Debut album from London-based indie band Yuck. The sound is like a 90's revival but done in a new way.
Cage the Elephant's sophomore album is good, but I definitely prefer to see them live as I did last summer at Lollapalooza. Their show is full of high-energy, which is usually a plus at a live show.
Four Grammy nominations and two wins (including Best New Artist) is well deserved.
Cape Dory is the first studio album from Denver-based married duo Tennis. The album has a soft indie-pop sound, and the songs are about the couple's experiences on a sailing expedition.
I first heard of Grouplove from my roommate while we were at Lollapalooza. I didn't see them, but he did. I heard their first single, "Colours," and really wasn't all that impressed. Their second single, "Tongue Tied," hooked me in however. I paid more attention after hearing that.
The debut of Metals was Feist's best week of sales ever, placing the album number 7 on the Billboard charts. Her fourth studio album is described as "modern ancient" and it is a soothing album to listen to.
Thirteen years after the death of frontman Bradley Nowell in 1996, the two remaining members of Sublime reunited with newcomer Rome Ramirez. Due to legalities they could not be known simply as Sublime, so they are now known as Sublime With Rome. Their "debut" album is on par with their 90's tunes and new frontman Rome is a solid replacement for Nowell.
I am a big fan of the The Kooks and this album is ranked this low simply because I haven't had a chance to listen to the entire album yet.
Arabia Mountain is the sixth studio ablum from "flower punk" band Black Lips. This is an interesting case of an album I really enjoy that doesn't include and individually favorite songs. It's just a great high-energy album from beginning to end but I haven't picked out any one song I prefer over the others.
I'm not sure there's anyone who isn't familiar with Adele and her powerful voice. With songs like "Running in the Deep," "Set Fire to the Rain" and "Someone Like You" it's difficult to not enjoy this album. It's no surprise Adele swept all six categories she was nominated for at the Grammy's this year.
Avril Lavigne's fourth album, and first since her divorce from Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley, brings her musical style back to that of her debut album. It is obvious much of the writing was inspired by her recent experiences in life and it makes for a very honest and raw album. There are pop hits like "What The Hell" and "Smile," but the deeper tracks add a lot of emotion.
Flo's debut album Lungs in 2009 vaulted them to superstardom. Their sophomore effort does not disappoint.
Though not their best album, El Camino is still a better album than many artists' best.
The Swedish-born singer's second album is a great collection of indie, pop and electronic. The songs are quite catchy, especially "Get Some" and "Youth Knows No Pain."
For the record, there is no Hot Sauce Commitee, Pt. 1. Originally Rock N Roll Hall of Famers the Beastie Boys were going to release a two-part album with separate release dates. Unfortunately complications arose and they missed the release date of Pt. 1. The Beastie Boys insisted that Pt. 2 would still be released on time, so they decided to move the songs from Pt. 1 to Pt. 2 while bumping some of the Pt. 2 songs off the album. I find it interesting and awesome that they would leave the title Pt. 2 while not planning on releasing a Pt. 1. It makes for a great story. And to quote one of their songs for my birthday being later this week..."Make some noise it's your birthday!"
Cults are a New York-based noise-pop duo who were the first band to sign onto Lily Allen's new record label In The Name Of in 2011. Their self-titled debut makes it hard to believe this is a new band.
At 52 years old, the singer-songwriter-parodist is still going strong. Weird Al has managed to tackle some of the biggest hits consistently for almost thirty years. His new album, the Grammy-nominated Alpocalypse follows a similar formula, mixing parodies with original songs and the always enjoyable polka medley consisting of several recent hits. Weird Al's latest parodies include "Perform This Way" (Lady Gaga's "Born This Way), "Party in the C.I.A." (Miley Cyrus's "Party in the USA"), "Another Tattoo" (B.o.B. and Bruno Mars's "Nothin' On You"), "TMZ" (Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me") and "Whatever You Like" (T.I.'s "Whatever You Like").
