Before They Were Cool

FKA twigs
(Young Turks)

The London-based chanteuse may or may not be dating Robert Pattinson and has been compared to everyone from Aaliyah to Björk. The artist Formerly Known As twigs (FKA… get it?) almost made YouTube explode recently when she busted out a trippy cover of Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” on BBC Radio 1. It’s not often indie geeks and mainstream r&b enthusiasts agree, but they’ve found common ground with twigs’ debut, LP1. Songs like “Pendulum” and “Hours” are straight baby makin’ music and lead single “Two Weeks” sounds like vintage Kate Bush backed by an opiated Timbaland beat. Still need convincing? Check out that video for “Two Weeks” or just go see her at Terminal 5 in Hell’s Kitchen on Nov 8.

Cold Specks
(Mute/Arts & Crafts)

If there were any justice in the music world, this Montreal-based singer-songwriter’s 2012 debut, I Predict a Graceful Expulsion, would have sold Taylor Swift numbers. While she may seem strange on the surface (she claims her real name is Al Spx), her music is both accessible and artfully executed, seamlessly blending folk, jazz, soul and orchestral chamber music. But it’s the voice that really gets us. It’s a sublime and reverential instrument that sounds wise beyond her 26 years. Her new record takes a darker turn lyrically, but is balanced by concise and focused rhythms that reward repeated listening. “Stick to your guns/You wear them well,” she pleads on “Let Loose the Dogs.” We hope she follows her own advice. Check her out on Nov 7 at Rough Trade NYC in Williamsburg.

This Is All Yours

(BMG/Infectious Music)

This Cambridge-based quartet put out one of the best indie-rock debuts of 2012 (An Awesome Wave), despite a head-scratching name (referring to the keyboard sequence to make the delta symbol) and a singer who sometimes sounds like Bob Dylan doing an Eric Cartman impression. Yet the band lives up to those “next Radiohead” proclamations on the recently released This Is All Yours, an often psychedelic record with more genres on it than Coldplay tried for in their entire career. There’s the folksy “Left Hand Free,” the distorted and orchestral “Every Other Freckle” and there’s even a Miley Cyrus sample on the electro-tinged ballad “Hunger of the Pine.” It’s clear this band isn’t creating catchy singles to be downloaded for a dollar a pop; they’re creating an album meant to be evaluated as a whole. They’re at the Beacon Theatre in Manhattan on Nov 16.