30. Sleigh Bells – Reign of Terror
Noise pop duo Sleigh Bells’ sophomore album is a great example of why I love indie bands. Dark themes paired with thumping bass beats makes for a great release on any front, but Derek Miller and Alexis Krauss take their direction to new heights. This album also spawned a bevy of remixes from the likes of Diplo, No I.D., and Clams Casino.
29. Angel Haze – Classick
Angel Haze has never disappointed me, and her second mixtape ‘Classick’ is no different. As a departure from her first mixtape ‘The Reservation’, Angel’s fourth unofficial release is a collection of hip-hop classic covers. When you’re finished with the set, check out her contribution to the 2012 BET Hip Hop Awards and it’ll leave you wishing she had an album out right now.
It’s very funny that Cher Lloyd is known stateside as a singer-rapper with a top 5 single and a top 10 album. The petite UK star brings a different perspective to genre bending, as her British comedy can be heard on airwaves nationwide. Add in the fact that she’s a pretty damn good singer and you have a solid debut album from an even more promising artist.
27. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
Coming out less than 24 hours before his album was released proved to be profitable for Odd Future’s Frank Ocean. After being nominated for six Grammys at the 2013 awards, it’s not secret that Ocean’s success has plastered into the mainstream. While I enjoy ‘Channel Orange’, I still find his pre-album mixtape ‘nostalgiaULTRA’ much more enjoyable.
26. Cover Drive – Bajan Style
Apparently Rihanna’s not the only successful artist to come out of Barbados, especially with pop group Cover Drive on the scene. While lead singer Karen Reifer looks like a younger version of her Riri counterpart, her vocals are much better. Since opening for Kelly Clarkson on her ‘Stronger’ Tour, look for Cover Drive to make a stateside takeover early next year.
25. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals – The Lion, The Beat, The Beast
Vermont rock band Grace Potter and the Nocturnals delivered supreme vocals on their fifth album ‘The Lion, The Beast, The Beat’. Lead singer Potter delivers uplifting emotion with every song she touches, and this album is no different. While her band (The Nocturnals) do a great job of keeping the arrangements simple, it is Grace’s angelic-like voice that brings her own songwriting to life.
24. No Doubt – Push and Shove
After almost 11 years away from the game, a No Doubt reunion was necessary. Luckily, their relevance from their hits ‘Just A Girl’ and ‘Don’t Speak’ crossed over to 2012 music, as their sixth album ‘Push And Shove’ rose to the top of the charts upon release in September 2012. Longtime in-house producer Tony Kanal and first-time collaborator Diplo aided in the success of No Doubt’s comeback, producing an album filled with potential number one singles.
23. SWV – I Missed Us
Serving as their first full-length release in over 15 years, SWV returned to the urban charts with a huge impact. First single “Co-Sign” proved to be massively successful, and even began to make an impact on mainstream charts. The trio of R&B legends formatted their second album unlike many other girl groups by giving each member (Coko, Lelee, and Taj) a significant solo part on each song on ‘I Missed Us’ – to profitable results.
22. Pink – The Truth About Love
The first album after a female singer has their first child is always a touching release. With Pink’s solid showings with all her previous releases, ‘The Truth About Love’ is even more special. While working with many first-time collaborators (Nate Ruess of fun. and Greg Kurstin), Pink’s latest release shot to the top of the charts and also earned her several Grammy nominations for the 2013 year.
21. Alt-J – An Awesome Wave
I’ve always shared an affinity for indie rock, but when you add ‘British’ to the genre title, it garners new heights. Alt-J’s debut album has been critically acclaimed worldwide, giving the previously unknown group much publicity stateside, particularly with their first single ‘Tessellate’. With a full American tour scheduled for mid-2013, expect the UK quartet to hold their ground worldwide for a really long time.