For all of the artists featured in this year’s NME 100, 2023 is a blank slate. While the general landscape of music may still have an uncertain air about it – live audiences are still largely below pre-pandemic levels, while the cost of living crisis is impacting artists, fans and live venues alike – these brilliant new acts are creating a musical storm and continuing to push forward despite the challenges. It’s enough to give us plenty of optimism about what lies ahead in the coming 12 months: perhaps it’s time, then, to learn from these rising musicians, who have been proactively taking control of their own destiny ahead of what they hope will be their biggest year yet.

This collective fighting spirit can be identified in the underground, community-driven scenes that have started to emerge in recent months. Drum‘n’bass is being largely freshened up by young, female and often unsigned artists, who are mixing a DIY mindset with supersized beats. British guitar music, meanwhile, is evolving with an electronic, rave-inspired sheen, while heavier sounds are continuing to expand particularly within alternative rock and hardcore, with more and more acts from the latter successfully breaking into the mainstream. The message is clear: as the richness and variety of new music continues to persist, there are simply no rules any more.

Every musician has earned their place in the NME 100 by blazing new paths forward, and I’m confident that they’ll deliver some of the most dynamic and boundary-pushing music of the next 12 months. There’ll be plenty more fantastic surprises to come as NME Radar enters its biggest year yet, but, for now, I encourage you to dig into this list and revel in the thrill of discovery as you encounter your new favourite artist. There’s no other feeling quite like it.

Sophie Williams, Associate Commissioning Editor (New Music)

Contributors: Alex Flood, Andrew Trendell, Andy Brown, Aneesa Ahmed, Ben Jolley, Ben Madden, David James Young, Derrick Tan, El Hunt, Ellie Robinson, Erica Campbell, Fred Garratt-Stanley, Gladys Yeo, Hannah Mylrea, Jake Tucker, Jenessa Williams, Karen Gwee, Kyann-Sian Williams, Max Pilley, Rhian Daly, Rhys Buchanan, Sam Moore, Sophie Williams, Surej Singh, Thomas Smith, Will Richards

49th & Main

49th & Main

Inclusive dance-pop that conveys the overwhelming joy of recovery

From: Kilkenny, Ireland
For fans of: Hot Chip, Two Door Cinema Club
Why you’re going to love them: 49th & Main’s existence is inspired by member Ben O’Sullivan’s diagnosis with a rare blood disease, and the group’s euphoric highs are a beautiful, important ode to making the most of the time you have. With the kaleidoscopic, adventurous energy of The Avalanches and the pop sensibilities of something more likely to trouble the top of the charts, they’ve hit upon a brilliant hybrid.
Key track: ‘Believe In Love’ WR

1300

1300

Powerhouse collective fusing K-pop’s swagger with razor-sharp hip-hop

From: Sydney, Australia
For fans of: Clipping, Beenzino
Why you’re going to love them: Character surges through every second of 1300’s catalogue, its members mining five unique musical palettes and blending them together. Their bars are brilliantly brash, delivered in both English and Korean. Their verses meld fantastically with beats channelling ‘Yeezus’-era Kanye through the ears of a rave junkie: bold, glitchy and manic, often all at once.
Key track: ‘Oldboy’ ER

A1 x J1

A1 x J1

Upbeat teenage pop-rap duo destined for the biggest stages

From: Coventry/Kent, UK
For fans of: Aitch, Tion Wayne
Why you’re going to love them: Despite being barely out of school, A1 x J1 have achieved massive success over the past few years – and it’s all thanks to the once-popular lockdown app, Houseparty. The two rappers met on the now-defunct video platform in 2020, leading to the formation of their playful and sample-heavy pop-rap. It’s clearly a musical match made in heaven: they’ve built up a huge following already, and were nominated for Song Of The Year at last year’s BRIT Awards. This is surely only the beginning of A1 x J1’s rise to the pinnacle of the UK rap scene.
Key track: ‘Latest Trends’ SM

Alice Longyu Gao

Alice Longyu Gao

Future pop hero exploring a new kind of maximalism

From: Bengbu, China
For fans of: Grimes, Jai Paul
Why you’re going to love them: Listening to Alice Longyu Gao’s music is a unique experience. The Chinese-born, US-based rising star utilises an abundance of genres, from from trap music (‘Rich Bitch Juice’) to J-pop (‘I <3 Harajuku’). As she mashes together these wild sonic influences and filters them through a distorted lens, Gao is reimagining what pop could be.
Key track: ‘Underrated Popstar’ KSW

Anish Kumar

Anish Kumar

UK dance music’s brightest new hope

From: Washington, UK
For fans of: Daft Punk, Daphni
Why you’re going to love them: Having already received seals of approval from Dan Snaith (Daphni, Caribou) and Four Tet, Anish Kumar is well on his way to becoming a leading new light in electronic music. The disco-meets-house creations that populated his vibrant 2022 projects ‘Postcards’ and ‘Bollywood Super Hits!’ won him even more admirers last year, with more new music on the way in 2023 – that’s if Kumar can get a moment away from the degree in veterinary medicine he’s currently studying for at the University of Cambridge, mind.
Key track: ‘Steamroller’ SM

Babyface Mal

Babyface Mal

Turkish-Egyptian rapper’s broad versatility matches his vision

From: Melbourne, Australia
For fans of: Skepta, Central Cee
Why you’re going to love them: Babyface Mal’s reputation as a direct and fearless wordsmith precedes him – especially when he jumps on a drill beat. In 2022, he expanded his sound, appearing on slow jams and pump-up anthems while dishing out quotable bars in Arabic and English. Mixing the grit of the streets with the style and swagger of the A-list, Babyface Mal’s bringing the heat to Burn City – and beyond.
Key track: ‘Ya Rab’ BM

Balming Tiger

Balming Tiger

Alternative K-pop collective bringing real grit to the scene

From: Seoul, South Korea
For fans of: Brockhampton, 100 gecs
Why you’re going to love them: Based in Seoul’s multicultural hub of Itaewon, Balming Tiger represent a world without boundaries. Comprising a gang of friends formed online from Korea, China and Japan, the group from K-pop’s underground isn’t just made up of singers, rappers and producers, but directors, DJs and other creatives. They all contribute to a colourful, chaotic world that veers from squelchy R&B grooves (‘Just Fun!’) to distorted trips (‘Loop’) and slinky rap (‘Sexy Nukim’). It’s much less polished than K-pop is typically considered, but gritty and gloriously fun.
Key track: ‘Just Fun!’ RD

BAYLI

BAYLI

After trading punk for pop, few influences are off limits for this New Yorker

From: New York, US
For fans of: Slayyyter, Tkay Maidza
Why you’re going to love them: Originally the ringleader of Rick Rubin-approved rock band The Skins, BAYLI’s new solo era knits together the influences of both Ella Fitzgerald and Grimes. Her strangely well-suited blend of futuristic pop and subtle hints of classic soul has already landed her co-signs from Mura Masa, Shygirl, and the late producer SOPHIE.
Key track: ‘Sushi for Breakfast’ EH

Beckah Amani

Beckah Amani

Indie-pop that bursts at the seams with rootsy colour

From: Dnuta, Tanzania
For fans of: Clairo, Lime Cordiale
Why you’re going to love them: Beckah Amani is a master at “falling apart and making it look like art”, as she put it herself on the title track of her 2022 debut EP, ‘April’. Drawing from a well of emotions, she distils a lowkey take on growth, made poignant with lyrics that are at once soulful and sweet. Amani’s biggest musical strength is her worldliness: she was born in Tanzania, raised in Australia before finding a home in London, and now she spins her experiences through a kaleidoscope of indie, folk, worldbeat, pop and R&B.
Key track: ‘Lebeka Leka’ ER

