OPINION: Five Artists to Watch in 2013

The Lone Bellow

The Lone Bellow are a country band from Brooklyn. Just take a minute to let that sink in. As you might expect, their version of country is a bit different from the kind you might hear on the radio if people still listened to FM radio. Their sound is more in line with the folk and roots revival of bands like Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers. But with a lot more country-sounding arrangements. They released their eponymous debut album on January 22nd and I’m expecting to hear one of their songs on a Google commercial before the year is through.

Earl Sweatshirt

The 18-year-old Odd Future member, Earl Sweatshirt, raps in a deep monotone that makes him sound like he’s 40. Don’t let his age fool you, though, because Earl has already released an unofficial studio album and drops verses with a wisdom that belies his years. His mom also sent him to Samoa because he was getting into trouble. Parents just don’t understand. But the man is back now. Last year he was featured on Frank Ocean’s song, “Super Rich Kids,” and released “Chum,” the rumored first single from his official debut album, expected out later in the year.

Palma Violets

Palma Violets are an alternative band with garage rock influences that have already garnered a lot of buzz in their native England. Blending the urgency of Japandroids with the melodic stylings of the early Arctic Monkeys albums produces a sound that feels like the musical equivalent of getting drunk in a parking lot when you’re seventeen. You feel young and reckless and free but there will be some consequences when you have to go home and face your parents. On second thought, that analogy doesn’t really make much sense. Just crack open a can of beer this summer and listen to “Best of Friends” and try not to get transported back to your teenage years. Trust me. Their debut album, 180, is due out on February 25.


Rudimental is another British group that has already enjoyed success in their home country. Unlike Palma Violets, however, their sound is as far from gritty as you could possibly get. All synths and drum and bass (with some sweet horns thrown in for good measure), Rudimental’s songs are the kind that might come on in a sweaty dance club and win over the crowd immediately. They’ve collaborated on two songs with a British soul singer named John Newman who doesn’t seem to have done much else yet but is the main attraction on both songs, “Feel the Love” and “Not Giving In.” He might truly be the breakout performer to watch and if he continues to sing on Rudimental’s songs, both should be household names sooner rather than later. Rudimental’s debut comes out February 25.

Sky Ferreira

Sky Ferreira is a 20-year-old singer-songwriter who nimbly moves between acoustic folk-pop songs and New Wave-influenced dance pop, sometimes even melding the two. She released an EP in October, Ghost, that featured a song called “Everything is Embarrassing,” which is amazing and sounds like it came straight out of 1984. Ferreira will release her third EP on March 24 and her debut album, I’m Not Alright, will hopefully be out later in the year.