1. JJAMZ … Suicide Pact … 2012

    Super-group made up of James Valentine (Maroon 5), Jason Boesel (Rilo Kelly/Bright Eyes), Alex Greenwald (Phantom Planet), Michael Runion, and Z Berg (The Like). It was formed after a karaoke night in Hollywood. Fun, upbeat pop with driving female vocals and a nice, mellow tone.

     
     
  2. First Aid Kit … The Lion’s Roar … 2012

    With Bright Eye’s musicians at the helm, First Aid Kit’s second album is more produced and contained but doesn’t sacrifice their lush, youthful harmonies, more civilian and less folky, they seem to have embraced indie stardom. Or maybe they’re just older.