Coming up with this list was actually somewhat easy, since the majority of my top albums I knew were “the ones” when I first listened to them. I’m going to spare the long blurbs, and try to just do some key points, but we all know how that will probably turn out. For fun, I added some notables, some EPs, some local bands (gotta rep my Local 92.9 [shameless plug]), and some looking forward to-s. Enjoy! 

Biffy Clyro – Opposites

What can I say about Biffy other than, they completely and totally rock! I’ve been so very excited about them since “Bubbles” and “Many of Horror” and this is the first album that I’ve been able to start on as a fan. It’s like the Scottish version of Foo Fighters, with hard rocking riffs into tender ballads. Plus, when they opened for Muse, it was basically the best show ever. Read my full review here.

Atlas Genius – When It Was Now

It’s so catchy and infectious! Even if you’ve only heard “Trojans” you have to admit it’s been stuck in your head. It’s a feel good, dance inducing album that hides heavier meanings and sentiment without the depressing feeling. With boy chases girl themes and rendezvous, it’s a complete guilty pleasure. They’re also really fun live, and it’s really adorable to watch brothers Keith and Michael Jeffery interact on stage. Also read my full review here.

New Politics – A Bad Girl in Harlem

This album makes me want to shake it like a bad girl up in Harlem every time I listen to it. On constant repeat in my car, I shamelessly dance behind the steering wheel as I’m stuck in good old Boston traffic on my way to work. With notes of leaving behind a past and going for your dream to “Overcome” the odds it completely gives you hope (ok, that was cheesy). But it’s not only that, it’s a little scandalous too! “Tonight You’re Perfect” and “Fall Into These Arms” make you want to fall asleep (or maybe only wake up) in someone else’s bed, while “Stuck On You” is an ode to a lover you just can’t get out of your head. I saw them in a small club in Providence (Whiskey Republic) on a rainy day, and it was absolutely packed! The energy in the room was outstanding, and lead singer David Boyd (who usually walks on and breakdances in the middle of the crowd) decided to climb the foundation pole and crawl on top of everyone to the bar. Insane. Amazing.

The Mowgli’s – Waiting For The Dawn

I just want to hug the entire world with this album. The Mowgli’s ask, “do you feel the love?” and I really feel the love throughout the entire album. They’re a group of 8, and they are the sweetest people, always hugging each other and embracing the crowd by spreading the peace and joy. The album is a sun soaked, summer must have of feel good, do good, and be good songs. They invite everyone to be a Mowgli and spread the powerful message of music and love. If you’re not familiar with the single “San Francisco” I beg you to get familiar with it!

The Joy Formidable – Wolf’s Law

I must admit I haven’t listened to this album a whole lot, but I still love pretty much everything that The Joy Formidable does. The first time I heard single, “This Ladder is Ours” my mouth dropped, and then my jaw unhinged for “Cholla.” The intro of “Little Blimp” is pretty badass as well, and opposite that “Silent Treatment” is absolutely gorgeous. My mind can’t comprehend how someone the size and sweetness of Ritzy can have so much power. (Ok, well it can, dynamite comes in small packages, Ritz is the same size as me.. I came so close to telling her I wished she was my sister so I could borrow her clothes when I met her, but I didn’t) Their riffs mixed with Ritzy’s gentle vocals, and the little bits of Welsh words thrown in for affect have some kind of hold on me. They also rock real hard live. Like REAL hard. Ritzy and Rhydian shove each other and sometimes Ritzy’s guitar “slips” out of her hands and into drummer, Matt Thomas.

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Notables/Liked on first listen:

Born Ruffians – Birthmarks “Needle” is true to Luke Lalonde’s vocals. I’m only a casual fan, but I really want to be more than that. Canada’s Grouplove, perhaps?

The Neighbourhood – I Love You “Sweater Weather” is the best rainy summer day song.

Fitz and the Tantrums – More Than Just A Dream Infectious dance pop.

Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse Scottish. Ok, not just that, their songs are awesome too.

Capital Cities – In A Tidal Wave of Mystery At first, I was hesitant on it, but I think a few more listens and it’ll grow on me.

Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City After seeing them live, I really need to listen to this album more.

 

EPs:

Walk the Moon – Tightrope EP What can I say? I’ve loved them since last spring and I will continue to love them. “Tete-a-tete” and “Drunk in the Woods” are true to their seemingly innocent style, and their cover of “Burning Down the House” makes you want to shake it!

