4. Holy Ghost! – Holy Ghost!
James Murphy may have ended LCD Soundsystem, but his influence still lives on in his production and his label, DFA Records. Holy Ghost!’s debut is not just indicative of Murphy’s sensibilities, but seems to have positioned the band as possible successors. It may just be the timing, but Holy Ghost!’s first album holds many of the danceable pop structures of LCD Soundsystem; however, Holy Ghost! loves to wear their influences. A fun mixture of 80’s sound with the influences of Chemical Brothers and Daft Punk, Holy Ghost! sound like the American answer to The Presets but without the punk edge. The band has created ten well-crafted dance pop songs that turn out to be much more than the fluff some of their colleagues put out. Plus they got Michael McDonald to sing on one of their better numbers. Let’s hope they continue in LCD Soundsystem’s wake of making smart dance music.
Favorite songs: “Do It Again,” “Hold My Breath,” “Say My Name,” “Some Children”
3. AWOLNATION – Megalithic Symphony
Playing like a sequel to New Radicals only album (the biting Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too), Megalithic Symphony was also the creation of a single man. Aaron Bruno has been in the industry for several years now — notably in the band Under The Influence Of Giants — but with AWOLNATION he had the chance to break out on his own and have the creative freedom to create the music he wanted. The man certainly has an ear for a hook, but what sets this apart is the intensity and passion of each song and his incredibly versatile voice. “Sail” may be the only track that many have heard here, but there are a multitude of even better songs. What’s interesting is the deeper you get into the album the more apparent Bruno has created an good, old-fashioned protest album, but truthfully you’ll only notice it if you stop bouncing around to the incredible beats he has created. This is well worth the journey past the one hit.
Favorite songs: “Soul Wars,” “Jump On My Shoulders,” “Burn It Down,” “Kill Your Heroes”