Surprisingly, the number one single in America is Goyte’s “Somebody I Used to Know.” Even more surprising is the fact that it supplanted “We Are Young” by the band Fun, which marks the first time that an alternative slash indie styled song was replaced in the top spot by a fellow alternative slash indie styled song.

Of course you could argue the merits of those songs as alternative or indie. To be honest, they are probably more indie pop than anything else. Still, these aren’t two songs that got churned out by the winner of a singing contest or a guy Kim Kardashian wants to pretend to date. Instead, both got ‘discovered’ by indie fans and got airplay on alternative stations before creeping into the mainstream and eventually rocketing into obnoxiously overplayed status.

When taken in conjunction with Arcade Fire and Bon Iver getting Grammy love the past two years, one has to wonder what exactly modern alternative or indie music is alternative too or independent of. But rather than opine about the sort of questions that led to Saint Kurt’s eventual demise or wax philosophical about how the internet and predictive software tailored to a user’s previous actions have collapsed music in to neat little niches that can be marketed and exploited to by the mainstream taste makers, let’s just try to guess who the next big indie slash alternative band or artist will be. Here are my five best guesses for the next big indie/alternative band or artist to make a mark in the mainstream.

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Choice Songs: “Home”, “40 Day Dream”, “Man on Fire”

Probably best described as a drum circle that evolved into a functioning band, this group of potential Occupiers appear ready to make camp all over your airwaves. Sure they look and dance like the crowd at a Phish concert and sure the lead singer has some sort of weird Messianic story he wants to tell. But there’s no denying how fantastically and contagiously energetic they are. With a new CD coming out May 29 they are primed to be the next Mumford and Sons. Almost all their songs are catchy crescendos that’ll infectiously creep out from publicly funded radio stations to the regular ones who will sandwich the siren calls of this merry band of hippies in between Train and Jason Mraz.

Brandi Carlile

Choice Songs: “That Wasn’t Me”, “The Story”, “Dreams”, “Dying Day”

Brandi Carlile has a distinct vibe of Mellissa Etheridge combined with Sheryl Crow. She writes folksy songs but delivers them with a rocker’s edge. Both Etheridge and Crow were once firmly planted on the music scene so Carlile’s amalgam of the two should find similar success, though it’ll depend on how good her forthcoming CD is (expected to come out in June). If “That Wasn’t Me” is any indication of her latest creative efforts then you can expect a more soulful feeling to the CD, albeit one that doesn’t skimp on powerful delivery. Best of all, she’s got pipes that rank right up there with Adele … if Adele had also gotten her start busking on the sidewalk and developed a raspy scream.

Sharon Van Etten

Choice Songs: “Serpents”, “Leonard”, “Save Yourself”, “One Day”

She could be Brandi Carlile’s greasy haired younger sister. While she lacks the harder sounding edge of her potential big sis (although she’s got more tattoos, so go figure) no one in the last couple of years has managed to produce so many beautifully arranged fusions of voice and acoustic guitar. “Serpents” and “Leonard” from her latest release should have been bigger hits but weren’t and “Save Yourself” and “One Day” from her earlier CD should have put her on the map in a bigger way but didn’t. For now she’s a queen on the public radio stations, but she’s one mass appeal soul strumming song away from blowing up beyond the indie borders.

First Aid Kit

Choice Songs: “Emmylou” and “Lion’s Roar”

Gotye got big in large part due to his viral music video. This band, comprised of two Scandinavian Sisters, actually got plucked off YouTube and put on stage. It’s a great readymade story for a record label PR person and it just so happens that this burgeoning band deserves any accolades bestowed upon it. As someone born and raised in South Carolina I say this with some sadness and shame, but the best folk song of the last 20 wasn’t written in Appalachia but rather by two girls from Sweden. “Emmylou” is an imported ode to all things musically Southern while “Lion’s Roar” is what Joan Baez would have written if she wasn’t just arm candy for more talented male musicians.

Alabama Shakes

Choice Songs: “Hold On”, “Heartbreaker”, “You Ain’t Alone”

Picture The Black Keys except with a lead singer who belts out alt blues like she’s BB King’s long lost daughter. Congratulations, you just imagined Alabama Shakes. While this blues rock band has thrown out only one CD, they boast a vocalist who can at times channel the best of Janis Joplin. Add to the soulful vocals a band that understands accessible blues beats, and the Alabama Shakes stand poised to take up the mainstream blues banner of The Black Keys if future records extend on their undeniable talents.