1. Patrick Watson
Montreal singer plays the kind of achy, atmospheric room-fillers that seem engineered for teary movie scenes.
2. Jesca Hoop
Precious, Tom Waits–approved singer from California delivers inventive, fantastical folk-pop poems.
3. Georgie James
Good old-fashioned indie rock courtesy of Omaha’s Saddle Creek Records, with thoughtful structures, a great rhythm section, and a boy-girl pair of singers.
4. Kevin Michael
Soulful Philadelphia crooning with stick-in-your-head choruses and A-list collaborators like Wyclef Jean and Lupe Fiasco.
5. Jamie T
An endearing British performer who veers from jagged Streets-ish rap-speak to weird indie sing-along anthems.
6. Ghostland Observatory
This Austin act’s edgy dance-rock anthems and (relatively) low-key grooves have been earning dance-floor devotees.