The Band: Temper Trap
The Buzz: Rock and fashion have always enjoyed a symbiotic relationship, but in the case of the Temper Trap, the connection is more literal: this Australian band met at the Down Under equivalent of Urban Outfitters, ensuring they'd be well-dressed even if success proved elusive.
Listen If: INXS's "Never Tear Us Apart" was your wedding song — or you want it to be.
Key Track: "Love Lost," which manages an odd combination of Simply Red and Coldplay, pitting Dougy Mandagi's emotive vocals against steady, determined guitars — a stirring hybrid of Britpop and soul.
The Band: Hull
The Buzz: Who says the blackest metal comes from up north? This Brooklyn outfit dishes out astonishing sludge, writing imposing, slow-moving metal songs that would make the vilest Satanist quiver in his boots.
Listen If: You like to play your early Sabbath records at half-speed with the lights off — and especially if you like to do this while wearing some kind of hood.
Key Track: The gloomy "Architect," where guitars roll in like approaching storm clouds, gathering and gathering before unleashing their full fury.
The Band: Surfer Blood
The Buzz: They anoint Condi Rice "Secretary of Weed" on their MySpace page, but this Florida band is far from stoner rock. This is all giant-sized choruses, festooned in glitter and lit up with neon.
Listen If: "Don't Stop Believin'" is not a "guilty" pleasure.
Key Track: "Swim (to Reach the End)," which is as bright and booming and hooky as FM radio in the late '70s.