Wet Leg, Caroline, Angela Hunte (and more!) are primed for a big year.
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Artists to Watch - Wet Leg, Arooj Aftab, Faouzia, Kendra Jae, Glaive
(Clockwise, from left) Faouzia, Kendra Jae, Arooj Aftab, Wet Leg, Glaive.
| Credit: Courtesy of Faouzia; Courtesy of Kendra Jae; Stefan Kohli; Hollie Fernando; Daniel Hilsinger

Are you constantly scanning the radio to hear just one song that hasn't been played 40 times in the last hour? Is the sheer amount of offerings on Spotify giving you a music-related panic attack? Do you get FOMO when your friends start talking about a band you've never heard of? Don't sweat it: We've done the research and returned with a group of new(ish) acts who will be making noise throughout 2022. From R&B with a twist to experimental post-punk to good old-fashioned rock & roll, there's something for all tastes in the coming year.

Wet Leg

Don't doubt the growing hype around Wet Leg, an Isle of Wight-based rock duo with a penchant for deadpan humor, snare-tight riffs, and earworm hooks (the groovy, minimalist "Chaise Longue" and the clap-and-shout anthem "Wet Dream" were two of 2021's best singles). The buzz will continue apace when their debut album arrives in April. —Alex Suskind

Arooj Aftab

The Brooklyn-based Pakistani singer weaves Urdu ghazals (a South Asian form of poetry) with meandering classical and jazz compositions to make a distinctive sound all her own. She heads into the new year with the wind at her wings: a Best New Artist Grammy nomination, a record deal, and unheard music from a soon-to-drop rereleased edition of her acclaimed record Vulture Prince. —AS

Kendra Jae

Once the youngest dancer on Beyoncé's Formation World Tour, the Sacramento native has been doing (as her energetic standout single implies) "Big" things — including "Seesaw," a bouncy collaboration with rapper and former roommate Saweetie. Expect more bossed-up bangers when Jae's debut EP lands this year. —Marcus Jones

Black Country, New Road

The post-punkers found acclaim with the Pitchfork set thanks to their first album, For the First Time; it was later nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize, which is given annually to the best in U.K. and Irish music. Up next: tackling the States on tour, plus an expansive sophomore record, Ants From Up There (out Feb. 4). —AS

Caroline

"I want it all," drones vocalist Jasper Llewellyn on the enchanting opening track from his band's self-titled debut (out Feb. 25). If not that, they'll certainly get your attention. The eight-member crew makes music for a bygone era — luxurious strings, hypnotizing chants, and bits of folk guitar. Sit back and savor the details. —AS

Faouzia

The 21-year-old Moroccan Canadian's emotive duet with John Legend, "Minefields," has drawn her comparisons to soaring vocalists including Sia and Adele. What sets the singer-songwriter apart, though, is a stirring inflection that nods to her Arab roots, making singles like "Tears of Gold" all the more resonant. Her first album, filled with songs that will tug at your heartstrings, arrives later this year. —MJ

Angela Hunte

"New" is a misnomer for Hunte, given that she's been putting in the work for years as an accomplished songwriter (her credits include Rihanna and Britney Spears; she won a Grammy for her contributions to Jay-Z and Alicia Keys' "Empire State of Mind"). After dropping a reggae-influenced side project in 2017, she's releasing an official debut LP this spring. —AS

Michelle

The New York–based sextet's new album After Dinner We Talk Dreams offers the kind of breezy, timeline-cleansing tunes our overstimulated brains are begging for right now. "Mess U Made" drapes its cushiony bedroom pop with a silky layer of Xtina-style melisma (those runs!), while "Syncopate" sounds like a lost cut from Future Nostalgia. Stop the doomscrolling and go see them on tour with Mitski in March. —Jason Lamphier

Glaive

If you want to learn more about hyperpop (a.k.a. the nascent microgenre your kids love), then give this 17-year-old a spin. His music — beautiful, cacophonic, introspective — has already received plaudits, and will get the full showcase on a headlining tour of North America (his first) in February. —AS

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