Bastille – Haunt EP “Pompeii” is so hauntingly beautiful. And the rest of the EP has such a great, Brit pop/rock sound. Bastille definitely has some potential, and they’re going to make it in the US very soon.

Lorde – The Love Club EP “Royals” is definitely a song of the summer right now. This girl is going to be huge. She’s 16, from New Zealand, and has the appeal to a few different genres and markets. (Just found out the EP is technically released in 2012.. but the song is making it right now so..)

The 1975 – IV “Sex” and “Chocolate,” all you really need to know. No, ok, not just that. They’re like young hoodlums who make really good, solid music. Emotional, powerful, dance in your seat kind of stuff.

 

Other stuff:

Manchester Orchestra/Grouplove/Frightened Rabbit RSD release This is one of the coolest collaborations ever released for Record Store Day (in my opinion). The moroseness of Andy Hull’s (Manchester Orchestra) lyrics and his unique voice blended with Christian Zucconi’s (Grouplove) equally unique voice over funky electro beats. And flip it over to get gentle vocals from Scott Hutchinson (Frightened Rabbits) and acoustic guitar over soothing oohs. Contradicting and completely cool.

American Authors – Believer Such a good song, and inspirational as well. I saw them open for Royal Teeth (who you already know I absolutely love) and they put on a really fun show. They actually started in Boston at Berklee about 5 years ago, and they have such a passion for music. I can’t wait to hear their full length because their 2011 EP is great, and they’ve progressed a lot since then.

Smallpools – Dreaming Smallpools only has this song out there, as far as I know. But it’s a damn good song. It’s kind of like Passion Pit, meets a less acidic MGMT, and a few other bands of that style. I’ll find out their other material at Paradise on July 15th, but as of now, I like them.

 

Local Notables:

The Color and Sound – Spring Tour EP Blended guy/girl chorus style vocals that rock! If you listen (which you should if you’re from Boston, support local music!), I recommend “Graves.”

Tall Heights – Man of Stone This band has a sound that sends goosebumps down your spine and I love it. My personal favorite on the album (which was on their second EP) is “Running of the Bulls” which paints beautiful pictures in the lyrics.

The Year Million – Something Better (Broken Circuits EP) I don’t know how to describe this song other than when I first heard it, I knew I wanted to support this band. It’s got all of the elements that make up a strong single. It sounds like it should be in a movie or something, but it stopped me in my tracks on my first listen after a going through a whole bunch of (I won’t get in trouble will I? ok..) local bands who are total duds. While they’re from Boston, I have yet to see them live, but I really want to before the year is up.

 

Looking forward to:

Royal Teeth: GLOW August 13th  I’m so in love with this band and I can’t or won’t get over it. I’m so in love from only an EP, which some might call lust, but lust is not seeing a band live 5 times and begging your friends to come experience it with you. Lust is not posting any and almost every new song you find on Youtube of theirs on Facebook, because really, what the hell friends, take the hint?! I love all of the songs I’ve heard live that are on it and I’m pretty sure I’ve heard all but 2 songs listed on the track list. I literally am ecstatic for this album and I’m pretty sure it’ll end up number 1 on my year end.

Sick Puppies – Connect July 16th. Shh.. don’t tell anyone I already have it.. (legally, I don’t download leaks!) but it wouldn’t be fair to put it on this list, because it’s after the half year. You’ll all just have to wait, even though you probably know how I feel.

Arctic Monkeys – AM September 10th The first song is a JAM! “Do I Wanna Know?” what the rest of the album sounds like? Yes, yes I do! (another cheese fest.. sorry)

Grouplove – Spreading Rumours September 17th Oh man, the first single “Ways to Go” is so damn catchy. I loved their first album, and I loved them the 4 times I saw them live, so I’m excited to hear what they’re going to do with this one. My Music Director got to go to the listening party, and he assured me I’d like it, so I trust that. Plus, if the song they play live very frequently, “Borderlines and Aliens” is on it, I know already like 2 songs!

MGMT – MGMT September 17th I loved Oracular Spectacular, I wasn’t too thrilled about Congratulations, so I’m curious about MGMT.

Cage the Elephant 3rd album They’re writing and recording, I know they are, they tweeted it!

Sleeper Agent 2nd album My long, lost Kentucky friends (and also CtE friends), I know you’re writing as well.. I look forward to it. Especially if you and CtE end up touring together again. Yes, please.

Black Keys next one? Remember they said something like they’re working on it already? Yea, I don’t know, but whatever, I’m excited.

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