Ten Indie Artists Poised for Pop Stardom in 2013

We now live in a world where major corporate radio routinely features songs by Phoenix, M83, The Black Keys, Passion Pit, The Lumineers, Mumford & Sons, Kings of Leon and Macklemore. These were largely independent artists who for the most part built critical acclaim over the years by producing quality albums and slowly climbing up the ladder towards commercial success. So, who might break through and get some air play in 2013? Who will your friends ask you about one night at the bar (I am assuming those of you reading this are the token music friend)? Here's a list of 10 potential break out acts in 2013.

10. Toro Y Moi

I fully admit I want Toro Y Moi's Anything in Return to breakout just because I find Chaz Bundick to be one of the most talented artists producing meaningful work at such a brisk pace right now. With the release of the album in later this month, we will have seen three good to great albums in three years -- at some point one of his endlessly catchy songs has to catch on with the mainstream.

9. Free Energy

If Free Energy's Love Sign becomes a hit record, they have Passion Pit and Weezer to thank. Their good-times-dancing-in-the-sun indie rock has become palatable to corporate radio thanks to the work from those two artists. The Philadelphia-based Free Energy will finally release their sophomore effort Love Sign this year and "Electric Fever" just screams Top 40 drive time for kiddies.

8. Local Natives

I bet it just eats at the Local Natives guys that fun. stole their thunder. The LA band is following up their indie darling Gorilla Manor with Hummingbird. The band collaborated on production with The National's Aaron Dessner, who lends an air of maturity to the work. The stadium ready "Breakers" should find its way on to soundtracks, commercials and Grey's Anatomy montages.

7. Generationals

Heza, the second album from ex-Eames Era members Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer sees the New Orleans natives embracing minimalist electronic framework for some of their songs while also keeping to their usual recipe: catchy guitar driven songs about youth. Expect to hear the album's first single "Spinoza" pop up on KXT any day now.

6. The Sheepdogs

The Canadian band who won Rolling Stone's "choose the Cover" contest and used the fame to appear on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon returns this year with an album produced by Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney. It sounds like every other thing produced by a member of the Black Keys, which is mainly like the Black Keys. Though it's far, far from the best thing on this list, it's almost guaranteed to break through.

5. Chelsea Wolfe

Unknown Rooms is the best album Fiona Apple never made, which is an admittedly lazy comparison on my part. Still, fans of Apple will likely flock to Ms. Wolfe's dynamic work. "Appalachia" has been getting a fair amount of attention since it was released as a single back in September, and the critical praise is just starting to ramp up. Add in the continued support from her excellent label Sargent House, a lengthy tour and it may just be a matter of time before Chelsea takes over our air waves.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jaime-Paul Falcon

Latest Stories