Been Stellar

Been Stellar

Rejuvenating guitar rock with all of the grit and none of the frills

From: New York, US
For fans of: Interpol, Metric
Why you’re going to love them: Fresh-faced guitar bands from New York City who wax lyrical about downtown scenes can rarely avoid comparisons to The Strokes. But Been Stellar’s sinister and sprawling guitar riffs, rapid percussion and brooding lyrics give the band’s sound a healthy dose of angst, separating them from the leaders of The Big Apple’s last rock boom. With punctuating tracks that include spoken-word observations of NYC tourists, the band are a welcome lurch forward for city-born indie rock with a sound that nods to the past without trying to replicate it.
Key track: ‘Manhattan Youth’ EC

Bellah

Bellah

Innovative, emotionally-charged R&B from the genre’s next big star

From: London, UK
For fans of: SZA, Cat Burns
Why you’re going to love them: Bellah is a future R&B superstar. Her poignant tunes have already earned her a MOBO Award nomination, and co-signs from SZA and Ella Mai. It’s not hard to see why: filled with slinky production, gut-punch lyricism and Bellah’s stunning, crystalline vocals, it’s a magical combination.
Key track: ‘Garden’ HM

Bingo Fury

Bingo Fury

Noir piano ballads served with a side of no-wave jazz

From: Bristol, UK
For fans of: Father John Misty, John Grant
Why you’re going to love them: Led by Jack Ogborne, Bingo Fury’s music is infused with the mood of a smoky jazz club, based around his sprawling beat poetry which he delivers while hunched over – we presume – a rickety, cigar-stained piano. Tracks like ‘The Phone’ and ‘Birchall & Kings’ take strange, discordant left turns, incorporating squalling guitars and polyrhythmic percussion. The Bingo Fury world is only just beginning to reveal itself, but it is already unlike anything else.
Key track: ‘The Phone’ MP

Blazer Boccle

Blazer Boccle

Northern rap prospect who’s animated enough to be the life of any party

From: Bradford, UK
For fans of: The Streets, Kano
Why you’re going to love them: Dig out your bucket hat and brightest chunky trainers, because this Yorkshire’s newcomer’s brand of brash, personality-driven rap is best listened to en-route to a summertime rave. His stories of estate life are endlessly entertaining while maintaining an emotional core, while the 27-year-old is able to switch flows with the ease and frequency of the weather up North. Trust us, these alcopop-infused tunes are worth braving the hangover for.
Key track: ‘Boppin’’ SW

Blondshell

Blondshell

The next great gloom-rocker

From: Los Angeles, US
For fans of: Indigo De Souza, Soccer Mommy
Why you’re going to love them: If emotionally-cutting, grungey indie is where you prefer to do your wallowing, say hello to Blondshell: the LA-based Sabrina Teitelbaum dishes out caustic wit, brutal honesty and brilliant tunes with precision. Little surprise that the solo act hit the road as one of Porridge Radio’s openers across the US last year given the emotional depth of her two standout singles, ‘Olympus’ and ‘Kiss City’. Something great could be happening here…
Key track: ‘Olympus’ TS

Bloody Civilian

Bloody Civilian

Smouldering political pop that’s already soundtracking blockbusters

From: Abuja, Nigeria
For fans of: Rihanna, Tems
Why you’re going to love them: In the grand scheme of things, getting a phone call from Marvel before you’ve even released a debut single isn’t a bad way to kick things off. It’s easy to see why the comics giant tapped Bloody Civilian (born Emoseh Khamofu) up for the soundtrack of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, too – her music grapples dexterously with the injustices that permeate through everyday life like a poison, with a fearless anger bubbling just under the surface.
Key track: ‘How To Kill A Man’ EH

Caity Baser

Caity Baser

A sharp-witted and headstrong pop star for a new age

From: Southampton, UK
For fans of: Lily Allen, The Streets
Why you’re going to love them: Crafting tongue-in-cheek tunes that tear down shitty exes (‘X&Y’), falling for your friends-with-benefits (‘Friendly Sex’) and the frustration of a crush not making the first move (‘Kiss You’), Caity Baser is fast becoming pop’s wittiest new songwriter – and we’re not the only ones who think so. Her shows at Reading & Leeds 2022 on the BBC Introducing Stage were some of the busiest of the weekend, and last November she sold out London’s XOYO, twice.
Key track: ‘X&Y’ HM

Cassyette

Cassyette

Poppy hits and punchy rock combine to create an essential emo spectacle

From: Essex, UK
For fans of: Creeper, Evanescence
Why you’re going to love them: Emo music has taken on many forms over the years, and yet somehow, Cassyette manages to make dabbling in all of them look truly effortless. Whether the Essex heavy emo revivalist, who supported My Chemical Romance on tour last year, is leading screamo-tinged stomps (‘September Rain’, ‘Petrichor’) or going all-out with confident pop-punk bangers like ‘Sad Girl Summer’, she remains a defiant virtuoso throughout.
Key track: ‘September Rain’ AB

Charlotte Plank

Charlotte Plank

Leading the charge of the drum’n’bass-meets-pop movement

From: London, UK
For fans of: Charli XCX, Nia Archives
Why you’re going to love them: Drum’n’bass-meets-pop exploded into life in 2022, and 21-year-old vocalist Charlotte Plank is one of the emerging scene’s rave-loving leaders. Initially mentored by Naughty Boy and with an O2 Academy Brixton performance with Rudimental already under her belt, Plank’s solo releases to date sonically fuse her eclectic artistic inspirations (Amy Winehouse, Nirvana, The Prodigy) with dark, filthy basslines. Plank is also a key member of the ever-growing Loud LDN collective alongside Piri and Venbee.
Key track: ‘Lost Boys’ BDJ

Clavish

Clavish

Rap upstart with a call to action that encourages power and self-belief

From: London, UK
For fans of: Krept and Konan, Loski
Why you’re going to love them: Across 2022, a prolific succession of hard-hitting freestyles and singles cemented Clavish’s status as a seriously exciting UK rap prospect. Accompanied by smooth, powerful visuals that chart the north London rapper’s rise towards the finer things in life, tracks like ‘Public Figure’ and ‘Fashion Week Freestyle’ have gathered Clavish a strong core following, and it’s easy to see why. His bars are jammed with clever wordplay and delivered with a calmness and clarity that many rappers his age would kill for. If the consistency and quality doesn’t drop, it’s only a matter of time before Clavish becomes a household name.
Key track: ‘Greece’ FGS

Cowboyy

Cowboyy

Rhythmic shredders running wild off an outlaw spirit

From: Portsmouth, UK
For fans of: Jack White, Dry Cleaning
Why you’re going to love them: Cowboyy was the name wagging on industry tongues at Brighton’s The Great Escape festival last May. The band hadn’t even released a single back then; instead, they were channelling their energy into compelling live shows that brought to mind the early, trailblazing flare of Black Midi and Black Country, New Road. Frontman Stanley Powell could well be the guitar hero for a new generation as he shreds out thrilling solos while spitting poetic ramblings under his stetson. Yeehaw!
Key track: ‘Gmaps’ RB

Crawlers

Crawlers

New rock heroes with big ideas and even bigger riffs

From: Liverpool, UK
For fans of: Paramore, Yungblud
Why you’re going to love them: Using your music to say something isn’t necessarily important for all artists, but it’s at the heart of what Merseyside’s Crawlers do – and do best. Over the last couple of years, they’ve become synonymous with moving and powerful songwriting that has a big impact, using their songs to bond a like-minded community over subjects like mental illness, trauma, and social justice. That their tracks are massive bangers only makes their eventual takeover of rock more inevitable.
Key track: ‘Fuck Me (I Didn’t How To Say)’ RD

Cucamaras

Cucamaras

Towering post-punk from the dark heart of the Midlands

From: Nottingham, UK
For fans of: Savages, Shame
Why you’re going to love them: The wonderful city of Notts has never given us a ‘scene’ so to speak of, but instead a wealth of acts who tread their own path. Upstart four-piece Cucamaras are symptomatic of that spirit – a fiercely independent band that tackle societal ills and nod to Baudrillard without sounding wanky. Wandering from breakneck post-punk to more rhythmic corners, there’s an urgency and zeitgeist-smashing greatness here waiting to blow apart the mundanity of your grim everyday existence.
Key track: ‘Winners Chapel’ AT

