Not an album as such, but a collection of 7 tracks recorded over a 7 day period and released online for free download. also collected for a 10" vinyl release, so I don't see why it can't count. This guy makes such beautiful yet elegantly simple music it's hard to find the words to do it justice, so you should just listen, it's free after all
Florence and The Machine - Lungs
Florence needs no introduction really. Definitely a bit of mental, but with a cracking voice. You've probably heard this already so I won't bother banging on about it.
Manchester Orchestra - Mean Everything to Nothing
Another sophomore effort, this the follow up to the excellent Mean Everything to Nothing. This record is frantic, it's emotional, and it needs to be listened to LOUD.
Kevin Devine - Brother's Blood
Kevin's 5th studio album was the first to be put out in the UK, by the super Big Scary Monsters record label.
There is definitely a sense that he's raised the bar a notch or two with this one, the instrumentation and production are second to none. It still doesn't quite capture the rawness and poignancy of his live show, but it's the closest he's got so far.
Chuck Ragan - Gold Country
This is the former Hot Water Music mans 2nd full length since embarking on his journey as punk/folk troubador (someone needs to come up with a new genre here, punk-folk just sounds shit). This record is insanely catchy, get it.
Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More
These guys are probably the best live band in the UK. They finally got around to releasing their debut album this year, containing a couple of tracks off previous EP releases with some new material. It's a remarkable combination of incredibly beautiful vocals and a rawkus hoedown. Magic.
Bayonets- Wishes & Wishes
Put out by another excellent UK label that is worth a mention, Walnut Tree Records, Bayonets' debut effort comprises 8 tracks of rock brilliance. These guys wear their influences firmly on their sleeves and thus comparisons with the likes of Brand New and Manchester Orchestra whilst lazy, are inevitable. However that isn't a slight on the band at all, this is arguably the Brand New would have released if they were from Hereford and hadn't turned crap.
Matisyahu - Light
An Hasidic Jew from New York that makes reggae music? What's not to like. Definitely a poppier vibe when put up against his debut, Light blends in beatboxing and rap with his reggae stylings. Noice.
A Day to Remember - Homesick
I unashamedly love A Day to Remember, fuck you. Yes, there were bands doing this 10 years ago, yes, it's music for kids, but its fun, get over it. Definitely their best release to date.
Nothington - Roads Bridges & Ruins
Punk rawk with a soulful, Southern tinge. The guys formed out of the ashes of Tsunami Bomb, their first album was good, but this is really great. They're also planning their first trip to the UK in February, get stoked.
Polar Bear Club - Chasing Hamburg
The 2nd release from polar bear club doesn't instantly grab you in the way their previous material will, but after a couple of listens the singalongs will smack you in the face and you'll wonder how you missed them in the first place. Massive record.
Tiger Please - They Don't Change Under The Moonlight
Another Walnut Tree release, I'd been meaning to pick this up for a while and finally did at the start of December. I only wish I'd got it earlier because I've hardly been able to stop listening to it since. 6 tracks (seperated by 5 interludes) of incredibly mature and emotional music that belies the tender age of the band. Gorgeous stuff.