30 Criminally Good Artists We Couldn’t Stop Obsessing Over In 2013

smallpoolsSmallpools: Since this Los Angeles indie-pop group only made their live debut this year, we can understand a little more why they haven’t gotten the full blow-up treatment just yet. But their debut single, “Dreaming,” which went to No. 1 on The Hype Machine, is a expertly honed pop gem in the Passion Pit mold that’s shown up on a bunch of TV shows (“The Vampire Diaries”), advertisements (Snapchat), and video games (the FIFA 14 soundtrack), and has allowed the band to hit the road with everyone from Twenty One Pilots to Two Door Cinema Club. Their debut LP will be out this year on RCA. In the meantime, get your dance on to the band’s recently released “Mason Jar (Grouplove & Captain Cuts Remix).” –LO

St. LuciaSt. Lucia: South African tropical-world pop musician Jean-Philip Grobler, aka St. Lucia, is named for an island off the coast of Africa, a place where he vacationed growing up. And the name “St. Lucia” doesn’t just bring forth visions of sandy beaches and gently rolling waves — Grobler’s music also embodies his breezy, horn-filled throwback pop (see such sultry summer singles “All Eyes on You,” “Elevate,” and “Closer Than This”). Even cooler, Grobler recorded everything himself on his debut, self-titled EP, which dropped earlier this year. Look out for St. Lucia on tour in the U.S. through February 2014. –RB


Waxahatchee: This all-star punched even the snobbiest hipster kids right in the feels this year. With a super-sad sophomore album, Cerulean Salt, Katie Crutchfield’s band notched a Pitchfork Best New Music and just headlined a tour with sister Allison’s equally punk-tastic Swearin’. The band’s road domination will continue in January, with fellow girl-powered rockers All Dogs and Cayetana along for the ride. –DG


Allison Weiss: The Los Angeles power-pop musician laced up her Converse for the 10-track Say What You Mean this year, an unmissable album she could’ve just as easily called Power Chords & Heartbreak. Weiss is the kind of musician who’ll spend her birthday crying in bed for eight hours (for her “Making It Up” music video, of course), which is some Beyoncé-level hustle (but with way more tears and probably a resulting migraine). She just wrapped a two-week tour with Austin Lucas and has more dates starting in January. –DG

Wild CubWild Cub: With its grooving hooks and stacked-up arrangements, Wild Cub sound like a much cheerier/less experimental Animal Collective. The indie band popped up at Bonnaroo this year (not bad for a first gig), recently played an MTV Hive Artist To Watch show, and will reissue debut album Youth on Mom+Pop Records on Jan. 21, 2014. Wild Cub released romantic single “Thunder Clatter” in October to tide us over, a track that finds singer Keegan DeWitt gushing, “You’re the love of my life.” Tell us one more time. –DG

X AmbassadorsX Ambassadors: One of our recent Buzzworthy Obsessions, Brooklyn quartet X Ambassadors had a busy year, what with signing a major-label deal, releasing songs like “Unconsolable” and their Love Songs Drug Songs EP, popping up on Eminem’s new album (“Wicked Ways”), and doing the showcase rounds. Their EP, which was produced by hitmaker Alex Da Kid, Dan Stringer, and Imagine Dragons‘ Dan Reynolds (who also remixed “Unconsolable”), so clearly they’ve got some heavy hitters ushering them along the path to stardom. Catch this band live before we officially unfollow you on Twitter. It’s THAT serious. –LO

Photo credit: RCA, Michael Lavine, Shervin Lainez, Dan Busta, Glassnote, Page 2 Music, Brad Clawson, Atom Factory Music, Anthonu Cabrero, Shawn Brackbill, Mom + Pop, Island Def Jam, Tom Beard, Partisan Records, Dan Monick