CVC

CVC

Psych-rock six-piece on a mission to revive retro rock sounds

From: Cardiff, UK
For fans of: The Zombies, The Strokes
Why you’re going to love them: Big riffs and even bigger tunes made this buzzy band of schoolmates a huge deal on their local touring circuit last year. Now they’re looking to break out of their hometown, with a cracking debut album of feelgood, uber-retro gems on the way. Stay tuned.
Key track: ‘Good Morning Vietnam’ AF

D4vd

D4vd

Texan teen’s DIY spirit is sparking mainstream attention

From: Houston, US
For fans of: Billie Eilish, Wallows
Why you’re going to love them: The Houston teenager has had quite an astonishing breakthrough. He first turned to music – and music creation app BandLab – to avoid his clips from video game Fortnite from being pulled for copyright infringement. By October 2022, his track ‘Romantic Homicide’ had asserted itself into the US singles charts and beyond, and landed a deal with Billie Eilish’s label, Darkroom. That song – among the rest of his oeuvre – is suitably dark, twisted and, in places, hopeful. Perfectly apt for a distinctly modern creative.
Key track: ‘Romantic Homicide’ TS

Debbie

Debbie

Solid-gold proof that UK R&B will live forever

From: London, UK
For fans of: Summer Walker, Cleo Sol
Why you’re going to love them: This 0207 Def Jam signee has a once-in-a-generation vocal. Forget the current rhetoric that there aren’t enough budding stars to help the UK R&B ascend to new levels; Debbie’s soothing, soulful voice and intimate songwriting proves that she is leading the genre’s ever-expanding pool of new musical talent.
Key track: ‘Cherry Wine’ KSW

Dilaw

Dilaw

Beat-loving group stretching themselves to the outer limits

From: Baguio, Philippines
For fans of: Jacob Collier, Tom Misch
Why you’re going to love them: Refusing to bound themselves to any one genre, Dilaw have made it their modus operandi to switch up their sound with every release. Expect the unexpected from the Filipino duo as they deliver swanky jazz jams, soaring rock choruses, and everything in between.
Key track: ‘Kaloy’ SS

Doechii

Doechii

Ridiculously talented new TDE signee deserves to be massive

From: Tampa, US
For fans of: Erykah Badu, Rico Nasty
Why you’re going to love them: Inspired by Paramore and Nicki Minaj in more or less equal measure, Doechii’s dexterous storytelling and genre-blending sets her apart as one of the most exciting new voices in rap. All too often hype can jolt artists into rushing their roll-outs, but so far everything this Tampa artist touches has been marked with a consistent level of patience and care. Few other artists racing straight out the gates feel this exciting and fully-formed.
Key track: ‘Persuasive’ EH

Dolores Forever

Dolores Forever

Dreamy indie duo churning out ready-made festival anthems

From: Copenhagen, Denmark / Leeds, UK
For fans of: Mitski, Sharon Van Etten
Why you’re going to love them: After meeting at a house party in London, Hannah Wilson (from Leeds) and Julia Fabrin (from Copenhagen), connected over their love of Stevie Nicks and the Spice Girls. The resulting creative collaboration is filled with infectious hooks and lush harmonies that would make anyone proud, and has already taken them to big stages at Reading & Leeds
Key track: ‘Baby Teeth’ AF

Dylan

Dylan

Laser-focused guitarist with the ambition of a new scene leader

From: Suffolk, UK
For fans of: Avril Lavigne, Olivia Rodrigo
Why you’re going to love them: Last summer, somewhere between her Ed Sheeran support slots and sold-out shows on both sides of the Atlantic, it officially became Dylan season. The punk-y upstart has been riding high ever since: her debut mixtape blazed into the UK Top 20, led by songs that highlighted her powerful and engaging voice which can move with ease from a direct, conversational style to a head-turning howl. Her willingness to dive headfirst into the pop-sphere suggests a rising star at peace with the non-stop pace of the inevitably long career ahead of her.
Key track: ‘Girl Of Your Dreams’ SW

Eaves Wilder

Eaves Wilder

Raucous alt-pop and teenage angst with a ‘90s spin

From: London, UK
For fans of: Wet Leg, Wolf Alice
Why you’re going to love them: North London teen Eaves Wilder celebrated her recent signing to indie stalwarts Secretly Canadian by releasing a grunge-tinged track about sexism and revenge, singing “I’ve never been a mother / But I’ve mothered men” over fuzzy guitars. It’s a warning shot of what’s to come from the young artist, who started releasing music at just 16 and has since transmuted her adolescent struggles into alt-pop bops with poignant songwriting. Wilder’s music is brimming with quick wit, honest storytelling and enough ‘90s rock references to give it timeless staying power.
Key track: ‘I Stole Your Jumper’ EC

Eli Smart

Eli Smart

Bringing a guitar-led burst of Hawaiian sunshine to Liverpool and beyond

From: Kauai, US
For fans of: Mac DeMarco, Steve Lacy
Why you’re going to love them: Now based in Liverpool, Eli Smart has brought the laidback and sun-kissed vibe of his native Kauai, Hawaii to Merseyside with his growing collection of smooth guitar groovers. Smart’s falsetto vocals, a key facet of his November EP ‘Aloha Soul 1’, add to the dream-like wonder of much of his recorded output, creating a perfect accompaniment to walking by the water of either the River Mersey or the Pacific Ocean.
Key track: ‘Baby Benzing’ SM

Eliza Rose

Eliza Rose

Chart-topping DJ, producer and singer with a knack for a poppy chorus

From: London, UK
For fans of: Fred again., Katy B
Why you’re going to love them: East London’s Flashback Records is a mecca for vinyl-collecting raveheads, offering the history of dance music at the fingertips. No wonder former employee Rose’s breakthrough tune ‘B.O.T.A. (Baddest of Them All)’ with Interplanetary Criminal had something of all the greats in it, nodding to ‘00s UK garage and the house scenes all over the world, on its way to Number One in the UK last year. Expect more bangers to spice up this summer’s festival sets.
Key track: ‘B.O.T.A. (Baddest of Them All)’ TS

ENOLA

ENOLA

Apocalyptic post-punk with a metallic aftertaste

From: Melbourne, Australia
For fans of: PJ Harvey, Fontaines D.C.
Why you’re going to love them: With a sound that can go from pin-drop quiet to bomb-blast loud, ENOLA has begun turning heads in Australia with off the back of a handful of singles alone, from the tumbling ‘Strange Comfort’ to the spirited ‘Metal Body’. They throw pained, emotive vocals against a wall of radiating guitars, resulting in a heavy rock sound that feels truly alternative.
Key track: ‘Metal Body’ DJY

Etta Marcus

Etta Marcus

Bowie-esque shapeshifter embodying Gen Z’s genre-fluid personality

From: London, UK
For fans of: Perfume Genius, Bat For Lashes
Why you’re going to love them: “Failure is the key to success,” goes the old adage, and in terms of Etta Marcus’ path to stardom, that appears to be true. The south Londoner began making exploratory pop after she got kicked out of jazz school as a teen, and her early singles alternately evoke goth-rock and sprawling, expressive guitar melodies. Marcus knows her boundless approach to pop fits the current landscape, and she’s proudly taken that as carte blanche to do what she wants.
Key track: ‘Crown’ SW

FelixThe1st

FelixThe1st

Unapologetically confident rap star with rockstar ambition

From: London, UK
For fans of: Kojey Radical, De’Wayne
Why you’re going to love them: With his heavy rock-inspired production and KISS-inspired face makeup, this Londoner has been praised for his riotous energy as he rebels against the status quo of the UK’s rap scene. As a versatile rapper, dancer and visual artist, he is certainly a jack of all trades – and one of the most exciting underground stars out there.
Key track: ‘Block & Delete’ KSW

