A mums' and dads' guide to music's next big things

Having trouble keeping up with new bands? Sarah Morrison and Jessie Donnelly are here to help

It is one of the most fickle industries in the world; who can keep up? No sooner have you got the hang of the latest singles-chart-topping fad than another act takes over.

Blur's guitarist Graham Coxon, who tomorrow launches Oxjam, the UK's largest charity music festival, has given up trying to follow pop's fashions, claiming he knows "nothing about music". The festival's live line-up – the biggest this year – will give him a chance to "go out and have a look". He faces an onslaught of more than 7,000 musicians performing in 800 venues over the next month.

Coxon, at 43 an industry veteran, bemoaned the current state of the music industry, claiming: "Not a lot of groundbreaking stuff is being made, and it hasn't been at any point for a number of years." He claims 1965 was the last real moment of change, and added: "If you compare [music] with the 1970s, it's pretty poor." So why is he bothering with Oxjam? "It's charity," he concedes, "and it has done great things."

But those climbing the ladder behind him disagree with his take on modern music. Lucy Rose is a 23-year-old singer, and one of the performers Coxon might see this week. She thinks the industry is "exciting, girl-strong, digital and ever-changing".

Technology has unleashed a welter of bands, labels, genres, music formats and fashions that can be bewildering to many people who remember the simple innocence of 7in vinyl and the weekly pop charts. Here to help you navigate the legion of "Next Big Things" – compiled with the help of music industry experts – is The Independent on Sunday's guide to the best new bands and artists (well, for the next few weeks at least).

British Male Singer

King Krule

Claim to fame Poster boy for his "generation's disillusionment".

Background South-east London's Archy Marshall, the "bohemian boy wonder", is a soon-to-graduate history student at the Brit school. The red-headed lyricist, at just 17, draws comparisons with Billy Bragg, Morrissey and Joe Strummer, while his debut EP has garnered praise across the music industry. He cites Franz Kafka, Charles Bukowski and WH Auden as influences, and his work has been called "age-defying".

International Male

Zebra Katz

Claim to fame Set to be the "first break-out star of 'queer rap'."

Background Brooklyn-based Ojay Morgan, 26, a former catering manager, was a hit at Paris Fashion Week with his single "Ima Read" playing on the catwalk. He's supported Lana Del Rey and will join Azealia Banks on her UK tour. It's hard to imagine his music will translate into the mainstream, but it's garnishing attention far and wide.

British Female Singer

Lucy Rose

Claim to fame The "new Laura Marling".

Background The 23-year-old Bombay Bicycle Club vocalist has the ethereal folky feel that's fashionable of late, but she insists she is more than just "another girl with an acoustic guitar singing about how she feels". She has been a fixture on the London gig scene for five years, and her debut solo album is out tomorrow. One song in particular, "Middle of the Bed", is so infectious that by this time next year, you will probably be struggling to get it out of your head.

Live Act

Haim

Claim to fame The three Californians make performing with your family look fun.

Background LA sisters Danielle, Este and Alana, with friend Dash Hutton on drums, were a hit at this year's South by Southwest festival. Haim's first EP was released this year, and their unusual blend of classic rock and sultry R&B worked better than one might think. Set to support Florence & the Machine on tour.

Breakthrough Artist

Alt-J

Claim to fame One of the most successful new British bands of the year.

Background Alt-J seemed to have come from nowhere. But if the four Cambridge lads win the Mercury Prize, as predicted, they won't maintain their low profile for long. Named after the Mac keyboard command for the "delta" sign, the quartet have been compared to everyone from Wild Beasts and The xx to Hot Chip and Radiohead. With its blend of modern folk and geeky electronic beats, their album, An Awesome Wave, received critical acclaim and hit the Top 20. The band has sold out shows across the US, and NME predicts they will be "huge" this time next year.

International Band

Deap Vally

Claim to fame Pegged as two-piece female Led Zep.

Background Julie Edwards and Lindsey Troy could just reinvigorate rock'*'roll. The blues-rock team from the San Fernando Valley, who met at a needlework class, are the focus of a musical buzz that doesn't show any sign of dissipating. Described as a "hippie Karen O fronting Black Sabbath" by NME. Excitement around their upcoming UK tour is high.

International Female Singer

Angel Haze

Claim to fame "Quite possibly the greatest unsigned rapper," according to MTV before Universal snapped her up.

Background This 20-year-old internet sensation from Detroit is a Native American pansexual who's had her own YouTube channel since she was 16; she raps about religion, sexuality and oppression in her free mixtapes and EP, Reservation. Her single "New York" is out next month.

British Group

The Palma Violets

Claim to fame The capital's "hottest guitar band" (NME).

Background Pegged as "2013's answer to the Libertines", the four-piece has been hosting secret gigs in a south London house for those in the know for months. Snapped up by Rough Trade, their sounds have been compared to everyone from Black Lips to Echo and the Bunnymen, with singer Sam Fryer's voice likened to Jim Morrison's. Could they be the saviours of guitar music? Their debut single is released next month.

Critics' Choice

Jake Bugg

Claim to fame The 18-year-old has already supported the Stone Roses. Enough said.

Background Looks like a younger Noel Gallagher and has been hailed as the new working-class hero of rock'n'roll. You can't speak to many in the music industry without hearing about the teenager from Nottingham. He has appeared on Later with Jools Holland, supporting his Oasis lookalike and the Killers, and his music has been plucked for the BBC's Olympic coverage. Clearly, somebody, somewhere, has been very impressed. Signed to Mercury, and with an album out next month, this youngster with an old-fashioned taste in music can do little wrong, it seems.

Dance Act

AlunaGeorge

Claim to fame Nominated for Best Newcomer at Mojo awards.

Background As one might expect from a modern-day music marriage, duo Aluna Francis and George Reid met on the internet. Both were previously involved with their own bands, but mutual respect brought them together and led to infectious songs that fuse Francis's contagious vocals and sensual electronics from Reid. They have been championed by Radio 1 and 6 Music and have featured on a US series of Skins. Their debut single, "Your Drums, Your Love", will be out next month. Music magazine The Fly predicts they could mirror the success of this year's Jessie Ware.

Arts and Entertainment

game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers

Arts and Entertainment
The original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

George Osborne confirms Star Wars 8 will film at Pinewood Studios in time for 4 May

film

Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’

North London meets The Exorcist in eerie suburban drama

TV

Arts and Entertainment

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living