The line between pop and "electronic music" is nothing if not blurry. Where an artist falls on that spectrum may have as much to do with his or her history and social circles as with any strictly musical or technological criteria. Consider Matthew Dear, who got his start as a techno DJ and now fronts an honest-to-goodness rock band when he takes the stage; his new album, Beams, snakes in between the two aesthetics, weaving a porous web of synths and samples that's shot through with echoes of Byrne and Bowie. Or take Dan Deacon, who became known as a circuit-bending party-starter before flexing his compositional chops alongside avant-chamber groups like So Percussion; his new album, America, has elements of sing-along indie, electronica and contemporary classical, but it's too big to be contained by any of those.
And what about Jessie Ware? Her cameos on songs by SBTRKT and Joker pegged her to the U.K. bass-music scene, but her debut album doesn't come with apparent strictures. Drawing from neo-soul as much as contemporary club music, it's pop in the broadest meaning of the term.
Check out those albums as well as other hard-to-pin-down records from Maria Minerva, Groundislava and Holy Other, and explore even more essential new electronic music -- however you want to define it -- with the playlist above.