FLO

FLO

Harmonious trio making girl power great again

From: London, UK
For fans of: Destiny’s Child, Sugababes
Why you’re going to love them: They’re not even 21 yet, but Stella, Reneé and Jorja are already being cited as the strongest girl group that the UK has seen in quite some time. Breakout single ‘Cardboard Box’ was massive on TikTok last summer, a breezy no-fucks-given anthem about rounding up the belongings of a good-for-nothing ex. The early Destiny’s Child similarities are patently obvious, but there is an inherent Britishness to FLO’s sassy one-liners that mark them out as future icons in their own right.
Key Track: ‘Cardboard Box’ JW

Flower.far

Flower.far

Thai R&B newcomer with a singular, velvety voice

From: Hai Yat, Thailand
For fans of: Raveena, Joyce Wrice
Why you’re going to love them: Flower.far is a 21-year-old from the Southern Thai city of Hai Yat – but you don’t need to know anything about her to fall right in love with her impressive vocal control. The two tracks she’s released so far undercut a melancholic outlook on the world with a desire to nurse a personal heartbreak, and should be instant additions to your R&B playlist.
Key track: ‘Like A Fool’ KG

Flowerovlove

Flowerovlove

Sun-drenched indie-pop to brush away the winter blues

From: London, UK
For fans of: Holly Humberstone, Easy Life
Why you’re going to love them: Coupling luminous hooks and lo-fi production with genre-spanning influences – earlier cuts boast flecks of Tame Impala-style psychedelia; recent belter ‘Get With You’ boasts scuzzy guitars – the 17-year-old has created her own-brand of modern indie ready-made for festival stages. She’s a young, laser-focused artist who translates her innermost feelings into colourful, life-affirming moments.
Key track: ‘I Gotta I Gotta’ HM

French The Kid

French The Kid

Swaggering star paying homage to the past and future of his heritage

From: Essex, UK
For fans of: Wretch 32, Morrisson
Why you’re going to love them: One of UK rap’s most original voices, Essex rhymer French The Kid burst onto the scene in 2020 with one of the most-watched Daily Duppy freestyles ever; his USP is an ability to switch fluidly between rapping in English and French. A bilingual rapper with Irish heritage and strong links to the traveller community, his work is the product of cross-cultural experiences, and his witty, punchline-packed bars showcase a knack for translating those ties into relatable lyrics.
Key track: ‘Thrill’ FGS

Girl Scout

Girl Scout

The result of prodigious talent meeting eclectic rock inspiration

From: Stockholm, Sweden
For fans of: Be your own PET, The Smile
Why you’re going to love them: There is an urgency to Girl Scout’s garage-rock sound that demands you pay attention. Their debut single ‘Do You Remember Sally Moore?’ tells a story of unrequited teenage love, while ‘All The Time and Everywhere’ is about being overwhelmed by anxiety. What could be more relatable in 2023? Girl Scout’s debut EP comes out in February – be sure to mark your calendars.
Key track: ‘Do You Remember Sally Moore?’ JT

GloRilla

GloRilla

Grammy-nominated hitmaker from the Dirty South

From: Nashville, US
For fans of: Cardi B, Lola Brooke
Why you’re going to love them: In just eight months, GloRilla has achieved more than your typical rising star: after breakthrough single ‘FNF’ established her as a shit-hot name in the US rap world, while follow-up ‘Tomorrow 2’ – a party anthem that saw her team up with her “cousin” and mentor Cardi B – stormed the US charts. The latter song has since gone on to earn the 23-year-old a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Performance, proving that the love is undeniably vast for this southern hip-hop star.
Key track: ‘Unh Unh’ KSW

Gretel Hänlyn

Gretel Hänlyn

Dynamic guitarist crushing indie sleaze under her gothic cowboy boot

From: London, UK
For fans of: Nilüfer Yanya, Pip Blom
Why you’re going to love them: If subversive indie is your thing, Gretel Hänlyn is likely to be the next artist dominating your Spotify playlist. It’s easy to miss the brilliance of her observational one-liners the first time around, but there is a delightful pleasure to peeling back the layers, getting under the skin of her melodic, messy tales.
Key Track: ‘Drive’ JW

Guernica Club

Guernica Club

Dreamy, delicate synth-pop that’s both expansive and emotional

From: Jakarta, Indonesia
For fans of: Men I Trust, No Vacation
Why you’re going to love them: Picture a venn diagram of synth-pop and city pop. Indonesian quartet Guernica Club stand at the centre, though their latest singles, ‘Thinkin’ Bout Me’ and ‘Wheel Chain’, find them transcending those core influences. Dreamlike vocals, sumptuous strings, and wandering instrumental passages on both synth and guitar will have you falling right in love with Guernica Club.
Key track: ‘Wheel Chain’ KG

Hannah Grae

Hannah Grae

Punky songwriter ditching the rose-tinted glasses to document the realities of youth

From: Port Talbot, UK
For fans of: Wolf Alice, Faye Webster
Why you’re going to love them: Making it through high school and the years that follow is difficult at the best of times, not least when you’re being told this fraught period should be the greatest time of your life. Hannah Grae counters that notion in her spiky, punk-influenced missives penned from the eye of the storm, letting rage, envy and uncomfortable feelings fly while creating a new soundtrack of catharsis for when times get tough.
Key track: ‘Time Of Your Life’ RD

Hazey

Hazey

High-tempo, percussion-centric Scouse fire

From: Liverpool, UK
For fans of: ArrDee, Aystar
Why you’re going to love them: Hazey’s explosive breakout track ‘Packs and Potions’ encapsulates his artistic blueprint. Spitting relentless bars over a funky percussion sequence, he channels elements of the Brazilian grime subgenre Baile Funk, while placing his proud Scouse identity at the forefront of his lyricism and visuals. By tapping into the popular UK drill trend of sampling dance classics but doing it in a fun, genuinely unique way (‘Bringing it Back’ cleverly reworked Baianá anthem ‘Barbatuques’), Hazey has developed an exciting voice.
Key track: ‘Packs and Potions’ FGS

Heartworms

Heartworms

Gothic cyber-punk meets indie to strike fear and make you move

From: London, UK
For fans of: Warpaint, Grimes
Why you’re going to love them: Freshly signed to midas touch producer Dan Carey’s cult treasure trove label Speedy Wunderground (The Lounge Society, Honeyglaze), Jojo Orme, aka Heartworms, has made a name for herself with her conquering post-punk sound and Manics’ ‘Holy Bible’-esque military garb. Inspired by the darker corners of ‘80s indie, the mesmeric sounds of early Interpol and the pure power of PJ Harvey, Heartworms’ world is a gloomy but opulent one – a lyrical fist in the face of mediocrity. Get dark and get down.
Key track: ‘Consistent Dedication’ AT

Hemlocke Springs

Hemlocke Springs

Bright and breezy bangers from a surprise social media sensation

From: Concord, US
For fans of: Ethel Cain, Grimes
Why you’re going to love them: As a back-up plan to med school, you could do worse than become an indie TikTok star. Originally on a more academic path, Masters student Isimeme Udu posted upbeat synth bop ‘Gimme All Ur Luv’ online one night before going to bed. When she woke up, the track had gone viral – and making music wasn’t just a fun hobby anymore.
Key track: ‘Girlfriend’ AF

Heriot

Heriot

A roaring collision of massive metal influences

From: Swindon, UK
For fans of: Slipknot, Napalm Death
Why you’re going to love them: If you could bottle the aggression, wrath and rage of a mosh pit that’s spiralled out of control, you would be left with Heriot: an uncompromising metalcore band who approach their instruments like they’re a set of punching bags. Their 2022 debut EP ‘Profound Morality’ was an eight-track testament to the band’s haphazard experimental sound, which is best described as an acidic blend of death metal, sludge and industrial noise. Yet Heriot’s fiery brand of metal is still too diverse to label – and that’s exactly why you should be listening to them.
Key track: ‘Carmine (Fills the Hollow)’ AB

Humour

Humour

The next exciting step forward for British post-punk

From: Glasgow, UK
For fans of: Shame, The Walkmen
Why you’re going to love them: Since forming in Glasgow during 2021’s lockdown, Humour have signed to So Young Records for a superbly exciting debut EP and become a honed and thrilling live act. Over tight and sprightly post-punk, vocalist Andreas Christodoulidis is a superbly charismatic narrator, taking you down all manner of paths while his band hammer away at music as catchy as it is raucous.
Key track: ‘Yeah, Mud!’ WR

