1. The Men … Open Your Heart … 2012

    Vintage punk.

     
     
  2. Yellow Ostrich … Strange Land … 2012

    Bombastic, brilliant. Swerving and confusing, mildly electric, looped and overdubbed into oblivion, yet so freaking clear and understandable. Yellow Ostrich is all about rhythm and melody (as is all music?) but the energy and the emotion here have an undeniable clarity and vision, a prowess. This mostly one-man-band is slowly transitioning from funny pop to serious and complex rock, and I couldn’t be happier.

     
     
  3. 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!

     
     
  4. Beth Jeans Houghton & the Hooves of Destiny … Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose … 2012

    Cool and almost ghostly female vocals (think a creepier Imogen Heap) over clean alt rock with classical and tribal influences. Recommended.

     
     
  5. FUN. … Some Nights … 2012

    I have a love/hate relationship with this band; Nate Reuss’ lyrics have always been thoroughly self-indulgent, the music behind him has always been glam/punk frustration, the combination is often infuriating. But it’s always so fucking well done, all energy and doubt and pure humanity. Even though they sold out for top 40 stardom this time and autotuned Nate’s voice it’s still worth a listen. Just wait til after dark cuz all the best songs have a few choice words.