The annual MTV Brand New competition has launched across Australia and New Zealand this week, with fans able to check out videos and interviews, and then vote for their favourite artist at mtv.co.nz.

Nineteen-year-old rising electro R&B artist Thomston is the only New Zealander in the competition, and while he certainly deserves his spot with his James Blake comparisons and emotive, vulnerable aesthetic, there are a few other local acts snapping round the edges of pop stardom who we reckon could have made the cut too.

So here are five fresh local acts you should keep your eyes on:

Fazerdaze

The stage name of Amelia Murray, Fazerdaze really impressed with the release of her self-titled debut EP in late 2014 (Reel is our favourite track). Recorded in her bedroom, it defies that low-fi aesthetic, and showcases her artful vocals in beautifully arranged indie-pop/rock beds. Like a sweeter and more youthful-sounding Cat Power, or Warpaint, we're looking forward to her debut album out soon (hopefully).

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Leisure

They're a mysterious bunch of guys whose names start with J (Josh, Jordan, Jaden) and someone else called Tim or maybe Tom. There's very little public information yet available, but we've heard they just went away for a bit of a boys weekend to a bach, and ended up making a bunch of great tunes. And now there's a major label bidding war going on. This might all be factual - or it might be made up - but the earworm quality of fresh n funky grooves like Hot Love and Got It Bad (think Jungle mixed with plenty of falsetto) is undeniable. More please.

Boycrush

The solo electronic based project of drummer Alistair Deverick (who plays with a whole bunch of great bands including Carnivorous Plant Society, The Ruby Suns, Lawrence Arabia, and SJD among them), Boycrush grew out of Deverick's stint at the prestigious Red Bull Music Academy in 2011. He's been going great guns lately with the online release of his dance oriented EP Girls On Top, which features vocalists like Chelsea Jade and Madeira (aka Kim Pflaum of Yumi Zouma) over adventurous grooves.

Matthew Young

He used to be the lead singer for Artisan Guns, but Matthew Young has gone in a totally different direction with his new solo project, kind of electro-RnB, with a distinctly urban flavour and a touch of hip-hop. He's recently been signed to Sony Music, and released his EP, Dive, which has caught the attention of quite a few international blogs. He cites his big inspirations as Prince and Michael Jackson, but we can hear the more modern touch of Jessie Ware in there too.

Strange Babes

Sam McCarthy and Jaden Parkes, who have made music together for years, first in Goodnight Nurse (with Joel Little) and then as Kids of 88, started Strange Babes as a wee side project. But since McCarthy moved to LA, it's morphed into a three-piece band, with Maddie North and Leroy Clampitt joining the ranks. They released their excellent debut self-titled album for free online earlier this year, and have been pricking ears with their wonderfully melodic guitar pop, which mixes The Chills and The Clean with a touch of Teenage Fanclub and the Beach Boys.

- TimeOut