Ice Spice

Ice Spice

The new champion of hot girl rap

From: New York, US
For fans of: Cardi B, CupcakKe
Why you’re going to love them: What’s cooler than being cool? The answer here is Ice Spice, the Bronx’s latest rap star. The 23-year-old went viral on TikTok – and changed the culture with a new coinage – with ‘Munch (Feeling U)’, before proving she wasn’t a flash in the pan with its follow-up ‘Bikini Bottom’. “How can I lose when I’m already chose?” she asked on the latter.
Key track: ‘Bikini Bottom’ KG

Insincere

Insincere

Cocksure punk-rap that has caught the attention of millions of TikTokers

From: London, UK
For fans of: For Those I Love, Slowthai
Why you’re going to love them: With just four released songs to their name, Insincere might seem like something of an unknown quantity. But that’s before you factor in that the London trio have racked up 3.6 million streams of their quietly raging single ‘Angels Don’t Fuck’ after it went viral on TikTok in 2022. “The more people get to know us as artists, the more it becomes obvious that you can’t put a label on us,” producer Alex Coulson told NME last year – we’re not the only ones who are eager to get to know Insincere more in 2023.
Key track: ‘Angels Don’t Fuck’ SM

IVE

IVE

Radiant six-piece hit the bullseye on a sophisticated K-pop sound

From: Seoul, South Korea
For fans of: TWICE, GFRIEND
Why you’re going to love them: With three consecutive hits under their belt, IVE are poised to be the next K-pop icons. The sextet make uplifting, dance-oriented music designed to boost self-esteem and confidence. Although IVE feature ‘it’ girl Jang Wonyoung and leader An Yu-jin (both formerly of IZ*ONE), other members also add dimension to the dynamic group: Gaeul volleys icy raps with Rei, while Liz and Leeseo hold the fort with direct and powerful vocals.
Key track: ‘Love Dive’ DT

J. Maya

J. Maya

Alt-pop ditties that are as clever as they are catchy

From: Los Angeles, US
For fans of: Griff, Sigrid
Why you’re going to love them: A former pun champion (yes, really!), J. Maya’s smart wordplay is key to her music; for example, ‘Crossword’ cleverly uses the titular puzzle’s trademark clues, while ‘Achilles Heel’ sees her go deep on Greek mythology. Coupling this playful lyricism with catchy melodies and striking production, the LA-based artist’s whip-smart tunes get an A+ from us.
Key track: ‘Machine Learning’ HM

Katie Gregson-MacLeod

Katie Gregson-MacLeod

Gen Z’s answer to Adele

From: Inverness, UK
For fans of: Adele, Matt Maltese
Why you’re going to love them: After Gregson-MacLeod’s poignant ‘Complex (Demo)’ went viral last summer – with stars like Camila Cabello and Madison Beer covering the tune – the Scottish artist proved she was far from a one-hit-wonder with her stellar second EP, ‘Songs Written For Piano’. Coupling raw vulnerability with gorgeous vocals and slick songwriting know-how, the five-track effort offered a glimpse of the 21-year-old’s immense potential.
Key track: ‘White Lies’ HM

Kinder Bloomen

Kinder Bloomen

Dizzying psychedelic rock mixed with intricate jazz sounds

From: South Jakarta, Indonesia
For fans of: King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard, Kamasi Washington
Why you’re going to love them: Spacey vocals, intricate rhythms, dreamy fuzz and bluesy trumpets are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Indonesian six-piece Kinder Bloomen. Inspired by the likes of Kamasi Washington, Led Zeppelin, Sigur Rós and more, the band expertly pull from the best elements of their heroes to craft their own unique sound.
Key track: ‘Do You Barbarians Speak?’ SS

Jim Legxacy

Jim Legxacy

Londoner encapsulating – and perfecting – the sound of today

From: London, UK
For fans of: Tracy Chapman, JPEGMAFIA
Why you’re going to love them: Upon the release of his single ‘PowerTrip!’, the south Londoner said that he wanted to lean into the critiques people had of his music, and those who think they know better. But who could possibly claim to know better than our Jim? His songs are full of such sincerity and passion, as he blends love for alt-rock, US rap, trap and beyond, it’s hard to imagine anyone questioning his vision. Start with ‘dj’, then dig into the prolific musician’s bountiful back catalogue – there’s some real treasures in there.
Key track: ‘dj’ TS

KhakiKid

KhakiKid

Uber-catchy raps from a confident artist who is already dreaming big

From: Dublin, Ireland
For fans of: Anderson .Paak, Mac Miller
Why you’re going to love them: KhakiKid is already seeing the big picture. “I see [my] ‘Elevator Music’ EP as the opening soundtrack to a movie that’s being written in real-time,” he said back in September upon the release of his latest project. Recalling the laidback, jazz-tinged raps of his late hero Mac Miller and fellow Irish wordsmith Rejjie Snow, KhakiKid is quietly confident that the next scene of his “movie in real-time” will see him ascend to the next level.
Key track: ‘Shlumped Up’ SM

Kneecap

Kneecap

Irish Republican rap-punk provocateurs inciting the fury of politicians

From: Belfast, Northern Ireland
For fans of: Kojaque, Beastie Boys
Why you’re going to love them: A whirlwind of hedonistic fury, Kneecap have been deemed “insidious” and “offensive” by Northern Ireland’s Unionist leaders for refusing to temper their avowedly Republican messaging. Rapping in English and Irish, their acerbic wit and fearless stunts make them impossible to ignore, whether they are recreating legendary nights out or brandishing incendiary sectarian imagery on stage. This generation’s Irish rebel music has arrived.
Key track: ‘Get Your Brits Out’ MP

Lambrini Girls

Lambrini Girls

Satirical punk rock with a savage bite

From: Brighton, UK
For fans of: Nova Twins, Bikini Kill
Why you’re going to love them: Loud and venomous, this punk trio are holding nothing back as they tear misogyny, masculinity and the male gaze to shreds. Scathingly funny lyrics lend each of their tracks an edge of wit, while the band’s fusillade of urgent guitar riffs and thumping drums are fired out with murderous intent. Bristling with promise and an unhealthy dose of fury, Lambrini Girls are an essential band for anyone who likes their music on the boisterous and angry side.
Key track: ‘Help Me I’m Gay’ AB

Lana Lubany

Lana Lubany

Glossy future-pop that doesn’t recognise borders

From: Gaffa, Palestine
For fans of: Billie Eilish, Rosalía
Why you’re going to love them: Catapulted into the public eye off the back of her TikTok hits ‘The Snake’ and ‘Sold’, Lana Lubany elegantly blends the traditional sounds of her native Palestine with a Western pop sheen. Singing in both English and Arabic, Lubany is everything a budding pop star should be in 2023: idiosyncratic, proud to stand out from the crowd, and with a distinctive vision that is all her own. With debut project ‘The Holy Land’ imminent, Lubany is on her way to becoming the total package.
Key track: ‘The Snake’ MP

LE SSERAFIM

LE SSERAFIM

Multi-national K-pop group flying the empowerment flag high

From: Seoul, South Korea
For fans of: Lee Hyori, Little Mix
Why you’re going to love them: With a name that’s an anagram of ‘I’m Fearless’, the stylish and classy LE SSERAFIM radiate global appeal. Comprising former ballerina Kazuha, the charming Eun-chae, ex-IZ*ONE members Chaewon and Sakura and opera-trained Yunjin, the group are already co-writing striking songs despite their rookie status. LE SSERAFIM are certainly a force to be reckoned with.
Key track: ‘Fearless’ DT

Lee Young-ji

Lee Young-ji

Charismatic game-changer in South Korea’s male-dominated rap scene

From: Seoul, South Korea
For fans of: Yoon Mi-rae, Heize
Why you’re going to love them: Lee Young-ji spent 2022 rubbing elbows with Korea’s biggest stars on her very own talk show – but she’s gearing up to focus on music in 2023, starting with historic victory on the latest season of Show Me The Money. Despite her spitfire raps and devil-may-care persona, Lee’s lyricism is surprisingly sensitive, proving the rapper to be wise beyond her years.
Key track: ‘Hate Me’ GY

