Will the Best Album Grammy go to Mumford as a crowning achievement? Or will hot newcomer Frank Ocean, a favorite of the press and intelligentsia, win the biggest prize?


Our Editor In Chief's Stories to Watch in 2013: Carryover Edition
Mumford & Sons vs. Frank Ocean is what we call a WIN-WIN. In the headline story, the zeitgeist group of 2011-12 meets the critic’s-choice breakthrough of 2012 at the Grammys.  Clearly, Mumford & Sons have transitioned from the surprise breakout of 2011 into a giant seller and even bigger concert attraction in 2012, and now we expect them to do even bigger, bolder numbers in 2013.  Is the Best Album Grammy theirs as a crowning achievement? Or will hot newcomer Frank Ocean, a favorite of the press and intelligentsia, win the biggest prize?  We’ll be debating and analyzing this contest between two absolute winners.  Will the Grammy crowd split the vote, anointing Ocean as Best New and Mumford with Best Album, with other categories adding to the totals for each, or will Ocean steal the day and pull off an Amy Winehouse/Norah Jones-type sweep? 

Interscope Comes Back: Does John Janick just have the magic touch wherever he goes?  Well, Janick or no Janick, Interscope had an incredible Christmas holiday, as three of their 2012 newbies have become Artists to Watch whose careers and sales will grow in 2013.  Imagine Dragons surged into the Top Ten over the break, and with a single in the 20s on the pop chart, the band has high hopes for the new year; Phillip Phillips moved into high gear; and Kendrick Lamar found his way onto seemingly every year-end best-of poll.  All three will be around for the entirety of 2013!

What’s Shaking in Alabama? Brittany Howard has been the "it girl" for me ever since I caught her online leading the Alabama Shakes down the road paved by Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company.  Now that KROQ has re-added the smash single “Hold On” and the Grammys have tapped the band as a Best New Artist nominee, I see her star shining brighter than ever this year.  Sometimes songs are too good to go away no matter what, and while “Hold On” lacked the all-important component of research on its first try, now that familiarity is there.  An appearance on the Grammy show, allowing the masses to know what nearly 400k album buyers already know, should blow this wide open.

Yes, Monte is still red-hot: Of Monsters and Men has been building fans, buyers and momentum all through 2012, and this Icelandic-to-U.S. breakthrough--first championed by John Allers at WRFF in Philly--is now on everyone’s must-have list for 2013.  The first single, "Little Talks," is already a big crossover winner; their second hit, "Mountain Sound," is a personal favorite.  Rising sales during the holiday season point to 2013 being an even bigger year for OMAM.  And if that’s not enough for newly named Republic, make sure that the ill-spelled Weeknd is on your must-listen list.  It surely is on ours.

What is a Dualtone? I'm glad you asked. It's the little Nashville label that houses the Lumineers, who were at the top of everyone’s must-buy list this holiday.  The band has nearly 750k album sales in the bank already and is heading for 3 million sold on the hit singles two-pack of charttoppers "Ho Hey" and "Stubborn Love," and we're betting that 2 million album sales are in the offing this year. Like Mumford did when they made their first national appearance on the Grammy broadcast, these multiple nominees will instantly jump to the top of everyone's best-of lists for another year. See them this month on Saturday Night Live and catch Lumineers fever.

Macklemore and Lewis: Their infectious hit single "Thrift Shop" was breaking on its own when the Warner Bros. promo team grabbed it near year’s end and sent it into orbit.  It's currently sitting at #3 overall at iTunes. We recommend that everyone watch the accompanying video, which brings the fun back to the pop/hip-hop genre and puts a smile on our faces.  Expect this song to top the pop charts in a few months as this Seattle band explodes throughout 2013.

We are Walking with you now: Sometimes we get them early and sometimes we get them late.  And I admit I was late to the party on Columbia's Passion Pit.  It took me a while to really take these indie-rockers from Cambridge, MA, seriously, but their electrifying performance of "Take a Walk" on Saturday Night Live was my personal turning point.  Now I can't follow them closely enough--and with a second single, "Carried Away," blowing up at Alternative, I see no reason why their growth pattern shouldn’t make them a Band to Watch in the new year.  The group expanded its profile with a track on the most recent Twilight soundtrack.

And one longshot to keep a close eye on: Aussies Tame Impala, another rock band breaking from the rejuvenated indie sector (on Modular Recordings), appears to be the next must-see, must-own band to break out. They've earned critical acclaim from the U.K.'s NME--and become a personal favorite of Karen Glauber's--on their way to conquering America in 2013.  The sensational first single, "Elephant," and a vocalist who sounds enough like John Lennon to capture the ears of multiple generations, should propel this one into the hearts of the masses starting right now.   Ready, set, go!!!

The lay of the land at the top of the year (1/21a)
America's most wanted (1/20a)
Lin-Manuel and Ken sing in harmony, inspiring industry applause. (1/21a)
The dashboard light has dimmed. (1/21a)
Winning hands in the early action (1/20a)
You're gonna make a poor boy outta me.
...than 24 hours in a day.
on a Saturday night
Lamborginis and caviar Dry martinis, Shangri-La

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