Marina & the Diamonds – The Family Jewels (Atlantic)
This one is hard to pigeon-hole, although from the sound of it, many have tried, usually comparing her to other female British singers emerging in the past year or so. The album features solid pop songwriting with elements of soul vocals and electronic arrangements, and a dash of brash creativity to bring it all together. I was surprised to learn that Marina is primarily responsible for the instrumentation on the album, in addition to solo writing credits for most of the songs. The amount of talent and drive pouring out of this record is stunning.
Start with "Hollywood" and "I Am Not a Robot," and then hit up the rest. The latter song, by the way, has an awesome video that features Marina slathered in all sorts of crazy body paint. I have so many new favorite tunes thanks to this album. I recommend it if you dig the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Florence + The Machine, Bat For Lashes, and dancing your ass off.
We Are Scientists – Barbara (Masterswan Recordings)
This is supposed to be post-punk revival indie rock, or at least that's what I hear it's called. I call it driving percussion and bass, pop hooks, with emo-ish power-pop male vocals, and a hint of synthpop to give it some glam. When I stop dancing around the room and start paying attention to the lyrics, I'm pleasantly surprised to discover they are also creative and fun.
I recommend it if you dig Franz Ferdinand, Editors, The Killers, and nice guys from Pittsburg who've learned that rules don't stop you from being awesome (Hint: that last bit is all about my favorite songs on the album).