Mafro

Mafro

Dance music’s next major breakthrough act

From: London, UK
For fans of: TSHA, Barry Can’t Swim
Why you’re going to love them: Mafro’s technicolour electronic music strikes the perfect balance between euphoria and melancholy. In the first half of 2022 the multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter worked mostly behind the scenes, including co-writing and co-producing the tear-jerking ‘Giving Up’ with his partner TSHA, penning Diplo’s huge breakbeat anthem ‘Let You Go’ and scoring the Channel 4 show I Hate You. But Mafro is now ready to step into the spotlight as a solo artist in his own right, and his stunning upcoming debut EP ‘Bloom’ is set to make him one of the most exciting names in the dance scene.
Key track: ‘Alright’ BDJ

Meekz

Meekz

Mancunian newcomer standing tall alongside UK rap giants

From: Manchester, UK
For fans of: Potter Payper, Bugsy Malone
Why you’re going to love them: Already performing at some of the country’s most prestigious live music venues, Meekz uses his love for intricate, ‘90s-style wordplay and rhyme schemes to retell stories from his youth. The Manchester artist went toe-to-toe on stage with UK rap trailblazers Giggs and Ghetts at the 2022 BRIT Awards, and later in the year, teamed up with the likes of Central Cee and Dave on his debut mixtape, ‘Respect The Come Up’.
Key track: ‘Say Less’ KSW

Milo Clare

Milo Clare

Charismatic north Londoner with a penchant for psych pop-meets-R&B

From: London, UK
For fans of: Omar Apollo, Miguel
Why you’re going to love them: A self-proclaimed provider of “psychedelic soundtracks for cosmic lovers”, north London’s Milo Clare is convinced that his music will move you. And he has good reason to be so confident: his sleek vocal style was one of a number of winning elements on his hugely promising April 2022 release ‘EP 01’.
Key track: ‘Electric Connect’ SM

MJ Nebreda

MJ Nebreda

South American producer taking the vibrant club sounds of her homeland to the world

From: Caracas, Venezuela
For fans of: Sofia Kourtesis, Logic1000
Why you’re going to love them: While she’s now based in Miami, MJ Nebreda is keen to pay homage to both her Venezuelan and Peruvian heritage in her multifaceted and transnational take on house music. Her 2022 EP ‘Amor En Los Tiempos De Odio’, powered by the booming collaborative single ‘Frida Kahlo’, was dedicated to Venezuelan music culture and featured tracks that, according to Nebreda, served as “love songs submerged in society”. Expect Nebreda’s sound to go global this year.
Key track: ‘Frida Kahlo’ SM

Monaleo

Monaleo

Fierce hip-hop flows carrying tight and witty lyrics that hit where it hurts

From: Houston, US
For fans of: Summer Walker, Flo Milli
Why you’re going to love them: Prior to her recent musical breakthrough, the Houston rapper thought she was going to become a funeral director. But at least her big, bold hit ‘Body Bag’, filled with morbid takedowns over a sinister backing track, has put her six-month stint studying mortuary science to good use. ‘Beating Down Yo Block’ initially catapulted Monaleo into the limelight in 2021 thanks to its hilarious lyrics about not being too pretty to end someone’s life, while ‘We Not Humping’, her ‘90s hip-hop-inspired collaboration with Flo Milli, has inspired TikTok dances. It’s safe to say that Monaleo will soon be the latest member of Texas rap royalty.
Key track: ‘Body Bag’ EC

Naked Lungs

Naked Lungs

Doom-ridden noise punk that sounds like Trent Reznor’s been on the Guinness

From: Dublin, Ireland
For fans of: Nine Inch Nails, The Horrors
Why you’re going to love them: The lazy among you might see ‘Dublin’ and think, ‘Ah, Fontaines, nice!’. That would be a grave error. With a collaboration with Gilla Band’s Daniel Fox already to their name, this four-piece make horror movie post-punk from a darker world all of its own. Why don’t you start the new year off right with the sound of the end of days?
Key track: ‘Why Do People Change?’ AT

Nemahsis

Nemahsis

Powerful, thought-provoking pop that’s already started essential conversations

From: Toronto, Canada
For fans of: Halsey, Allie X
Why you’re going to love them: Palestinian-Canadian singer-songwriter Nemah Hasan’s musical breakout came with her powerful debut single ‘What If I Took it Off For You?’, a track that became a TikTok marvel. 2022’s ‘Eleven Achers’ EP and recent single ‘Criminal’ followed suit: gorgeous, stripped back tunes that focus on Nemahsis’ stunning vocals, and essential lyricism that’s covered her mother’s experience of being a refugee (‘Immigrant’s Tale’) to her own experiences of racism (‘I’m Not Gonna Kill You’). Her music is utterly beautiful.
Key track: ‘Criminal’ HM

Nell Mescal

Nell Mescal

A rich, confident voice marks this future star as one to keep an eye on

From: Kildare, Ireland
For fans of: Tate McRae, Lucy Dacus
Why you’re going to love them: Nell Mescal can claim to be part of millennial royalty: little sister to actor Paul Mescal, and reportedly future sister-in-law to Phoebe Bridgers. But the 19-year-old received plenty of attention herself after last year’s debut single ‘Graduating’ took off online. Written in just an hour, the track maintains an ethereal quality that will make you want to smash the repeat button.
Key track: ‘Graduating’ JT

NewJeans

NewJeans

Playful, infectious Y2K-inspired pop from the world’s coolest new girl group

From: Seoul, South Korea
For fans of: Boys World, STAYC
Why you’re going to love them: Between the laidback vibes of ‘Attention’ to the cheeky yet earnest ‘Hype Boy’, NewJeans released some of 2022’s most unshakable pop bangers. With their effortlessly cool girl-next-door charm and uniquely Gen Z spin on nostalgia, they’ve already won the hearts of K-pop stars and fans alike. Next: the world.
Key track: ‘Hype Boy’ GY

NMIXX

NMIXX

Compelling girl group breathing fresh air into K-pop’s tried and tested sonics

From: Seoul, South Korea
For fans of: Aespa, Stray Kids
Why you’re going to love them: NMIXX are barely a year old, but this K-pop group has already developed their own sound: “Mixx-pop”, their combination of two or more contrasting genres. The group’s fierce debut single, ‘O.O’, turned heads with its mesh of baile funk and teenage pop-rock. They may divide opinion with their radical sonic experimentation, but b-sides like ‘Cool’ allow the members’ vocals to shine, proving they have both substance and style.
Key track: ‘Dice’ DT

No Windows

No Windows

Escapist joy in Scottish teens’ woozy pop dreamworld

From: Edinburgh, UK
For fans of: Alvvays, Chromatics
Why you’re going to love them: This buzzy DIY duo might still be teenagers, but there’s something accomplished and artful about their sound – a world where escapist dream-pop meets ragged punk production – that already fulfils a promise beyond their years. Still, with songs that sing of leaping into the unknown and the sound of a lost scorched summer, No Windows’ vibe is one loaded with nostalgia while waltzing into the future.
Key track: ‘Shout (Red Song)’ AT

O.

O.

