Volume Two by She & Him
I think I like Volume Two by She & Him even better than Volume One! Zooey Deschanel seems more confident as a songwriter with this second album and much more confident in her singing voice. It's still bright, bubbly, sunshiney throwback pop music just with a little more ooomph.
Contra by Vampire Weekend
Those "Ivy League" boys have done it again. I listened to this album non-stop for at least a month when it was first released. These are perfect pop songs with that strange yet satisfying world music edge, like some sort of Paul Simon afterthought.
Infinite Arms by Band of Horses
I love Ben Bridwell's voice. This album is super laid back and dreamy. Although Band of Horses do not push the envelope from album to album they do consistently make good music.
I'm Having Fun Now by Jenny and Johnny
I'd never heard of Jonathan Rice before he became Jenny Lewis' boyfriend and they started making music together, but I've loved Jenny in all her incarnations: Rilo Kiley, Jenny Lews & the Watson Twins, back up vocalist for The Postal Service, or just plain Jenny Lewis. This album does not make me want to run out and buy all Jonathan Rice's previous work, because Jenny is the star of this show. She's just got magic in her, you know? This is pure California pop music and they seem to make a good pair.
The Suburbs by Arcade Fire
A masterpiece. That is all ye know on earth and all ye need to know.
The Winter of Mixed Drinks by Frightened Rabbit
Another voice that I love. I also love that you can hear Scott Hutchinson's Scottish accent when he sings. It's adds an authenticity to his singing. With this album Frightened Rabbit is definitely aiming to break through to the mainstream and there are some great singles here that could help them do that.
The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III) by Janelle Monáe
Wowza. This girl has IT. You know what I mean? IT. This girl is 5'3" of pure rock and soul. And man does she have great personal style! This album is eclectic and conceptual and awesome.
Have One on Me by Joanna Newsom
This album is over two hours long and came on three discs. Yep. And guess what? Every minute of it is exceptional. No one makes music like Joanna. She weaves elaborate tapestries of song that you will always be finding new and wonderful things within on every listen.
Release Me by The Like
The Like seemingly reinvented themselves with this, their second album. Their lineup changed and so did their sound. But you know what? I love it. Their 60s girl group, British invasion-inspired sound is fun and flirty and catchy and addictive.
White Mystery by White Mystery
Thank goodness someone out there is still making straight up Rock n' Roll music! This Chicago band is a refreshing blast of loud, crunchy guitar and drums. You can't listen to this brother and sister outfit without tapping your feet or banging your hands on the steering wheel. Plus, they're REDHEADS!
And five honorable mentions:
Destroyer of the Void by Blitzen Trapper
Wreckorder by Fran Healy
Gorilla Manor by Local Natives
Write About Love by Belle and Sebastian
A Single Man Soundtrack score by Abel Korzeniowski