If you’re a fan of singer-songwriters, foot-stomping and impassioned vocals, here are 6 more albums that you may have missed.
Artist: Ed Sheeran
There is no doubt about it: 2012 has been Ed Sheeran’s year. From receiving a GRAMMY nomination for Song of the Year for “The A-Team” on his debut album to writing countless tracks for One Direction and even Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran has quickly become this year’s breakout artist. Though released in 2011, + saw much popularity on U.S. shores this year. Songs like “Drunk” add electronic drum beats but never mask his striking whispered vocals.
Meanwhile, Ed gives a distinct flavor to many of the tracks with his rapid-fire singing style, differentiating him from the stereotypical singer-songwriters. Standout songs include “Grade 8” which brings to mind Justin Timberlake with his soulful falsetto and rap features and the stripped-down piano-based “Wake Me Up.”
For Fans of: Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, One Direction
Artist: The Lumineers
Album: The Lumineers
By now you’ve surely heard “Ho Hey” on the airwaves, a track that rose to fame after being featured in a Bing commercial earlier this year. While they’re getting lots of buzz, the new band was shocked to learn of their two GRAMMY nominations for Best New Artist and Best Americana Album earlier this month. Their new single “Stubborn Love” continues the foot-stomping pace and their eclectic album features the band’s impressive harmonies, hand-clap rhythms and finger-picked guitar.
For fans of: Mumford & Sons, fun., foot-stomping, romanticizing of the South
Artist: Frank Ocean
Album: channel ORANGE
Frank Ocean has been a name on many music lovers lips this year. With six GRAMMY nominations we’ll surely be hearing a lot more from him soon. Having worked with Kanye West, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Justin Bieber and John Legend, his soulful release channel ORANGE finally puts his name in the spotlight. The smooth R&B album brings to mind Usher on slow burners like “Thinkin Bout You” and “Sweet Life” while his soulful side is evident throughout. Highlights include the sultry “Sierra Leone” and ear-grabbing “Pyramids.”
For Fans of: Usher, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Drake
Artist: Imagine Dragons
Album: Night Visions
Imagine Dragons crept into 2012 with their ever catchy single “It’s Time.” Easy to envision being played in a stadium, the truth is their entire album is just as anthemic. It seems that foot-stomping is quite the trend this year and this is heard on many of the tracks throughout Night Visions. Bombastic synths coupled with dance party tracks like “Tiptoe” and “On Top of the World” continue the fun. Additionally, memorable and soaring vocals can be heard on “Amsterdam” while the nearly nine-minute “Nothing Left To Say/ Rocks” showcases the band’s ability to trump trends with it’s orchestral and string arrangements.
For fans of: The Killers, Muse, U2
Artist: Of Monsters and Men
Album: My Head Is An Animal
An all around solid release, this Icelandic band shows their musicianship and vocal power throughout My Head Is An Animal. Whether it’s Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir’s Florence Welch-like singing style or carnival-esque vibe on “From Finner,” the band incites a uniqueness that makes them stand out. With spot-on harmonies, the alternating vocals between Nanna and Ragnar “Raggi” Þórhallsson is a breath of fresh air. Songs like lead single “Little Talks” and the bombastic “Dirty Paws” showcase the band’s ability to begin with whispered vocals before a crescendo into a full-on jam.
For fans of: Mumford & Sons, The Lumineers, Florence and the Machine
Artist: The Mynabirds
Fronted by singer-songwriter Laura Burhenn, The Mynabirds are no newcomers to the music scene. After her former band split up, Laura spent time on the road singing backup for Bright Eyes. After their debut release in 2010, The Mynabirds continued to experiment with their sound and their latest album is a solid mix of soul, blues and rock.
Laura’s haunting vocals kick off the album on “Karma Debt.” Soon after, the bluesy and aggressive “Wolf Mother” impresses with hand-clapped rhythms. Slow at the track’s start, the beat picks up and the mood instantly changes with gritty guitar licks and Laura’s belts. Her sultry vocals continue on “Radiator Sister” but it’s tracks like “Disaster” where she truly shines, bringing to mind the power and authenticity of Adele. While she asks “Haven’t I paid my dues yet?” on the fast-paced “Generals” it’s evident that she has. No doubt following in the footsteps of respected female vocalists before her, The Mynabirds are certainly one act to watch.
For Fans of: Florence and the Machine, Adele, Tristan Prettyman
-Annie Reuter, CBS Local