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Lorde

Photograph: Charles Howells
Lorde

We bunch Aussie teen phenoms with the new wave of gothic pop ingenues. Like Sky Ferreira and Charli XCX, Lorde is connecting with people by eschewing brash bubblegum sounds and the trite trapping of modern radio: "Royals" is explicitly a middle finger to the saturated brain fat of, say, Ke$ha. Lordes' pale visage, raccoon eyes and ebony tresses signal a more honest reflection of the zeitgeist. Her debut, last year's Pure Heroine, cleverly reappropriates junkie chic as female power. All this wrapping would be cool but meaningless without the tunes to back it up, and her songs manage to go big by sounding spare, small and nocturnal—in other words, she's kind of the xx-meets-Cyndi Lauper for the Monster High generation. It's worth mentioning that the pallid 17-year-old became the third youngest Grammy winner in history with her Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance awards for "Royals." Don't miss her when she stops by to play two shows this October at The Greek.

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