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Karl Wallinger is perhaps best known as the brains and brawn behind the Brit-pop band World Party. Wallinger is a Welsh singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer who had an early obsession with all things folk and pop, from the Beatles to the Beach Boys to Bob Dylan. After some experience directing The Rocky Horror Show and working in music publishing, he played keyboard for the Scottish folk rock collective The Waterboys.

Michael Kiwanuka combines roots and soul with such old-school, retro-sounding technique, it's hard to believe he's a rising star -- let alone a 24-year-old.  Kiwanuka is of Ugandan descent and grew up in Muswell Hill, London. 

By now, Daniel Rossen's name is synonymous with the kind of raggedy, whimsical, airy music that he writes.  A contributing song writer and musician in Grizzly Bear, Rossen often saved his more personal compositions for his other band, Department of Eagles, both of which have roots in Rossen's undergraduate years at NYU. 

A surfer and songwriter, Ben Howard's two loves intertwined when the England surfing community became the first audience for his quiet, meditative music.  At the encouragement of friends, Howard released two EPs and was invited soon after to tour with Xavier Rudd.  Like Rudd, Howard is a no-nonsense, no-frills singer-songwriter.  He began to write his own music "as a kid" and decided at the age of 21 to become a full time musician. 

Of Monsters and Men is a six-person collective hailing from Iceland and the makers of very catchy folk-pop. The group came together in 2009 when lead singer Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir began recruiting back-ups for her acoustic solo act. In 2010, Of Monsters and Men gained national fame when they won an annual Icelandic battle of the bands competition, and since then, the buzz has only grown.

Grimes is the one-woman project of Claire Boucher, a talented and artistic Canadian songstress. Born and raised in Vancouver, she moved to Montreal for college but left to pursue her craft when Grimes began to take off. Marrying lo-fi punk with a dream-pop aesthetic, Grimes quickly became a fixture in the DIY underground music movement in Montreal.

Emeli Sande is young, but she already has an enviable list of accomplishments under her belt. Along with a specialty in neuroscience from the University of Glasgow, she's become a global R&B phenom at the tender young age of 23.

Geographer's glittery, electronic pop rock has been winning over fans on the west coast for years.  The trio formed in 2008, released their first full-length that August, and began playing the Bay Area. 

Gotye (whose real name is Wouter "Wally" De Backer) has become an international pop star with his 2011 release, "Making Mirrors". The pop-infused collection includes a little ditty, "Somebody I Used To Know", that subsequently took the world by storm after its early leak in July 2011.

Named after a French novella by poet Charles Baudelaire, Fanfarlo is a pop outfit hailing from London. With a wide range of instrumentation (mandolin, glockenspiel, musical saw, melodica, sax, clarinet, and the usual drums, bass, and guitar), Fanfarlo have been able to craft some uniquely beguiling and uplifting pop-folk.

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