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Future Sounds: 5 Genres Bubbling Up

These styles are some of the best the underground had to offer in 2015 – get ready to hear more

Kygo; Deafheaven

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Music is constantly evolving as styles cross-pollinate and artists experiment and grow. Here are five cutting-edge genres currently exploding across Japan, South Africa, America and, most importantly, the Internet. Get to know them now.

Tropical House

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Tropical House

What: A sun-kissed strain of EDM – what Jimmy Buffett would spin if he traded his guitar for turntables. The antidote to dance music's turn-down-for-nothing moshpit phase is this chill wave of deep house: Airy, relaxed, with beats as soft as a beer coozie pressed in the sand. The jokey name was tossed-out by Australian producer Thomas Jack in promoter Myles Shear's college apartment, but thanks to producers in the decidedly un-tropical wilds of Norway and Germany, it has quickly risen to dominate the 2015 summer festival season — and has influenced the sound of pop stars like Justin Bieber and Jason DeRulo.

Who's Doing It: Kygo, Felix Jaehn, Robin Schulz

Key Track: The Robin Schulz remix for Mr. Probz' "Waves" features campfire acoustic guitar and actual lyrics about sand and streams. It topped the charts in six countries.

Crossover Chances: Omi's "Cheerleader" (remixed by Felix Jaehn) and Justin Bieber's sex-on-the-beach romp "What Do You Need?" have already hit Number One on the Hot 100 this year. Expect 2016 to be chilled like a Margarita.

Chicago Bop

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Chicago Bop

What: Music originally made to soundtrack loose-limbed, hard-angled, elbow-throwing dances burning up the Chicago streets — think a mix of vintage popping and mime. Bop is essentially highly melodic hip-hop that owes equally to the Auto-Tuned melodies of Atlanta and the YouTube-traded repetition of the Chicago underground. It originally exploded around 2011; but steady attention from hipster websites and sonic similarities to cultural sensations like Fetty Wap's "Trap Queen" and Silentó's "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)" have kept it pumping far beyond the Chi.

Who's Doing It: Sicko Mobb, MBE, Stunt Taylor

Key Track: Sicko Mobb's "Kool-Aid" brags about keeping a rifle with a laser, but its sugary sweet melody could have come straight from keening early Sixties R&B. 

Crossover Chances: Sicko Mobb are signed to RCA, who is banking on their candy-coated alien croon. Stranger things have happened.

Gqom

Joseph Okpako/Redferns/Getty, Gonzales Photo/Jarle H. Moe/The Hell Gate/Corbis

Gqom

What: A strain of awesomely lo-fidelity South African house music like the homegrown electronic pop melting-pot kwaito run through moodier hues, rap-inflected beats and bad MP3 compression. Originally blaring from mobile phones in the country's largest city, Durban, it's naturally taken hold in the world's capital of dubstep, hard techno and grime, London.

Who: Rudeboyz, DJ Lag, Citizen Boy 

Key Track: London's Goon Club Allstars label recently gave a vinyl release to Rudeboyz' "Mercedes Song," which features the pliant drum sound the genre is named for.

Chances for Radio Takeover: The dark, chopped-up sound is likely too abrasive to ooze anywhere beyond underground techno hotspots for some time — even Citizen Boy's "remake" of Adele's "Hometown Boy" is too dank and uneasy be get much burn before 11 p.m.

Blackgaze

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Blackgaze

What: Like the name implies, a blizzard-blurred, ecstatic embrace of black metal's dissonant grind and shoegaze's uplifting suffocation. Forged a decade ago by French woosh-crafters Alcest as a way to confront the otherworldly visions that frontman Neige would have as a child, it's become a natural intersection at the points where indie rock, underground metal and the internet collide — not to mention a way for American bands raised on My Bloody Valentine to get around wearing corpsepaint

Who: Bosse-de-Nage, Vattnet Viskar, Ghost Bath

Key Track: "Dream House," the 2013 flurry from San Francisco's Deafheaven, helped bring this transcendent sound all the way to Bonnaroo's tents.

Chances for Radio Takeover: You're not gonna hear this stuff on rock radio anytime soon. But that doesn't mean Bosse-de-Nage's All Fours isn't one of the best metal albums to come out this year.

Amps

Tomoki Suzuki

Japanese Footwork

What: Japan is responding to the frenetic, giddy, polyrhythmic Chicago footwork movement on labels like Booty Tune and Trekkie Trax. While the original relied heavy on skipping soul samples, this neon derivation relies more on pixellated blips and icy minimalism. Says Keith Rankin, who's been releasing disorienting Japanese footwork releases domestically on cassette label Orange Milk: "They tried to make faithful reproductions, but the result was a distant fun-house version of the original."

Who: DJ Fulltono, Foodman, Gnyonpix

Key Tracks: DJ Amps' "Stuck on Rhythm" features breakbeats lost in pinballing insanity.

Chances for Radio Takeover: Completely impossible until someone sends Timbaland a Soundcloud link.

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