Experimental duo thriving in the tight space between serious and silly

From: London, UK
For fans of: Jockstrap, King Krule
Why you’re going to love them: O.’s music is nothing if not wildly eclectic. The south Londoners were handpicked by Black Midi last year to open for them on their UK tour, and their debut single, the fidgety yet accomplished ‘OGO’, proves why: suspended in an ambient trance, the track wiggles through jazz, funk and krautrock all at once. Though every element is carefully thought-out, O. manage to maintain a sonic illusion of spontaneity like a pair of skilled dancers. Bravo.
Key track: ‘OGO’ SW

Panic Shack

Panic Shack

Vibrant punk quartet maintaining an unwavering commitment to friendship

From: Cardiff, UK
For fans of: The Slits, Peaches
Why you’re going to love them: This Welsh punk band are a joyful revelation: they share the supersized personality of their ‘70s punk forebears – The Slits, The Raincoats – but their sound is so animated and colourful that they bring to mind a group of pals running riot in a vast games arcade. Their rousing gang vocals invite anyone who feels the same frustration about the state of current affairs to join them in putting the world to rights – and share a proper belly-laugh or two while you’re at it.
Key track: ‘Meal Deal’ SW

p-rallel

p-rallel

Multi-genre DJ and producer pushing UK club music in new directions

From: London, UK
For fans of: Tommy Gold, Skinny Macho
Why you’re going to love them: Weaving between hip-hop, house, garage, UK funky, Amapiano and jazz, p-rallel is taking the UK club scene to new places. He’s come a long way since his teenage years when, in response to a Twitter call-out for studio engineers, he ended up manning the boards for Rejjie Snow and Playboi Carti. More recently, he served as a tour DJ for both Slowthai and Lava La Rue, played Glastonbury (his primetime sunset slot was a 2022 festival highlight) and released his soulful debut EP ‘Forward’. Expect him to stay true to his ethos of tending to “anything that requires a groove and big vibes” in 2023.
Key track: ‘Soulboy’ BDJ

Redolent

Redolent

Scottish five-piece splicing together dazzling electro-pop collages

From: Edinburgh, UK
For fans of: The xx, alt-J
Why you’re going to love them: Redolent’s electro experiments with skeletal loops and gently undulating synths provide a backdrop for lyrics about the stuff that actually matters. On ‘Make Big Money Fast Online Now’ frontman Robin Herbert sings about making enough money to free himself from stress, while ‘Space Cadet’ focuses on the anxiety of awkward social interactions.
Key track: ‘Make Big Money Fast Online Now’ JT

Riovaz

Riovaz

Ever-evolving student of the internet with an eye for a viral hit

From: New Jersey, US
For fans of: Steve Lacy, Glaive
Why you’re going to love them: Riovaz makes the kind of music that could only come from someone who was culturally raised online. Seamlessly bouncing from hip-hop to dream pop, and even leaning into retro synth sounds, the 18-year-old scored a viral TikTok hit in 2020 with ‘Prom Night’. The New Jersey artist, who has been making music since he was 13, initially leveraged his love of rap before embracing the experimental, and wading into more alternative sounds. This formula has resulted in such tracks as ‘I Feel Fantastic’, which is so fearlessly inventive it’s easy to see why his growing legion of fans keep hitting replay.
Key track: ‘I Feel Fantastic’ EC

Royel Otis

Royel Otis

Aussie duo with a bold mix of humour and maximalist musical ideas

From: Sydney, Australia
For fans of: MGMT, Wet Leg
Why you’re going to love them: Go to your streaming service of choice and put on ‘Oysters In My Pocket’, pop duo Royel Otis’ banging breakout single. We’ll wait. Within a verse, it’s impossible not to grin at a track that feels like it’s already been soundtracking the credits to melancholy indie movies for years. In the next 12 months, they could just well become superstars of the Australian indie scene.
Key track: ‘Oysters In My Pocket’ JT

Ryan Castro

Ryan Castro

Bold reggaetón that’s breaking down barriers by centring its roots

From: Medellín, Colombia
For fans of: Karol G, Bad Bunny
Why you’re going to love them: Ryan Castro got his start singing at bus stops while envisioning a future where he could live the dream he saw in biopics like 8 Mile and Get Rich Or Die Tryin’. But the Medellín-born artist, whose friends dubbed him “cantante del ghetto” (singer from the ghetto), has blazed his very own trail to the top. His debut EP ‘REGGAETONEA’ fuses reggaetón and merengue, paying homage to hip-hop instead of leaning into the recent influx of pop hits that are taking over the genre. With his versatile flow, passion for his culture and love for the music he grew up on, it’s clear that the Billboard-charting artist will soon be a world-renowned star.
Key track: ‘Mujeriego’ EC

Sainté

Sainté

Soulful rapper who always knows how to bring the vibe

From: Leicester, UK
For fans of: Knucks, J. Cole
Why you’re going to love them: With lowkey, smooth songs like his breakout hit ‘Champagne Shots’, Sainte’s understated sound is one that instantly makes him an outlier in UK rap – he doesn’t rely on drill beats or 808s to drive his songs forward. He highlights the raw expression of his feelings and experiences – love, loss, and the challenges of young adulthood – by giving them space to breathe.
Key track: ‘Midnight’ KSW

Sam Austins

Sam Austins

Future R&B tour de force has riveting star quality

From: Detroit, US
For fans of: Tame Impala, The Weeknd
Why you’re going to love them: Sam Austins’ music has been described by Pusha T – his biggest cheerleader – as “a mix between ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ and Prince,” surely some of the highest praise you could get. Inspired by Motown and making music that incorporates indie, psych, R&B and beyond, Austins is a true Gen Z chameleon, but everything is imbued with a singular vision and unique voice.
Key track: ‘Matador’ WR

Sarah Wolfe

Sarah Wolfe

Post-internet pop that’s unabashedly anxious, but entirely endearing

From: Sydney, Australia
For fans of: Poppy, Chloe Moriondo
Why you’re going to love them: With a sound that pulls in equal parts from glitchy breakbeats, rock guitars and pristine pop, Sarah Wolfe presents a musical versatility that allows her to turn on a dime. Whether the mood is darkly manic or playful, Wolfe’s human touch centres itself in each song and makes a compelling case as to why she should be your new bestie.
Key track: ‘Spiders’ DJY

Seachains

Seachains

Vietnamese rapper promising catchy choruses and a good time

From: Can Tho, Vietnam
For fans of: Trippie Redd, Playboi Carti
Why you’re going to love them: Seachains has perfected a mix of slick verses, erratic flows, punchy pop-punk riffs and snappy drums – which means he never fails to deliver a roaring good time. Since signing with Def Jam Southeast Asia, the Vietnamese rapper has been working on new material that should only elevate his status as South Asian rap’s next great hope.
Key track: ‘Chó’ SS

Skaiwater

Skaiwater

Dance-rap trailblazer flaunting his verve and star power

From: Nottingham, UK
For fans of: Lil Uzi Vert, Iann Dior
Why: If you’re a fan of both rap and dance music, Skaiwater should be on your radar. The New York-based artist has just finished a European tour stint with Lil Nas X and has released their debut mixtape ‘Rave’, a project that fuses multiple genres while keeping emotion at its core. Skaiwater’s extensive knowledge of underground sounds gives them a diversity in output that few artists have.
Key track: ‘Miles’ AA

Somadina

Somadina

A genre-defying artist with real flair and edge

From: Lagos, Nigeria
For fans of: Amaraae, Anz
Why you’re going to love them: Somadina embodies what it means to be bold. She’s versatile in her production, and fuses sounds from R&B to Afrobeat and rock, yet her music has a coherency that makes the genre transitions smooth and easy to follow. By opening up to a heavier sound, Somadina is working with a bank of sounds from the past and bringing them into the future – the definition of ‘new nostalgia’.
Key track: ‘Rolling Loud’ AA

Sophie May

Sophie May

Billie Eilish-approved folk pop artist

From: London, UK
For fans of: Arlo Parks, Sam Fender
Why you’re going to love them: “I woke up after a big night out to see the top comment on my TikTok video [of her song ‘Lover Boy’] was [from] Billie Eilish,” May told NME last year. Eilish’s endorsement isn’t wholly surprising given May’s impressive rise over the past couple of years: building a legion of fans on TikTok over lockdown, May is now capitalising on the momentum that’s been generated by her sharp folk pop tales about young adulthood, morality and fuckboys. Her ‘You Do Not Have To Be Good’ EP showcased May’s extremely promising songwriting, with more new material due in 2023 – news that we know Billie, and many others, will be thrilled to hear.
Key track: ‘With The Band’ SM

