Chance the Rapper: This Chicago-born artist is one of the great hopes of a new hip-hop generation. His masterful "Acid Rap" mixtape set ears ablaze when released in 2013, and that's why Chance, born Chancelor Bennett, is known in the rap world. To CNN viewers, the 20-year-old artist is a shining star of "Chicagoland," the network's documentary about local politics, a city struggling against gang violence and Mayor Rahm Emanuel's attempts at addressing both. After a curtain-raising performance at
Foxygen: A bitter mix of power pop, laconic British invasion balladry and joyous lyrical wit, the Los Angeles band has released a pair of lovely rock records that read as future underground classics. Specifically, the band's 2013 record "We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic" is a blissful psychedelic pop album as assured as it is memorable. The band has been relatively silent for the last year, considering the album's acclaim, and it's one reason why anticipation for its Coachella gigs is so high.
— Randall Roberts
Future Islands: Friends, colleagues and the Internet tell me that this arty Baltimore outfit has released songs other than "Seasons (Waiting on You)," the lead track from its new "Singles" album. Nevertheless, I'm holding out hope that Future Islands' set at Coachella consists entirely of this beautifully warped synth-pop tune, in which singer Samuel T. Herring barks out a sad-guy lament over a groove as mournful as it is weirdly triumphant. Last month, Herring's full-bodied performance of the song on the "Late Show With
— Mikael Wood
Nina Kraviz: For better or worse, this house and techno producer's work is infused with sex. Yes, the Russian artist is pretty striking behind the decks (and she caught some undeserved flak for that early in her career). But her very accomplished singles and LPs, such as last year's "Mr. Jones," are soaked in the rowdy, desperate hormones of the old Dance Mania catalog. Many of the globe's best clubs (Berghain, Fabric, Space) have had her out to play, and all it takes is one pass through the delirious video for her minimalist standout single "Ghetto Kraviz" to understand why.
Art Department producers Kenny Glasgow and Jonny White: This crew has knocked around the Canadian house scene for decades. But its sleek and slithery 2010 single together as Art Department, "Without You," helped set a new template for sexy-yet-narcotized party music. Alongside peers like Seth Troxler and Jamie Jones, the crew is broadening the appeal of the underground while challenging the conventions of mainstream electronica. Whenever the idea of EDM finally crawls off to die, this is probably the sound that's coming next.
— August Brown
Jhené Aiko: This R&B singer's sultry, emotive voice has soundtracked plenty of lonely Saturday nights for her fans over the last few years. But Aiko, who has lent her voice to tracks by
Banks: An army of R&B outliers has been shaking things up with alternative spins of the genre since
— Gerrick D. Kennedy