Know: "Best of Friends"
Who: Autre Ne Veut
Why: Arthur Ashin, who performs as Autre Ne Veut, just released his second full-length, Anxiety, and the former jingle writer has already amassed a loyal following of fans who just can’t get enough of his thoughtful, atmospheric electronica—more can’t be far behind.
The Song To Know: "Play By Play"
Why: The New Wave-y three-piece, hailing from L.A., will release a debut album, Exhibitionists, in June, but has perked up plenty of discerning ears with the shimmery, charming songs that have already made their way out.
The Song To Know: "Geri"
Who: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Why: The legendary Australian band released its 15th album, the well-reviewed Push The Sky Away, this year and is still in fighting form. Although beloved frontman Cave has moonlighted as an author, actor and screenwriter, rocker is still the hat that suits him best.
The Song To Know: "Jubilee Street"
Who: Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Why: A rare set from one of indie rock’s most beloved bands is always excited, but the YYYs are playing SXSW in advance of their hotly anticipated new album Mosquito, set to be released in April.
The Song To Know: "Sacrilege"
Who: Parquet Floors
Why: This New York-based band won’t be a big hit in Texas just because its members met there—as students at Denton’s University of North Texas—but because of the smart, sharp songs that make the group’s debut, Light Up Gold, one of the year’s most lauded records.
The Song To Know: "Borrowed Time"