Here, in alphabetical order, are 10 bands that you can expect to hear about in 2011. We’ve included something obsession-worthy for everyone—whether your bag is country, rock, hip-hop or indie pop—so have at ’em. It’s still early in the game for these folks, so you’ll be able to say you knew them when.


Jesse B. Marchant’s pop culture claim to fame? He’s the former boyfriend of Big Love actress Amanda Seyfried. But there’s not even a touch of the Hollywood lifestyle in the low, sad songs of JBM. Instead, this singer-songwriter from Montreal holed up in a church studio in Hudson, New York to record the gorgeous Not Even in July, which spells out his disillusionment with L.A.


Jill Andrews

Formerly one half of Tennessee alt-country duo The Everybodyfields, Jill Andrews has gone solo. Her sweet-as-pie voice will give you chill bumps, and her confessional lyrics will keep them in place. In 2009, Andrews released a self-titled EP, and her debut full-length album, The Mirror, is due out this March. Please note: Her cover of My Morning Jacket’s “Bermuda Highway” is heavenly. Look it up now.


Chiddy Bang

It can be easy to forget that this brand-new hip-hop duo is, in fact, brand new because they so quickly became the genre’s newest golden boys, predominately by selling their “mixed tapes” as fast as they could make them and booking acclaimed U.K. tours. Xaphoon Jones and Chidera "Chiddy" Anamege met not even two years ago as college freshmen at Philadelphia’s Drexel University. They began swapping ideas and pilfering samples from groups like MGMT and Radiohead. They soon garnered praise from Kanye West, Pharrell and Q-Tip. Their first LP—The Swelly Life—hasn’t even dropped yet, but it will in February 2011.


James Blake

James Blake’s recent cover of Feist’s “Limit to Your Love” is intoxicating, but it’s not really a great representation of who he is as an artist. The astonishingly young (only 22!) Londoner mostly composes sophisticated dubstep that’s landed him on all kinds of hipster-y best-of 2010 lists. A year ago he was still mixing tracks in his bedroom. What the Feist song did show is that behind all the brilliant production, Blake actually has a universally terrific voice that will win him longevity in the music industry. His self-titled debut album will be released February 7, 2011.


Hanni El Khatib

With a Black Keys-ish, authentic rock and roll vibe, San Francisco-based Hanni El Khatib is a one-man band that’s been selling out smoky bars and filling them full of bluesy electric guitar, drums and fuzzy amps. El Khatib is joined live by a drummer, but he writes, records and produces all songs on his own. One recent single, “You Rascal You,” is a masterful reinterpretation of a ’30s jazz standard.


Sarah Jaffe

This Denton, Texas singer-songwriter debuted her moody first album, Suburban Nature, this past spring and has since stolen hearts across the country by touring on the strength of her pared-down instrumentation—courtesy of a big Gibson acoustic—and rich bedroomy voice.


The Rassle

Composed of the casualties from two defunct rock bands (The Virgins and The Young Lords), New York’s The Rassle will mark their first anniversary together next month. Their first two singles, “Celebrate The Days” and “Wild Ones,” spread across the blogosphere in 2010 like wildfire, blazing a mighty path for their first EP, which is now available for free download on


The Smith Westerns

The name “Smith Westerns” may already sound familiar as the Chicago indie rockers have gotten some boldfaced help this last year opening shows for MGMT, Belle and Sebastian, Passion Pit and Girls. Their first proper studio album, Dye It Blonde, hits stores on January 18 on the Fat Possum imprint.  


Steel Magnolia

Just as sweet and sturdy as their name implies, Steel Magnolia is a country act that’s riding high from winning season two of CMT’s Can You Duet. Judging by their well-received first singles and a 2010 Academy of Country Music Awards nomination, their eponymous first album, out on January 11, is destined to make a splash on country radio.



This L.A. art rock group, composed of four supernaturally hot women, has released only one LP so far—October’s The Fool—but has already hemorrhaged some superstar members, including actress Shannyn Sossamon and Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer. In fact, RHCP guitarist John Frusciante mixed and mastered the band’s 2007 EP. Nevertheless, the band has picked up unbelievable momentum this last year on the strength of their ghostly, psychedelic songs.