Some musical trends are easy to spot a mile away, but last year’s chart domination by female-driven alt-pop was more of a pleasant surprise. Lorde was the obvious epicenter, but further down the charts and in critical circles, we saw a number of other prominent players. When exciting debuts from Charli XCX and Sky Ferreira finally landed after years in the works, it felt like there was a true place for them, not just some corner of the music world. We also saw the rise of Chvrches, led by Lauren Mayberry and, a year earlier, Grimes’ stunning debut. Even longtime indie duo Tegan & Sara went full-on pop with 2013’s Heartthrob, which garnered them commercial radio play in a big way.
Of course, this isn’t to say incredible alt-pop by women hasn’t been coming out consistently throughout the years, or even breaking wide (let us not forget about Florence + the Machine and Lykke Li — or that we shouldn’t lump all of these artists together, either). At the moment, though, it feels like Top 40 listeners and the mainstream music industry are more apt to listen to what these artists have to say. And so, we present our guide to the alt-pop ladies to watch for this spring. Some, like MØ and Mr Little Jeans, have seen success with EPs and are now releasing their debut LPs. Others, like Allie X, are brand new. We expect to hear more from all of them soon, though.