Last week, we introduced you to some awesome up-and-coming indie bands you should start listening to STAT. This week, we thought we’d take a look at the pop charts and see what artists might achieve superstar status over the coming months. Some of the picks are sugary sweet (Rixton) and others are downright dirty (Brooke Candy); regardless, all of them make for a killer summer playlist that’ll improve any BBQ, pool party or heat wave-induced brown-out.
Album: Me And My Broken Heart EP (Interscope, 2014)
Your new jam: “Me And My Broken Heart”
Why they pop: If you like One Direction—no judgment—then you’ll love this fresh-faced quartet fronted by British actor Jake Roche (“Emmerdale). The group is managed by pop Svengali Scooter Braun (Justin Bieber, Carly Rae Jepsen) and has already opened for artists like Justin Timberlake and Arianna Grande. Oh, and if you think the melody of “Me And My Broken Heart” sounds familiar, that’s because (for better or worse) it samples the 2005 Rob Thomas hit, “Lonely No More.”
Album: The Secret EP (Republic Records, 2014)
Your new jam: “Mmm Yeah”
Why he pops: With the Bieb off egging houses and getting tons of terrible tattoos, Austin Mahone is a great pop-star stand-in who’s already dominating the airwaves with songs like “What About Love” and “Just A Friend.” In fact, if you ask his fans, better known as Mahomies, they’d say he’s a million times better than the “Never Say Never” singer. Selena Gomez might even say the same, seeing as she’s been recently seen getting cozy with the 18-year-old heartthrob.
Album: Opulence EP (RCA, 2014)
Your new jam: “Opulence”
Why she pops: Lady Gaga may’ve trademarked “art pop,” but Brooke Candy is taking the term, dipping it in rhinestones and making it her bitch. Musically, Brooke picks up where Kreayshawn left off, but the rapper’s aesthetic is more like a NC-17 version of Grimes. Case in point: The song “Opulence,” where she drops rhymes with the same venom as she drops designer labels. (Sample lyrics include: “It’s Morano Laurent / It’s McQueen or Celine / Got these bitches so jealous / I hope you look good in green.” One look at the video and it’s clear Brooke is all about breaking pop traditions, which makes sense seeing that it was fashion directed by former Haus of Gaga braintrust, Nicola Formichetti. Watch out, Mother Monster, ’cause there might be a new synth-hop goddess on “The Edge of Glory.”
Album: Oh, What A Life (Island/Def Jam, 2014)
Your new jam: “Best Day Of My Life”
Why they pop: Though more OneRepublic than One Direction, American Authors are breaking through the pop scene with their ubiquitous hit, “Best Day Of My Life,” the second single off their debut album. Odds are, you’ve probably heard the feel-good song, seeing that it’s been featured in oodles of commercials, TV shows and movie trailers, which helped the track reach #1 on Billboard’s Adult Pop Songs chart. Catch the band on tour this summer with OneRepublic and The Script.
Album: MKTO (Columbia, 2014)
Your new jam: “Classic”
Why they pop: Remember that band Hot Chelle Rae? They had that song “Tonight Tonight” and Chord Overstreet’s brother, Nash, played lead guitar? Well, MKTO kinda sounds like them. In fact, “Classic” could be a sequel to “Tonight Tonight.” (Is it a coincidence both songs were produced the same dude, Emanuel Kiriakou? Hmmm… [Scratches head.]) Named for the initials of members Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller, MKTO is still a great band to add to any summer party playlist. For the sake of variety, just make sure you keep their songs far away from any other tracks produced by Kiraikou.
5 SECONDS OF SUMMER
Album: She Looks So Perfect (Capitol, 2013)
Your new jam: “She Looks So Perfect”
Why they pop: Add 5 Seconds Of Summer (aka 5SOS) to the list of Australian musical imports we can’t get enough of (i.e. Iggy Azalea, The Jezabels). Though the band gained worldwide notoriety by opening for One Direction, their music is edgier than 1D. (At least, slightly.) In fact, it’s totally reminiscent of early albums from The All-American Rejects and All Time Low—poppy with a safe amount of punk. If they weren’t touring around Europe this summer in support of their self-titled debut album out July 22, they’d be a great fit for Warped Tour.
Album: Talking Dreams (Warner Bros. Records, 2013)
Your new jam: “Cool Kids”
Why they pop: Usually, when you say a band is made up of siblings, it takes about 5.6 seconds until you: 1) picture a modern-day Partridge Family, and/or 2) roll your eyes almost all the way out of your head because family bands are cheesier than dinner at The Melting Pot. You won’t experience either reaction when you listen to Echosmith, though, because the band is so much more than the sum of its familial parts. Much like Coldplay or The Killers, this quartet preps their pop with a heavy marinade of indie-rock and electronica. Standout album tracks include “Bright,” “Come Together” and “Ran Off In The Night.”
Album: Slow Dancing EP (RCA, 2014)
Your new jam: “Heartbreak Dream”
Why she pops: Born as Jessica Anne Newham, the Australian native is better known as her indie-pop alter-ego, Betty Who. She first started garnering the attention of music bloggers when she released her Robyn-esque debut single, “Somebody Loves You,” in 2012 but the spotlight has only widened in the year since. She’s already released two EPs—2013’s “The Movement” and “Slow Dancing”—and fans eagerly await more information about her debut full-length. In the meantime, Betty Who will be playing tons of Pride Festivals this summer so check her site for more deets.
Album: Year Of The Caprese (Columbia, 2014)
Your new jam: “Doses & Mimosas”
Why they pop: This duo might hail from Nashville, Tennessee, but they sound nothing like what you’d traditionally expect from the Music City. Think Calvin Harris more than Keith Urban; pro-tools instead of pedal-steel guitar. You get the picture. However, their breakthrough party song “Doses & Mimosas” could very well be the Urban Outfitters version of Toby Keith’s “Red Solo Cup.” While you marinate on that, someone please pass the champ…
THE READY SET
Album: The Bad And The Better (Razor & Tie, 2014)
Your new jam: “Higher”
Why they pop: The first time I heard “Love Like Woe,” I was smitten with The Ready Set and the band’s sole member, Jordan Witzigreuter. However, after the initial burst of single success—“Love Like Woe” was certified platinum in 2010—TRS had a hard time finding its footing in the pop scene. Fast-forward four years and the band’s back with a new album and single, “Higher,” which gives me the kind of butterflies usually reserved for Nicholas Hoult’s eyebrows. (Note: That’s a lot of fucking butterflies.) If this upbeat synth-pop track doesn’t make you smile from ear to ear, then you might have problems with your facial muscles. I’d call a doctor and get that checked out ASAP.