At the end of the year every year, I like to use some of the down time between December and January to comb through the various MP3 blogs end of the year lists to discover new music. While I love Led Zeppelin, REM and Radiohead, I have found that taking the time to find new music is something that keeps me in touch with what is new and exciting that I would otherwise not necessarily discover. As a kid, the radio was my number one discovery tool. Today, my radio listening is about zero, and when I do find myself in the car, I tend to listen to the NFL network which feeds my football obsession. The radio has been replaced by sites like Hype Machine and Motel de Moka.
So what am I listening to right now? A bunch of good stuff.
Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros - The song Home is without question my favorite song right now. The band's music is very reminiscent of early California folk/psychedelia. I don't know a bunch about the band but in this track and several others I have listened to, I really like the sound, which doesn't sound like The Mamas and Papas or Jefferson Airplane, but certainly evokes that sort of feel.
Phoenix - Their release Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix was everywhere on people's lists this year. The big track 1901 is a fun and uplifting song. If it wasn't everywhere already, the recent Cadillac commercial has certainly made it all the more familiar.
Passion Pit - Tim in my office turned me onto this band and while it didn't click the first listen or two, it certainly has now. Sleepyhead and Little Secrets are played over and over again in my car. I haven't listened to all of Manners, but I would definitely recommend it as a catchy, upbeat sound that doesn't necessarily remind me of MGMT in style but certainly in spirit.
The xx - This band had a lot of buzz on the same level of Phoenix. I heard them first on NPR on an end of the year music special, and while the first track I heard didn't do much for me, some repeated listening of the various tracks got me hooked. I especially like Crystallized and Night Time. Their sound is haunting and dense, but the male female vocal teaming and the ethereal sound really is something that I keep coming back to.
Julian Casablancas - Whatever happened to the Strokes? I don't know as I was only really into their debut release, but a listen to the latest effort by their frontman reveals a high charged, almost disco revival sound that has hints of the initial Strokes release although more lively and I guess danceable?
The Rest - I discovered this band on some obscure indie music blog whose name escapes me. This band out of Canada is way up my alley. The track Coughing Blood/Fresh Mountain Air reminds me of Radiohead and U2 with a more haunting backdrop. Seriously, of all the new stuff I have heard, this one song has blown me away the most. I hope to hear more like this from them.
Atlas Sound - I can't put my finger on the sound of this band, but the track Sheila, is something I never tire of listening to. The chorus "And when we die we will bury ourselves" is very Wilco in a Yankee Hotel Foxtrot sort of way, but much more catchy and earnest way. The link here is to a live video of the song Sheila.
Metric - Not sure how to describe Metric, other than it has hints of fast paced electronica and the lead singer's voice is just great.
Major Lazer - My kid's favorite right now. Somewhere between hip hop (T-Pain) and dance hall with a bit of Daft Punk to boot. The song "Keep it Going Louder" just defies you to sit in your seat and not move.
White Rabbits - I tend towards the punk or heavy rock sound and I wouldn't describe anything in this list as of that vein with the exception of this band. While not really punk, The White Rabbits have a great fast paced beat and a stripped down sound with some hints of what I would say is early melodic punk stylings.