One of a handful of artists who now look set to transcend the Vaporwave trend of 2012 (think elevator muzak for the internet generation), Ryan DeRobertis' Saint Pepsi project meshes that particular micro-scene's 'everything goes' collage approach with serious pop instincts. There are loads of free Saint Pepsi albums floating about on the web - here's 'Hit Vibes' for starters, and listen to his incredible Carly Rae Jepsen edit below, where he flips the original into a rainy slowjam.
Ohio - birthplace of aviation, and incubator of the finest lo-fi garage rock. Connections are the latest in a lineage of classic Ohio bands, including their spiritual forefathers Guided By Voices, and Times New Viking, who they share members with. As well as following in Guided By Voices' fuzzed-out sound, Connections also take that band's prolific work rate - they put out two albums and an EP in 2013. Maybe start with 'Body Language', but to be honest it's all gold. Their third album is due out in early 2014, expect more of the same.
One of the hottest new guitar bands out of the UK, Wolf Alice have been putting out a steady stream of singles and EPs, each one making us salivate even more for the debut album proper that should be on its way. 'Fluffy' shows off their grungy side pretty well, and the subtle way they cram so many different passages in demands repeat listens.
Rome Fortune put out a couple of decent tapes this year, 'Beautiful Pimp' being the pick. More recently he's been putting out some even better standalone tracks - here are two of the best. 'Beautiful Pimp II' should be more than just a sleeper hit now that people are trained on this guy's next move.
Angel Olsen released 'Half Way Home' in 2012, a gorgeously weird folk record which got a lot of love in some places. Her new album is called 'Burn Your Fire for No Witness', and judging by the more electric sound of 'Sweet Dreams' and new single 'Forgiven/Forgotten', she seems to have made her Judas move. No matter, the new sound suits here well. If the first album sounded like the lonely Canadian wilderness, maybe the new one will remind us just how devastating forest fires can be in such a landscape.
Huge crunching riffs + sunny vocal melodies + shoegaze textures. It goes without saying that Cheatahs would have fit in perfectly on the 1992 Rollercoaster Tour, blending together the best bits from Blur and Dinosaur Jr. Their debut album is out in February, but you really want to try and catch these guys live if you get a chance.
I can't possibly do justice to this insane project. One guy with a singularly weird vision. Let me just throw together some quotes from the JUICEBOXXX website. "Rap rock from the heartland. Blown out sick style American music about growing up and freaking out. Connecting the dots between Public Enemy and Suicide, Guided By Voices and Cypress Hill, Bruce Springsteen and Beck." More than anything else though, it's just the most fun you'll have listening to a record all year.
Harry Fraud is pretty much the finest young producer on the East Coast, and Adrian Lau appears to be his newest discovery. Not a whole lot of material to go on yet, but I hope 'Small Vacation' is a sign of what's to come. One of the most quotable rap songs I've heard in ages: "My plans ain't even started yet/ and you're sleeping on my blueprint like a narcoleptic architect." More like this please.