1. Ben Howard … Old Pine … 2012

    Quietly brilliant acoustic music in the vein of Damien Rice or Nick Drake, with a little Jose Gonzalez picking thrown in. He mumbled like Bon Iver but the soaring, brilliant harmonies are all his own. Devour this EP then go find his already re-cased full length!

  2. Damien Jurado … Maraqopa … 2012

    This album sounds like a less ancient Neil Young. Lots of focus on guitars, mostly strummed rhythms but with the occasional psychedelic solo freak out.

  3. 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.

  4. Rachel Sermanni … Black Currents … 2012

    20-year-old Scottish singer Rachel Sermanni finger-picks and singers her heart out on this album. Really great.

    RIYL Regina Spektor, Laura Marling, Fiona Apple

  5. Lucero … Women & Work … 2012

    Great, great new album from one of the hardest working rock bands around. Dirty and loud enough to fill up every dive bar in Tennessee.