1) Helplessness Blues, The Fleet Foxes
– I think you could have seen this one coming. Helplessness Blues is one of those few songs you hear and wonder if you will ever hear a song quite as good. As a song, Helplessness Blues, doesn’t try too hard, it plays at our hearts with pure acoustic sound. There is something unexplainably magical about the song that leaves me feeling I can take on the world after listening. Although The Fleet Foxes are taking a break for a while, I’m sure they’ll have something genius waiting for us down the road.
2) D.D., The Weekend
– The Weeknd has helped me re-discover my love for the sound of R&B. Abel Tesfaye’s intoxicating voice guides the listener through the heavy beats. The sound of D.D. reminds me of a little bit ofMichael Jackson with a little less pop and a little more electronic with a dark twist. Just like the last lingering hours of a Sunday evening, the end of D.D. leaves you craving another dose of The Weeknd.
3) Circuital, My Morning Jacket
I could put the entire Circuital Album on this list, but then I would be cheating my own system. With this newest album, My Morning Jacket has really exceeded the expectations for their genre. What genre is that exactly? That’s part of their charm. They could be classified as jam, southern rock, alternative, maybe even indie. Lets put it this way; one confused iTunes catalogue.
4) Aroused, Tom Vek
The funky percussions open the song up to his monotone yet raspy voice. It reminds me of Cake, so maybe I’m biased, but I become mesmerized with the song. Take a listen.
5) Two Against One Feat. Jack White, Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi
– As a current Athenian (GA), I sure am partial to anything Danger Mouse produces. His most recent album, Rome, Featuring Jack White and Nora Jones was yet another personal victory for Danger Mouse to add to his impressive resume. With two unique voices and perfectly crafted electronic beat, the entire album is eerily addictive. On a side note, look out for Jack White’s new Solo album,Blunderbuss on April 24th.
6) Little Talks, Of Monsters and Men
– Easily my favorite find of the year. Remember this indie group from Iceland because you’ll hear their name again. Carried by balanced harmony of male and female vocals, their album My Head is an Animal is consistent all the way through. Their style is almost a combination of Mumford & Sonsand The Shins, but their sound completely unique. Look for them at South by Southwest this spring in Austin, TX.
7) Otis, Jay-Z and Kayne West
What do you get when two kings of hip-hop collaborate? Gold. Pure gold (which certainly fits the album artwork). With the intro of the song a quick exert from Otis Redding, the song starts off strong. Through out Otis, Jay-Z and Kayne interact in a playful banter, both incorporating short experts for some of their previous work. Throwing jokes out their for their big fans, “I made Jesus walks I’m never goin to hell” and Jay-Z spits out “What more can I say?”. Although Jay-Z commented that Kayne wasn’t exactly easy to work with, Otis sure makes that hard to believe.
8) Will Do, TV on the Radio
Coming back strong from their last album Return to Cookie Mountain, TV on the Radio delivers with the catchy song Will Do. This song is a little less electronic and a little mellower than their other songs. It definitely qualifies as indie pop, but the vocals of Tunde Adebimpe stands out amongst all the white noise in this genre.
9) Youth Knows No Pain, Lykke Li
-Easily my favorite new female artist. Lykke Li has been on the scene since 2008 after producing her album Youth Novels. Her sound has a heavy electronic influence and an interesting mix of percussions, most recognizably the tambourine. Her voice has a wide range and an edgy sound easily recognized. Remember this Swedish pop star and take a listen to the album Wounded Rhymes.
10) Modern Art, The Black Lips
I will always be a sucker for punk thanks to the emo phase I went through in middle school. They’re not too punk; they’re a very light dosage. I can easily picture a young Seth Cohen listening to Modern Art in his purple bedroom along with Captain Oats. Overall a fun listen, mixing things up from the present and reminding me what the early 2000s were like.
11) Trials of the Past, SBTRKT
My obsession with Trials of the Past was instantaneous. Something about Sampha’s voice just locks the listener in. The beats are electronic but it has a reggae/soul feel to it. Aaron Jerome, under the performing name SBTRKT, puts on his shows wearing native masks, like the one seen on the album cover. Also, in case it was bothering you, its pronounced ‘subtract’.
12) One More Chance for a Heart to Skip a Beat, wait what
Never in a million years would I have expected a mash-up of The Xx and Biggie Smalls, but maybe thats why I love this track so much. Its unexpected. Its produced by wait what, a DJ from San Francisco, CA. Usually I’m not too keen on mash-ups which more than often ruin great songs. However, The Xx and Biggie seem to fold into one another at the same caliber in which Danger Mouse constructed the Grey Album (The Beatles and Jay-Z) in 2004. Im looking forward to The Xx’snew album coming out this spring. Wish I could say the same for Bigge Smalls. Too soon?
13) Second Chance, Peter Bjorn And John
From the band that brought us Young Folks in 2006, comes another catchy pop-rock song. It certainly has a unique instrumental quality about it that speak more for the song than the lyrics. The electric guitar solo is a particularly strong part of the song. I’m also fond of Second Chance because it is featured in a new favorite show of mine “Two Broke Girls” (check it out!). Peter Bjorn and John are a consistent group with a similar sound to The Strokes. More good things to come from them.
14) Rescue Song (RAC Remix) , Mr. Little Jeans
Often times female vocals are overlooked. Especially by guys. But if anyone was to make the non believer turn their head, it’d be Mr. Little Jeans. Its an upbeat song that locks the listener in from the start. Usually I’m not even the biggest fan of soprano voices, but Mr. Little Jeans won me over withRescue Song.
15) Don’t Move, Phantogram
Phantogram does it again! This female/male duo from New York brings something new to the table for indie pop. Don’t Move contains all the expected instrumentals, but with a twist. Their drums are eerie, the trumped echos, and the drum skips unexpected beats. Im not big on dancing, but hell I’d even throw on my dancing shoes for this track.