Shadows On Stars
From: Portland, Oregon
Pros: Pop appeal and an eclectic mix of influences.
Cons: New influences could change their sound.
This Portland duo didn't reinvent anything with their self-titled debut album, but they still managed to make a record that sounded unlike anything else. They grab pieces from new wave, hip-hop, indie pop, and punk rock for a blend that sounds incredibly fresh.
The strength of the songwriting alone makes this album good, but even more exciting is the fact that it couldn't have been made by anyone other than a couple of young people in 2012 who grew up on Outkast, Blondie, Fiona Apple, and 2Pac.