Weird Al may be 52, but the king of shock rock just turned 63! Normally you wouldn't expect them to be mentioned in the same sentence, let alone share a stage. This past New Year's Eve the two of them along with Steven Tyler were at the same party in Hawaii and performed "Come Together"...together! Check it out on YouTube. Anyway, Welcome 2 My Nightmare is a concept album that acts as a sequel to 1975's Welcome To My Nightmare. The new album tells the story of a character who essentially travels to Hell and meets the Devil. It turns out the Devil is played by Kesha, who features in the song "What Baby Wants." It seems like an unusual collaboration, but think of it this way...Cooper went through his "Trash" phase in the 80's and Kesha is what I currently consider the queen of trash pop. Welcome 2 features a variety of music styles including a childlike lullaby ("The Nightmare Returns"), disco ("Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever"), surf rock ("Ghouls Gone Wild"), love ballad ("Something to Remember Me By") and an instrumental overture consisting of elements from songs from both Nightmare albums ("The Underture").
The Green Album is a compliation of songs from across the Muppets canon performed by various artists. Contributing artists include OK Go, Weezer, Alkaline Trio, The Fray, My Morning Jacket and more. For a special treat, check out OK Go's video for "Muppet Show Theme Song."
I just realized this is one of six debut albums on this list. Not a bad year for new artists. Granted some of them are made up of established musicians. Awolnation was founded by the former frontman of another band I really like, Under the Influence of Giants. Awolnation's debut Megalithic Symphony is a great electronic-rock album with some good experimental elements.
What do you get when you combine indie and garage rock with sounds from blaxploitation and Bollywood, old school hip hop and distorted guitars? That's right, The Go! Team. The crazy, chaotic sound from this British eight-piece band is great fun. Their third studio album Rolling Blackouts keeps the party going.
I only just discovered Friendly Fires last year at Lollapalooza, but they were one of my favorite performances of the festival. After getting into their catalogue I found myself enjoying their recorded music just as much as listening to them live.
The Muppets was probably my favorite film of 2011 and the music definitely helped make the film as good as it was. Much of the music was written by Bret McKenzie, one half of the New Zealand duo Flight of the Conchords. It didn't hurt having Jason Segal and Amy Adams on board, both talent actors and singers. One of the best tracks of the film, "Man or Muppet," is nominated for an Academy Award!
Wild Flag is a four-piece all female band that includes two former members of Sleater-Kinney (Janet Weiss and Portlandia's Carrie Brownstein). Their self-titled debut is a high energy indie rock album
The Cold War Kids' third album might be my favorite from them yet. It is a very moving and enjoyable album to listen to from beginning to end.
MuteMath's third studio release really accentuates their southern blues rock. I really like a lot of their past work, but this album as a whole is probably my favorite.
It's hard to believe Torches is a debut album. With the amount of exposure it has had in the past year you'd think Foster the People have been around much longer. Their debut single "Pumped Up Kicks" is played by rock, pop and indie stations, and a few other songs have appeared on the radio and in commercials. Though they have two Grammy nods this year, it surprises me that they were not nominated for Best New Artist.
The Lonely Island's follow-up to 2009's Incredibad is bigger and badder with new guests and great SNL Digital Shorts. A couple of the songs had already been released as Digital Shorts before the album was released ("Motherlover", "I Just Had Sex") and a few more have been released as Shorts since ("The Creep", "Jack Sparrow"). Special guests include Justin Timberlake, Akon, Snoop Dogg, Nicki Minaj, Michael Bolton, Beck, Santigold and Rihanna. Not bad for three writers-comedians-rappers. They were nominated for three Emmy's last year for "I Just Had Sex," "Jack Sparrow" and "3-Way (The Golden Rule)." "3-Way" is not on the album.
The best thing about my favorite band releasing a new album is that it brought them back to Albuquerque. Big D's do-it-yourself attitude and non-stop performing has been a great thing to experience as a fan. Though they took some different routes with their previous album Fluent in Stroll, For the Damned brings them back to their fast-paced punk rock/ska infusion that I have loved for over a decade.
On a more somber note, Big D's frontman Dave McWane was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in November. He recently had surgery and as far as I've heard the cancer was successfully removed. I wish him the best in his recovery process.
Childish Gambino a.k.a. Donald Glover a.k.a. Troy from Community is a rapper/actor/writer/comedian who is very talented at everything he does. Glover may be more well known for his comedic prowess, but Childish Gambino is far from a joke. Camp is Gambino's first studio album, but he has released a few free EPs in the past. I am not the biggest fan of rap, but I appreciate true talent when I hear it.