Speed

Speed

Australia’s most exciting hardcore band are a towering inferno

From: Sydney, Australia
For fans of: Turnstile, Scowl
Why you’re going to love them: Uncompromising and relentless, SPEED have quickly graduated from the forefront of Sydney’s hardcore scene to become a global force – as recognised by everyone from Turnstile to Shaquille O’Neal. The riffs are big, the mosh parts are bigger, and their defiant anti-racism and pro-community stance is not one to be fucked with.
Key track: ‘Not That Nice’ DJY

Surusinghe

Surusinghe

Adventurous and skillful DJ determined to follow her own muse

From: Melbourne, Australia
For fans of: Mall Grab, Interplanetary Criminal
Why you’re going to love them: Forging her own path in dance music, Surusinghe’s music is percussion-heavy, and weaves in melodic vocals with a raucous rave energy. It combines electro, breakbeats, synth flourishes and South Asian sound, making every track an thrilling listen. Her music has been played at huge events such as Manchester’s The Warehouse Project, and 2023 will only see her ascend to greater heights.
Key track: ‘Heaven’ AA

Teeth Machine

Teeth Machine

Shimmering, thoughtful indie rock that looks inward

From: London, UK
For fans of: CHVRCHES, Sorry
Why you’re going to love them: Though Teeth Machine’s first single was only released in 2022, the band’s three-song catalogue already boasts complex, reverb-soaked soundscapes that defy the group’s youth. With rich instrumentals that build into cathartic crescendos, the London five-piece are demonstrating a natural talent for painting intimate pictures of the human condition. Proof of that lies in ‘Gumball’, which captures the frustrations of trying to get through to someone in a way that’s as intimate and sensitive as the band itself.
Key track: ‘Gumball’ AB

Tendai

Tendai

Singer-producer carving out new avenues for intellectual R&B

From: London, UK
For fans of: Sampha, Giveon
Why you’re going to love them: Thoughtful and ambitious, Tendai is the kind of artist who you fully expect to spend the next few years quietly building an empire. Having recently collaborated with Stormzy, the 22-year-old has set his sights on exploding typical genre conventions, pulling in all manner of influences to create a rich world of faith, romance and introspection. You might call it R&B, but it’s probably fairer to give it the simple label of storytelling; a commitment to ignoring trends and simply focusing on what it is in your heart.
Key track: ‘Infinite Straight’ JW

The Dinner Party

The Dinner Party

Indie’s latest ‘if you know, you know’ breakout stars

From: London, UK
For fans of: Siouxsie and the Banshees, Caroline Polachek
Why you’re going to love them: Few – if any – bands can claim to have played Hyde Park before officially releasing any music, but this five-piece opened for The Rolling Stones last summer without even a Spotify profile to their name. A YouTube video of the group’s dynamic Walt Disco support slot, where they blended defiantly avant garde arrangements and operatic harmonies to a brilliantly flamboyant effect, started a label bidding war upon its release. Tune in now before the secret gets out…
Key track: ‘Mirror’ – Live at London’s XOYO, February 2022 SW

The Heavy Heavy

The Heavy Heavy

Retro-rockers looking to the greats for inspiration

From: Brighton, UK
For fans of: The Rolling Stones, Mamas and Papas
Why you’re going to love them: The Brighton five-piece unabashedly tout their influences: London’s ‘60s big beat scene, the aura of Muscle Shoals Recording Studios, and modern-day heroes like Michael Kiwanuka and labelmates Black Pumas. A retro feel imbues their ‘Life and Life Only’ EP, a richly entertaining take on folk-rock and Americana, but there’s also commitment to pushing their sound forward and avoiding pastiche: ‘Go Down River’, their breakout song, sounds like a long-lost classic.
Key track: ‘Go Down River’ TS

The Short Causeway

The Short Causeway

Irresistible jangle pop buoyed by a real sense of community

From: Hebden Bridge, UK
For fans of: Courtney Barnett, Los Bitchos
Why you’re going to love them: Recent years have taught us to trust Yorkshire’s Pennine towns when it comes to providing some of the country’s most vital new music. Swirling with atmospheric flourishes, The Short Causeway’s breezy debut single ‘Tripping Down the Stairs’ suggests the trio aren’t about to buck the trend. Formed by a group of pals after a show at their scene’s epicentre, The Trades Club, they look set to follow in the steps of The Lounge Society, Priestgate and Working Men’s Club in spreading their rural wisdom far and wide.
Key track: ‘Tripping Down the Stairs’ RB

Tommy Lefroy

Tommy Lefroy

Visceral indie-pop tales of modern love

From: Los Angeles, US / London, UK
For fans of: Phoebe Bridgers, First Aid Kit
Why you’re going to love them: Wynter Bethel and Tessa Mouzourakis have taken their love of classic literature and social media know-how and infused it all into Tommy Lefroy. The duo, who are inclined towards indie-rock melodies and self-deprecating humour, are what would happen if Jane Austen had to deal with dating apps full of men with “god complexes and liberal arts degrees”. Even though Tommy Lefroy keep it light, they have no issue delving deep into heavy heartbreak territory, churning out unflinching songwriting from the view of a protagonist who’s only laughing because they’re in on the joke.
Key track: ‘The Cause’ EC

Two Shell

Two Shell

Cheeky, mysterious duo trading in futuristic floor-fillers

From: London, UK
For fans of: Jamie xx, Overmono
Why you’re going to love them:Don’t look at me,” hisses a computerised voice on ‘Ghosts’, the opener of Two Shell’s 2022 EP ‘Icons’. They mean it: the London duo have gleefully confounded attempts to determine their identities by hiring costumes and dancers for live sets and (mostly) side-stepping the press. All the better to spotlight their thrilling techno, and post-modern brand of dance music.
Key track: ‘Home’ KG

Venbee

Venbee

The reverberant, neon-hued sound of the UK underground

From: Chatham, UK
For fans of: Hybrid Minds, Piri & Tommy
Why you’re going to love them: The recent resurgence of British drum‘n’bass has set itself apart from the genre’s history thanks to its vast, freewheeling influences – and that spirit is shared by Erin Doyle, known as Venbee. With nods to house, UKG and chart pop, the 21-year-old’s sound is bright enough to light up any murky rave or giddily induce a moshpit: this is club music at its most viscerally thrilling.
Key track: ‘Messy In Heaven’ SW

Venna

Venna

Exploratory jazz rap from a saxophone-wielding star

From: London, UK
For fans of: Loyle Carner, ALASKALASKA
Why you’re going to love them: Surrounding himself with some of the capital’s most exciting new artists (JVCK JAMES, emil, JADA), producer and saxophonist Venna has quietly carved out a new, inclusive creative community located south of the river. Venna’s ongoing partnership with Stormzy protegé Knucks – including his production work on his friend’s recent UK Top 3 album ‘Alpha Place’ – continues to reinvent British hip-hop.
Key track: ‘Sun, Moon & Herbs’ AF

Voice Of Baceprot

Voice Of Baceprot

Indonesian metal trio fighting for a better tomorrow

From: Garut, Indonesia
For fans of: Rage Against The Machine, Deftones
Why you’re going to love them: Voice Of Baceprot are a rock trio advocating for gender equality through tight riffs and hard-hitting lyricism about social justice, religion and more. After years of honing their skills and sound with their mentors, the band are gearing up to release their debut album. Rock greats Tom Morello and Flea have championed the band, which should tell you everything you need to know.
Key track: ‘PMS’ SS

Waleed

Waleed

Enigmatic producer proudly leaning into his Puerto Rican and Iraqi heritage

From: Washington D.C., US
For fans of: Four Tet, Ben UFO
Why you’re going to love them: Five minutes spent listening to Waleed is as rewarding as any therapy session. An ex-Stanford student who writes computer code by day and makes music by night, it’s only taken two singles to spot the brilliance behind his sound, as skippy beats and warped vocals meld into a glorious balm. There’s a total sense of immersion within this shit-hot producer’s output to date that’s already had him namechecked by electronic royalty such as Four Tet and Floating Points.
Key track: ‘Se Rompen’ RB





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