Producer Jeymes Samuel, who has worked with everyone from Jay-Z to Estelle or Passion Pit, is the man behind this new U.K. hip-hop group. The first single from their upcoming debut features Jay Electronica and, oddly enough, Lucy Liu, who basically reads a poem over thick symphonic chords and a head-nodding beat. As weird as that sounds, it's awesome—and totally addictive. ELLEN CARPENTER
These electro-dance Brighton boys have opened for OMD, which, after hearing their debut single, makes tons of sense. They're living in the synth-drenched '80s, when Depeche Mode and Tears for Fears were kings, and we're loving it. EC
So we're a year late... but this gorgeous folk-pop song from Portland, Oregon's Loch Lomond is quickly becoming one of our new favorites, earning repeat play on the Nylon stereo. Street trials rider/internet sensation Danny Macaskill must love it too -- it soundtracks the incredible video of him biking from Edinburgh to the Isle of Skye, a must see.
On first listen, this doesn't sound anything like PJ Harvey. Her throaty alto is replaced by an almost whiny soprano (she sounds oddly like Neil Young) and she's backed up by a sample of Niney the Observer's reggae track "Blood and Fire." But, well, it's still PJ Harvey! And she can do no wrong! EC
When each member of a band is from a different country (Serbia, Poland, Argentina, and, um, Virginia), you know they're going to have an eclectic sound. But with their inviting guitar riffs, happy percussion and catchy lyrics, the Vanguard don't steer too far off the pop course -- this is just damn fun music. JILLIAN JOHNSON