Hip hop artist Frank Ocean leads off the list this week with his debut album and one of the most discussed albums of the year.
Frank Ocean was picked at the beginning of the year as the top new artist to watch in 2012. He has now released his debut album, and it seems all of the previous accolades are on target. Channel ORANGE is a stunning artistic document. The album has received wide critical acclaim and is selling strongly. Frank Ocean is a part of the Odd Future hip hop collective. A major new artist has arrived.
The Zac Brown Band have emerged as one of today's top country bands. Their two major label studio albums have both been certified platinum. You Get What You Give, the most recent, was a #1 hit on both the country and overall album charts. In addition the band has released eight #1 country singles. Their current hit "The Wind" is included on Uncaged.
Twin Shadow is the stage name for George Lewis, Jr. His debut album Forget, released in 2010, garnered strong critical acclaim for its new wave tinged pop. The collection was focused on reminiscing about the past. The new album Confess is centered in the present.
Serj Tankian is the lead vocalist of the rock band System Of a Down. However, he is also an acclaimed solo artist. Harakiri is his third set as a solo act. It is the first of a planned set of four albums. The sound is uptempo punk rock. The single "Figure It Out" is a top 20 rock hit.
Dirty Projectors are a critically acclaimed experimental rock band. Swing Lo Magellan has been identified as having a more accessible sound than the group's earlier efforts. A film titled Hi Custodian featuring songs from the album is planned.
Aesop Rock is the stage name of hip hop artist Ian Matthias Bavitz. He has been a part of the underground hip hop scene. The 2007 Aesop Rock album None Shall Pass reached #50 on the Billboard album chart. Skelethon includes the single "Zero Dark Thirty."
The English Beat brought ska music to the mainstream in the 1980s. They were known as simply The Beat in the UK, but added English in the US to avoid conflict with other band names. Their most successful singles in the US were "I Confess" and "Save It For Later." At home in the UK the band hit the pop top 10 with five different songs. Following the breakup of English Beat, members of the group took part in the acts General Public and Fine Young Cannibals.
Singer-songwriter Brendan James broke into the top 100 of the Billboard album chart with his most recent self-titled release. He considers classic artists like James Taylor and Bob Dylan to be major inspirations.
Mission Of Burma were one of the most promising post-punk bands in the early 1980s. However, after only one full-length studio album, the group disbanded in 1983 and went on a 19 year hiatus. Unsound is their fourth release since reforming in 2002.