Songs of Summer 2013: Artists to Watch

(VEVO | YouTube)Few of the songs listed below saw much mainstream U.S. radio airplay in the summer of 2013, but that doesn't mean they don't qualify for Song of Summer status. Several of the artists featured are practically superstars already with massive, devoted followings, while others are flying just below the radar. But it wouldn't be too a big a surprise if any of them delivered a true summer anthem for 2014.

1. "What I Like," Charli XCX
British singer-songwriter Charli XCX freely admits to an obsession with all things '90s — including the Spice Girls, which should come as no surprise to anyone who's glimpsed her footwear — so of course the music video to her single "What I Like" looks like it was shot on VHS. Don't let the lo-fi look distract you from the sublime crispness of the song, though. Charli also wrote another of the summer's biggest hits: Icona Pop's "I Love It."

2. "Sea of Dreams," Baby Alpaca
It's impossible to describe this song without sounding redundant: It is starkly intimate and powerfully dreamy. The video below was conceived and directed by the New York band's founder, Chris Kittrell.

3. "Evil Friends," Portugal. The Man
"Evil Friends" sounds like a couple of different songs all at once (a Pitchfork writer described the band's recent album as a collection of "pan-genre Frankensongs"), but they're all great songs. Weird but great, and all at once.

4. "The Wire," HAIM
If you're already familiar with HAIM, chances are you're either completely in love with them or struggling to understand what all the fuss is about. The California sister trio has already amassed a wildly devoted fan base (there's a Twitter account for Este Haim's bass face, which is, admittedly, very deserving of a Twitter account) on the strength of some blissfully poppy singles that your mom will favorably compare to Fleetwood Mac and maybe Wilson Phillips.

5. "Song for Zula," Phosphorescent
Brooklyn-based artist Matthew Houck, aka Phosphorescent, has admitted that his latest album Muchacho was inspired by the cutting losses of his studio, his girlfriend, and his mind. The heartbreak is loud, clear, lovely, and maybe just a little hopeful on his single "Song for Zula."

6. "Two Times," Kid Karate
Upon first listen, you might think Kid Karate's gritty, über-amped sound was birthed in Detroit alongside the White Stripes and the Black Keys. The Irish duo, who released their debut EP Lights Out just last month, have a reputation for shows as epic as their riffs.

7. "Sweater Weather," The Neighbourhood
Complex magazine called it in July 2012: Despite its name, "Sweater Weather" is a wholly appropriate summer anthem. Like many blog heroes before them, Los Angeles quintet the Neighbourhood released their breakout hit more than a year before it hit its peak on the charts. The slow burn is so hot right now.

8. "Compliment Your Soul," Dan Croll
It's unclear whether Dan Croll intends to "compliment" or "complement" the soul he sings of in his sophomore single, a follow up to the sublime indie favorite "From Nowhere," but it hardly matters. It's gorgeous and romantic either way... and in a daring 6/8 time signature.

9. "Shut Up," Savages
Don't get distracted, just watch the video.

10. "The Mother We Share," Chvrches
Glasgow, Scotland's Chvrches is often referred to as "adorable," perhaps because of vocalist Lauren Mayberry's unaffected, girlish delivery. But don't you dare get dismissive: This is excellent, accessible pop. "The Mother We Share" is featured on the band's upcoming debut album, The Bones of What You Believe.

See the rest of Zimbio's Songs of Summer here.

I'm the former Zimbio Music Editor. Into music, cats, karaoke, and shiny things. Follow me: Google