This list was made from my limited point of view and it's a fair representation of my idiosyncrasies. My tastes tend to oscillate towards the so-called "indie." For Brazilian music, that basically means that I am more interested in people who are making some sort of indefinable hybrid genre rather than repeating the classic genres of the past. Samba, forró, chorinho, baião, maracatu, xaxado, brega, MPB are all so strong and so Brazilian that they can take hits and beats from other genres without losing their ground and in the process the music will sound fresh and new.
In no particular order...
Marcelo Jeneci – Feito Pra Acabar
Perfect pop songs in the voices of Janeci and Tulipa Ruiz, composed by Janeci with partners of an older generation of Brazilian indie pop, with names like Arnaldo Antunes, Chico César, José Miguel Wisnik and Luís Tatit. Janeci is nor afraid of a bit of sentimentality (a good Brazilian tradition, in my opinion). Influenced by música caipira (traditional country music) and bubblegum pop. Electric guitars, caipira guitar and accordion!
Mombojó – Amigo do Tempo
Felipe S. still sings like a boy, but the band grew up. Once the enfant terrible of Brazilian independent scene, Mombojó was had as done when their flutist died and their guitarist left the band. But here they are again, with a solid album that could very well be the best Brazilian Northeast answer to Stereolab.
Maquinado – Mundialmente Anônimo
Nação Zumbi's (the best band on the land) guitar man, Lúcio Maia, launched a solo album with psychedelic catchy songs, strong lyrics and tones of electronic beats.
Fino Coletivo – Copacabana
For fans of Jorge Ben Jor and Tim Maia, Fine Coletivo is a sextet from Rio revising the sounds of 1970s Brazilian soul, funk and samba-rock.
Tulipa – Efêmera
Tulipa Ruiz is proof that the 1980s musical movement Vanguarda Paulistana (São Paulo avantgarde) still has juice in it. Efêmera gor raving reviews and is an obvious heir to the generation that brought us Suzana Salles, Tetê Espíndola, Eliete Negreiros, Vânia Bastos and Ná Ozzetti.
Lurdez da Luz – Lurdez da Luz
I love rap from São Paulo. That's all.
DJ Tudo – Nos Quintais do Mundo
DJ Tudo ("DJ Everything") is Alfredo Bello, bassist and producer with a researcher vein that took him to Europe, Africa and Brazil's outback in search of new beats and sounds. He's mainly curious about traditional folk music, so it's no surprise that you can find roots stuff like maracatu, afoxé, caboclinho, congado, embolada, maxixe and baianá in Nos Quintais do Mundo ("In the World's Backyards"), his first album.
BaianaSystem – BaianaSystem
Those guys claim they're trying to update the guitarra baiana (a style of guitar playing invented in state of Bahia in the 1940s). People are calling their music "axé-dub." It's upbeat, sexy, and perfect for a mellow dance floor. Accessible and experimental.
Cérebro Eletrônico – Deus e o Diabo no Liquidificador
Third album of the band, Deus e o Diabo no Liquidificador ("God and the Devil in Blender's Land") explores psychedelic rock through a filter Brazilian music. Loved by the music press, Cérebro Eletrônico has been sometimes compared to Os Mutantes.
Luisa Maita – Lero-Lero
A singer of the same vein as Céu and Cibelle, that's is to say, she's adept of the MPB sound, a genre in which Marisa Monte is queen and Gal Costa is goddess. Not terribly innovative, and yet awesomely pleasant.
Disagree? Use the comments to tell us your favourites.
[This post was also published at the excellent Deep Brazil]