Catch her at Empty Bottle on February 18.
Key track: ‘History Eraser’
Fat White Family
Key track: "Who Shot Lee Oswald?"
Catch her at Lanza visited Smart Bar in January. You missed it. But she'll be back, in a bigger space, likely.
Key track: "Kathy Lee"
Key track: "It’s Everyday"
Key track: "Hand on Heart"
Key track: "Steam Train Girl"
Catch him at Lee was an opening act at January's Tomorrow Never Know fest. He should be headlining soon.
Key track: "Advanced Falconry"
Key track: "Better Man than He"
Key track: "Over and Out"
Key track: "Wolves"
Key track: "The Long Goodbye"
Catch them at: Empty Bottle on March 7.
Key track: "Uppercutter"
With a provocative name, impatient rage and '90s zine aesthetics, Meredith Graves fronts Perfect Pussy, next in the line of great frontwomen that gave us Kathleen Hanna, Karen O, Marissa Paternoster and Jehnny Beth. The Syracuse band's ripping cassette-tape debut, I Have Lost All Desire for Feeling, was a dozen-plus minutes of perfect, passionate hardcore, a bit of Bikini Kill meets Iceage, with songs only branded with Roman numerals. "My best friend is back in town…her eyes fell low with shame and cum," Graves howls to open I. If you ever loved punk, this will remind you why. The band has signed to the très hip Captured Tracks, who will release Say Yes to Love in March. The first single, "Driver," offers a touch more clarity.—Brent DiCrescenzo
Catch them at: At Township on Apr 1. Put money on Pitchfork Fest, too.
Key track: "Driver"
Chicago rapper Mensa got his start with Kids These Days, an upbeat high-school group that came off as a Disney act and had Jeff Tweedy produce its record. Lately, he's been boosting his profile via guest spots on Chance the Rapper cuts. He's not as progressive as Chance, so labeling as this year's model is wrong. There's a more commercial lean to his mic skills. Last year's Innanetape aspired to Drake and Wiz, while holding onto the live instrumentation of his Kids era.—Brent DiCrescenzo
Key track: "Holy Holy"